Category: Interviews


“It has to be a Beatle,” Miles Keylock says, completely straight faced. When hit with the question about the Paul McCartney controversy over the cover of Rolling Stone South Africa, his answer comes immediately. He breaks into a smile though and jokes that it really does take a lot to have an international artist bump a local one off the cover. However, according to him, it ended up not mattering in the long run, as McCartney on the cover “made absolutely no difference” in sales.

For a man in such a high position, and for one who has worked quite hard to get there, Miles Keylock is quite down to earth. Keylock has had a great deal of experience writing for magazines, having previously written for GQ before getting the OK from America to produce a South African Rolling Stone. Before that, he taught English and Drama, and credits his own education to getting him where he is today. Although he jokes “I slept my way into a magazine,” after getting one of his first magazine jobs through a woman he had been seeing, he does acknowledge the importance of his university degree and the courses he took. “They give you the tools…angles,” he claims, citing them as important in developing his own writing style.

For Keylock, the decision to stick to local, national artists over international superstars, like Paul McCartney is usually how he runs Rolling Stone. To him it’s not about what’s ‘hot’ but rather what story the artist has to tell. “We’re interested in artists who have something to say,” he says. “Just because you’re a good musician doesn’t mean you have a story to tell.” As far as choosing beyond that, Keylock’s advice for making the cover of the magazine is merely that artists “have to have an attitude.” He doesn’t mean an attitude problem, or a bad attitude, rather he says he looks for an artist about whom he can say, “here’s a guy who actually embodies the rock and roll spirit.” When deciding on which musicians to cover for the magazine, it’s about personality and spirit even more than what or who is popular at the time. While Keylock does claim that they look for “artists that speak to the present,” it goes beyond that. He doesn’t like the idea of covering musicians just because they are all the rage at the time. If they don’t have a story or they don’t have something new to tell, he doesn’t see the point in bothering. “We want those stories that haven’t been told,” he says to that point. “For me… it’s about sharing a story, a story that strikes a chord with me.”

More important to Keylock than just choosing a cover is keeping Rolling Stone South Africa true to South Africa. With sixteen other international versions of Rolling Stone being published across the world, it is important to him to keep the South African edition true to South Africa. “Rather than replicate Rolling Stone America… we need to represent the demographics of this country,” Keylock states. “We have our own chart toppers.” He goes on to explain how it is vital to keep the magazine embodying the South African spirit. With so many other versions of Rolling Stone already being published, keeping the magazine true to it’s South African roots, covering South African artists and South African stories, is what keeps it different from the other editions and what keeps the readers interested. “Is that international story going to strike a big enough chord in South Africa?” he says he must ask about what to run. Because just as Rolling Stone’s American readers aren’t likely to be interested in the music scene in South Africa, readers in South Africa care more about their own music scene. “It’s about representing the country we live in,” Keylock notes. He says he often gets people who ask him if he thinks he’ll run out of local South African artists to put in Rolling Stone. To which he responds with “What country do you live in?” It’s a question he can hardly contemplate and, judging by his expression relating the story, one he can hardly tolerate as well. He gets visibly frustrated by people who don’t realize how many talented musicians and groups there are in South Africa. Clearly that is not one of his major concerns for the magazine.

So there you have it. From one of our top editors, a how-to on how to make it in Rolling Stone. To make it on a cover, you have to be a whole lot of different things. A good musician, to start, but more importantly, you have to have attitude. You have to exemplify the rock and roll spirit that Rolling Stone is known for. How to really make it as a feature in the magazine though is simple. You have to have a story to tell, a story that hasn’t already been told, a story that will captivate and engage readers. How to become an editor at Rolling Stone is another story. For that, you need to get the right education and the right writing experience. Or possibly you just need to sleep with the right people.

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Keeping It Simple.

Naadir Soeker, of Ashe Gold, is different to most up and coming artists. He knows exactly what he wants to do with his music and isn’t on the hunt for fame or fortune. Before even starting the interview, he was adamant to explain his views saying, “My music is unlimited. I don’t want my music to be confined to a place. I want my music to be pure. I don’t want to get in the way of how the music should be. I’m just a vessel for it.” This is clearly a man channelling music for the pure joy of it and just getting as good as he possibly can.

