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HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS Changing sounds

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“CHANGING SOUNDS”

a producers story…

STORY BY THEO MOKGETHI & RUDZANI “ROO” NETSHIHENI

PHOTOGRAPHY BY

MAKEUP BY

STYLING CREDITS:

GINA JEANZ STYLED BY VANS

KAY FAITH STYLED BY PUMA SOUTH AFRICA

LUNATIK (SELF)

MAKWA (SELF)

808X (SELF/DICKIES)

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS Changing sounds2

It’s no secret that Producers have, for a long time, been looked at as the real architects of hip hop culture’s greatest and biggest hits. It’s also no secret that in South Africa producers have come a long way in terms of being recognized as the stars that they are. Producers definitely take center stage in a way perhaps that people don’t really see that much. Whether you look at the likes of Tweezy, Ruff, BeatMochini, 37 mph, Octave Couple, IV League, Wichi 1080, Mash Beatz or even Anatii, producers have become their own entities that the game cannot simply progress without. And every couple of months or years, we get a new wave of producers that dominate airwaves with their unique sounds, but the issue still remains that we hardly appreciate nor celebrate them enough… Okay, take a look at this example, years ago when Cassper Nyovest released his ‘Doc Shebeleza’ hit, many of us weren’t aware that it was 16-year-old (at that time) Fairness Musa Twala who played a major role in creating arguably the biggest SA hip hop record to date, but here’s what’s crazy right, if Fairness was a producer that came from perhaps the states and ‘Doc Shebeleza’ broke records in the states, the boy would’ve been put on the highest pedestal because it’s the producers role that continuously plays a huge role in the success story of an artist. And it is weird that we, here in SA, don’t really show that same level of interest and praise towards the guys behind the hits the same way that other countries celebrate theirs. Think about it…

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS 8082

Well, maybe it’s a unity thing because if you look back like 10/15 years ago producers had close interactive relationships with hip hop artists or crews, which made producers certified stars which then resulted in the producers themselves tagging along with the artist’s ride… But it’s quite rare to find that now but maybe that’s a result of the game’s change over the years since monopoly power has become the most sort after the source of relevance… Even the way we consume music has changed too with streaming services taking off & all which pushed business models to adapt and evolve. However, even though the change in the game has shifted some things around, making the guy holding the mic the most important person (which is understandable), it still doesn’t mean those producers should be overlooked from a mainstream point of view. Sure, many have pointed out how there aren’t really producers anymore but programmers because beats are not made the same way they used to get made anymore… Back in the day, you could be able to tell whose beat you were listening to because everyone had a special approach to how they made their sounds. Today production might feel like a copy/paste scenario but should that insight matter if, at the end of the day, the sh*t bangs!? Quite an interesting topic this is; “Producers Vs Industry Love”, and all that we’re spewing out now was simply inspired by years over observing. And there’s so much to say about this and at the same time, you can’t express it enough. Yo! we love the producers working within our game to push things forward man. We see you…

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS Makwa

But here’s a question to the people reading this right; is the copy/past production approach the reason why producers, or even DJs, in the game, aren’t documented as they should be? Because as much as we, “the people”, gravitate towards the lyrics, performances, and personalities of our favorite artists (through the good & bad), their music wouldn’t really be what it is without the producers if we’re being honest. All that thinking lead us to this… So we thought it only right to talk about how producers, DJs, and engineers are really changing & pushing sounds within our culture. Look we know that there are so many producers, DJs, sound engineers out there, more than we can mention, S/O Zoocci Coke Dope, Cokayn Beats, Gemini Major, C-Tea, Shooter Khumz, PatricKxxlee, PH (RawX), LifeOfSallie, IceMan Beats, Dellz, but this time we decided to talk to some well-established faces that have each on their own terms & methods, developed unique tactics in how they create or “Changed Sounds”. We got Makwa, a self-taught producer who is responsible for creating award-winning hit records for the likes of Kwesta, TLT, Yanga, Kid X, DJ Speedsta and many more. Remember Kwesta’ smash hit ‘Spirit’? Well yeah, that’s Makwa. We got Lunatik, the award-winning record producer/artist from KZN who has been credited as being of the originators of the hip hop sub-genre Skhanda sound. Then we have Cape Town’s, Kay Faith who is an audio engineer and producer that has worked with the likes of Da Les, Tweezy, YoungstaCPT, Mos Def/Yasin Bey and so many more which is crazy! Then the Innanetwav’s 808x, probably one of the most important young producers in South Africa right now that is directly at the forefront of the new generation of SA hip hop. Finally, we have Gina Jeanz from Cape Town, a creative powerhouse that has been refining her career as a producer/DJ and will be performing at the upcoming AFROPUNK2019 Festival. All these guys are CHANGING SOUNDS in their own sonic languages and hopefully, these interviews open a window of interest within the game that not celebrates the guys behind the scenes but inspires you to research more about individuals really pushing the boundaries of sound…

