Categories
Featured Music

Zimbabwean Artists Based In The Diaspora: WHOISMEDICATE Releases “Sorrow” Music Video

Born Lee-Roy Tinashe Munemo, WHOISMEDICATE is one of the many upcoming Zimbabwean born artists based in the diaspora. He recently released a music video for his song entitled “Sorrow”. “The video is just to show people how beautiful nature is and that you dont need a high budget video to make a good music video” he explains the concept behind the video. “Sorrow” is  a song about heartache; when you let someone in and they butcher your heart hence “you took my heart to the grave” in the lyrics.

Categories
Featured Interviews Music

Meet Black With White Stripes: Zimbabwean Born Duo With A Diverse International Sound

Black With White Stripes is a two-man group founded by brothers, Nkosilathi Dube and Thamsanqa Dube. Born in Zimbabwe, the two brothers have; over the years, positioned themselves as innovators that are designing and crafting the new African sound — a sound which the two brothers developed as a result of a deep-rooted love for music. With a family that helped them nurture their talents, the duo has gone into the music game with sheer confidence, certainty and drive; allowing them to break through in different markets in the world.

Having lived in a number of cities such as Maputo, Johannesburg, Dubai and now Cape Town, Black With White Stripes has adopted an artistic approach which allows them to be easily influenced by their surroundings and to be more open to embracing other cultures. This is also seen in their willingness to fuse different sounds from different regions of the world, such as jazz, neo-soul, hip and afro-pop. We recently caught up with them to get more insight into who they are, their music and their future plans. 

What is the origin of the name Black with White Stripes? What significance does it have in your journey in music?
The name is a spin on our last name which translates to Zebra, an animal we often argue is black with white stripes. The name always reminds us to remain unique in the ways we earn our stripes as musicians, because like all Zebras their stripes are different.

What are some of earliest and fondest music-related memories which you can say sparked your love and interest in music?
Our mother was a musician and she sang all the time. We remember every morning we would hear her singing and we would often find ourselves singing along. Before we knew it we were making music of our own. From Nkosi playing keys to me and Wammy producing.

Seeing that you are dynamic and gifted artists who happen to be brothers, what inspired you guys to make music together rather than taking the solo route?
Nkosi: We had started working on music on our own and with that we were picking up uniques skills but when we worked on something together we found that would be create something we wouldn’t have been able to as individuals. Our dad came up with the idea for us to try something together initially because I was playing and learning several instruments while Wammy was learning how to engineer songs, mix them and produce. Fortunately our dad’s vision worked out because our skills complimented each other.

Your sound is very unique as it is a fusion of the new and the old. When it comes to creating music, who are some of your inspirations? The people who constantly inspire you to push boundaries.
Cory Henry, J Dilla, Robert Glasper, Lil Wayne, Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell Williams, Leon Bridges and Quincy Jones. The list is really long but those are definitely the most influential.

Let’s talk about your creative process for a minute. If I were to sit in on one of your sessions, what can I expect to see or hear?
Lots of freestyling and joking around to the ideas we might have. Most of the songs we have made have started where we have a loop going in the session or a random sample and we just say what comes to mind first. We make sure we are as comfortable as possible so we can create what feels right. Then we hype each other up when we start writing and exchanging ideas before recording them. On rare occasions we might create a beat separately and send them to each other but even then the writing process is in the same space.

image of Black With White Stripes
Image supplied.

How much do your surroundings influence your creative process? You guys have lived in different cities and you’re now based in Cape Town. Does location have an impact in how you create?
Yes it does because the music we make is dependent on our lives. Where we are often impacts our lives positively and negatively. From people we meet to sunsets in a city. Which is why we push to travel as often as we can to learn from other cultures and reflect on how those cultures influence us.

What is your view on collaboration? For Black With White Stripes to exist, collaboration has to happen. How often do you guys leave your comfort zone to collaborate with other artists? 
Collaboration is important we are a result of collaborating and like when we decided to work together we brought different skills. Often we keep an eye out for other artists we could work with. Sometimes that works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

What can we expect from you music-wise? Are you guys dropping any new music soon?
Yes you can expect plenty of new music. We have been working every single day since releasing ‘Bad lil Vibe’.

What can people expect from you guys this year?
New music and for the people that have known us or are getting to know us, plenty of growth as artists.

Where can we connect with you online?
On Instagram we’re @blackwith_whitestripes and on Twitter we’re @BlackwWhiteS.

Categories
Culture Featured Interviews

Vintage Mozart: A patriot at heart & multi-talented surrealistic artist breaking all art boundaries

Born Liam Vries, Vintage Mozart is a young multi-talented semi-abstract surrealistic artist, content creator/director Zimbabwean who loves art. From package design, typography, corporate identity design to photography and filmography you name it Liam does it.  This multi-talented artist has a different approach to his art as he not inspired by the cliché Pablo Picasso, David Carson and Leonardo da Vinci but instead he draws his inspiration from local artists and music. “My inspiration comes from a lot of people mainly Zimbabwean artists, like Tapfuma Gutsa, Pearl Thompson and other international artists like Lorna Simpson, , Irma Boom, Taj Francis” he explains. He quickly points out that his inspiration is not limited to artists, but even music and the aesthetics of everything. “Musicians like Kanye West inspire me in terms of pushing boundaries, Tyler The Creator and to a certain extant A$AP Rocky and his movement” he elaborates.