Despite having lived in Cape Town all his life, Naadir doesn’t want his music to be Capetonian. “Music in Cape Town tends to be limited by a place, for example, the artists in Cape Town have music which sounds Capetonian. It’s pretty cool but I want my music to be universal.”

Naadir started playing guitar in grade 8 and got the idea for Ashe Gold in grade 11. He started playing self-taught rock and copied the artists he liked, before taking up formal jazz lessons in 2009. But it wasn’t a love-at-first-sight relationship. “I didn’t really like jazz at the time. I actually hated it. I was like what is this? What am I listening to?”

Eventually, his rock side collided with his jazz influence. “I was coming with my rock star ways and rebelling against the jazz. They were force feeding me this jazz but I got used to it after a while and I incorporated jazz into my rock.”

Jazz isn’t his only influence though. “I do find inspiration from some bands. The structure of my music, I don’t strictly consider it rock, but it has a rockish structure. I get the structure from bands like He Is Legend, Underoath, Scary Kids Scaring Kids and Animals As Leaders.”

When asked if he has a role model, Naadir claims he has none but he would be stoked to jam with Dallas Green of the band City and Colour, saying, “He is amazing.” But Naadir quickly says that, “no one can really jam with him. You just need to leave him on stage to do his own thing.”

Before Ashe Gold became a 3-piece band, Naadir was producing tracks on his own. “I recorded tracks in my bedroom. I produced the drums, bass and guitar on my own.” This all changed after Naadir posted an advertisement on GumTree and, after a while, people responded. “I interviewed several people, driving around like a mad person to town, all over the show.” He didn’t find the people he wanted immediately though saying, “Some of them really sucked.”

Eventually he found what he was looking for in the form of a Swiss drummer named Gianni. “He came here without a drum kit and is building up his set again. He is super good.” Ashe Gold’s other member is a blues guitarist named Zac. When asked about a bassist, Naadir just laughs and says, “My bassist is currently a shadow. He doesn’t exist yet.”

A psychology student at UCT, Naadir currently divides his time between studying, teaching and playing for Ashe Gold. “I don’t spend as much time as I should on my music. But now that the band is getting together properly, I’m spending a bit more time on my music.”

Although they have not had any proper gigs yet as a band, Ashe Gold has a great deal of musical passion and they are far more interested in creating more of what they love. Although they want to release an album at some point, this band isn’t looking for raging fans and tons of groupies. Something about them speaks louder than that. They are something special and new and definitely deserve a chance in this crazy industry called music.

There’s a new kid on the block, and he’s about to blow you all away. Literally. With a single breath of air, he transforms oxygen into beautiful melodies. However, hard work and an understanding of the tough reality of the music industry keep Andrew Hoole quite humble. Big things are certain to come to this jazz saxophonist.

Half sitting, half standing against a stool in the middle of Café Sofia in Claremont, Hoole leans into his saxophone for a solo, clearly relying more on his partner playing the electric keyboard set up next to him than on his own sheet music in front of him. The two play together so well that you can tell they’ve rehearsed this set multiple times before. It becomes especially obvious as Hoole reaches down to add a third hand to the keyboard. What many people, like the patrons of the restaurant who seem mostly there for drinks and a bite to eat, may not realize is that he shifted from reading his own music in a treble clef to reading the bass line of they keyboard’s music in bass clef like it was nothing. To practiced musician Andrew Hoole, it really was nothing.

When asked when his interest in music started, Hoole laughs and puts it at about age two or three. “I was sitting on a counter at a shop somewhere up in Joburg, singing away as my mom paid for whatever it was we’d come to pick up. A gentleman, apparently a music teacher, walks up to us, and tells my mom that I am destined to become a musician one day.” Apparently the man knew talent when he saw it, because two decades later Hoole is exactly that. His actual musical education started rather early, with him joining the junior choir and piano lessons in grade two. Soon after that he picked up the recorder, every young student’s introductory instrument, and from that made his way on to the clarinet and then saxophone. When asked why he decided to go into a career in music, he discusses the thought process behind it, saying “It all boiled down to the fact that I couldn’t see myself doing anything that didn’t involve music. I was quite good at maths and science and my other subjects, but music was just the one that I enjoyed to the extent that I couldn’t give it up.”

