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.
After a successful stop in Cape Town as part of the Kalushi Recordings’ 3 year celebration featuring German DJ/producer, Moosefly, SIDES, Rob Toca and Harmonix, the boundary pushing label guns for the city of gold. The Jozi leg of the 3 year celebration has a lineup filled with heavyweights that are respected in the South African electronic music industry. Fka Mash, Avi Subban, Keegs Bantom, Deep Souls, Laminin Music, Jacks Cab and Kalushi Recordings co-founder, Rob Toca are set to set Jozi on fire.
Gear up for a great night of dance music in the inner city of Johannesburg.
Listen to the latest release by Kalushi Recordings titled Kalushi VA Sampler below.
Join us as we celebrate this milestone on Saturday at The Third Place, Johannesburg. Win 1 of 2 tickets to the Kalushi Recordings 3 Year Celebration by following our social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
DJ BNNY is an artist, DJ and music curator, who is rising steadily up the music industry ranks in the east Rand region of Johannesburg. Known for having a great affinity and knack for great music, DJ BNNY has manage to build a strong brand that allows people to easily connect. Although, he plays in the niche and alternative space, he is slowly cultivating a core following that loves and appreciates what he does.
As a DJ, he curates some of the best sets you’ll ever hear, curating well thought-out mixes which are not limited by genre – he is undoubtedly one of the most unique multi-genre DJ that is rising up in the country right now. As a producer, he carries a unique sound which has clear influences from all the genres of music that he loves.
Towards the end of 2018, he released the Text EP – a four track experimental project which leans more towards downtempo house music. The approach on this EP is very minimal and sophisticated in presentation and composition. Great project! We recommend that you check this one out.
Multi-faceted Cape Town based artist, Tzara, is known for challenging societal conventions by using music as her main medium of expression. Her approach is unconventional and this is due to her heavily DIY-focused style and outlook — this has made her one of most coveted artists in Cape Town’s underground electronica scene.
Tzara’s storied artist life has allowed her catch the attention of her peers in the South African electronica scene, such as the Three Witches, a groundbreaking new duo that is pushing sonic boundaries for electronic music in Mzansi. The Three Witches and Tzara combined their talents, expertise and their collective desire to innovate to create an eight track EP titled ‘On the Beach at Night Together’. The EP sees them merge their sounds to create an extraordinary electronica experience, allowing them to build worlds that give them the freedom to speak on the human experience.
Furies, is the leading single off of the EP and it deservedly has accompanying visuals which further drive the core message of the song. Feelings of incompleteness, disconnectedness, frustration and jealousy, are some of the topics that the song tackles while also speaking the unhealthy obsession we have with technology in the ultra-connected world we live in today.
The music video was directed by Daniel Alexander and produced by Marco Rodriguez. The idea of the video is rather interesting as it focuses on imagined realities and universes, allowing them a lot of room for creativity. Furies is seen as a universe which was inspired by the ‘Thaumogenesis’, a process through which a demon is believed to be created as a byproduct of a resurrection technique. When speaking of how the video came about, the concept and what inspired it, he says the following: “The concept of the video is inspired by the feeling of thinking you have found your way while unknowingly conjure your inner demon that will ultimately push you back off the track. We wanted the video to be left open for interpretation. I did not want to shove a narrative down the audiences throat but rather allow them to their own conclusions”.
With Furies, Tzara and Three Witches show us the possibilities of genuine, unadulterated and authentic creativity. A step in the right direction for the artists, for sure.
Watch the Daniel Alexander directed and Marco Rodriguez produced video for Furies.
Stream the On the Beach at Night Together EP, a collaborative project by Tzara and Three Witches.
Breyton, Mpumalanga born producer, Bruce Loko, is an artist that has a special and rare talent of bending sound to his will. Gifted with a great ear, an unconventional approach to crafting modern electronic music soundscapes, and a deep background in jazz music, he has quickly worked to become an innovator for South African music. He operates and flexes his skills in the electronic music arena and his rise to prominence in the local scene is no coincidence, but a result of passionate hard work.
He embodies much more than just your typical button basher or DAW operator, he has positioned himself as the go-to guy for all things innovative and daring when it comes to house music – see him as being a medium of which the universe uses to connect man in song. It is no surprise that the world calls for him prompting him to evade the South African borders as a representative to go heal and unite people in the name of dance music. A pioneer in his own right that has undoubtedly created opportunities for himself which very few artists from the province of Mpumalanga have received, and that right there is what we call breaking boundaries.
