Have you ever wondered what the sonic equivalent of eating papayas on a Persian carpet in suburban paradise after a game of badminton is? Hmm, no, us neither, but it’s safe to say that Gourmet’s aesthetic is exactly that.
Gourmet is a brand new edition to South Africa’s music scene, but his debut has been a long time coming. Teaming up with creative label 1991, the Cape Town artist has spent a good while crafting, polishing, and releasing in stages, what would become his debut EP, ‘Cashmere’ which we’re premiering today.
Throughout the hype, Gourmet has remained largely, and purposefully enigmatic. In line with his full EP release, we thought we’d ask him a few questions in order to gain a better understanding of the Spaghetti Pop artist. As it turns out, he’s hell bent on remaining a dark horse, but at least we know he’s one of the most thoroughbred ones out there.
Let’s start with a classic question. What’s behind the name ‘Gourmet’?
I’ve actually got Thor Rixon to thank for that, he suggested it.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into making music.
Skin. Blood. Phalanges.
The child within.
People have been struggling to pin your sound down to a specific genre. How would you describe it?
South African electronic music expands and changes at such a rapid pace. As an emerging electronic artist, do you think there’s time to try and break into a specific genre or should you rather craft your own sound and add to the shifting soundscape?
I wouldn’t exclusively call myself an electronic artist. I feel that making trend based music makes you completely replaceable and, therefore, crafting one’s own sound is essential. I think that an awareness of what is occurring around you and what’s happening within oneself allows for the balance that is needed. I also feel that being culturally aware of what is going on outside of a Western cosmopolitan sphere reveals what is truly fascinating.
Who are a few of your influences, local and international?
Locally I love John Wizards, Fever Trails, Seferino, Maxime Alexander, Bhekisenzo Cele, Psalms, Thor Rixon and Hessien+. Internationally, Jai Paul, The Neptunes, King Krule, Earl Sweatshirt, Connan Mockasin, Alex Bury, Manuel Galban, Ali Farka Toure and Freddie Gibbs.
Your sound and your aesthetic are both highly polished. What’s your musical process like? Is it as polished?
I’m a multi-instrumentalist, producer and I also sing, so everything you’re hearing, I create, but the actual process is extremely spontaneous. I try to create something every day and I guess sometimes it works and sometimes not so much. Regarding the ‘polish’, that’s where 1991 really comes in. We work together and I trust in them to see all the blind spots that I may miss, a lot of these are revealed in the mixing and mastering stages. Eventually working towards a refined product that we can all feel proud of.
‘Gourmet’ and ‘Cashmere’ are decadent words. Is that the intention? A decadent listening experience?
Well, I mean, yeah. Cerise tureen. Clitoris. It just sounds so nice.
You use a variety of sounds and instruments in your tracks, each one performing a few different functions. How long does it take you to put a track together?
It can take anywhere between half an hour and twelve months. The thing that takes the longest is probably the refining process between myself and 1991.
Your sound taps into a familiar sort of melancholic solitude. How much of your music is a collaborative process with external people or places and how much of it is private?
I think most of it is probably reactionary, but my mind is a playground and there’s lots of exploring to be done. As far as external people are concerned, within 1991, the mixing and mastering is done, as well as co-production on certain tracks.
Now that you’ve passed the milestone of a first album, where would you like to see Gourmet going next?
Milan fashion week. I think that’s fine. What do you think?
Is 1991 focusing exclusively on music or are there plans to branch out into other artistic areas?
As a creative label, 1991 has the intention of doing more than just music. I believe, that could be almost anything. However what’s coming next we’ll have to see.
Gourmet has recently released an alternate version of Cashmere which features remixes by Thor Rixon and Pavlov. The re- release is Cashmere, Reinterpreted and is available for free download until 13 April. Give it a listen below.