Giving up certainly doesn’t seem to be in his vocabulary. He chose to attend the University of Cape Town because of its music department and the reputation it has in jazz studies. It didn’t stop there though. After getting a Bachelors degree in Jazz Composition and Arrangement, he decided to continue with his education and is currently studying for a Masters degree in Music Composition. He claims networking to be vital to any aspiring musician, and is quite appreciative of the contacts he has made both in Cape Town and in Los Angeles, which he managed to make throughout his years as an undergraduate student.

If that weren’t enough, he is certainly keeping busy with his work outside the classroom. Besides his gig at Café Sofia, he also plays for weddings and other engagements as well. He also stays busy teaching private lessons on the saxophone and tutoring students in music theory. However his true passion remains in scoring film projects when he gets the opportunity.

Besides talent, it is apparent Hoole has something else that’s necessary to go far in this business- passion. He clearly loves his instrument and just making music, whether it’s for a fully packed wedding or just a few tables at Café Sofia. His optimistic attitude is sure to keep him going past rejections and set backs that the music industry is sure to bring. He admits to the industry being tough to break into, and adds “It’s not so much who you know, which is definitely important, but probably more who knows you.”

A WORD OF ADVICE FROM AUNTY ROSE

A powerful band comprised of three powerful men, Rosemary Towns End is the freshest upcoming band in all the land. They played their first gig early last year and having shared the stage with Taxi Violence, Hog Hoggidy Hog and The Plastics to name a few, they are quickly becoming everybody’s favourite aunt. I had the pleasure of sitting down with front man, lead guitar and vocals, Cyle Myers, who had a few pearls of wisdom to drop.

Cyle walks towards me in a pair of his famous skinny jeans (which apparently do not belong to him) and with a huge smile on his face, says; “I’m happy today!” Yes, indeed he seems rather pleasant, unassuming and ready to be serious about band stuff. Maybe.

It has been said that the band does not really take themselves seriously, and in no way are wanting to be famous rock stars. These guys are only and all about the music, and whether they make it big or not is irrelevant to them. “I just dig jamming,” says Cyle, and the passion is evident in their super tight, live performances.

RMTE are taking things to the next level without even trying to; their dirty, bluesy, grungy sound is a breath of fresh air compared to all the indie bands drowning out the local music scene. Influences include Wolfmother, The Black Keys and The White Stripes, which comes through strongly in songs like With Your Sails and California Lover. Instead of following the indie trend, these guys are keeping their feet rooted firmly in the grime that is true rock n’ roll.

“I don’t wanna find like, an identity in a band”, says Cyle, “like I’ll put the effort in that is required, but if it doesn’t go anywhere like, I’ll just go surf and still be happy playing for two people in a bar.”

As chilled out as the band is regarding fame, they are working hard to ensure they bring good tunage to those who are willing to listen. Recently joined drummer, Asher Gamedze, is bringing in a different beat. Opposed to the regular 4/4 time signatures, Asher is chopping  and changing it up “which makes it more interesting, and it’s kind of difficult as well because you’ve gotta like change your whole approach to the song and it gives the song a new flavour, which I dig!” an enthusiastic Cyle exclaims. Expect some spice on their new track Mr. Brown “which is our hardest song, because of all the different parts” says Cyle, and is almost ready for its debut performance. Excited? I most certainly am.

Bassist, Jaryd Davidson, is also working on a new song, but not much was revealed about this one. Both Cyle and Jaryd write lyrics, however according to Cyle: “Jaryd writes a lot of lyrics and is actually a better lyricist than I am, like he writes really good lyrics and it flows really well…he is like more of a poet, I think [laughs], in a non-gay way.” Girls like musical poets. Just saying.

The song Gypsy Caravan, written by Cyle, was in fact inspired by a woman (like most things in this world), and marks a time where Cyle let go of himself. No, not in the eat-too-much-and-gain-20kgs kind of way, but more in the: “instead of planning every manoeuvre like a chess game, just go with the wind and see where you end up” kind of way.

Now, the band is hoping that the wind will carry them to save up enough money to record two singles, and perhaps a music video, and because the band is so responsible with the money they make, this might happen sooner rather than later.

Even though Cyle has little faith in the South African music industry and believes that its a “pipe dream and doesn’t really go anywhere”, the attitude has most certainly increased the fun factor for him and makes clear that he is in it for the pure enjoyment of making music. However, if you have lost your faith in South African music, catch Rosemary Towns End live and make sure you are prepared to have your face melted and your faith restored.