Sonically, Bruce Loko is known for his deep, atmospheric and technical interpretation of house music. He stays true to his training in jazz as he incorporates pulls some stylistic elements from the genre in his more modern, electronic production. The sound he has created, a style that he confidently owns, is innately South African but carries enough fire power to live comfortably in the global dance music arena. Bruce Loko is loved dearly by the South African underground and highly respected by his peers in music, people like the UK’s Atjazz, Kid Fonque and Aero Manyelo, all pioneers in their own right.
Bruce Loko is well on his way of building a successful career which will see him break new ground for South African electronic music, encourage a culture of innovation in our music and introduce us to new concepts.
South African artists; ECHLN, KaeBand EMAMKAY, are at the forefront of the next South African sound. Futuristic soundscapes and banging electronic beats stylistically packaged in an authentic South African way are what they are known and respected for, locally and abroad.
ECHLN has slowly built a presence in Cape Town’s underground electronic beats scene, working with many of the talented break out acts in the Cape Town scene such as Vuyo Renene, Uno July and Hunter Rose — making him a respected fixture in the alternative scene in the Mother City. Originally from Pretoria, EMAMKAY has created a solid lane for himself in the alternative music scene in Gauteng, gaining respect and receiving praise with each project he releases. The now Johannesburg based artist has his focus set on being consistent in releasing purposeful and impactful music.
Tembisa born multi-genre specialist, KaeB, is a pioneer in his own right. Consistent in releasing groundbreaking tunes that shift the beat culture in South Africa. A man that is behind the creation of a new, authentic and proudly South African genre called Mzansi Mnandi, KaeB is a bona fide innovator.
The three producers linked up to create a truly game changing track titled ‘Right Now’ which was released through Singaporean label, Darker Than Wax. Right Now is a beautiful song that touches on topics such as striking a reasonable balance between patience and impatience when chasing your dreams, perseverance and embracing change that comes with growth.
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 byDeeper 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.
A gust of Swati artists are demanding to be taken seriously releasing the finest music consumed locally and beyond. !Sooks is one of those artists, making his presence visible in the house and electronic music scene, overcoming all hurdles and releasing hard-hitting eclectic sounds. Born and raised in the city of Mbabane, eSwatini, !Sooks became fascinated by African music and synth sound creation at a very young age. This rapidly developed into a passion for DJing that in turn fueled his desire to produce tracks for his sets. Influenced by artists such as P. Laoss, Jouem, Phidias etc. He rapidly honed his production skills and he began creating a versatile and unique sound with a careful balance of tech, Afro deep and deep house sounds. “!Sooks is a budding music producer and DJ from the Kingdom of eSwatini, born & raised in Mbabane, looking to make a long-lasting mark in the music scene, globally — let’s neither limit it to Africa nor house music” he sheds light about himself.
One of the main things I’ve always wanted to know is that why the moniker !Sooks and if it has any deep meaning. “It basically comes from my full name, Sukoluhle” he responds eagerly. “ Everyone would call me ‘Suku’ then eventually “Sooks”, he elaborates. !Sooks is unique in all aspects, this is even evident with the exclamation mark at the beginning of his name. “The exclamation is VERY important! I can’t stress that enough. It’s not a mistake that it’s at the beginning of the name. It carries a lot of meaning” stressing the importance of the exclamation mark.
Inspired by everything and everyone around him as long as everything is accompanied by positive energy, this lad has swiftly ascended to stardom and improves tremendously with every song released. “It depends on a couple of things. Is it my own original work or a remix? To cut it short though, it all starts with opening up my work station, getting in my zone and the rest is a consequence of where my creative juices flow” explaining his song making process. With the current level and quality of production one would wonder how his first song sounded and how his production has evolved. “Bummer! I don’t remember my first song (laughs). Shoot me! The evolution of my music, I feel, would be best described by the listener, it feels a tad narcissistic having to describe my own growth ” he responds when asked about his first song and the evolution of his music.
