Interview: Black Coffee
I read an article that said South Africa is the highest consumer, per capita, of electronic music around the world. What are some of the factors for such a growth, as you see it?
It’s a cultural thing. House music is not a scene. It is part of people’s lives. You don’t have old clubs in South Africa but we have house everywhere: on TV, on pop up shows, everywhere. It is not a carefully curated scene, but its a genre that is just part of life, like Jazz in New Orleans. No one is sitting down and cultivating the scene since it is already part of their lives. This is cool but also not so much because it has no monetary value. As big as it is, it doesn’t mean the highest paid DJ in the world with come from South Africa. Even though the support is there, sometimes the finances needed behind show quality and things isn’t. In South Africa, everyone can be a promoter. It is a nice place to grow and make music but business-wise, it hasn’t really reached the level of the rest of the world.
Where would you say South African house music draw its influence?
You have more vocal house in South Africa. We are very much influenced by R&B where if a song is well written and the rhythm is amazing and well presented, the club will get into it.
What about from a production side of things, when you are in the studio, do you have a go to piece of gear you use?
I use Logic a lot because of traveling. I have a studio back home but I rarely use it for production. I mostly use it to record vocals. Now, even when I go to the studio I take my laptop and work from it.
What if I asked you that question when you first started?
Same answer. I have never used any other product. It has always been Logic, since the beginning.
Finally, not so much related to music, but I also know you are a family man. How do you balance the demands of traveling and touring with having a family and raising kids?
It is the hardest part of all this. My team and I struggle a lot with it and I don’t think it is a fight we will ever stop. For instance, I thought I was playing here last night and leaving today. This would have been my third weekend away from the family so I was looking forward to going home afterwards. Then, when I was getting my accreditation they told me I was leaving on Wednesday, which was a hard blow for me since Thursday I am leaving for Dubai. Having a great team works for me because they understand me and what I need. If I didn’t have a family, I wouldn’t even bother going home. From here I’d go to Dubai then Greece than Washington DC. I tell my team, I don’t care how many days I get as long as I get home. Even if it is only for a day or 2, I don’t mind. In the summer, I moved to New York with the family so they aren’t that far. That is how much I try and keep them close.
What if your kids came to you and said they want to become DJs, would you be supportive?
Yes. My oldest son is 16 and on my birthday he and his friend released their mixtape. Growing up, he was mostly into hip hop, bit now he is into dance music and house. He likes a little more of the EDM stuff, which at first didn’t really sit well with me, but I am supportive of what he does. I know how hard the industry is and I will assist him any way I can!