By: Iman Adams

M.O.leko: making it LOUD

Cypher, a space created for freestyle rap on UCT grounds, first caught my attention when it showed off one its best rappers, Motheo Moleko. He is a student but exceeds most with his star quality and appropriate exploding confidence. “You can become the best. You just have to want it“, says Motheo, and he wants it.

Motheo was raised by a single parent, a circumstance brought about by a car crash that killed his father. His was raised in a Suburban area, contrasting the stereotype, striking a perfect balance between kicking a ball and playing TV games and listening to music.

It all began with a cluster of teenage boys recording music on simple software but here the rest faded, Motheo had found his passion. Following that was a confirmatory experience with Eminem’s song, “The way I am”. He was an angry teenager and found rapping to be an interesting outlet. He rapped to Eminem’s songs before starting his distinctive artistry. His own stuff was, he admits, “atrociously bad” at first. He got good after two years of practice.

I found it refreshing that someone of this calibre still wrestles with thoughts of not being good enough. This catapulted into “bad ambition” as he puts it, where he stopped rapping for two years. I agree with him that the world doesn’t need just another rapper. You should, he suggests, either meet up to his shortlist of musical genius’ including Eminem, JayZ and Kanye West or become nothing. What is important is to avoid influenced to the point of becoming a carbon copy, using his phrase here “[don’t] eat out of the same pot [you] shit into”. His goal isn’t to be mimic their style but rather to have that kind of reach and how they translate their stories.

Admittingly, although not apologetically, he describes his ego as being mega yet not intrusive. He regards everyone as equals, but says that some are for the background, others are frontmen. He is a frontman. Validating this he states that he is more compelling than most in both approach and personality. Drawing on a the example that, at times, drives him to the point of depression, where he gets annoyed when people don’t recognize him when he enters airport terminals, he consoles himself in the fact that he isn’t like everyone else there. With a thought pattern being that “some people should be known by a lot of people … and remembered by history” to propel him, he is armed to make his mark.

 

On talking about his current involvement with Jeremy Loops, bringing rap to folk, he expresses his concern. The fear is that Motheo would be associated solely with this act, giving people less of a chance of connecting with his work once he becomes established. He says with bare vulnerability that making that happen “is the scary depressing part”.

“Half Past Desperate” is his own project that will be released as mixed tape or album. It is a narrative about, as the name suggests, the urgency in getting his name out there. The albums theme around time becomes prevalent here as rap is believed to be a game for the young and considering his age, 26, he is running out of time. Valuing his judgment I got giddy with excitement when he said that he expects it to be “off the map”.

What illuminates him is his forthcoming approach in becoming a “world famous super talented amazing musician”. He works hard at his, opposing passivity. He accredits his talent to diligence, not divine intervention.

Creatively speaking he uses the process of trial and error. Initially he would sit and write but he realizes that inspiration isn’t limited to time and space. He plays with words and patterns until it makes sense. With content he uses his experiences saying that “there is always a story”. He desires to have an all-inclusive audience just connecting with people. A lot of people. The difficulty comes in connecting with them musically: lots hear, but few listen.

He confesses that he is far from where he wants to be but channels this to push himself. He stands by his unwavering faith in humanity that “what’s really good will do really well”.

Full Flex Free Form

Picture four guys dressed up in a wardrobe that includes sombrero hats, a striped blazer, a light blue turban, and a pastel decorated windbreaker, dancing in a dark field to the buzz of a heavy dub beat with watermelon sized grins splitting across their faces.  Now go and watch Sun-Do Q’lisi’s new music video on their Facebook page and see your imagination broadcasted on the computer screen.  As I looked across the table at Thor Rixon, one of the members of Sun-Do Q’lisi, it became increasingly more difficult to place him among the whirl of unorthodox costumes that I had seen in the music video.  With his hands folded in his lap and a friendly smile spread across his face, he seemed too calm and collected to be one of the convulsing dancers in the video.

At the center of Sun-Do Q’lisi’s music is the desire for creativity and the pursuit of fun.  Unlike many young bands that seem desperate to find a niche or well founded outlet for their music, Sun-Do Q’lisi dares to avoid being confined to any label.  It may not be out of rebellious defiance, but simply out of the pursuit of groundbreaking and thought provoking sound: “We don’t place ourselves in a genre, we kind of just take bits of everything and mash it up with all of the different guys in the band and their different influences and all of the different genres that they like.”  Sun-Do Q’lisi uses whining synths, high pitched samples, and a heavy dub beat to create a sound that creeps into your joints, creating dance moves that you never thought existed.