KAY FAITH

audio engineer/producer/artist

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS Kay Faith2

So, Kay, we have read somewhere that you grew in a small town called Knysna, could you tell us more about how it like growing up in a small town and how that influenced your character?

I grew up on a farm just outside of my hometown of Knysna. Growing up in a small town you always get taught that the city is where you need to go to make it. So, since I was small, I had an immense love for Cape Town. My brother lived in the mother city before I moved away from home and whenever I visited him in Cape Town, it would always be a huge culture shock to me. Seeing a big city with and how it functions made me fall in love with the hustle and bustle of the city and I knew once I had my chance that I would move to Cape Town.

From living on a Farm to doing sound engineering and music through studying at Cape Audio College. Would you say it was a blessing in disguise not getting into your intended art school that rejected your application?

Yes, I would very much say it was probably the biggest blessing I could ask for. I was never rejected from art school. Due to some papers that got lost in the mail, I got in for a course that I didn’t want to do.

At the time I was very concerned because I had this big dream to move to the city. Luckily the option of doing sound engineering popped up for me and I’ve always loved music since I was small. So, I tried it and never looked back. Now I find myself engulfed in the music industry and it really makes me happy to be a part of it, so huge blessing in disguise.

The Journey of music has somewhat been a part of you, as you have mentioned in the past way before Cape Audio College your eldest brother was the one who had influenced your taste in music, so what kind of music would that be?

Yeah, so we used to drive around a lot together and he used to play all kind of music in the car. ALL KINDS. Beach Boys, N.E.R.D, Pulp Fiction, Michael Jackson, No Doubt, Missy Elliot ETC. (Shout out to you big brother!)

What challenges have you overcome or perhaps still battle with today within your career?

Being from Cape Town, our industry is a lot smaller. So, you have to work a lot harder to get certain recognition from the industry. It’s something that is changing but its changing slowly. Cape Town has great talents and if we had a music industry the size of Joburg, we would probably have run the game in SA. But my goal is to build that pipeline for artists and producer in my city.

Who would you say or how would you describe Kay Faith to those who don’t know who you are out there?

Kay Faith is the antithesis of South African Hip Hop. I am a book that should not be judged by my cover. If you had to see my accolades to the game, you would be surprised by that it came from some small-town girl.  I am an audio engineer, producer, musician, executive producer, a crowd rocker, MPC enthusiast, and the proclaimed Dr. Dre of Kaapstad.

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS Kay Faith

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When it comes to your production, what would you say is so distinctive about your approach?

I always make sure that something grabs me and inspires me to create. Whatever it may be. A sample, a preset, a synth, someone’s story. I make sure I execute all my productions with the utmost quality, and I stay true to a sound that makes me happy.

Does ‘Kay Faith’ have a favorite musical project she has ever worked on?

I have two actually. The first being my first body of work titled In Good Faith as it was my first time stepping out as a producer and it was my first offering to the world.  Second would be working in YoungstaCPT’s debut album 3T (Things Take Time) I engineered the entire album from recording to mastering. I also featured on two tracks and had a lot of executive input during the creation of the album. Both very important projects for Cape Town.

By the Way congrats on representing South Africa on the Beat Album by Brain the Tool, how did you feel when you were asked to represent South Africa on the Album?

Nervous but also very honored. I’ve been told by many that my contribution to the album is stand out and it is also a production that I’m very proud of.

What are your thoughts on the development of SA hip hop culture?

I think that it has come a very long way from where it was even when I started in Hip Hop 5 years ago. I feel like more people feel comfortable making the genre their own and fewer people feel like they need to conform to making hip hop that sounds American. I still am concerned about the influence American Hip Hop has on SA Hip Hop and how many of our leading artists rap in the American or “Rap Accent”. It’s been shown that you don’t need to sound American to make dope Hip Hop. Look at Sjava, Saudi, YoungstaCPT, etc.  SA Hip Hop is in an exciting time and its very dope to be a young producer in SA at the moment.