A self-taught graphic designer who started with logo design on Corel Draw at age 17 and later on at age 20, he started photography which propelled him to do filmography and he mentions that he did his first film as a gift to himself for his 21st birthday. “I’ve always had a passion for painting, I’m more of a painter than a sketcher and this changed when I moved on to a digital art form as I felt my talent can be better in that spectrum” he shares on how he got in to graphic designer, film and media. Art runs is embedded in his DNA as even his father is a drawer who does glass engravings, “Art runs in my family as my dad is a quite a drawer, very talented but comes from society which believes in the corporate world but I decided to pursue my passion” he explains.

A firm lover of what he does, Liam is unique as he starts his pieces by drawing them first, scans them and puts it on illustrator, try different colours/designers, redraws the image and adding some details. Currently studying in North Cyprus, Liam has taken that opportunity to expose his talent as he has been involved in a road traffic awareness project and has a had a few galleries there but quickly points out that the island didn’t limit him and has exported his work to other countries. “I’ve had a few projects in Cyprus but I didn’t narrow myself to the island as a lot of my stuff went out to Dubai, Turkey because the art background in Cyprus is not that big“ he explains.

A post shared by Liam Vries (@vintagemozart) on

It is without doubt that Liam is a patriot at heart as throughout the interview he mentions his home country Zimbabwe and you can clearly see that it holds a special place in his heart. This is evident by that he mentions a number of Zimbabwean artists as an inspiration, constant reminder about his background even though he is overseas and to certify that he has a big flag of his country hanging in his room. He has also been involved in humanitarianism as he was a member of the Harare City junior council (in 2015), a member of the Harare city junior ambassadors (V.P) and advocate for women’s rights and domestic violence and speaker on issues. Don’t tell me that doesn’t spell out patriot to you! Vintage Mozart his alias which he presents his art under and a company he founded and ended up getting investors. “It is a cultural art form under the term coloured excellence considering that I am coloured. It is me, my whole design persona under the label” he shares about Vintage Mozart. He explains that every artist needs that because he doesn’t want his art to be attached to his government name but he wants to have his own creative license allowing him to express himself.

An art and design student at Cyprus International University, Vintage Mozart is on the road to greatness with truckloads of accolades such as honour student (204-current), TED X CIU 2017 Speaker, ASGA designer of the year (2015, 2016, 2017), ASGA winner of most creative innovative designer of  2017, 4th place Tropfest film festival Zimbabwe (2015) and Best original script Zimbabwe film festival in 2015. His first short film Lungs: Lyssa’s Vengeance was well received which landed him an internship at Invision studios Zimbabwe 2014-2016.

A post shared by Liam Vries (@vintagemozart) on

The 21st century has been an era of major and hasty transformation across nearly every dimension of life, from science and healthcare to technology and communication. Art, of course, is no exception. Art has always been influenced by the era in which the artists live in, with the rapid change of technology which has pushed boundaries of creativity and sensory experience. Vintage Mozart is one of the many artists who acknowledge the advancement of technology, enhancing art but is definitely not for the idea of artificial intelligence generated art. “I am not for A.I generated art because it does not have the personal touch of the artist which is crucial when creating art”, he explains. He points out the importance of the advancement of technology which is brought about a number of software’s which may assist an artists but emphasises that it is essential that as an artists you do not lose yourself and get carried away. “Technology has played a major role in art but as an artist you have to try by all means to stay original and not to be carried away because the modern software’s can do everything for you thus losing the personal touch.” He further explains that fine art will forever sell more than digital art.

With most/some of his artwork having elements of afrofuturism, I wondered what are his views about the whole concept which has become popular again. “I love the whole concept it is hard to explain because it feels God like-Egyptian , if you’re a rap fan it is basically what Jay Electronica raps about, Lupe Fiasco, it is systematic woke-ness on its own” expressing his views on afrofuturism. He mentions Janelle Monae’s cover for Ark Android as what comes to his mind when you speak of concept of afrofuturism and mentions Art Man X (Menzel Bowman) as another key inspiration for him to include afrofuturistic elements in his work. Even though his artwork can be considered to be afrofuturistic he believes he is more surrealistic and abstract art.

His work speaks volumes, with unique elements of surrealism and afrofuturism, Vintage Mozart is an artist way ahead of his time. A unique artist, philanthropist and patriot, Liam is yet to make his mark in the art world.

Follow Vintage Mozart on Behance, Instagram and Twitter.