Many thanks to everyone who came and contributed to the Joburg workshops and sessions. Next up in this whirlwind CDR trip to South Africa: Durban. There we’ll connecting with a crew Connect ZA linked us with called Durban is Yours. Read on for a Q+A with DIY’s Bob Perfect.
Please take us back to when you first got to experience (night)club culture in Durban? Where were you going out? Who were influential producers/DJs?
My first nightclub experience was when I was 16, I managed to get into a commercial club on Florida Road called Bonkers because my friend’s sister was dating one of the bouncers. Totally different to what I eventually got into which was more the live music scene but I remember seeing The Real Estate Agents at Burn one night that kinda woke me up to the fact that there was good electronic music in SA, before that it was all punk and hardcore. From there I got into Sibot and Waddy Jones and then Sweat X which was Spoek Mathambo and Marcus Wormstorm. I didn’t really notice DJs until much later when I worked at a club called De La Soul as a barman, that’s where I met Bhashkar who was pretty much the first guy who showed me the skill behind DJing.
Can you suggest how Durban has shaped your DJing and musical tastes?
Well I grew up in Umbilo, which means I listened to hip-hip because everyone in Umbilo listens to hip-hop. So that’s largely why I feel most comfortable playing hip-hop and all it’s off shoots. I wasn’t really a part of any hip-hop scene though, I grew up in the punk/hardcore scene so that’s why I guess I drift towards more underground and experimental stuff. These days in Durban and SA a whole, there’s a lot of interesting stuff coming out that’s really fun to play.
What notable changes/developments have you seen in Durban (or through SA) over your time contributing to the musical goings-on? Do portraits such as RA’s Real Scenes doccie and/or Future Sound of Mzansi reflect what’s really goin’ on?
The sounds are definitely evolving, new genres are coming out of suburbs and townships across the country and it really is an exciting time for music if you’re into experimentation. It’s not all like that, our commercial scenes have more of an international feel but you don’t have to go too far to find what you see in Real Scenes or FSOM. I think any documentary is gonna have blind spots but I really liked FSOM as an introduction to the many different sounds coming out of here, it’s tough to keep track of it all.
One aspect of much DJing in SA that may challenge CDR audiences is a focus on a particular tempo or style (e.g. Qgom only!). Is this something you’ve encountered? Are crowds responsive when you vary tings or would you rather stay in a particular sonic zone?
I’ve never really stressed too much about tempo or style because my mixing is terrible and I’m more concerned with trying to introduce new and different shit anyway. A lot of DJs do stay in their lane and we’re a very house music based country so there is a lot of that vibe and it’s done well, I just get a bit bored with it. Some crowds do get it when you play different stuff and are fun to play to, and some you’ve got to just go with floor fillers, it depends on the night but I like nights that I get to mix things up.
Please describe your work life/creative life tussle. Are these one and the same? Any tips or tricks for managing to keep on keeping on in the music industry?
My work and creative life are very much one and the same. Pretty much everything I’m involved in is in the creative industry. I’ve found working with like-minded people who are as passionate as you goes a long way. It also helps to carve out a niche for yourself. Oh, and keep your friends close and your enemies as far away as possible.
Who/What has also been on heavy rotation on your audio player of late?
I’ve been listening to Mswenkofontein by Okmalumkoolkat, Stilo Magolide, uSanele and Sibot for a couple months now, still hasn’t lost it’s fire. iLoveMakonnen’s Drink More Water 5 is definitely my most listened to release in the last month though.
Which music makers/producers in or around Durban (or elsewhere in SA) do you think we should listen out for? Why so?
He’s not from Durban but I’m really into what Thor Rixon and the naas team are doing in Cape Town, couple great producers and musicians on their label.The Boyzn Bucks crew are making some of the most interesting rap music I’ve heard in quite a while, I can’t recommend them enough if you want to get a taste of how progressive rap in SA is at the moment.
Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians in South Africa developing musical works in progress to play at Open CDR and Durban is Yours on Thursday night?
I don’t really, just do whatever you want to do.