Tomorrow will see another round of Grietfest at a new venue in container yards, industrial Johannesburg style. Hotbox Express will be busing people in from Pretoria, making sure the party stays wild and save throughout. Every avant-garde electronic performer will be showing face and collapsing bridges of beats on thousands of bouncing colors in a bleak Legoland . The Pretorian had a chat with some premium acts to talk about music and technology in modern music-kind.

Andy Islands

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Andrew Esterhuizen. I’m from Cape Town and I just turned 25. I make electronic music under the name Andy Islands.

Would you say purist are making the scene stronger or weaker?

Both.

Would you say you have an intimate relationship with the audience?

I’ve definitely had some good moments but I feel like I’m still finding my audience so I’m not quite sure if I do yet.

What musical trend needs to die out immediately?

This is more of a food trend than a music trend but recently when I’ve been to the shop they haven’t been stocking the muesli I like (Hawaiian Crunch) and I feel like that’s a trend that should die out immediately.

How often do you create your own sounds, as opposed to using pre-existing samples or patches?

I like to create my own sounds. At the moment I like sounds generated with hardware synths and drum machines and other gadgets but I can’t afford anything too fancy so whenever someone lends me something or I’m in a studio with cool stuff I record as much as possible. I have a big sample folder with all these samples and all of the other sounds I’ve made and found and I make my music from that. I’m definitely not against using pre-existing samples or patches though. There are lots of different ways to make good music.

Why do you think music is so important to people?

This is a really difficult question to answer and I definitely don’t think I’m any kind of expert who can speak for anyone except myself. I personally just listen to music because I enjoy it and it makes me feel things and I make music because I enjoy the process. Those feelings are probably why it is important to me.

Ambush

Please tell us a bit about yourself?

Hi, My name is Ambush, I am an addict, an audio addict. I am addicted to broken beats and bad-ass basslines. I have been a user and dealer of broken beats and basslines since 1997, when I was first given an opportunity by African Dope in the Cape.

My introduction and interest for Jungle/breakbeats started in 1992 when I was exposed to The Prodigy. This has since evolved into a lifestyle and something that has merged with my DNA.

Through necessity and desire to promote Drum n Bass to the masses, a Drum n Bass Crew called INISHI8 was formed.

INISHI8 provided a platform for up n coming DJs and Producers to show their skills to the bass hungry heads and at the same time exposing local bass heads to international talent, by bringing top international DJ’s. The rest they say is history

I am still an addict and there is no drug that can compare to the feeling of rocking a dance floor! I hope that I get an opportunity to rock you!

Do you create your own sounds?

Yes I do, I have also just finished a remix for Fuzigish. It should be released in the next few weeks. Keep your ears open for this…..

How much time do you spend on learning new music technology, and are there any go-to sources you turn to?

I am always learning, and trying to improve my knowledge. I have friends that lecture in music production, they are the first point of call, and they point me in the general direction. There are some sites that offer courses (some free) and there is also Youtube if there is just something small.

Some critics will say that some electronic music is mechanical and has no feeling to it. How do you add emotion to songs?

By sampling live instruments and recording live. Some software also have features that allow you to add a “groove” making the music more human.

How often do you create your own sounds, as opposed to using pre-existing samples or patches?

I have a massive soundbank of my own sounds that is constantly evolving and growing. When I’m not using sounds I have sculpted, I always tweak the patch or sample I’m using so that I don’t end up sounding like the next guy, who used the preset.

Why do think music is so important to people?

Music has the power to unite people, cultures and religions. Music can create emotion, tell a story and can even be used to express ourselves. Music can reflect a time period, it reminds us of culture at the time, or brings back memories.  It serves as a connection between eras and generations. Music is easily understood by everyone even without training.

To summarize, there is no other universal language in the world which can cause people to feel such different emotions and remind them of their memories, bringing people together to dance or to reflect in solitude.

Chee

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m 18, born and raised in Pretoria. Currently living with 2 flatmates, 1 of them being Zain (aka Phizicist) who I harass on a regular and make music with and the other being Michelle who is mega skilled with fire poi so I try and stay on her good side. We try our best to stay productive and not become one with the couch while binge watching obscure space videos and vice documentaries.

How do you make sure your sound evolves?

My sound often changes due to my surroundings and the circumstances I encounter in my life… that’s pretty much why most of the morbid material is made in winter. But also just working with other artists and discovering different ways of achieving new sounds.

If something was killing the club scene. What do think it is?

Load Shedding.

How often do you create your own sounds, as opposed to using pre-existing samples or patches?

Of late I’ve been creating my own sounds, reusing the patches, resample & recycle what I’ve made so you can say a bit of both. I do a lot of foley work so I’ll normally get pre recorded sounds from my phone of things around me such as paper, sizzling bacon or the coffee machine and layer it with whatever sounds I make through plugins just to give it that organic sound, bring more life into the sound.

Why do you think music is so important to people?

Music affects how we see the world around us, it’s a reflection of our personality & how we feel. It puts us in an auditorium fantasy that can be understood just by listening and having a mutual understanding of what kind of mood it is. It’s therapy without the need of talking.

Two Lives Left

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Well, hi, I’m Francois, or Two Lives Left in the music world. I’m a musician/producer based in the city of Joburg currently in my second year in varsity and basically, I love making music in my spare time.

Which do you prefer? Playing clubs or festivals?

Festivals. Definitely festivals. I just see that in clubs you always have to keep the energy on a high, however, at festivals I feel that a performer has more freedom to do what they want, and the vibe is much better in general.

How do you stay rooted in an electronic scene?

Always try new things. Don’t stick to one thing just because you’re good at it. Take me for example, I started out creating progressive house and now I’m doing completely different stuff, heck, I don’t even know what I’ll sound like in a year from now.

What’s the biggest misconception of dance music these days?

I know it might be a bit clichéd, but a handful of people who don’t partake in the creation of music believe that the computer does most of the work. It upsets me because what might be a lot of work to a producer can just be ‘another’ track to a listener.

Why do think music is so important to people?

I believe that music is one of the most effective means of connecting to someone emotionally. It has formed a culture in today’s society. Take a music festival for example, it is literally a mass gathering of people who are there for the same reason, for the love of music, and alcohol, but still, just think about that, it’s absolutely unreal.