Talk to us about your In Good Faith project. How was the process of creating it like and what was the message behind it?

With In Good Faith I wanted to mainly achieve 2 things: Firstly, I wanted to make my breakthrough into the music production game a produce a great debut EP. Secondly, I wanted to create something that would make the Mother City proud and would represent the mother city in a higher place. It took a bit of time to sculpt it together, but the process was great, and the aftermath was even greater. It got attention from big names like UMG and Apple Music. I ended up being the first South African Female Producer to be given the Apple Music Spotlight title. And now I’m in the process of creating my sophomore projects so I’m at it all over again.

Are there any more collaborations or new music we should know about that’s on the way?

Yes, my album titled ANTITHESIS is being created at the moment.  I have A lot of amazing collabs on the album already.  Other than that, I did a dope remix project with a South African band called Diamond Thug. We were in some Jay-Z & Linking Park buzz. So yes, there’s should be a lot of Dope Music coming from my camp soon.

What advice would you give out there to young producers that want to be in the industry?

Be as authentic as possible. Nobody can do you better than you. Be super authentic, be passionate, focus and work hard.

And lastly, we all know that there are kids out there that currently trying to build up a production career. What would you say are the essential equipment tools to start-up a producing career?

Good ears, a good attitude, maybe a laptop with some software. That’s a good place to start. If you can, learn how to play instruments. Have the drive and just be inspired and channel that inspiration into creation.

GINA JEANZ

producer/DJ

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS Gina22

So, Gina we know that while you were growing up you listened to Timbaland which is quite a unique source of inspiration. How did lending an ear to Timbaland influence your style of producing music today?

Timbaland has a unique blueprint when it comes to his production, you can pick out his sound till this day. He’s completely influenced the way I listen to music, the sounds I use and my process. As much as I was influenced, I had to work towards creating my own sound too and it really doesn’t matter how long I’ve been producing for I’m constantly learning. I really enjoy being in an environment where I can walk away with new information, so the goal is to keep improving and being open to learning.

It was also quite interesting to find out that the violin instrument was your intro to how music was composed… We would like to know how was that first feeling of composing music? And how did you know that music will now forever be a part of you?

My first choice was actually the piano and I remember the examiner saying my fingers couldn’t reach all the keys, I was devastated but he noticed that I was lefthanded and suggested I try the violin. If I had the opportunity to do it again, I would choose the violin. It’s the instrument that trained my ear and although I may not necessarily know how to play the piano extremely well or know the ins and out of an analogue machine, my violin training has allowed me to produce confidently.

You have previously stated in past interviews that you are a proud woman in a male-dominated industry, what advice would you give young girls out there that are thinking about being producers or DJs but not relatively sure because of how society may respond to them being in that filled?

This is very cliché but just do it. There is room for everybody, we need more female representation, not to compete with men but to build our own community and bring new energy to the industry. I feel like our narrative is so different, we need to help each other where we can too, so I’m really hoping I can contribute more to this initiative myself in the future. Start somewhere and you’re well on your way, don’t create for algorithms and make music you want to.

Gina, you’re clearly multitalented and some may say that you are a dynamic creative as you have your foot in fashion and music scene at the same time. In terms of the fashion side of things, how are you telling that story, how do emerge it with your music and basically how did it all begin?

Music and fashion have coexisted effortlessly for years, so I’m so grateful that I can incorporate the two into my career. As a professional model, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with amazing stylists, I’ve learned so much from them. At the time I was pretty laid back with my style but now I have more fun with the clothes I wear. I definitely still go through different phases, but I love styling my fits for my DJ gigs and being able to express myself through fashion.

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS Gina

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Let’s talk about your production, what would you say is distinctive about it?

Attention to detail, I’m really meticulous about the sounds I pick, and I definitely have my go-to plugins. I take what I’ve learned and applied my own twist to it.

You once Stated that ‘FLOAT’ was once the best song you have ever produced do you still feel the same about it today?

‘FLOAT’ remains my favourite to this day because of how effortless it all came together. It was 4 am and for some reason, I just decided on the title ‘FLOAT’ before I produced anything. It’s much like how I would visit art galleries and imagine what the painting would sound like if it were music and work around that. I finished the track that same morning and I remember just getting Goosebumps playing it back. It’s a very special track to me.

Your first major festival (that we know of) was in 2017 at Rocking The Daisies, we picked up somewhere that you learned how to DJ 3 months prior to the actual show. How true is that and how was that RTD’s experience like?

