Johannesburg based artists, Gyre and iindirhe, collaborate to create an interesting audio-visual project. What sits at the core of this project is the remake of Quarantine, a song off of Gyre’s debut album, Queernomics — a song that unapologetically celebrated queer bodies. Now re-imagined, the song explores much more as the concept has been shifted from a strictly queer focus to the exploration of the concept and act of self-actualization. The focus now is on the struggles that come with the process of self-actualization and how it carries commonalities which are encompassed in race, sexuality and class.
To fully unpack the meaning behind the track; the two artists created a visual diary, a short film and an event. The event is designed as a platform where they break the track down and also create a space where dialogue can happen with respected and esteemed voices such as Desire Marea (of FAKA) and Bev Ditsie.
The event is to held at the Drama For Life Emakhaya Theatre. Event starts at 18:00!
Micr. Pluto ofSubterranean Wavelength is gearing up to release a new music video for his latest track titled ‘Metanoia’ featuring Durban based singer-songwriter, Rhea Blek. The Johannesburg-based record producer, label founder and DJ; is set to release an EP titled Sonic Atlas and Metanoia is first single off the project.
Sticking to their innovative nature and approach, they curate an event where the music video will be premiered accompanied by performances from great artists playing in the alternative music scene in South Africa. The event is to be hosted by multimedia journalist and published writer, Phumlani Pikoli, at one of freshest cultural venues in Jozi — The Third Place.
The event will provide insight into the creative process of the music video and host open discussions about the overall project. Our audience will also be treated to live entertainment provided by some of SA’s most talented artists breaking grounds on the alternative music landscape.
Soweto born and bred multi-disciplined creative, Irv Blames Jake, is respected in the Johannesburg creative community for his unique approach to photography, videography and DJing. Using tools that are at his disposal, such as his smartphone and laptop, he produces work that wows people and garners him respect in the South African creative community and features on international platforms such as Afronection.
As a DJ, his focus is far more than simple DJ mixes that go on to live on streaming platforms such SoundCloud and Mixcloud; his approach is much more layered. Every mix he releases is accompanied by a strong visual campaign which either, better explains the mix or is a conversation starter which leaves a lot of the interpretation work to the consumer. This approach allows the Irv Blames Jake brand to connect with people in multiple ways which ends up leaving strong impressions on people.
One of the mix series that has brought him a lot of praise is called THIS IS SEX. THIS IS SEX is an audio-visual display of Irv Blames Jake’s view of intimacy, life and creativity. Now in its second season, the mix series series still continues on its set trajectory of assisting people make sense of how intimacy often informs creativity and forms the basis of the creation of life.
Alberton based rapper, Teddy Pleasure, has been steady on the rise in the last two years; releasing bangers on SoundCloud and getting love on the internet and the Gauteng streets.
Towards the end of 2018, Teddy pleasure released his ‘Confessions In A Tazz‘ EP, a nine-tracker which allowed Teddy create a buzz for himself in the streets and online. The project features some of his Dipopaai affiliates, Bringo and Trust B1 (who handled most, if not all, the production on the project.
One of the most popular songs on the project is a song titled ‘Never Take A L‘ which features internet sensations and well-respected content creators, Okay Wasabi and Dali Danger, as well as Trust B1. The song is packed with braggadocio which is common in rap music, however they add a comical twist to the song to create another brand of rap music that carries South African truths and language.
Never Take A L has a dope music video which sees the artists perform in their hoods. Watch it below.
Respected dance music purveyor, pioneer and personality; Josi Chave, is a passionate music enthusiast who has his hands in different spheres of what a genre of music that South Africans love so much — house music. He is most known for being a radio personality and DJ on of one’s South Africa’s premier youth radio stations, YFM, where he is a seasoned tastemaker that sets trends and introduces new sounds to the masses.
Not only is he a radio and DJ personality, he is also a skilled producer who has a great ear for what works, moves and connects people; often creating songs that break the mold and enjoy a certain amount of success in the market.
To remind people of his music production capabilities and his innate need to contribute to South African music culture, he releases a new titled ‘Around You‘ feeling SAMA nominated R&B/soul singer-songwriter, Mlu. The track is a moving force accompanied by Mlu’s powerful vocals which will undoubtedly have you moving; connecting to the pace of the heavily-present drum patterns. Stellar track!
