Damn good question! Mr Bong seems to have popped up on the Cape Town scene from nowhere. I first encountered his set at Rezonance 2011 – 2012. I thought he was the new guy but it seems that Mr Bong has been around more than a few vinyl blocks. This week sees him launch his debut solo album Bongville Stomp. I caught up with him to learn more about his passion for DJing and producing. Press play below to listen to his beats whilst you read this words:
1) You’re originally from Jozi , then England, now back living in Cape Town, how did these cities influence your music style?
Think that each city has had a different influence on my sound although I couldn’t say Cape Town is responsible for that or Jozi responsible for this but London I would say has had the biggest part and where I seriously started concentrating on my sound.
2) What song blew your mind and really got you hooked on the idea to DJ?
Without a doubt Aphrodite Jungle Brother Urban Takeover Remix
3) Where or how did you learn to DJ and on what (vinyl, CDs, software, etc?)
I started learning at home on vinyl, my friend and I don’t some really bad Gemini belt drive decks and that’s how it began, I still prefer it to anything else. I know use Ableton live for my sets with various controllers so I can play my tracks live and do re edits
4) In your opinion, place the “3 T’s” in the order of most important to least important:
Technical Skills – 8
Tone of Set – 7
Tune Selection – 10
Technical skills are becoming less important today, which is sad due to software but I don’t think people/punters really care they care about the tracks and if they know or recognise them, so I’ve seen the best DJ’s clear a floor and the worst DJ’s rock a floor just because of track selection.
5) Do you think that times have a shelf life or are there some tunes that you’ll always include in a set no matter how many times you’ve or others have played it?
There are classics and they are classics for a reason but you always need to bring new styles and flavours to the floor to keep everyone involved and ultimately your job easier.
6) You’re part of Two Twiggs Xperiment Agency, tell us about the work your agency does?
Two Twiggs Xperiment is a specialist marketing agency now but it was a management and DJ agency and we represented various DJ’s like Redwood, MPI, Tasha Baxter etc.
7) You’re a singer and sound engineer as well, how did you progress to producing tunes? Am I correct in thinking that you also incorporate a live element in your sets?
I was part of various projects like Caytie Marvelis and also The Groove Assassins but Ive always been making music and written songs, but with my new album Bongville Stomp is a spectrum of the broken beat genres that I love which i perform live now with the help of Migg Auer from 7th Son who plays bass and Nyasha on the Djembe.
8) This weekend sees you launch your “solo” debut album, featuring collaborations glitch hop artists like Jam Jarr, hip hop artists like Kold Produkt & Red Wood, how difficult is it to write music that collaborates your different styles?
I found it not that difficult really, I know the artists sounds so well and I knew before i started that I wanted a certain sound for the artist and just focus on that to produce the right sound for them, This Thursday at Ibuyambo in Bree street is going to be a great platform to showcase that.
9) What were your goals for this album / what do you hope to achieve with your music?
My goal was to show that I’m not just a breaks or dubstep producer but that I am an electronic artist and that I’m influenced by many genres, which I think I have achieved with Bongville Stomp as it’s really eclectic.
10) What can the audience expect from your album launch?
We have so much going on. Trenton and Free Radical will also be showcasing their new album called Giant Step and we have decided to do our launch together as we are good friends and have the same vision. Mr Sakitumi will be performing with Trenton and the band, Fletcher will be spinning some tracks after the show, there’s also a Street Fashion show by Intsangu (Sizwe) and The Movement (Hajila) ft. artists from The Movement and more, it’s all hosted by Kid Cleva (Mutha FM) and there will be visuals by Contraband for my show, just representing visually what Bongville Stomp is
11) What advice can you give to people who don’t listen to electronic music all the time? How can they connect with your album?
I think that there is something for everyone, while it does focus on the underground sound of electronic music, ultimately they are songs, written to be listened to, so hopefully people will hear that.
12) What is your hope for the future of electronic music in South Africa as a whole?
That people who are pushing things here get the recognition they deserve and can actually get the respect that they so richly deserve.
P.S Why are you called Mr Bong?! (Not making any assumptions here!)
My nickname is Billabong. So Mr Bong just evolved…
Join the party this Thursday, March 29th 2012 for the launch of Bongville Stomp! 7pm, 11 Bree Street, details HERE:
Like Mr Bong on Facebook HERE, follow him on Twitter @DJMrBong or book via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org