It is true, I bought my controller 3 months prior to the festival and just learned how with the help of my husband and YouTube. The experience made me want to improve my DJ skills and produce more of my own tracks because at the end of the day it serves as a platform to share your music with the rest of the world. I’m so glad I didn’t turn down the opportunity when it presented itself regardless of me not actually knowing how to DJ. I just went for it and did my best and I hope to continue to have that positive attitude throughout my career.

And being the first ever Namibian woman in history to perform at “Rocking The Daisies” could you put the feeling into words?

To put it quite simply, one of the best things that has ever happened to me. It put me on the map and to be honest my career took off from that point. I’m eternally grateful to those who have been a part of my journey and I’ll always be proud to represent my country no matter where I find myself in the world.

We also noticed that you have worked with Dain Bagel and Jimmy Nevis before. What are your dream collaborations that you would one day want to be a part of?

I’ve got so many people I’d love to collaborate with, local and international. I feel like it’s hard to just say who, in the past, I could pull up names, but the list has grown. One dream collaboration would be with Frank Ocean (universe please make it happen).

The mixes that you drop online seem to always convey different types of emotion. What inspired your latest mix, which is now on SoundCloud titled “House of Fun “?

When I clean my apartment, I always have my Bluetooth headphones on to get through the process. I came across some new music that I had on repeat I had so much fun on that Saturday morning, so I decided to put together the “House of Fun”. It’s for those days where you need to get through tedious tasks or just to start off the day on a positive note, however, you choose to let it serve you.

We all know that there are kids out there that currently trying to build up a production career. What would you say are the essentials to start-up a producing or DJing career?

There are a number of workshops throughout the country that don’t require you to pay an arm and leg to learn how to produce or DJ. If you really can’t afford it, keep an eye out for free workshops that you can attend in your city. YouTube is a great place to learn the only downside if filtering through hundreds of videos to find good tutorials that get straight to the point. Go out and meet new people in the industry, I find that my peers and I tend to know someone who knows someone. There are people who are willing to help but it should also be your responsibility to do the work and continue to learn as much as you can. Remember it’s not about what you have but what you do with what you have.

Lastly what else will Gina Jeanz be working on for the remainder of the year? S/O to you for the AFROPUNK gig by the way we cannot wait!

I’ve got so much I’d love to achieve this year but I really want to continue producing my own tracks that I can add to my mixes, as much as I love finding new gems on Soundcloud I definitely want to get to a point where you’ll hear a pure “Gina Jeanz” mix. I normally don’t like to jinx my projects, so I’ll have to leave it at that for now. AFROPUNK is really something I’m looking forward, I still can’t believe it, it’s a dream come true and it’s happening. I can wait to head to Jozi in December.

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808X

audio engineer/producer

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS DSC 9096

You’ve been one of the hottest young producers in the game right now and solely because of the music you produce. Let’s start this off by asking how did the journey of producing begin for you bro?

I think almost 10 years ago, I was still in primary school at the time, my brother put me on to a program called Magix. I was already into all kinds of music by then, just really inquisitive on how it actually goes down behind the scenes. Fast forward, I took music classes in high school and started working on FL Studio which I still use to this day.

How would you describe your sound? What makes an 808x production sound so unique?

I wouldn’t box it into any sound or wave but it’s all in the name… 808’s and “x” which could literally be any sound, depending on how I feel in that specific moment.

You obviously work closely with The Big Hash and both you have produced great records together. And we know that all of this was done under the Innanetwav umbrella. How did you get to meet The Big Hash and be part of the Innanetwav?

Most people don’t know this but Innanetwav is actually one of my many “brainchildren”. Tymon, Oshoku and I officially launched the label early 2017, practically out of nothing. Hash came along around the same year and I was already in contact with him months before we even made a song. If I’m not mistaken, someone who went to school with him linked me to his older stuff and that’s how that came about.

When you start producing a beat or song from scratch what mind space do you go into to start the creativity?

I usually play some old school chops and samples just to get a reference for how I want what I’m making to sound sonically. Sometimes I create original samples from scratch and work off that. I’d typically need to be in a quiet and spontaneous mindset to get the best out of any session.

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Do you only Produce for Innanetwav artists or are you open to collaborating with others?

Honestly, I produce for anyone who can afford to have me produce for them. Not only monetarily afford but creatively too. Basically, the collab has to be really worth it for me to even consider it, but I’m always down to discover new chemistry with all sorts of artists. Any genre.

