When I think of a wolf in sheep’s clothing, my mind’s eye goes down a convoluted path of toddler’s in thong bikinis and fully grown British men, with shoe polish covering their face, in leopard skin loin cloths. However, what might initially appear to be a wolf in decadent lamb garments, is in fact one of Cape Town’s hottest musical talents. As English as Yorkshire pudding and getting knifed by an 8th grader, Jumping Back Slash is making waves in the underground Afro House scene that has witnessed a sudden insurgence among Cape pop culture. The massively successful Cold Turkey at Amadodas in Woodstock has birthed somewhat of a surprising, yet quintessentially South African, Sunday revolution. While house music has been rocking the country for some time, Cape Town seems to be a bit lax on the up take. Yet with this tattoed, nazi-esque yob behind the decks; the irony of colonisation bringing us closer to our routes is keeping a dancefloor slamming on a regular basis. We caught up with the young lad from Wigan to find out about his “Afrotronical Space Music” and what he’d do if he caught John Terry giving his wife the ‘ol pork banger….
Jumping Back Slash – Not Over
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MyCityByNight: First off, how the fuck does an Englishman get into Afro House? Have you been in this country that long?
JBS: I’ve been here nearly five years as it goes, my missus is South African and I came here originally for five months but never left. First tune I heard was ‘Boozoom Base’ by DJ Sdoko. That was on my second day, bowling around town with the missus. It was at that record shop in Golden Acre. That night I watched ‘Jika Majika’ just flicking through the channels. I heard ‘Da Return Of Shembe’ by DJ Fhiso and I was hooked.
I wouldn’t necessarily say my music is strictly Afro-House, but it does owe a massive debt. I see my tunes as a bit of a cross-pollination of the vibes in SA and the other vibes I love like Chicago and New York House, Acid, Techno, Jungle, Garage and all that.
To be honest just living in this country has been the biggest influence on my tunes. It’s a mad bunch of cultures in this part of the world. You lot are all mental.
MCBN: Is there a huge difference in the crowds between here and there when this kind of music gets dropped?
JBS: I think the irony is that local crowds, particularly in Cape Town aren’t exposed to the sound as much although I think that is slowly changing.
In the UK the music from here and other countries like this is sort of blanketed under the term ‘Tropical’. The label I’m on in the UK run a night down Notting Hill Arts Club and they play out Kwaito, African House, Soca, all that kind of stuff. In grey old London all that music sounds kak exotic. Maybe over here it’s the run of the mill. But I don’t think many people in Cape Town and SA realise how big Kwaito, Afro-House and now even Shangaan music is in the UK and the rest of the world.
Right now in London there’s this scene developing they’re calling Afrobeats which is Naija music, Ghanaian tunes and that. The Africans who had gone to the UK from countries like Nigeria and Ghana have now had kids and these kids who’ve been raised on Grime and UK Funky are playing this stuff out and mixing it up. It’s fascinating stuff. Africa as a continent has had and will always have an integral part in developing dance music. No Africa, no House music. It’s that simple. Sometimes I wish mense from SA would realise that.
MCBN: Cold Turkey has been an almost unprecedented success. What is your understanding of why it has achieved such on overwhelming response?
JBS: Cold Turkey is in my opinion easily the best dance in CT. The guys that run it Anthea, Josiah and Simon, have got real integrity and they run the dance with respect for the people who play and the people that go. It’s a decent entry price that a lot of people can afford so as a result it’s got a very mixed crowd who are well up for it. It’s an open-minded dance and there’s wicked vibe in there when it gets ram up on the floor. Plus the fact you can get pot-bread and shisa nyama while you listen which can’t be bad ne?
More people should check it, it’s unpretentious (which is rare in this town where most of the geezers dress like lesbians at a yacht club and ride Penny Farthings down Lower Main Road) and it has fantastic tunes at a wicked location. You owe it to yourselves jou bang dings!
MCBN: You’ve received some rave reviews from some pretty big names. What has been your proudest moment as a musician?
JBS: I remember Benji B playing out tunes from ‘Ibhithi’ (my first release) once a few years back on his show, which was cool. When I lived in London he was a good yardstick as what was good out there he said some nice stuff about my tunes.
MCBN: In your opinion, who are the local up and coming lads that we should be on the lookout for?
JBS: I would preface this by saying that I wouldn’t necessarily say any of these mense I mention are up and coming because they have all been around for a bit, but these are the geezers I rate: People should check DJ Big Space he plays dances all over town and his tunes are befokte, BIG FKN GUNS from Jozi are nuts hopefully Solomon BFG will be on a couple of tunes of mine , Dirty Paraffin are heavy, The Ruffest are gehard. There’s a lot. Get out there.
Also people should check out stuff like DJ Call Me, DJ Pacco, DJ Adjuster all that Kasie Kwaito/House sgubhu stuff is HEAVY and utterly unique sounding.
MCBN: Time for the standard “If you could collaborate with any person who would it be?” question. So… spill…
JBS: Probably Jeff Mills or Omar S, Larry Heard or Masters At Work . Lord knows, there’s so many.
MCBN: There must be some pinnacle goal you aim to reach in your career, I assume it would be playing some monster gig in front of millions of people but I could be wrong. Elaborate on where or what this would be?
JBS: No idea. I’m never satisfied. There’s always something new to do. I think that ultimately I’d like to think that people would see me as someone who makes good tunes and does it with some integrity with a genuine love of this country.
MCBN: Is there anything missing from our local scene? What would you do differently?
JBS: A good record label that doesn’t give a fuck about what is fashionable everywhere else and pushes local music hard. It’s very sad to see how all the big music stores over here have gigantic sections dedicated to International kak and very small sections for the local stuff.
MCBN: Ive given you chicken breasts, an onion and a zucchini. What would you do/make with them?
JBS: I would juggle the fuck out of them.
MCBN: Youre the father of twins, congratulations, if you could pick their careers right now what would they be?
JBS: Befok space pilots of the future.
MCBN: Tell us an interesting fact about Wigan (your home town).
JBS: In the UK that’s where Heinz Baked Beans are made. And good meat and potato pies. And me.
MCBN: Where do you see the future sounds of Jumping Back Slash going? Can you foresee how your sounds will develop or are you just going with the flow?
JBS: I’m not sure. I don’t really have any pre-conceived ideas. When I’m in the studio it’s always a blank canvas. Recently I’ve been jacking my tempos up to more Shangaan speed, like 160bpm and that’s been interesting. I just fucked with it to get my head in a different space. Kind of high-speed tribal kasie kwaito/techno kak. In fact that will probably be the next release, an EP of that.
MCBN: Finally the deadly MCBN “would you rather” question…. Would you rather have a penis protruding from your forehead, or one from each nipple?
JBS: One on each nipple. I could ‘milk’ myself as a party trick.
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