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Culture Events Featured Music

Event Recap: This Month’s AMPD Icons Conversation Saw Two Greats Of Different Generations Come Together

The 30th of July was the day that was set to for the AMPD Icons Conversation at the Old Mutual South Africa backed AMPD Studios in Newtown. The event saw two legends of the South African music industry, J’Something and Dr. Vusi Mahlasela, come together for a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration, informative and engaging day of education for young creatives in Johannesburg.

The day started with a breathtaking performance by Dr. Vusi Mahlasela and J’Something where they wowed the crowd in attendance with a tribute to the late and great, Johnny Clegg. What followed was a lengthy and informative discussion where the two artists shared gems, stories and offered up advice to a youthful audience.

 

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Featured Music Reviews

In Conversation With Blackchild: Durban Based DJ On The Come Up

The South African DJ landscape is heavily male-dominated and often excludes women. This doesn’t stop certain creative women who have a passion and a love for music, armed with a determination to change the status quo and strive, they are flipping the script in the name of passion and representation. Durban based house music and radio DJ, Blackchild, is one such DJ who is changing the game with her talent. We got an opportunity to chat to the Blackchild to get more insight on her brand, her journey and more. Peep our conversation with her below.  

What is the origin of the name Blackchild?
When I first joined radio an alias name made sense. I’ve always been “the odd one out/misfit” at home and with my friends, haha, don’t get me wrong though, I wasn’t the black sheep, and so black child seemed like the perfect name.

Are there any specific cultures you would say you derive your musical inspiration from?
I draw my music inspiration from a lot of things. It’s inspired my desire and love for travel, art and making others happy.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and influence to your music?
As a child it was my mother biggest influence. She introduced me to different genres. She was a vinyl collector.

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Could you briefly describe your DJing process and how has your music evolved since you first started playing?
When I first started I was a soulful house head, still am. I have since then grown. Being a DJ is about trying out different genres until you find the one that speaks to your soul. It’s all about learning, evolving and growing in the process.

Many artists perform different rituals before their performances, is this something you can relate to? If so, what is it and how does it help you prepare for your set?
I don’t have a ritual. I feel the best way to prepare my sets is according to time I will be on the decks and the venue.

You have performed at numerous venues and featured on various radio shows. Tell us about your favourite performance venues and radio shows, the set-up that you feel most comfortable in when conducting a performance?
I have enjoyed all of my features because at the time I gave the best version of myself. The ones that have however stood are on The Warehouse on YFM, because in all my time as a DJ deep tech and afro house are the genres I connect with most. The show represents that. The response and support from the listeners has also been amazing.

Have you faced any challenges or discrimination in the industry because of your gender? Was it difficult to receive the recognition you deserve in the game? 
Possibly, but not that I am aware of. As an upcoming DJ on the other hand, I’ve had to work harder to showcase my work.

What words of inspiration would you give to other women in the industry who have the same respect and desire for their craft like yourself? 
Every time you step out, give it your all. No matter how you feel, give your best version. You are as good as your last set. Play like it’s the last time. Most importantly, rejection comes with making it. Don’t let rejection stop you. Don’t give up. Keep going.

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What are your fondest musical memories growing up and how have they influenced your DJing? Whether it be in your house or in your neighbourhood?
When I lost my mother, I was 11. I then lived with my cousins. I didn’t like fighting for the remote so I’d go listen to radio in the bedroom. I’d listen to Umhlobo Wenene’s afternoon drive with KCee. He played the best soulful house. That’s when I fell in love with house music.

What can we look forward to from you in the following upcoming months?
I am currently working on a number of things and because of my line of work and the NDA around them, it doesn’t allow me to speak about them prior their release. However, everything will be posted on my socials in due time.

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Featured Music Reviews

Solve The Problem Releases His Highly Anticipated ‘mysteryschool’ EP

Durban born and Kempton Park raised rapper, Solve The Problem, has dropped the his highly anticipated EP titled ‘mysteryschool’. The EP serves as his first official release of the year and it perfectly captures the young rapper’s world through production and lyrical content. He floats on the beats, fusing a hard-rapping style which is reminiscent of hip hop’s golden era and a more modern melodic style is reflective of the times we’re in.

