Introducing Secret Souls: A collective of friends connected by the shared love of electronic music
The kingdom of eSwatini has experienced a renaissance of the house music genre, subsequently being the kingdom’s chief music export, with a number of local artists making waves not only in Africa but the world at large. Secret Souls, a collective of five friends who are connected by their shared love of music shall not be left out when talking about the renaissance. This is not your average boy band, these lads definitely know what they are doing and have left a number of people gob smacked with their production.
Working as a unit, Secret Souls always pushed to startle us with their production that has led to them releasing music under top labels like Antidote Music, Deepstitched, Kolour Recordings just to mention a few. “We have 5 members that work seamlessly and tirelessly to shape up the brand. But also, we owe our existence to a lot of other people too. The people who create the best environment for us to succeed” the group says about this amazing collective unit. “They are too many to mention, but our core members aren’t, and they are; Qiniso Motsa, Mpho Motsa, Simphiwe Dlamini, Samkeliso Dlamini and Sibusiso Sibandze. We are best defined by our signature sound, which is electronic deep house, minimal techno and anything experimental” they elaborate further. Brought together by the love of music, they never expected that they would eventually have a such a huge impact on each other’s lives and play an imperative role in eSwatini’s house scene. “We were brought together by Deeper Shades of House back in high school and we deeply desired to be on the show. This desire gave birth to what you know today as Secret Souls” explaining how they met.
This dynamic collective is birthed and centered on music rather than each individual being known, as none of them wanted to be solo DJs. Secret Souls is a unique brand and name as a whole, one that came about after serious brainstorming. “After major brainstorming, Secret Souls was the name we decided.” they explain. They believe it was the right choice as the name Secret Souls stuck with them and introduced them to the people yet keeping their personal identities hidden. “But looking back in hindsight now, we chose well indeed. As we grew in our craft, we also grew into our name. This is mostly true because our sound relies on unearthing new sounds that have been rarely explored. There are dark elements in our music as well, and what’s darker than Secret Souls huh?”.
Using multiple monikers is a common thing in the music industry as it is often seen as something that helps with determining alternative channels of reaching audiences, Secret Souls adapted that often releasing music under the moniker Continuum. “Continuum is actually the product of a beautiful mistake, but that’s a story for another day. We have since turned it into a great asset, another outlet for our creativity. In essence, we decided to use this new moniker to experiment more with our own sound, without being bound to a single genre” they share more insight about their other moniker. “We use it to branch out to different genres as well, helping us prevent stagnant growth within our music. You can expect absolutely anything and everything from Continuum. We choose to see Continuum as more of a creative space, however, rather than just a different name for the group” they explain.
From listening to the popular deep house podcast Deeper Shades of House to being featured on it, they have been able to work as a unit to combine their personal inspirations with group inspirations and the result of that has been breathtaking music. Collectively inspired by growth and being equal to the challenge of accomplishing their targets as a unit, they strive to be the best which has accelerated their growth and keeps their music fresh and exciting all the time. They attribute all their success to the great mentorship they have.
With a remarkable discography, they are back with another release entitled Xperiment. A spectacular LP, flawless from the first song to the end. Featuring talented vocalist SOLR, Xperiment will definitely make it to any avid music lover’s playlist with the beautiful production the project carries. “Interestingly, we made the first version of Xperiment in one week. Why 7 days? One track a day was the plan. They weren’t supposed to be full tracks for release. The idea was to synthesize and arrange loops that are not quite common in a short space of time without the luxury of thinking too much about what is conventional or not for house music”, sharing insights on the latest LP. “Ideally, that was going to produce a fresh sound for our house jams but due to the excitement of the discovery of this electronic sound, we kind of just let the project circulate amongst our friends. We sent it to 2lani The Warrior of DeepStitched after listening to it he hit us up and told us he liked the music, and wanted to release it. So we polished it up, and added two more tracks to it with one with a vocal feature from SOLR which has become one of the most well received tracks from Xperiment” they elaborate.
Due to individual commitments, they seldom spend time together but have been able to dish out diverse, world class music. Individually writing melodies, leads and basslines has helped them curate a unique fresh sound that producers working on their own may never achieve.” We circulate melodic loops, and MIDI stuff, or even project files among ourselves until a cool 6 to 7-minute arrangement is agreed upon. We then send it to our Head of Production, for those bells and whistles, and final mixing” they explain. “We then master the tracks ourselves and send them to the label. However, we do send mixdowns to other engineers who may have been contracted by the label” they say. Defining their style as fractal, each of their releases starts out as experimental projects by either trying to capture a specific sound, or chasing a particular mood, or even trying to bring light to a specific element within the music, with each individual working on their strengths. One guy will submit a melody, someone else will pull up with a completely abstract soundscape or a method of arranging a drum loop. All these components are moved around, from project to project, until the right melody fits the right rhythm.
With a number of releases under the legendary 2Lani The Warrior’s DeepStitched, they are appreciative to Sakhile Brainz Mkhonta of Antidote Music who was influential in propelling their music to great heights as he organized a listening session with the whole Antidote Music team and subsequently helped them with reaching out to a number of labels.
Constellation Lupus is the name of their upcoming release, a collaboration with !Sooks — a release that the whole underground fraternity is looking forward to.” We are very excited about this one! We have always wanted to work with !Sooks for a long time now, but we never really had a specific concept or idea. And so, over time, we just let things build up and occur organically. We didn’t want to force issues and do things just because. We finally came up with a solid concept in the last quarter of 2017, where we started sharing ideas and projects” explaining about their upcoming collaborative release. “The title of the project is called Constellation Lupus. Lupus symbolizes the ‘Wolf’ in Latin. And as stated by !Sooks in his recent interview with you guys, “ The wolf represents resilience and perseverance, it represents courage and bravery. The wolf is the inner will to overcome whatever circumstance on is faced with” explaining about the title of the EP. Every deep house lover is ecstatic and super amped about the upcoming release, which will be released in September under Antidote Music.
A collective unit that has made waves and help shape the local underground scene, Secret Souls continue to cement their position in the underground scene and hoist the flag of eSwatini high. The addition of the best house artist or group category in the MTN SWAMA Awards is clear ratification of the growth and importance of the genre in the kingdom, with recent voting results showing that, that category is the most popular with the most votes.
Stream their latest song, Energy Link, below.