Interview: Pretoria-based DJ/producer, Kamanda, shares his story, his views on Mzansi House culture & his thoughts on the House scene in Pretoria

For a very long time, Pretoria has been known as one of the go to cities in South Africa for groundbreaking House music and a breeding ground for talented producers and DJs. The city has a beautiful culture alternative music and with a strong sense of community, Pretoria has fast become an important cultural and creative hub in the country. With that being said, the House scene in the city has always fostered the discovery of new talent that often goes on to take the world on by storm. One of these talents is Kamanda, a Pretoria based producer that doubles as a DJ. Kamanda is one of the newer, young acts coming of the city that are shaking things up in the South African House scene. We got an opportunity to chop it up with the talented creative and got to get to know him, his views on South African House and his role in the industry. Peep the interview below.

Those that are in the know and those that follow and support underground House in South Africa, are well aware of your work. For those that may not know who you are, please fill them in about who Kamanda is?

Kamanda is an electronic music artist based in Pretoria, originally from Letlhabile, North West.

How did it all begin for you? Your love and passion for music. What was that one defining moment for you that prompted you enter the music scene?

I can’t really say when it actually began because music has always been a part of my life from the get go, I mean I can’t remember a particular moment whereby music wasn’t there. I grew up in a very musical family and I can say most of it comes from my grandfather, an extremely multi-talented artist, not famous of course but I know I drew most of my musical inspiration from him.

I keep trying to remember that actual defining moment, I mean in primary school we used to make beats with school desks and we got well known because of that, and my circle of friends was very musical and we were open to almost all genres but we collected a lot of House music, we used to sneak out at night just to attend music events. Then there was this one moment that changed everything, I got introduced to Fruity Loops in 2009 and we (Immunity, Small & myself) made a track at that very moment and it was at that point in time that I knew this was going to consume me, the notion of being able to convey your emotions through sound was just magical and still is. It was the same year that I learnt how to mix with CD players, although it was impromptu but I was very eager, I started mixing with my class mate’s Numark CDN88 and carried on learning with various brands.

You’re a producer and a DJ, your sound can be described as ‘deep’ and ‘underground’. Do genre labels matter to you or is your focus more on the side of creating what you like?

I am a House music artist and I draw my inspiration from various genres, I’ve learned that my production is mostly influenced by my emotions more especially when I’m working alone, yet again I’ve learnt to be versatile more especially when working with different creatives, I like getting out of my comfort zone every now and then just to challenge my cognitive abilities.

image of kamanda djing
Photography credit: Algy Motsile

South Africa is a global powerhouse when it comes to electronic music with House music being one of our biggest exports. What’s your take on the state of House music in South Africa? Are we heading in the right direction?

I personally think South Africa is doing exceptionally well when it comes to electronic music, we have extraordinary artists, extremely talented creatives, I mean the way we have and still are contributing towards the global electronic music scene is just phenomenal. I just love how we easily adapt to this rapidly evolving sound and we’re able to integrate it to an even more appealing sound. Afrotech for instance, you know it’s just amazing how we are able to incorporate our culture and live it through electronic music. I can therefore undoubtedly affirm that we are heading towards the right direction, and this is evident from music charts, you can visit any electronic music online store right now and rest assured you’ll find at least one South African artist on the top charts.

You’re part of Multi-Racial records, a Pretoria based record label and music-focused company with so much history. What role do you currently play at MR?

I’m basically an artist and an A&R. I aid in scouting and overseeing the artistic development of artists. I also run Multi-Racial Sessions, a weekly electronic music radio show aired on Ibiza Live Radio, iTunes Podcasts amongst other platforms.

Being based in Pretoria must be really great as it is South Africa’s deep House capital. What do you love about the House scene in Pretoria?

The Pretorian House music scene has always felt like home and that’s what’s special about it, I mean I’ve always been able to express myself musically when performing around Pretoria, of course there might be challenges here and there if we are going to be specific about demographics. I have to also say this environment has played a really big role in my music development, not only on the creative side but the business side as well, we’ve always welcomed and appreciated different artists with different sounds and its inspiring getting to experience versatile creations in one space.

Who are some of your biggest influences when it comes to music production and DJing?

That’s an extremely tough question because I get influences everywhere I go and most of the time it’s not even music artists, therefore its hard to give individual credit. Nonetheless, I just find it amazing how sounds can evoke different feelings and this really drives my musical performances and productions. I love having the power to exhilarate and just creating different emotions for different people through sound.

image of kamanda at the university of pretoria
Photography credit: Tsakane Chauke

We’re in the second half of the year now. What are some of your plans for the rest of the year?

Plenty of releases coming out before the end of the year, “Multi-Racial Records Winter Sampler” with features from various artists, a single titled “Few Hours” is also coming out where I worked with ManQ and Orenda, work is continuously being done and hopefully there’ll be more releases towards the end of the year and of course “Andik’funi” which was reales on February where I worked with Inathi and got remixes from Avi Subban & Tahir Jones.

In closing, where can people connect with you online?

 You can follow me on Twitter @KamandaT. On Instagram my handle is @KamandaTsiane and my profile on Facebook is Thabiso Kamanda Tsiane.

 Stream Andik’Funi by Kamanda below.

The featured article image was taken by Tsakane Chauke and all the intellectual property rights belong to him. Follow him on Instagram.

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About Author

Nkululeko Nkosi Creative entrepreneur, self-starter and writer are some of the words you can use to describe me. Inspired by the grit, rawness and passion you often find in underground and alternative culture. Based in the greatest city in Africa, Johannesburg.

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