One would think that an electronic band with four members would be a constant battle for control of the mixer, but in reality the different perspectives allow Sun-Do Q’lisi to express a new sound.  This is also in part to the band’s heavy emphasis on improvisation.  When asked about the pros and cons of improvisation, Thor responded, “Sometimes, there’s usually a lot of cuck.  But we find the stuff that we think is kiff and then we just work on that.”  Again, Sun-Do Q’lisi’s eagerness to experiment with new combinations of music as well as their pursuit of musical inspiration may set them apart from many other local South African bands.

Although Thor admitted that he dreams of one day playing in front of thousands of people, at this point his music is driven by pure enjoyment: “It just makes me feel like a kid again.”  As I rapidly fired questions at him, challenging the plausibility of Sun-Do Q’lisi’s funky music being accepted by a mainstream audience, Thor responded by saying “Obviously, we want to make this our career, but we don’t really have a plan like in two years time we want to be here or there.  Lets put as much effort and time into it and see where it takes us.”  As he left the cafe to attend a film class, guitar slung over his back, the English equivalent of the Xhosa word Sun-Do Q’lisi finally made sense, “full flex free form.”

By Duncan Lowe

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As every bird has to one day grow up and depart from its nest, so does a band from its garage.  Aspiring talents, The Bird and the Cage, have officially stepped onto the folk-acoustic scene, conquering Cape Town audiences one flock at a time.  The young band have been very active on the live-performance front, most recently of which was the Flam jangled Tea Party Festival, as they performed next to national headliners such as Goodluck and Jeremy Loops. Jesse Vos and Katey Lee Carson make up the two-man band, both of whom play the acoustic guitar and sing.

The interesting and yet deeply unintended metaphorical name for the band was conceived in a rooftop bar one night when the duet happened to stumble upon an empty bird cage. The literal band-name has been well-spread throughout Cape Town folks (folk-lovers) and is yet to take over the folk acoustic industry. One thing that sets this group apart from other folksters (folk musicians – It’s just too easy to make up words within this genre) is their innocent intentions and simple outlook. Their warm sincerity in their musical style reflects their standing within the industry. To them, it’s all about the music, being stripped of all the plugins, add-ons and effects that take away from the rawness of an intimate relationship between a musician and its audience. Lead singer Katey added that “the people who like us, like us, those who don’t, don’t.” Unlike other bands, they are “not really in it for fame and fortune.”

When asked about where she sources inspiration from when writing lyrics, Katey replied with a quote from Leonard Cohen, “if I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often,” adding that it is difficult to say where inspiration comes from. On the flipside, her list of musical influences didn’t come with much difficulty – she finds influence from artists such Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitche.

Among taking centre stage at festivals and gigs in and around the Mother City, the pair have also been hard at work on their soon-to-be-released debut EP. According to the ginger in the band, Katey, the EP is taking longer than expected but fans shouldn’t worry as “it will be worth it.” A brand new website, repertoire and some fresh songs are all currently in the works so South African fans and critics alike can expect to be blown away.

However, amidst all the hype, it doesn’t matter if the early folk-bird catches the worm in the general music scene in South Africa. The market for folk music is highly demotivating and underrated. When asked to comment on the lack of exposure and support from national music lovers, Katey replied, “South Africa has some real talent and we could roll with the big boys but instead we try and copy them and loose an individual sound which is so important to folk. All hope is not lost and as Katey has “high hopes for the future,” adding that the support structures have increased in the last few years.

Although this band is well on its way to stardom and a large fan-base, their ideal performance, in the words of Katey, would be “an intimate gig no more than 50 people, just me and Jesse and our guitars on stage and of course no sound problems.”

In the interest of responsible journalism I spent some time investigating whether or not there really were refugees from the Eastern Cape, and in my exploration happened to stumble upon a hip-hop/dubstep/rave group (what are the odds). Blah Zeh Blah is an unlikely quartet of musicians who came together  three years ago with the vision of making “whatever sounds and feels  good”, and perhaps that is what makes them so refreshing.

The dynamic group boasts a melange of instrumentalists –a beat boxer, rapper, vocalist and a Dub step Dj. I sat down with beat boxer Oz (Sinethemba  Mzwali) and rapper Epic (Nangamso Mntyingizane) to talk music, money and making it in South Africa.