The six-track EP sees Solve The Problem rap his heart out and serves as a roadmap to the creative territory that Solve pushes to introduce to South Africa’s rap fraternity. To celebrate and further push this release, he hosts a live exhibition on the 28th of July featuring his Dojo Gang affiliates such as popsnotthefather, 808x, Southside Mahommed and The Big Hash.

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Featured Interviews Music

Get To Know Lord Bae: One of The Vaal’s Most Promising Rap Artists

It is without doubt that the Vaal is filled with young talented creatives who contribute immensely to South Africa’s creative industry. From music to fashion and other forms of art and creativity, the Vaal is a goldmine of talent. In the music realm, hip hop to be specific, the Vaal is a region that is highly respected with legendary rap artists such as Mothipa and Optical Illusion, the region has never lacked gifted MCs. In this new age that we are currently in, there are quite a few rappers from the Vaal that are pushing to change the status quo. Sebokeng born and bred rapper, Lord Bae, is one such rapper as he is hellbent on raising the standards of  hip hop in the Vaal. We recently caught up with him to get to know him more. Peep our conversation below. 

What is the origin of the name Lord Bae?
[Laughs], my ex girlfriend actually gave me that name. So one time, she and I were at a party in the hood. At that time things weren’t going great between her and I, so us going there was actually so we could have a great time together. During the party, she observed all the attention I was getting from other girls and started complaining that most of those girls were giving me attention instead of leaving us alone. She started getting annoyed at me and complained that it’s like I’m their god. Then she started calling me Lord Bae. After that all my friends caught up and everyone started calling me Lord Bae.

Are there any specific cultures you would say you derive your musical inspiration from?
I’m a big fan of authenticity and expressing where I come from, so yes, I would say African music, like your Wiz Kid’s and Davido’s. I basically mix afro pop with hip hop. I’m very musical in that sense.

Who has been your biggest inspiration and influence to your music?
Michael Jackson has always been my biggest inspiration since I was in grade 2. His style and attention to detail when he performed pushed and inspired me to do the same when I perform and when I’m in studio.

Could you briefly describe your rap process and how your music has evolved since you first started rapping?
Firstly, shout out to my producer, Cubin. I honestly feel that he is to me what 40 is to Drake. I write music depending on how I feel on the day before even going to the studio. For example, if what I wrote is a hype track, I’d ask Cubin to play me some hype beats, if I wrote something deep or motivational, I’d ask him to play me something not too “loud” so that people can hear the messages I want to share. I’m a big fan of motivational music, which is very evident in my latest EP, The Catalog.

What do you feel is unknown to the general public about the music industry and culture of the Vaal which is on the come up right now? What do you want to make people aware of in relation to the spaces you are moving in? 
Firstly, allow me to take my hat off to the music scene in the Vaal. We have very talented people this side which are bubbling under and are about the blow people’s minds. The music scene in the Vaal hasn’t really peaked that much but it is really trying to push the ceiling. What I genuinely like about it is that artists are really trying to push their own movements and not trying to do what the rest of the world is doing. I’m just saying people should explore more spaces and express who they really are and what they think people want to hear. This is why I always try my best to be different at all cost, which I feel has benefitted me a lot.

Many artists perform different rituals before their performances, is this something you can relate to? If so, what is it and how does it help you prepare for your set?
My team and I always pray before getting on stage. We are big believers of God’s guidance. I feel unstoppable after praying. It’s like an alter ego and God takes over everything. AMEN! [Laughs].

What’s the biggest problem you’ve had to overcome so far with the progression of your career?
In the very beginning, a lot of doors didn’t want to open up for me, mainly because people didn’t know who Lord Bae was, so I had to prove myself and force myself in the game. My music spoke for me most of the time though. People need to realize that everything you do needs effort. You won’t get anywhere by sitting on your couch and not going out there and introducing yourself to the people. I’ve never been scared to walk up to people and gave them my music, which in turn ended up in the right hands that could assist me with moving forward. So hustle, hustle, and hustle is by far helping me overcome all things people would call problems or challenges.

