Muzi Mazibuko is a young and talented producer from South Africa whose recent EP “Fire Up The Bongo”, dropped on March 5th on Generation Bass label, has caused a stir in the international dance scene. It hasn’t passed unnoticed, and several renown blogs picked up on it, including OkayAfrica and Generation Bass (who’ve made Die Antwoord famous). At this point, it seems it’s only a matter of moments until it blows up big for Muzi, whose distinct and highly addictive sound is destined to be heard all over the globe. We’ve talked about his music, growing up in a violent surrounding, inspiration, influences, and his second video for song ‘Uproar’. Muzi’s musings remind us of the importance of sticking to one’s dream, and doing what one feels it needs to be done.
The place where you’re from, Empangeni Township in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa, has recently been through very violent history. How do you think this has influenced your music and do you think that (your) music can be used as a tool for social healing and empowerment?
– The violence definitely played a major role in my life. Things happen in the townships like mine. There isn’t any community watch or anything remotely close to something like that. That’s why I had to stay indoors most of the time and that gave me time to work on my music. As for the social healing bit, I hope it does one day. Privileged kids grow up being told they can be and do anything they want. We never had that, my family has always been in survival mode, and I hope that one day, my achievements inspire other kids with similar backgrounds.
Your sound is an eclectic and unique fusion of the hottest electronic dance genres of today. It’s really dark, with nuances of electro, chiptune, techno and dubstep. Am I forgetting anything? Who would you say are your favourite artists you’re looking up to? What musical and non-musical sources do you use for inspiration?
– I’m still trying to figure out what to call it myself, because it’s all solely based on a feeling. These beats play in my head, if I’m not close to my laptop, I beatbox them and record them as voice notes on my phone. There is no ” let me make this genre ” moment. My musical heroes are Justice, Daft Punk, Linkin Park, Pharrell, Coldplay, The Prodigy, Timbaland, Deadmau5, Skrillex, Wolfgang Gartner.These people have taken something and made it their own. In a way that’s what I aim to do as well, to break new ground. These people are innovators in my eyes.Concerning my inspiration; what inspires me most is where I come from. The thought that I can make something great out of myself inspires me. The thought that through my music, I can make someone’s day inspires me. The thought that one day I could meet and work with my musical heroes inspires me. I have already met The Prodigy and they are awesome people. I’m inspired by the possibility that I could actually become what I dream of being. From within is where the inspiration comes.
You’ve received critical acclaim by the likes of Prodigy, Generation Bass, High Rankin, Foreign Beggars and others for your 1st EP, Bundu FX. Seeing that you have substantial support from some of the influential players in the international club scene, what would you say is your greatest challenge right now?
– It’s probably to keep doing what I’m doing and getting better at it. I never want to get comfortable musically. I always want to grow, but keep my personal music style intact. That’s usually a challenge most artists have. They never stick to their guns, always jumping on to the latest musical trend. I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully get better at it!
Is there a specific message in your music, something you would like to communicate with your audience?
– It’s a reflection of who I am and what I aim to be. My background wasn’t the best so I made clubby/happy music to take me away from the grim realities of my life. I’m in a better place now of course but that has stuck. When I was down, my music would uplift me and it still does that to me. Weird phenomena really. Beneath all the crazy synths, distorted basslines and heavy drums, lies my soul.
The first video taken from your EP Fire Up The Bongo, Uproar, has an interesting concept; you took your music to the streets, offered people headphones and let them listen to your tune while recording their reactions. They loved it. What makes this interesting is the fact that your music is generally played in clubs, and not on the streets, like some other genres such as pantsula or hiphop. How did this idea come about?
– When you make the music, you become so close to it. It becomes your creation, your baby, so to speak. You love your product so much because you know you gave it your all. Sometimes this could be misleading. So I thought that approaching strangers would give me the most honest feedback. We approached way more people than we showed on the video. Some were like ” I don’t know what this music is, but I love it “.
Where do you see yourself in a few years from now? How would you like your sound to develop?
– My sound will probably have a bit more vocals in them but I will always have that uncompromising no-vocals-needed Muzi sound.I hope I’m a better version of myself, making a better version of the music I’m making now. I hope to find more people I can relate to. Its a lonely journey, but it all makes sense when you’re on stage. You see people that have never heard your music vibing to it. That makes me realise it’s bigger than me. I hope to experience more of that feeling. Most importantly though, I hope that by being here, I would’ve pushed the genre forward somehow. Pushed it in a way that all those that came before me can respect. Till then, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing now and give it my all. Win or Perish, that’s the motto.
Finally, can we expect some more videos soon?
– Of course yeah ! With even more interesting concepts.
Make sure to check out Muzi’s first video here.