Do you have a favorite musical project that you’ve worked on?

I don’t have a song I’ve worked on that I don’t like but there are a few favorites I’d mention. Young is a classic, but that’s just the mixtape. Summer Blues was a classic too. I’ve got projects with Sensei, Solve and Pops coming up very soon. Might already be out by the time this gets published.

What other producers, songwriters and/or artists would you say are pushing our local culture?

Brizzy doing a lot for the new wave culture right now if we talking producers. I don’t listen to that much local per se but I’m friends with a lot of people who I consider pioneers already.

What do you think about the current state of SA hip hop culture?

The current state of SA hip hop culture is quite promising. I wouldn’t have been able to say this about the game a few years ago but I’ve ever since witnessed quite a few mind-blowing deals and collabs happen that I never thought would. Musically though, SA Hip Hop still has a long way to go.

 What would you say are some of the negative’s things holding the culture back>?

From my own observation of the industry itself, there are very few artists who respect the craft of producing and see the exact value of music production.

What can we expect from 808x during the rest of 2019?

Rest of 2019 I’m bagging more deals as a brand, more credits, and a might just drop another beat tape too. Maybe.

What advice do you have for young people who want to become music producers?

Protect your energy! Don’t focus too much on producing for big names, rather work with artists that you can grow and build with long-term.  That will increase your value as a producer.

And lastly, we all know that there are kids out there that currently trying to build up a production career. What would you say are the essential equipment tools to start-up a producing career?

Nothing too expensive. A good pair of headphones with a flat frequency response (thank me later), a reliable computer and most importantly a keyboard.

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LUNATIK

 artist/songwriter/producer

[object object] HYPE MAGAZINE x TOMS PRESENT: CHANGING SOUNDS Lunatik2

Your musical career began at a young age as we picked up in an older article that you actually started releasing mixtapes from around age 15? What influenced you to start making music so early in your life?

What influenced me? I found out I loved music when I was 7. Particularly hip hop. Wanted to be the biggest rapper in the world [Laughs]

From releasing mixtapes at age 15 to then dropping out at the Academy of Sound Engineering. What made you drop out and did you inspire yourself to keep on going?

What made me a college dropout is I wanted to create with no distractions. Inspired myself by telling myself there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.

So did the introduction to AKA through your brother Rich Mahong, happen before or after you dropped out of the Academy?

It happened after I dropped out. S/O my big brother Rich Mahog for real. Put me in the right rooms.

How does being credited as one of the originators of ‘Skhanda’ make you feel? Because the Skhanda sound really changed the game.

I don’t see it as anything because I feel I got my gift from GOD. I’m just a vessel for his plans. It changed my life though.

When you were producing K.O’s ‘Caracara’ hit, did you know instantly that it would blow up the way it did or was it just another day at the ‘office’ for you?

Nobody in the room knew it was going to do that. It was just another beat to everyone. I was with Tsholo & K.O making most of those songs.

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What are your thoughts on how producers are recognized within SA hip hop culture?

Producers are way more recognized now than before. They’ve done some game-changing things it’s only getting better.

You’ve produced so many records over the years for yourself and others, so how do you keep your ideas fresh when you’re working? Who do you listen to?

It’s hard to stay neutral & having fresh ideas. I usually remind myself why I started, that usually unlocks. I listen to everything… From Nipsey Hussle, OFWGKTA, TKZee, Kanye, etc.

How would you describe your process of making music? Take us through a short step to step process…

Every time is a different way depending on the energies & vibe. I usually start by listening for samples to chop from old jams. Give it my own urban twist.

Who are some of your favorite producers that you’ve worked with or would love to work with?

Kamdelacram, Ruff ATM, Bizda1, Tweezy, K.O, MashBeatz, Emtee, DJ Maphorisa… All of them are my favorite because of how serious they take the craft. I would love to work with the likes of Pharrell, Kanye, Zwai Bala, Mdu Masilela, Tyler The Creator & Wondagurl…. Those are just a few.

Any advice to young kids out there trying to make it as producers in SA?

NEVER GIVE UP. Chase The Music Not The Money.

And lastly, we all know that there are kids out there that currently trying to build up a production career. What would you say are the essential equipment tools to start-up a producing career?

Good entry level for me was the studio in the box by M-Audio I got from Toms. But all of us should really be working towards a UAD sound card & the Goat “Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Mic”

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