What are your fondest musical memories growing up and how have they influenced your rap? Whether it be in your house or in your neighbourhood?
I’ve always been a Michael Jackson fan, so I’d always emulate his moves and perform for my family growing up. This boosted my confidence on and off stage from a very tender age, as confidence which plays a huge role in the industry we are in.

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What drew you to this industry? If you could bring awareness and change to within the industry, what would it be?
I saw how people reacted when Michael Jackson got on stage. Them being so happy and emotional made me want to get on stage too. Everyone that knows me knows that I love peace and happiness around me, so the thought that I too could also make people happy at shows made me want to get on stage and make music. What I would change in the music industry, especially in SA, would be collaboration. We don’t collaborate enough because people are too guarding of their successes, not realizing that collaboration would bring us more success and exposure. Look at Nigeria, those people collaborate so much, leading to the success they are experiencing now. Oh and female artists should be given the same respect that male artists get.

What can we look forward to from you in the following upcoming months?
I will be releasing music videos during the remainder of this year, starting with a video for “Comfort Zone” which we will be shooting on the 10th August so keep an eye on my socials for more details on that. Oh, not forgetting as well as some more music from myself.

Stream Lord Bae latest offering, The Catalog, below:

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Culture Events Featured

shesaid.so South Africa Launches The #InclusionBeforeProfit Campaign

We’re about a week away from the start of Women’s month in South Africa. Now depending on how you view things, women’s month may be a great month characterized by women empowerment conferences and events that are, in design, crafted to increase society’s awareness of the important roles that women play in society. That sounds great and it is, but we have to speak on the ruthless commercialization of Women’s month by corporations and organizations often led by men whose intention is to solely derive profits without contributing to causes, organizations or platforms that are directly involved with upliftment of women in the South African society. In the entertainment space, this is ever-so-obvious and apparent, as promoters host events that claim to promote women through a guise of supposed inclusion. Such acts are indicative of genuine inclusion and a signal of change in an industry that is male-dominated, in fact this so-called inclusion is conditional.

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shesaid.so South Africa is challenging this with their latest campaign called #InclusionBeforeProfit. One of the most important elements of this campaign is that it is structured to double as a charity fundraiser that started beginning of July and will end on the 31st of August. The beneficiaries of this fundraiser are three women and LGBTQ+ focused organizations that do great work in various South African communities.

Find out how you can be involved in this campaign here.

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Featured Music Reviews

Get Lost In Dwson’s Bermuda EP

Cape Town based DJ and producer, Dwson, returns with another banger after his successful debut album released through Joburg based label, Stay True Sounds, in 2018 and a self-released smasher of a project titled Glimpses of You. Bermuda is the name of his latest project and it is a three-track EP packed with deep house burners designed to make dance floors shake. For this release, he partners up with Freerange Records founded by highly respected and celebrated deep house don, Jimpster.

This release comes as Dwson re-adjusts his efforts with his eyes focused on building a globally recognized brand in the dance music realm. It should not be a surprise when you see him perform at some of the biggest stages overseas from hereon.

Stream the Bermuda EP below.

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Culture Events Music Reviews

Make Me Feel: A Residency, An Incubator, A Movement Created To Offer Jozi’s Night Life Difference

South Africa’s city of gold, Jozi, is not short of a healthy amount of entertainment establishments as that offer experiences to its hardworking inhabitants. However, what the entertainment industry in Johannesburg lacks is diversity and platforms that nurture new talent and are inclusive.  Some patrons of this industry are not content with the old ways of the game, the red tape and its often unoriginal concepts that do not prioritize innovation. Broaden A New Sound, the team behind the event programming and curation at one of Johannesburg’s most important establishments, Kitchener’s Carvery Bar, alongside other platforms and organizations, is making a concerted effort to change the narrative by assuming an innovation-driven approach. This approach aims to create safe spaces for people of all creeds with a specific focus on the marginalized and the ignored when speaking of talent. This had led them to create event properties that address certain issues in the entertainment space such as the inclusion of women and queer artists, the creation of safe spaces and red tape that blocks the entry of new talent in the space.

