It’s no secret that South Africa has become, arguably, the capital of House music. Even more so, local acts have been able to put themselves on the world map, coming out with releases of international standard. Of one such many talents, I came across is DJ/Producer/Remixer, Mpeshnyk.
Mpeshnyk [M • pesh • nik] – hailing from Umthata, Eastern Cape – has been Dj’ing and producing since 2007. He studied music production as his major at the Academy of Sound Engineering in Auckland Park (SABC Radio Park), where he then learned how to play on vinyl and digital as well as production. Here is where met various other music producers and Dj’s, who shared the same passion for music as he did.
Music has been ever present in his life. His father a firm classical music lover, whilst his mother and grandfather participated in various choirs, though it was his mother’s RnB & Soul records that enthralled his ears.
Although Mpeshnyk has only been around for a few years, he is no amateur. In 2009 he entered the Nitefeva & Atjazz South African Remix Competition of the track ‘Love Someone’ by Atjazz feat. Robert C. Owens. Mpeshnyk won the competition alongside G. Family and Lemon & Herb. These remixes were then released under Atjazz’s record label and has been put on digital release on traxsource, beatport and other leading downloading stores.
Mpeshnyk has since done many remixes, including: Kem – Human Touch, Jill Scott – Nothing, and DJ Fanta Paul’s – Brand Nu Day which got picked up by Lars Behrenroth where he played it on his Deeper Shades Of House radio show. Which in turn got played on Metro fm’s ‘The Urban Beat’ hosted by Vinni Da Vinci, Christos & Zeal. He currently has monthly podcast mixes on www.planetofhouse.podomatic.com, while still releasing a few EP’s here and there.
Q & A SESSION WITH MPESHNYK…
I got a chance to sit down and have a chat with the talented Mpeshnyk – at his Auckland Park residence – as he explains his background, experiences, current projects and his future plans…
Houseonmag: Real name?
Mpeshnyk: Mpendulo ‘Mpeshnyk’ Calaza
Houseonmag: Tell me a bit about your background…
Mpeshnyk: Born and raised in Umthata. Basically been loving music since I was a toddler. Music has always been in my life, ever since I can remember.
Houseonmag: How did it start for you?
Mpeshnyk: Well, I’d say it started in the ‘90’s for me, where I actually opted to just stick to doing music. I think it was when I first heard Midtempo mixed by Glen Lewis; I was inspired to listen to more House music. After I learned how to DJ and produce, I then started to listen to other genres, such as new jazz, acid jazz, lounge, down tempo, deep tech, anything really.
Houseonmag: So what came first; DJ’ing or producing?
Mpeshnyk: It was actually both, because I came to Johannesburg in 2007 to study at the ASE. So in my first year, I learned how to DJ and produce at the same time.
Houseonmag: When did you get your break?
Mpeshnyk: 2010, my last year at ASE. When I was one of the winners for the Atjazz South African remix competition. From there I’ve been able to network with big guys overseas like DJ Tipz, who I have been able to send my remixes and some of my own songs for them to play on air. Also, after I sent my Brand Nu Day remix to Lars and was played on his radio show,
Houseonmag: Winning the Atjazz competition must have been huge for you?
Mpeshnyk: Yeah, it was actually quite huge. We had a great response about the EP itself. I mean we even got comments from Vinny Da Vinci and Louie Vega (just to name a few).
Houseonmag: Did you take it seriously?
Mpeshnyk: I had actually gone back home, in July, on holiday when I had found out about the competition. I then hooked myself up to the net to check it out. Got all the info and saw the closing date was the 22 September 2010. Went back to Johannesburg for college, and continued with schooling. About 2 or 3 wks before the closing date is when I actually started on the remix; which took me 3 days to complete. I then had different people to listen to the track, just to see their response. They liked it and that’s when I sent in the track on the last week of the deadline.
Houseonmag: How did that experience help you?
Mpeshnyk: It has helped a lot, because I am now being asked to remix a lot of songs from people across the board, locally and internationally.
Houseonmag: How would you describe your sound?
Mpeshnyk: That was very hard for me to distinguish in the beginning, but now I call it “Freaky Soul”. It’s everything from break beats, tribal, deep, deep-tech anything id add on to with a soulful. Even if I were to work with someone, I’d still add that “Freaky Soul” touch to it.
Houseonmag: What are you working on currently?
Mpeshnyk: I just finished two remixes for Marco Finotello. One has already been released; ‘Marco Finotello feat. Lilly Latuheru – Weooh’ (Tall House Digital). I’m currently preparing for the release of Sweet Twisters – The Dream Chaser EP where I will have two original tracks on the EP. I am also working on an original that I will be sending to Thandi Draai.
Houseonmag: Who would like to work with, internationally and locally?
Mpeshnyk: Oh, man, that’s a hard one. To be honest I’d like to work with everyone, but unfortunately that is not possible. So I would have to say, internationally, the one person I’d love to work with is Osunlade. He’s got this vibe of blending his cultural beliefs with his music. He also makes sure that his music is about dancing and not just about soul. Locally, I would like to work with Culoe De Song. Reason being, I believe his first album was just amazing, because of the soul that was put into it and the richness in his culture that he portrayed in the album.
Houseonmag: Why do you think you have a greater hype outside of South Africa?
Mpeshnyk: Well for one, I’ve always been listening to international House music. When listening to music, I always make sure I found out the history behind the music. So from that I have a greater knowledge of the international market than I do the local scene. And I also feel that my sound is different to the guys in South Africa.
Houseonmag: That being said, what is your take on the new generation of House producers and DJ’s who don’t know even where it started?
Mpeshnyk: For me, it was an experience. When I heard House for the first time in the ‘90s, I thought it was South African (like kwaito). But when I went out and did my research and found it was born and bred in Chicago in the 80s by Frankie Knuckles. So for the new guys, they need to learn more and do more research on the history of what they are doing. Just to gain a better understanding
Houseonmag: Are you signed to any label?
Mpeshnyk: When I got into the game, I met a guy called Neo (Who is now my manager), He and his partner, Ashley Seko, are running a company called Bloodline Music Records. It is an independent entertainment company which comprises of a couple of artists where we are all just doing our own individual projects. So that’s who I am signed to currently.
Houseonmag: What do you think about the South African market and where do you see it going?
Mpeshnyk: The local market can go very far! I mean if you look at the likes of Zulu Mafia, G. Family, The Antidotes, Lemon and herb as well as Bond Jobe. These guys are doing it big locally and on the international front, and these are just the underground guys.
Houseonmag: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Mpeshnyk: MIAIMI!! I see myself going to Miami for the Winter Music Conference. It has come to a point where people overseas have taken notice to my music. So I want to network and grow more as an artist. I also plan on going to the South African Music Conference.
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