High flying Cape Town based dream-pop band, Diamond Thug have been really busy lately. After the global success of their 12 track debut album from late 2018, Apastron, they have returned with a fantastic new single called ‘Tell Me’.
Diamond Thug are Chantel Van T (vocals and synth), Danilo Queiros (bass and synth), Adrian Culhane (vocals, guitar and synth) and Ted Buxton (drums). The band show us their incredible skill set on ‘Tell Me’. The world class sound, inspiring lyrics and beautiful vocals instantly puts your mind in a better place.
‘’Tell me my friend, what’s life in your head, oh tell me my friend.’’
‘Tell Me’ is executed flawlessly and this track is bound to be a hit when Diamond Thug perform it on their upcoming European tour.
Diamond Thug say that the new track ‘Tell Me’ is “an empathetic song which touches on dealing with the acceptance, how suffering is a shared experience of all of life, albeit to differing degrees. Through our suffering, we are healed and can offer our healing to others in the form of sharing experiences.”
Tell Me is the first release of a three-part series about Diamond Thug’s much anticipated EP called Gaiafy, which will be released on the 24th May.
Stream ‘Tell Me’ and keep an eye out for Part II of this series set to drop in mid-May when the next single ‘Aphotic Waters’ will be released. Find out more here.
Tembisa is in good hands with the rapidly growing creative scene driven by the youth. Among these youths is a versatile instrumentalist and DJ known by name North The Jap (real name Leroy Hlalele), who dabbles in genres such as kwaito, electronic beats, neo soul, hip hop and alternative music.
I had a short conversation with the talented producer after coming across his work online. Hailing from a township was integral in the rise of kwaito; with groups like the Izinyoka pushing the genre forward inspiring a generation of creative youth in Tembisa. “I grew up living in the streets of Tembisa. Most of my sounds tells a story about where l come from. My production is a fusion of electronic music and kwaito music which I call Future Elektronik Kwaito, but I’m a ‘all-in-one’ producer, setting a limit to my production is really not my style” he shares about his hood and how it inspires him.
It is quite clear that his surroundings, upbringing and the artists that came before him influence him heavily. “I produce any sound! As long it is good for my ears and it is good for the public” he shares about his views on his music and how he views the process. The young producer has been producer for about nine years and he shows no signs of stopping. “I started producing around 2010/11, I never knew what I was doing but I had a feeling that one day I’m going to get it right” he explains. Like many producers, North The Jap, is introverted and keeps to himself, and on this he says: “I’m a self-taught producer, I always had a problem making friends around my hood, so I was always indoors messing around with Fruity Loops 7 demo till i got better at it. My inspiration behind the genre ‘Future Elektronik Kwaito’ is that electronic music been part of my life and I’ve been jamming to it similarl to how I jam kwaito music.”
North The Jap is a force to be reckoned with and is definitely a new kid on the block to look out for.
Born and raised in a small town in the Northern Cape called Postmastburg in Northern Cape, talented singer and beat-maker Kah e Lahis slowly making her mark in the South African music industry. She is not only an amazing vocalist but she is also as a dope beat-maker pioneering her own unique blend of soulful bedroom music.
The creative bug bit her in her adolescent years and it is then where she realized what her calling was. “I’d say in primary school around grade 7, I remember a time we were in a train from Pretoria with my aunt and my cousin, and I started singing about the journey and about the train. Later on my cousin and some people on the train joined. That was the first time I made a song and ever since then I’d write songs and record them on my mother’s phone and make beats using whatever was around me” she relays the story of how she realized that she had the gift of making music — a moment that truly defined her journey.
Having realized her talent, she had to now focus on nurturing this gift and teach herself the practice of music creation. Speaking on how she developed her own unique process of creating music, she says: “I particularly loved using glasses filled with water because I had seen a teacher of mine teach this technique to her music students. It was very calming too. Music was always such a distraction. I’d have to study but instead I’d be writing songs and trying to find the perfect melodies for the songs. After a some time doing this, I realized that all I wanted to do was write songs. It is an undisputed fact that music carries healing capabilities that heal both the creator of the music and the person receiving the music. On music’s healing power and role it has played in her life, she says the following: “music helped me through some tough times in my life and being able to write as a form of healing really revealed to me how important music had been in my life. I wondered how I would have coped if I had not had access to music. So the day I found myself recording a song on my phone at 3 in the morning instead of studying I knew that this was my calling and I’d do anything to fulfill this dream.” Music being a calling became apparent as she transitioned into young adulthood.