Classifying his music has electronic, deep and dark house music, !Sooks has touched a number of souls and received international recognition with features on the world acclaimed deep house podcast, Deeper Shades of House, Jere Nouges Deep EssenceRadio Show, Selective Styleswith Kid Fonque on 5fm and most recently the House Afrika released project, Mzansi House Vol 8, on a song called ‘Miles Away’ where he is featured by Pierre Johnson, just to mention a few. “With Selective Styles, Kid Fonque’s ears fell on a track called 1962 – thank heavens for that – and he loved it. He jammed it on his show and invited me for an interview thereafter. With Deeper Shades of House, I had always wanted to have my name on their roster as I’m a fan of the podcast. So when I got the chance I sent Lars a mix and he loved it enough to feature me on the show” he explains about the features on the radio and podcast platforms. “With Pierre, I guess it was just mutual love and respect for each other’s work. I play his music in all my sets, and he plays some of mine in his. So we got to chatting on Facebook, and bam! Another special collaboration! Went to see him while I was in Cape Town a few weeks back and we worked on some more music” elaborating about the feature with Pierre Johnson.
A hard working artist with a body of work that speaks volumes, !Sooks is resilient and perseveres often using #UnleashTheWolf hashtag along his posts on social media. “The wolf represents resilience and perseverance. It represents courage and bravery. The wolf is the inner will to overcome whatever circumstance one is faced with” sharing the story behind #UnleashTheWolf. “The wolf is that fighting spirit, that never-say-die attitude. So we all have the wolf, we just need to tap into it and unleash it!” he elaborates.
Not signed under any record label but having worked with the likes of Antidote Music , Deepsticthed, !Sooks is yet to reach the pinnacle and there is a collaboration with Secret Souls/ Continuum (check their latest LP entitled Xperiment) is in the pipeline. A believer in local talent he mentions Slotta, Neww Black, Propper Granda, DJ Czar and Gruv Bassment as artists to look out for and also mentions spinners like Katz, Jazzinsoul, Mseto, Msakrie, Deepbao, Tibza, Macdeep as some of his favourites. “It’s growing. I meet new guys every week and they all do amazing stuff man. Antidote Music has been doing amazing work for Deep House in the country, I swear they deserve an Oscar, Grammy and a Nobel Prize or something!” explaining about the current state of local deep house. !Sooks is a musical Einstein, a rare and unique breed one that should be treasured by eSwatini.
Newly launched South African label, Suid Tronica, is undoubtedly what the country needed to facilitate the growth of electronica in the country – a genre that is growing at a rapid rate in Mzansi. Founded by Matthew Fraser and Alex Leeu, the label seeks to introduce the world to afro-electronica and also shine a light on the talent that exists in the third world. Their location is not a limitation as their platform also hosts musicians, producers and singers from other countries with a focus on offering much needed difference to the global electronic music landscape.
The label puts its best foot forward with the release of their first compilation – Sounds of Suid Tronica // Volume 1. The compilation is a stellar body of work that features musical expressions from some of the best electronic music artists in South Africa and abroad. The concept of this compilation is remarkable. Conceptually, the compilation serves to provide the listener with insight into the inner workings, creative standards and mediums of expression that exist in South Africa. The compilation’s main purpose is to give the world of a piece of home as the music is deeply inspired by South African sounds. Experimental and unique textures are blended to curate a truly mind-blowing sonic experience.
The compilation can be described as a beautiful musical odyssey giving you a peephole into this scene and sonic representation of the culture and people that live on the fringes of pop culture. There are songs to chill to, dance to and work to, which makes the compilation a solid body of work that is packed with gems that will have any beat head entertained. The visual and art direction that accompanies the compilation perfectly captures and illustrates how the project sounds.
The label is tirelessly working to change the landscape of African electronic music and usher in a new era of authentic music that African music lovers can own and cherish. They are doing this by releasing music and curating events that will place pioneers behind this new wave at the forefront.
Durban based artist, MISSU (real name Sean Ross) , is one of the most exciting acts to come out of South Africa this year. With a unique electronic sound, MISSU offers much needed difference in the South African music industry. He delivers his debut project entitled ‘An Education‘, a strong introduction to his sound and artistry. The five track EP boasts strong features from Moonchild Sanelly, Red Robyn, Costa Besta and Robin Thirdfloor,who are all boundary-pushers in their own right. The music in the EP is electronic, but carries a very strong South African influence in the sound design as traces of Kwaito, African drum patterns and percussions can be heard in the project.
MISSU’s debut effort is a strong and will, without doubt, set him up to be a rising star in the South African electronic music scene. The sound is fresh and could fare well in the international arena. Check it out below.