Ahead of our first Joburg session of the decade, we caught up with Cape Town producer Rose Bonica on synths, Sleaford Mods and the independent struggle.
How has your music production process evolved over time?
I have become more thoughtful about the quality of the sound, but in general, I am still a frenetic mess in the studio.
I have recently found myself veering away from using drums to steer my tracks. I think it can be easy to make a track bang with a kick, a hat and a snare- but I don’t think it should be the driving force of every track. That’s not to say drums aren’t important, of course they are. It’s just so easy to mask a shit track with a good kick. Working with melodies only isn’t the easiest thing but when I get it right I find it really fulfilling.
What key changes have you seen in the music industry/business during your time making records? Is independent the only way to go? How has 2020 been so far?
I’m not sure how to answer this without sounding naive but also very jaded. I guess fundamental to my relationship with the music business is the fact that I’ve only ever released music on Wet Dreams Recordings, a label that I run with Montle (Big Space / SEXXUS). Creating our own platform has been tough but also very rewarding and so worth all the hours. Most of the time it feels like we have no idea how to do things and then at other times, it is as if we are killing the game, doing everything right- like we are unstoppable! 2020 has been the gift that keeps on giving and I’m super grateful for that. It’s like the less you expect the more you receive. I don’t know whether independent is the only way to go, but it is the only way I know.
Talk us through the track you last [cmd] ‘S’d ? ([ctrl] ‘S’ to PC users)
I’ve been working on a remix for Mx Blouse which has been challenging but a nice change. I have found myself contemplating the whole question of ‘what is a remix?’ lol. Overthinking is the devil, to be honest. In the process of creating this remix, I think I’ve made 7 different tracks, probably over-processed every stem and changed the bpm hundreds of times.
What piece of studio equipment would you NOT part with – Ever!!
MicroKORG XL !!
This little synth is the greatest.
The saturation, the arp, the vocoder, it’s all too good. If I’m stuck in a creative block all I have to do is turn it on, hit record and just mess around for a few minutes. It doesn’t matter if I’m singing into the vocoder about my harddrive running out of space or getting my cat to jump on the keys and play some bass, I’ll find something in there to inspire a new track.
The microKORG XL just gets me, you know?
Who/What has been on heavy rotation on your audio player of late?
Bjork – everything she does is untouchable, FKA Twigs, FMR (Fine Music Radio in Cape Town), SEXXUS, Altered Natives (Alpha and Omega), Sleaford Mods – their live performances are my ultimate, Minor Science.
What can the CDR audiences expect from your time with us?
A lot of nervous sweating and umm-ing and aaaah-ING 🤷🏻♀️🙆🏻♀️🏻♀️ lol
I’m excited about sharing my process and learning from others.
If I’m doing something the long way then please, tell me!
Have you any advice for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?
That track that you think is your worst is probably the one people will like the most.