Oz, born and raised in the Eastern Cape, is nothing short of an advocate for local talent. When asked about the difficulties faced by an upcoming artist in a locally and globally competitive environment, the beat boxer’s response was both critical (of his peers) and optimistic.

“When people meet me they say things like I’m surprised you’re from the Eastern Cape, as if almost saying people from here aren’t producing anything good quality…you don’t have to go anywhere to do it, you don’t have to compare yourselves to Americans.”

Indeed there are many long-winded, Thabo-Mbeki-ish historical arguments about “the roots” of hip-hop being African but the duo also suggests that perhaps it is much more a case of how you use what you have than where it comes from and Epic makes a quip that would put even Mbeki to shame;“just because a car is made in Germany doesn’t mean you can’t drive it in South Africa, it’s about taking the same thing and using it differently”.

While artists are concerned with hip-hop not being “real” anymore and many have traditionally defined hip-hop as a political platform, there is a sense that these musicians are not bound by labels or caught in the malaise of “defining” hip-hop.

“What I  hate the most is that a lot of  people feel they are forced to be conscious rappers…if  you’ve always wanted to tackle the government then by all means tackle the government, but you shouldn’t feel like it’s something you (have to) do…. If it’s not you.” says Oz in an unabated tone.

The beat boxer-come-lyricist defines his inspiration as “books and movies” and describes how  he can “…rap about anything, I can see a homeless man on the street corner and come up with something,cos [sic] that’s the art I saw in his life”. If you are looking for some deep political statement, or a tragic history then this is not the place to find it. These artists are the rejection of every hip-hop stereotype.

In a country where “promoting democracy” and “creating awareness” seems to have become the slogan of politicians, and the obligation of all and sundry, it  gives one hope to see that there are still musicians who spend more time on  perfecting their art, and truly speaking their minds, than they do peddling  political propaganda. Their music, passion and perspective are sure to invigorate.

– The group is still working on their debut album Dream Catcher and plans to take over the scene “one show at a time.”

               

We’re in the Groove!

Groove Afrika has become one of the most popular names in today’s hip-hop youth culture. This deejaying duo has driven Cape Town’s party scene towards a whole new direction. Kgabo Senyatsi, creator and initial DJ of Groove Afrika, enlightens us on the culture and identity of Groove Afrika.

From a personal view, Groove Afrika has always been something that appealed to a specific youth culture. These parties not only appeal to the black youth, as they are the natural demographic that hip-hop and house music appeals to, but also to the ‘elite’. Those that can afford to stand their ground in the high-class clubs of Green Point and Camps Bay. There is usually a strict dress code and one can always expect to see numerous amounts of students ‘popping bottles’ and basically living the ‘lavish life’.

However it seems that from where the Groove Afrika deejays stand, behind the decks and enjoying their beats, they unfortunately are hidden from what goes on beyond their music and beyond the dance floor. Kgabo has an optimistic view of what his music and events brings to the youth culture: “The whole money thing, that’s exactly what Groove Afrika is completely against. We’re against fakeness…It’s not about flaunting, it’s about quality and good music.” As noble as his vision is, it comes across as a very naïve one. After all, the Groove Afrika parties are named after well-known hip-hop songs, The Motto, Hell Yeah Fuckin’ Right, We Like To Party and Rack City, by international artists such as Drake and Lil Wayne. They unmistakably glamourize money, alcohol, partying and luxury-based lifestyles, so it is hard to think that Groove Afrika’s vision is all that different.  Kgabo contradicts himself by saying simultaneously that as much as “the point of it is not to live up to these guys” they cannot help being influenced by them as these are the “things that appeal to us whether we like it or not”.

The Groove Afrika duo believe that through their music and the type of events they throw they are “truly about rebranding and re-interpreting what it is to be an African today for a young South African”. Through these statements Kgabo is adamant that they cater for a wide market of youth: “a lot of people in the industry racialize music and I don’t think we should do that because there are a lot of white people who come to Groove Afrika parties, and a lot of Indian people and coloured people”. This would be a nice thought, yet at the same time he challenges himself in admitting that “majority (are black) because hip-hop appeals more to black people but that’s more a by-product of hip-hop…That’s what we cater for: people who enjoy hip-hop; people who enjoy house music.” It seems to me that it wouldn’t be a bad thing for Groove Afrika to accept the type of culture that rises from the music and events they produce, as they are very successful in that market.