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Image credit: Nino Ayanda

One such event property that was developed to nurture and incubate some of the city’s freshest up-and-coming talent is called Make Me Feel. This event was first introduce to the Kitchener’s events programme of on the 27th of December 2018 and it proved to be huge success with the DJs booked showing out and delivering spectacular performances. This success prompted the move of extending the event and making sure that it lives beyond December as it was converted into a residency. Nouveaux, Your Uncle Garry, Dzaddy Tee, Sis’ Madlisa, uMagezangobisi, Sunshine and Black were the DJs that were part of the residency and have improved quite impressively over a seven-month period. It unfortunately comes to an end on the 20th of July after succeeding far beyond expectations and has equipped all involved parties with learnings, skills and insight.

It is not all doom and gloom as a new residency is being developed to launch in August featuring some of Johannesburg’s dopest up-and-coming spinners.

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Come through to Kitchener’s Carvery bar on the 20th of July.

Follow us on social media platforms for more exciting content based on this event.

Featured image: Nino Ayanda

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Featured Interviews Music Reviews

A Conversation With The Beats & Bass Movement: The Past, The Now & The Future

Dance music culture plays a very important role in the youth culture in the kingdom of eSwatini. Over the years, the culture has provided many young people from the small country avenues through which they can use to express themselves and move the world. The house music scene in the country is one of the strongest in the African continent and as small as it may be, it has a massive influence on the innovation of the scene with the talent and ideas it produces. Driven by a spirit of unity and community, the scene is shaping the sounds of tomorrow. For the scene to be where it is (a healthy space which allows for growth), it needed passionate purveyors of culture in the form of movements and collectives that all have a vision of promoting progression. The Beats & Bass Movement is one of such movement and they have a fascinating story, view of life and music, and passion. We spoke to them to find out more about what their movement is about, their plans and vision.

For those who aren’t familiar with who you are what you can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Beats & Bass is a duo consisting of Khethumenzi Mthande aka “Katz” and Banzi Kunene aka “Bsquared” who are equally responsible for managing the podcast. The two first met back in 2013/14 within the music scene in Swaziland. In 2017, Beats and Bass published its first podcast, and have done so monthly till present day. Over the few years, the pair has established a more mature following from the type of music they play. This growth has resulted in a new partnership with Jelele FM — an online radio station. The Beats & Bass Movement aims to continuously improve its branding and marketing to keep their supporters exultant. Access to the podcast is via the podcast link or streaming via www.jelele.com.

What were the events that lead up to the the establishment of The Beats & Bass Movement?
The Beats & Bass Movement was formed in 2016 by two well-known eSwatini spinners, Sphelele Mhlanga aka “Jazzinsoul” of Ol’tymers Sessions and Khethumenzi Mthande and has been active since then till to date. A popular Shisanyama around Mbabane called Solanis had started hosting strictly deep and soulful house sessions every Saturdays. With the growth of the sessions, more followers wanted to access to the recorded sets of the sessions. At the time, there were no platforms to share the live mixes/sets, so that gave us an idea to create Beats & Bass Movement.

In 2017, the live sessions come to an end and we shifted our focus to mixtapes for the podcast. The plan was to release two main mixtapes and a guest mix from spinners of our choice who relate to the kind of sound we liked. Jazzinsoul moved on and focused on Ol’tymers Sessions. Bsquared was first introduced to the movement as a guest. He made his first mixtape and with its success, we requested a second mixtape a few months later. He has since fully joined the movement as an equal partner. So working together made sense
and was seamless as we knew each other from the past and he has been active with the show from the 7th show to date.

What inspired the movement to support the fusion of all the vast genres in the music culture through your sound and mixes?
Growing up, we were both exposed to a huge variety of music from soul, jazz, gospel, kwaito and R&B, which made our musical palate more balanced. As we got older and started playing, we fell in love with the deep and soulful house sound. Our musical influence also came from DJs who got invited to play in eSwatini for festivals, to name a few, the likes of Vinny da Vinci, Christos, Rocco, Fresh etc. As the internet became more accessible, we got the opportunity to listen to other podcasts like the Deeper Shades of House by Lars Behrenroth. It therefore became easier to start a podcast after we had seen others successfully doing it.
Eswatini has a small deep house community, and in it, people have different tastes. Our podcast has therefore been structured in a way to cover the diverse music culture. B’squared believed that by giving the masses mixtapes with music people are yet to know will help us became the go to podcast for listeners who want to enjoy upcoming deep house music. So every month, we record mixtapes with new music that we found interesting and that people will start enjoying in a month or two in the club scene. This also give us enough time to compile more good music to put out there to the people.

