HYPE Magazine Interviews Major League DJz

It’s All Major!

Interview by Man’s Not Yandhi

Visualz by Clive ‘Young Stilo’ Mphasi & Sphesihle Sogoni

Early December it was announced that Rémy Martin teamed up with Major League DJz in hosting their famous Balcony Mix sessions nationally and that fans would be able to watch these Balcony Mix sessions when they go live every Friday on YouTube on 17 December, 24 December and 7 January 2022. Now, for those of you that don’t know, the Balcony Mix Africa is a virtual experience created by the Major League DJz that is the safest and most accessible way to continue to celebrate the evolution of dance music in the time of the pandemic and HYPE got a moment to chat with twins about it, the Rémy Martin partnership, their journey, growth and other things. Sgetit…

You know I was looking at that old HYPE issue with you guys on the cover and reflecting on the journey you’ve gone through so far. Do you guys ever think about the road you travelled to get to this point?

Bandile: Not really, I don’t want to reflect too much and then you feel like an OG…

Initially, Major League DJz were recognized as hip hop DJs before you came with that New Age Kwaito sound and now, you’re fully recognized as embracing amapiano. Talk to me about that sonic evolution and what led you to be at the frontline of amapiano.

Bandile: I don’t think we were fully hip hop guys, amapiano comes from Kwaito, New Age Kwaito was our thing, Kwaito was always our thing but we called it New Age Kwaito to make it look good, rebrand it and that was our strategy. It was us, Riky Rick, Cassper Nyovest and Okmalumkoolkat so that was basically the movement of the new Kwaito style. Sometimes we would work with people and make like the mid-tempo songs which is the amapiano now. And we used to give people to rap on those beats, we have a song out from back then called ‘Sgetit’.

Yeah, I remember that song…

It’s like a piano song but we didn’t call it piano then, it was New Age Kwaito [laughs] but it’s the same thing if you listen to it now. So, moving into amapiano wasn’t really like hard we just moved more into the dance side than the hip hop side, I think the Kwaito is more hip hop, more artist based and the dance side is more DJ based.

I think anything with consistency will always blow up

So, focusing on the Balcony Mix Africa, that platform blew up during a time when physical contact/experience was restricted especially in 2020. Do you expect it to be as big as it is?

I think I did expect it, I think anything with consistency will always blow up. It’s a basic formula that’s always worked… We were doing mixes every Friday, and anybody could come to test us as long as the mixes were up, people loved it. Africans were playing it more, but a lot of people overseas used to like to have their own campouts and listen to the mix every Friday, so it was actually a culture we built on YouTube.

Prior to that platform launching, what kind of conversations were you having amongst yourselves that sparked these new ideas?

Banele: It was just the transition you know? People getting used to the brand being about amapiano so we had to release something every Friday, it could’ve been music or mixes, but it had to be something that people could hold to and resonate Major League DJz with amapiano…So the easiest way was the mixes because you can play everyone’s music at the same time so we were like “this is it, we’re gonna put some visuals to it”.

You guys are very “future-minded” that’s probably because of the entrepreneurial spirit and creativity you possess. What’s honestly inspiring you guys to do so much? The easiest reason would be to improve quality of life but are there other reasons you can share?

I don’t think it’s to improve quality of life I think it’s just building a culture that can one day feed everybody. The South African industry is, I won’t say pretty poor but it’s a tough one and no one is about building the culture, and everyone is about “me, me, me…” So, we’re always about building the culture… We did Major League Gardens and we never played at our own Major League Gardens shows for 7 years. It was always our friends and everyone else.

That’s dope. Has your perception of the music industry changed since you’ve gone through & executed all that you have so far?

About the industry? Nah I think it’s still the same [laughs]

Banele: I think it’s easier because of the internet, there’s not a lot of gatekeepers you know? Now it is hard to be a gatekeeper. Look at Uncle Waffles now, in one night…

Bandile: She blew up over someone else’s song, that’s just life… It’s another case study on its own because that one was crazy. So maybe in terms of the internet and in terms of gatekeepers because a lot of people back then used to be gatekeepers, you couldn’t get in if you weren’t associated with a certain label. Now my problem is whether people are managed right… Do people understand what they need to because not everything is on the internet?

Let’s talk about the partnership you have with Rémy Martin. It seems like a perfect fit, so what drove you guys to say yes?

We’ve been doing a lot of things with Rémy Martin, just probably not a lot of brand work but our cousin Riky was on it, so we’ve been doing a lot of stuff and seeing what they’re doing. The people that work on the brand are pretty dope, so for me, it was like something we could do together and something we can build. And I believe Rémy Martin has what it takes, and they have a Producers Series as well and that’s something I would love to get involved with and feed the culture… As long as it’s something growing the culture I’m down.

The people that work on the brand (Remy Martin) are pretty dope, so for me, it was like something we could do together and something we can build

Just to wrap it up, what have you learned about yourselves over time?

Bandile: I just learned that I’m getting old [laughs] I learned that there’s so much out there and it’s not that difficult but also vie learned a lot like being in this industry for many years, doing events, learning everywhen and how it’s working to my advantage.

Banele: We are always willing to take those extra steps…

Bandile: So now that I’m dealing with these guys overseas, I know how to dodge them, know what to say and how to deal with the thing because of my experiences and what I’ve been through in the South African industry. So, I think I’m in a good space, there’s still a lot that needs to happen but we gonna do some things.

Yeah, I’m seeing it, the NFTs, global tours, there’s a lot going on…

Banele: We’re gonna change the game.

So, when’s that Doja track dropping?

Bandile: [Laughs] If you know America, you can record tracks but then you got to like to clear them and that’s like another fee. A recording is one thing and clearing is another thing. So, we still have to do those stages, so I think in the next big album with a major, yeah, it’s out there. But not now unless she’s (Doja Cat) like “you can just do what you want”.

END.