Meet Uglymann: A Deep House Super Fan Impacting Cape Town’s Dance Floor Culture
The documentation of underground dance music culture is often centered on artists, DJs or singers and the performance or making of their music. Very little focus is ever given to the “fans” or devoted revelers who support the music and play a big role in building and sustaining the culture and spirit of dance music and their stories are never told. South Africa has a number of these advent fans who have had a major influence on dance floors and dance floor culture in cities and township spaces in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Kenneth “Uglymann” Matshini is undoubtedly one of these notable super fans of deep house music and has become the face of dance floor revelers in the most popular parties in Cape Town’s deep house scene. We had a chat with him about his life and love for deep house music and why he has become a consistent face and super fan for deep house music and events in Cape Town.
Please tell us about yourself and where you are from?
My parents are from the Eastern Cape [eNgcobo], I was born in Mossel Bay just four hours outside of Cape Town, but where my parents are from is where I’m from. It’s where I call home, it’s where I did everything as a kid and became the man that I am today.
What does Uglymann do for a living besides being a deep house super fan?
I work in maintenance in and around Century City, I am also a freelance writer whose resume includes contributions for We House Sundays, MyCitiByNight, DeepStreet and We Are Pulse.
You are known by many as the guy that is in every deep house party in Cape Town. Tell us about your love for deep house music and when it began?
I grew up in a city that isn’t really musical, and unlike other folks who would say they had at records at home from their uncle, I didn’t have none of that. I used to hear kwaito and house music outside a tavern, some days we would sit outside and when we sight a grown-up, we know we’d ask them to play a song for us. Now at the time you have to understand that we didn’t know any of the house artists, just kwaito artists because they were South African and always spoken about – but some of my early house music influences include anthems of the early 00s ‘Nick Holder – Summer Daze’, ‘Julien Jabre – War’, ‘Justin Martin – The Sad Piano (Charles Webster Remix)’ among others. I didn’t know the titles at the time of course, it wasn’t after the transition after high school that I really found myself that I realized that this is what I grew up with and loved.
You have become the face of deep house fans and an influential person in underground music culture, particularly in building support for major deep house events such as “We House Sundays”. Please share with us why you chose to support this event so consistently and tirelessly?
[Smiles] I would talk all day about We House Sundays, but I’ll try and keep it as brief as I can if at all. We House Sundays has changed my life; I mean as people we are naturally connected to the music it just depends which genre your soul desires. When I first went to We House Sundays I just went there to experience what I had never experienced before, I didn’t for any moment think I’d find something as great, find people who I’d call family and travel to other provinces for music. You find events that are just events but finding something that is a community, a family, like-minded people who inspire growth towards others, people who are legitimately there for the music was to me overwhelming. Also, We House Sundays gathers constant support from me because they always push boundaries, always looking to grow, not just grow but grow with the people associated with the brand itself. October and December will be further proof of that when all is announced, there is a lot on the pipeline that will have people dropping their jaws.
It seems in your years as a deep house fanatic you have formed a crew of friends who love the music just like you, particularly at “We House Sundays”. Tell us more about your fellow friends in deep house and the relationships you’ve formed through music.
It’s not a secret that the best relationships are those formed on the dance floor, well I’ve been lucky enough to meet those kinds of people and form what we call a “family”. Rafeeqah [Ely], Montino [Potgieter], Virgil [Spannenberg], Lwanda [Gotyonga], Dane [Thomas], Keanan [Jacobs], Sivuyile [Jack] are some of the folks I’ve grown close to. We are always together at events doing the best we can to bring the vibe, the people mentioned in the latter are the folks I traveled with to Johannesburg for We House Sundays x Kid Fonque feat. Jimpster, we are planning to invade Johannesburg [in November] for our taste of Deep Town Jozi, we basically want to explore different cultures, unite and bring back that 90s feel back when people went out to dance and enjoy the music.
Beyond being a serious reveler, you are also known for your love for football and for being a football pundit. How did this become a passion of yours and why?
Football is the one thing that has always been there really, from my brother to my father’s love for it, mine grew. I used to read the Soccer Laduma and Kick Off publications my brother used to leave out for me only because I loved reading as a kid, it wasn’t until Grade 9 (2008) that I really took to it. I love talking about stuff in detail you know, analyzing and all – so I spent time reading the game for what it was instead of the rivalry of banter, I guess that is how I became a football analyst.
Is there a connection between these two passions of yours, deep house and football?
I wouldn’t say there is a connection, I just have an undying love and passion for both. It’s what defines my life, it’s my source of energy and oxygen.
On a much lighter note, name one thing that would make you miss a “We House Sunday” event?
[Chuckles] I’d say nothing, but the universe has its way of doing things. It would have to be a fatal injury that would land me in ICU, otherwise I’d go in crutches if I can.
What would you say to other fans of deep house music about the importance of constantly supporting DJs, producers and events in building the culture of underground music in the country?
You know, there is nothing more painful in my eyes than seeing a DJ playing for a dull crowd or no crowd at all. It comes naturally to me to dance when music is playing even if I am the only one on the dance floor, but it’s the importance of showing DJs some love that drives me to do what I do. So I’d say don’t take note of what the time slots say, don’t go to an event just because your favorite is playing at a certain time – opening sets are just as important, getting to an event early has taught me that, I’ve really taken to the warm up sets.
Would you ever consider formalizing the important role you play in the scene by becoming an events promoter or artist/music manager one day?
I’ve been approached by folks asking me to be their manager, at this point in time I feel like my passion is on the dance floor and I don’t know the first thing about artist management but it’s not something I wouldn’t enjoy doing but at the moment I still just want to be the regular jock that drives the dance floor. I’ve grown and become the important person I am because of it, but I wouldn’t put off artist management and maybe DJing, who knows?
Finally, what can we expect from Uglymann in the near future? Any projects or ventures you want to share?
There is always something on the horizon, I am currently working on branding Uglymann more than anything. I just want to do that, see where it takes me – I also want to hone my writing skills so any writing gigs I can get I’ll take, more than anything though I am working on having a YouTube channel to just have a sit down with artists while I get an in-depth look at their music inspiration. I’d also love another channel to discuss football related matters, so that is where my head is at in this point in time.