Tell us a bit about the selection process for deciding on what your artistic approach is in pursuing new ideas and concepts especially with regards to having guest mixes?
Well, we don’t have a solid rigid selection process on guests but the sound is our main basic influence. Our aim is to stay true to ourselves as well as the movements tradition of being a strictly deep and soulful house publisher. But now and then we accommodate sub genres like bossa nova, neo soul, trip hop and electronica thus the guest DJs’ style of play is the first most important factor in the guest mix selection process. We also have a platform where music lovers can make submissions for their mixtapes. This platform is via an open email address which is beatsandbassmovement@gmail.com. So far, we have published a few mistapes coming from this platform, mostly we approach the DJs ourselves. These are individuals who inspire us with the type of sound they play and is also a great way for us to learn from them. We recently started to exploring the idea of working with other podcasters. By doing so, this allows us to extend our brand as we also do guest mixes for other shows. The most recent relationship was with a duo based in Pretoria by the name Lovesouldeep Experience.

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Who would you love to collaborate with on future projects both nationally and internationally?
The Antidote Music would be our nationally selection. This music label has produced amazing talent, the likes of !Sooks, Mzwaa, Secret Souls who are doing well locally and across the borders. Working with them would be a blessing as we can learn a thing or two from their experience. They have been to more gigs and made good networks with other people we would love to work with in the near future. For now, our international selection is too colourful to mention, we would like to work with a lot of guys. But our main concentration for now is us. We still want to keep working hard, learn to stay consistent and creative, and with that, see where the growth process leads us. Maybe we might stand a chance to penetrate the industry and present our music taste to the world. For a mid-term milestone, a feature on BestBeats.tv would hurt. And yes off course, other radio stations in South Africa to play some of our mixtapes. Maybe one day we would host our own radio programme as part of the growth process.

What do you feel is unknown to the general public about the music industry and culture of Swaziland? What do you want to make people aware of in relation to the spaces you are moving in?
Eswatini is a very small nation. In saying so, the number of places where one can go out for fun are a handful, thus making the deep house community small. We do not have a lot of joints that are strictly for deep house, as a result, getting paying gigs is a hustle as most of these establishments opt for resident DJs. We believe the country has a great potential, music wise. We need to broaden our creativity to come up with crazy ideas and new concepts that can benefit both the artists and fans. We have started collaborating with other fellow DJs. This idea behind that is to create unity and the support structure when each of us host events. The unity amongst ourselves will be very vital in order for us to grow the following of the genre. With time, our network will be massive and we can expand and venture into other concepts.

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Could you briefly describe your DJing process and how your music evolved since you first started playing together?
[Katz]: As Katz, I fully began playing in 2014 after learning to use CDJs. From there on, I started playing in various clubs within the kingdom with other fellow DJs. I used to play dance music at the time. With time, I eventually found a music genre I felt comfortable listening and playing which is deep and soulful house. A few years later, I became a resident DJ at Solanis Shisanyama for 3 years playing strictly deep and soulful house. This is the very same place I met Bsquared for the first time, as previously mention. At the time he was based in Pretoria.

[B’Squared]: My journey began back in 2008 when I went to varsity in Jozi. I had a few friends who loved house, and so I started my house collection. At the time I wasn’t playing, just a few indoor parties with friends, nothing major. Fast track to 2010, I moved back to Eswatini, bought my first PA system and that’s where it all began. Back then where I came from, a DJ would play the whole night. I used to play deep house, commercial house, old school house, kwaito etc. A few years later I moved back to GP, that’s when I decided to only focus on soulful and deep house. As and when I visit home, I would get a chance to play. This is how
Katz and I met. Ever since we’ve know each other, we have always kept it true and loyal to deep house.