One thing to admire is that, although they may be slightly disillusioned towards the identity they have created for themselves, Groove Afrika are very passionate about their music and ultimately do want it to be something that appeals to everyone: “I want to make sure that it’s something that anyone can hear and that anyone can say “oh this is good music”. You don’t necessarily have to be a house lover, you don’t have to be South African; you can be from Sweden, you can be from the States…That’s basically what we strive for, honestly giving the best quality of music possible.”

Kgabo ends off the interview with a rather inspirational statement about how he hopes to change the culture of the youth today: “beyond the music and all the fun times, there’s a serious undertone. With all our parties, yes it’s fun, but there’s a lot more happening than just partying. That’s what we’re trying to achieve.” I suppose, the only thing we can do is wait and see where Groove Afrika get to from here. To see whether they really are serious about “re-branding” the South African youth identity by “trying to teach people to have fun in a more conscious manner – you can still have pure clean fun in a way that is very true and respectable”, or whether they will just have to accept that they are successful just the way it is, and this elite black culture is here to stay.

Meet: Headphase

Headphase, or known as Timothy Mitchell by friends and family, definitely does NOT live up to his name. Anything but a phase, this 20-year-old DJ hails from Johannesburg originally but is currently residing in Cape Town, studying a BCom at the University of Cape Town. Great musicians originally from Johannesburg are almost unheard of, but Headphase is an exception. Those who know him as plain ol’ Tim know that he is an extremely colourful person, quite literally. Always wearing a colourful Soda Pop cap (he owns 10), with matching jeans and watches, he is definitely not easy to miss.

Headphase was an early bloomer, with his musicality starting in school. “I’ve always been interested in music and in high school I was in a band at one stage where I played drums,” he says. “I’ve also done a lot of music theory and then in grade 11 and Matric, I had a few friends who were into DJing and I thought, “this is pretty cool, it seems like something I could do,” so I started messing around and got them to help me out and in Matric I started playing a few small gigs and that’s how it started.”

So Headphase went to an all boys’ school where he had “a few friends who were into DJing.” This is not surprising, since these days it’s not doctors or lawyers most boys aspire to be, but famous DJs. There are a few things that set Headphase apart though, including his very original DJ name. “I wish it had a cool story behind it, but it doesn’t really,” says Headphase. “The whole “Headphase” thing was kind of random. It’s basically an album name of this band that I’ve listened to for a long time called Boards of Canada and they have an album called the Campfire Headphase and I just thought it sounded really cool.”

Another thing that sounds “really cool” is Headphase’s music. He considers his music to be mainly of the “Garage” genre, which is an underground UK style. “Also, I play a lot of Electro and Drum and Bass every now and then,” he says. “I basically do live mixing at clubs, remixing and bootlegs and not my own production at this stage.”

Headphase has not reached the stage of collaborating with anyone yet, but it is something he’d definitely like to do one day. “I’d say Das Kapital would be a really cool person to collaborate with because he makes a lot of cool music and I really dig the sort of direction he’s going in,” Headphase says. “Niskerone or Riot Squad would also be cool.”

Assembly, the Fez (which has now closed down), Trinity and Dragon Room are some of Headphase’s regulars but he has also played at smaller gigs such as Dansville, Space Bar (on Long Street) and Cold Turkey. Out of the many gigs Headphase has played, his first gig ever at the Fez has been his favourite so far. “I was kind of lucky to get the booking because Tommy Gun cancelled like three days before the event so they needed someone to slot in,” Headphase says. “I played at like 2 or 3a.m. so it was really late and it was straight after Pascal and Pearce. I was really nervous but as a started playing, everything went right and I was really happy. Pascal and Pearce themselves were in the crowd, jamming, and that made me so stoked.”

So where will we be seeing this artist again in the near or distant future? “For the next year or so, I’ll keep at it, not going out of my way; just try to find the balance between academics and DJing,” he says. “I want to get into my own production obviously, make my own music and hopefully after university, once I’ve got a degree, maybe I’ll take a year or two to take it seriously and see if it develops into something big and if not, then I’ll still have a degree to go into.”

We can only hope that in a few years’ time we will be seeing Headphase headlining huge shows and not Timothy Mitchell behind a desk, handling our financials.