Navigating the music world as a young women of colour can be quite an excruciating and uncomfortable process as you are constantly met with many challenges and Kah e Lah is no stranger to these challenges. “I’ve always found it so frustrating having to ask producers for beats or when I do work with them, some would want to make the song theirs and not give me any room for my creativity. Some just wouldn’t work with me as soon as I made it clear that I meant business and we had to keep things professional. Being broke didn’t help either, because there was no benefit and I guess they didn’t see it worthy of their time to do work for ‘free’. I always knew and still know my worth so I will never compromise myself for music as it’s always in me and being patient has allowed me to preserve myself and my talent. ” These challenges which hindered from creating the way she wanted prompted her to find alternative and more DIY ways of taking ownership of the process of creating her music. “As fate would have it, I was on Google Play Store once and I saw an app Bandlab where I can connect, create and collaborate with other musicians”, she explains how finding an app helped her create despite her circumstance.
The power of technology and the internet is stupendous; allowing musicians to create from the comfort of their own homes using tools that are accessible to them such as their smartphones. “One day I just decided to upload one of the songs I had recorded onto SoundCloud and the reaction was positive, so I kept on making these beats on Bandlab and I kept using my earphones to record. I uploaded more songs and the response has been the validation that my ingenuity is the biggest resource I have at the moment. The app has helped me to put out my own ideas and to really trust myself when it comes to my music.I can do this and being able to take creative control over the music I want to put out is very empowering. ” Taking matters into her own hands has allowed her to be a more conscious, process-driven, educated and business-minded that is well versed in the workings of creativity as a practice and a medium of expression. Although her moves and efforts may be seen as small to some, there is no doubt that as Kah e Lah matures in her art, she will be a force to be reckoned with.
Raised in the capital city of South Africa, Pretoria; Phola, Phola (real name Phola Pemba) is a breath of fresh air in the African hip hop space — a space that is known for its exclusionary nature where men and their views are placed at the fore and prioritized. With a fresh approach to music and a voice that is so powerful, it posits Phola, Phola as as medium through which her daily lived experiences are communicated; giving you a glimpse of the life, times and thoughts of a young queer creative navigating existence and the power afforded to her as an artist.
As much as Phola, Phola speaks for herself, on her views and about experiences in her music; she also evidently speaks for and represents queer people — pushing for visibility and recognition in the media, art and other creative-led spaces. Her most powerful tool is her words; which she uses to poetically construct realities which her growing audience can live in, confide in and just be.
Her pen is mightier than the sword as she uses it to test the limits of language, change perspectives, introduce new ideas and to entertain. Phola, Phola is force to be reckoned who produces, sings and raps — an awe-inspiring talent that is set to disrupt the South African urban music scene. Now based in Cape Town, she is slowly building a buzz and a core audience through performances at many culturally-significant establishments in Cape Town such as the Raptor Room.
One of the other interesting things about Phola, Phola is that she is related to Vuzu’s The Hustle participant and ever-impressive rapper — Obe Bomaye. This means that the gift of making music undoubtedly runs in the family.
Phola, Phola is gearing up to release her latest EP next month where she will showcases her excellence as a writer, singer and producer.
Tribe Franko is a young South African DJ/producer that hails from the Alexandra — a township situated north-east of Johannesburg. Known as a dance music practitioner, Tribe Franko has settled in the music game as a source of bops that are heavily inspired by African culture where the drum is the most important instrument; allowing people to connect with the spiritual world. Tribe Franko’s brand of does exactly that — connect music lovers beyond the physical realm, where chant-driven dancing and energy-filled dance floors are commonplace.
To further his mission of introducing new ideas in the dance music world, he releases a new single titled ‘Mayweather’ — a celebratory song crafted for all the winners in life. With ‘Mayweather’, Tribe Franko aims to speak to the warrior and fighter spirit in everybody; hoping to bring that winning-energy to the fore and drive inspiration. The single is the first official single that the talented artist has released and with it, he is clearly setting the tone for the year and doing it to win.