We believe in taking time to do anything really. We spend days buying new music online and listening to it. Tracks selection for any mixtape plays an import role when making your final recording. More time is spent on creating combinations of tracks that work together to produce the kind of sound you hope to achieve. It’s like telling a story, your selecting needs to project the way you feel and how you want your audience to feel when they listen to your mixtape and live sets. Therefore, having sufficient music helps ease the job of selecting what to play.

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What are the dynamics of your relationship and how does this influence your art?
We are friends first, who respect each other as individuals and so happen to love the sound we both play. To maintain the balance, we believe in being open minded and having proper communication with no filters and if the situation allows so that we can move on to our shared vision. What keeps us grounded is always reminding each other of the fact that music is greater than both of us combined. So we try to be as humble and dedicated to being better than the previous day. This helps us to focus on the music and keeping our followers pleased. Happy followers give us confidence to explore more and keep us excited to want to
present the next sound.

Has branching out into clothing impacted your brand, if so in what way?
Yes, branching out into clothing has been a positive impact. This marketing tool has helped us positively reach more people who are interested in the Beats & Bass Movement. Their continued support has pushed us into broadening the merchandise designs for people to choose from. To help spread the word to other people, our latest designs incorporates our podcast link at the back of the t-shirts. Curious people not familiar with the movement will use that as an opportunity to check us out.

What can you tell us about your upcoming projects?
To keep our Podcast going and keep working with many DJs who offer us guest mixtapes. We are also working towards doing a minor tour in Durban in Aug/September. From there, we join our musical brothers Lovesouldeep for their anniversary at House 22 in October. The biggest thing we looking forward to is hosting our second event for the year in November with a few international guests.

Follow the Beats & Bass Movement on Facebook.

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Culture Featured Music Music Industry Insights

[EVENT]: Antidote Music Presents ‘Tomorrow’

One of the kingdom of eSwatini’s top record label, Antidote Music, is pushing for widespread music industry growth for the small Southern African nation. Over the last seven years, they have contributed immensely to the Swazi music industry, unearthing talent that has went to achieve great success in the international music space. To further expand their offerings, they redirect their focus to include an educational and skills development angle to their work, and they aim to do this by organizing workshops with a focus on offering mentorship, brand development and the landscape of music industry in the digital era to young people in the kingdom. This move is designed to ensure that young artists equip themselves with enough knowledge so they can build successful careers in an industry that is well-known for being tough for many.

The workshop is called Tomorrow and it is happening this weekend on the 20th of July at the Endibanweni, Mbabane Library. The theme of the workshop is “An Introduction to the Digital Music Age” and it promises to be insightful, impactful and packed with value.

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RSVP for this incredible event and initiative here. Alternatively, you can RSVP by sending an email here: info@antidotemusic.net

Come t

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Featured Music Premiere Reviews

Premiere: Crosscurrent Delivers The Visuals For Their Single Titled ‘Lemon’

Crosscurrent is a South African indie rock outfit that first burst out into the local music scene in 2016. Armed with a sound that pulls from all of the influences of the band members; ranging from jazz to rock to pop and more, the band filled a gap in the market with their unique musical offering. This musical offering offered difference to local and international music lovers who have an affinity for indie rock, which ultimately led to the band building up enough hype affording them the opportunity to grace great local festival stages such as Rocking The Daisies and Up The Creek. Their club performances in the city of Cape Town have contributed to the band’s ascent and have also allowed them to garner a strong and growing fanbase.

The band consists of brothers, David and Owen Franke, who respectively lead the production and vocal side of things, alongside long-time friend Milo-Hills Williams who is the band’s drummer. Collectively as Crosscurrent, they deliver their latest single titled Lemon released independently through their own label — Crosscurrent Records. The song is a soothing, warm and dream burner which offers the perspective of the young millennial male who is grappling his insecurities, love, relationship complexities, rejection and the frustrations presented in life.

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Lemon has a music video which was directed by respected Cape Town based film-maker and director, Daniel Alexander, with Marco Rodrigues as the producer. The concept of the video is narrative-driven with the ‘unrequited love’ shown through powerful storytelling. As much as the video deals with such a heavy-topic, the approach taken on the video is very light-hearted, playful and colorful, and that creates a beautiful contrast.

Watch the video below.

Stream Lemon on Apple Music below.