MyCityByNight: Hey guys, let’s start off by saying how excited we are that we’re finally able to have a chat to you about your music and the Boiler Room & Ballantine’s Present #TrueMusic Joburg event that is coming up on the 24th.
You’re on the lineup for the event alongside the rather talented Maya Jane Coles, have you been a follower of her music and are you as excited as we are to see her live?
Black Motion: We’ve always been a fan of what Boiler Room does and what it stands for. Having been a part of it before – it’s also great to be back. It’s always exciting to share a stage with artists that are always pushing the boundaries in whatever sphere of music they are in. Maya, Karizma, Culoe – all these are great producers and performers.
You guys have recently been included in a pretty dope Ballantine’s TVC about how you never really listened to what other people had to say about how music is “supposed” to sound, how did you manage to get involved with the Ballantine’s and Boiler Room Crew?
It’s exactly the idea of pushing the boundaries. We started making music not to conform to any pre-existing rules or boundaries but to express what we felt and represent that in an authentic manner. Ballantine’s celebrates Staying True – which is what we basically strive for in our music and performances. You could say our paths were always going to cross – due to those values – and our partnership aims to celebrate those who stay true to themselves. Working with Ballantine’s just made sense for us due to how they also celebrate dance music (over and above the Stay True journey).
By extension, Boiler Room always celebrates artists that push the boundaries – and our relationship continues. We also co-produced a song during the last Boiler Room (Cape Town).
What does #TrueMusic mean to you personally as artists?
TrueMusic is really about finding your voice and place in the artistic universe. It’s about bringing your genuine and authentic self to the existing space without having to conform to any standards or limiting yourself. Art is about exhibiting – exhibiting is about attracting ears and eye balls. If you do what has always been done you will attract less ears and eye balls and you will deprive the world of your uniqueness and in any magic you have.
How would you describe your sound of music?
Our music is African soulful dance music.
Do you think it’s important for artists to stick to their roots when making music? We’ve seen a whole bunch of local artists trying to be the next Daft Punk/Skrillex/Diplo – is it better to be authentic to what moves you as an artist?
That’s the thing – if you want to be heard and seen you have to dig deep within you to find yourself. Being authentic is basically being yourself. But, let’s not be unfair – we all have influences. We live in such a diverse and rich work – where everything is accessible and the world has become very small. That means we are exposed to so many things and those will influence us. The trick is to use to take the influence, internalise it, interpret it the way it speaks to you, and build from there. That’s just how we innovate and create things – and that different from imitation. That imitation would be a copy-and-paste, but innovation builds from the existing or simply creates from scratch. We have also grown by forever having our ears open and experimenting with various African sounds – but have also adopted other sounds that might be seen as being “our roots”.
What is your view on SABC stations tipping the scales to play more local music? Is this going to make us stronger as a music producing nation or make us complacent (while we playlist just about anything, regardless of whether it’s really good or not)?
It can only make the game grow. If artists create magic but have not platform to exhibit that magic – then the artistry will die. So the SABC’s decision is very important to all artists (established and emerging). We hear lots of SA music daily from demos we receive and things we hear at events. Some of those artists might not get the opportunity for their music to be played on radio. So this decision might give those artists a foot in the door. There is lots of good music out there – and finally it will get playlisted. There is a lot of good music in this region.
It will also have a positive impact on the economic side of things – as more money will remain in the country.
Who would you most like to collaborate with in future?
We are fortunate because we have always collaborated – from simply featuring other artists to full on collaborations. From our first album you we worked with musicians who went on to become big names themselves. . We have also reached out to many South African legends such as Madala Kunene and Tlokwe Sehume. So we are always on the look out for new collaboration opportunities from all genres. We look to people like Angelique Kidjo, Erykah Badu, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder. Those would be exciting people to work with.
What has been the most memorable gig you’ve played at up to this point?
Every performance has its own energy and crowds are different each time. But when performing for brand new audience it’s always exciting. So you can say every performance is memorable. The fill up the dome performance was fun – just because of the different demographics that made up the audience; a recent performance at ministry of sound in London was fire. We have won a best concert awards in Canada. So each performance has that special thing about it.
Does anything weird ever happen to you in terms of fan behaviour? I mean we’re pretty used to people getting undressed and throwing items of their clothing on stage – but have you experienced anything out of the ordinary? (A fan tattoo on their naughty bits perhaps?)
LOL. We love dancing when we perform. At times the stage is very close to the audience and you do get a member of the crowd grabbing you while performing and lot letting go. IT’s just the passion people have about the music and what we do. There other things that we just can’t share.
Are there any other major projects in the near future that we should know about?
We have just released our fourth studio album – titled Ya Badimo – and we are busy promoting that. IT’s available on digital platforms and on physical format. In 2017, look out for an exciting project with Ballantine’s that will take a musical journey of its own.
Where can people follow you online and make enquiries about booking you?
We’re on all three major social media platforms:
@realblackmotion on Instagram and @black_motion on twitter
For bookings we’re on firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been an absolute pleasure catching up with you – we’ll catch you out and about and at the event this week.