South African-born, Berlin-based Muzi is an electronic producer and DJ you need to know about. Since releasing his debut EP in 2013, Muzi’s become an internationally recognised force in the electronic music community.
His sound merges Western influence and South African roots to create a unique brand of hard-electro that’s already caught the attention of The Prodigy, Utah Saints, and of course, a loyal SA audience.
Muzi released his debut album Boom Shaka a while back and has since brought out a track-by-track breakdown of the album. Watch a few of our favourite videos below, after reading a short interview with the artist.
Hey Muzi! So can you tell us a bit about your latest LP and how it came together?
Hey, thank you for taking the time to do the interview. Much appreciated. Well, ideas kept coming through after I finished my FIRE FX EP so I continued working on new songs. I made a lot of music so we had to can a lot of it in order for this project to make sense sonically.
You’ve experienced quite a bit of international fame in a relatively short time. What was your first break into the international scene?
It was after I made my first EP back in 2013. That got a lot of big names like Jakwob, Utah Saints, MoodyGood, The Prodigy etc. interested and everything has been sorta snowballing from that point.
What’s been happening since then?
We’ve been building. My sound has been developing. I’m getting more confident so I’m leaving a lot of things out and learning how to let the music breathe. A lot of dope gigs have happened in the time as well, so I’m getting better as a DJ as well and I’ve met a few cool people. It’s all been positive really, steadily moving forward.
Tell us a bit about the stuff you’re listening to at the moment.
I’m not listening to much really. I’m focused on this “Muzi” sound I’m trying to develop. Think the last thing I listened to was Justice – Randy, just ’cause I’m a super fan.
You moved over to Berlin a while back and you said that your sound wasn’t really understood here. How has Berlin’s scene received your sound? Any marked difference between Berlin’s music scene and South Africa’s?
Yeah, it felt that way, like I was misunderstood because I wasn’t conforming. It’s been really cool here, I ain’t conforming here either but there’s a dope scene in which I can play my stuff.
There aren’t any marked differences, I think people are open-minded everywhere. It’s just that here there’s more of an infrastructure that supports that, whereas back home platforms mostly cater for commercial sounding vibes.
Talking sound, you’ve said your own sound is very much influenced by your roots. When you’re abroad, how do you make sure you still tap into that South African influence?
Well, besides playing my own stuff, I do these bootleg remixes where I remix South African acts and play that shit out. If I get sent or hear a South African song that I like, I remix/edit it for my DJ sets.
Lastly, what’s next for Muzi?
I stay working. I’m always creating so the music will stay coming. I have a video coming out soon for ‘Sweat’ as well. Shot it with my good friends over at ROBOT TV. First video I have that has no footage shot with a cellphone lmfao so that’s exciting.
The first track off the album, ‘Ekhaya’ has a brilliant energy to it, coupled with a punctuating bassline that establishes a great momentum throughout. Listen to Muzi talk about the inspiration behind the track.
A nod to that iconic show we all watched with our parents, Muzi explains how the third track on his album was inspired by the TV show, Eastern Mosaic.
‘Shaman’ makes use of repetitive percussive elements and looped synths to bring across a trance-like element in its sound. Here, Muzi gives a little bit of insight into his songwriting process.
‘Switch Up’ puts forward a strong offering of horns, and endless drum beats, making for a high-energy track. Watch Muzi tell us a bit more about its origins.
WTF You Mean
One of the first tracks to be written for Boom Shaka, ‘WTF You Mean’ was Muzi’s way of expressing the #FeesMustFall issue, an issue that he says is close to his heart.