Mix n Blend have been on the Cape Town music scene for over 10 years in various forms. Initially as a 3 piece DJ group (2 versions) to a duo DJ group to a 6 piece touring band. All throughout the various versions of Mix n Blend Kevin Ribbans and Jon Arnold haven’t stopped DJing, producing, touring and enriching the South African electronic music scene. SFR is one of South Africa’s most well known dubstep and drum n bass producers. With over 5 years experience in DJing, his tracks have been released internationally and locally. Today Mix n Blend and SFR release their Mother City EP. I had a word with the boys from Mix n Blend about their latest work:
BCTC: You guys were recently artist featured on Soundcloud which has lead you to gain over 100 000 followers! How does it feel to see your music seeping into the international market on such a rapid scale?
MnB: Ha! Well I think the one thing we’re most happy about is that it slowly becomes a broadcast mechanism where you can get your stuff out more easily to people. That’s the nicest thing I guess. Being able to reach out and put our music out there as well as to hopefully help showcase all the amazing music that is being produced down here in South Africa. One cool thing with SoundCloud now is that they allow you to repost tracks easily, much like you would retweet on Twitter. So it allows us (or anyone else) to show people what we’re listening to or what we think is cool. These days, a lot of the time, it’s stuff that people are making from here.
BCTC: Apart from your fusion compositions you guys are known for your swing sets but also drum n bass sets. What motivates you to explore these two different styles of music?
MnB: We love music. All kinds of music (well except for a few genres). I suppose we’re very lucky that we had HoneyB, Roach, Fletcher, Farrell Adams, The Blunted Stuntman (all the African Dope guys) as influences. They beat us into liking funk, soul, reggae , rock, dub etc. and really broaden our musical horizons. I don’t think it’s possible to actually make anything new or great unless you’re willing to go and explore a lot. I suppose it’s like cooking. Imagine you only knew a couple of dishes and then were tasked with creating new ones. You can only really do that, I guess, if you have a broad understanding of a lot of different styles and influences. Getting to discover all the influences and styles that are out there, that’s an amazing thing to be able to do.
MnB: We love reggae, dub etc, and one of our two vocalists is one of the most talented ragga MC’s in this country (Crosby Bolani). So I guess he would definitely bring that influence to the table.
MnB: To bring people together, to let them have fun, to introduce them to some new styles of music and new artists. For instance, we just finished a pretty dark and trippy dub (and I mean King Tubby here, dub is not, not dubstep) track with Sannie Fox. She’s never ever done a track like that and is an amazing artist. Hopefully when that comes out, a bunch of people who haven’t heard her stuff before will go check out her stuff and be amazed.
BCTC: You’ve travelled to Reunion, Europe as well as across Africa. What is your dream gig that you hope to play one day?
MnB: I guess the dream would be to get our full band out into Europe and do some tours there. Just getting to travel and see new places and meet new people. To be honest that’s one of the most amazing things we’ve got out of music. Going to places, making new friends, making music with them, experiencing different cultures, and then having people from all over the world drop in to visit us in Cape Town.
BCTC: Tell us about your new Mother City EP being released today?
MnB: Basically, we sat down with our friend SFR, and said, “let’s make a new track.” We’d done a track with him called Tantrum before and that turned out pretty well. We were, at that time, listening to a lot of stuff that people like Redlight were making and really liking it. It was this kind of grimy 130bpm bass heavy tip. We thought to ourselves, “No one’s really mashed that kind of sound up with sounds from down here before. It could work.”
We sat down and wrote one track called Mother City. Then we approached Crosby, Zoro and the Ruffest. They’d never worked together. I remember the first time we all got together everyone was figuring each other out initially and no one really knew who was going to do what on that track. Then they suddenly all went into a huddle and about 5 minutes later that track’s vocal skeleton was down. Wow! They suddenly wrote those vocals quickly! That’s an amazing thing to see; when you just see highly talented and creative people click and start bouncing off each other. That spark catches and suddenly it’s just this super quick effortless process.
So we made that and we sent it off to a pretty massive American label. They came back and said, “We love it, make an EP please and we’ll probably put it out.” So of course we jumped at that, made three more tracks and sent them off and…they never got back to us.
But thank God they did initially as it actually got us to knuckle down and work for a while and get a body of work out!
BCTC: What about the sound of the Mother City EP?
The EP itself, in terms of sound I guess, is pretty difficult to describe. I’m not terribly good at describing our work. I do think that everyone who worked on it brought their own flavour to it in a big way, I think we made a lot of really great friends in the process of making it, and I really hope anyone reading this enjoys listening to it.
The Mother City EP features 4 tracks:
- Mix n Blend & SFR – Mother City feat. The Ruffest, Crosby Bolani, Zoro
- Mix n Blend & SFR – Woza
- Mix n Blend & SFR – Lost in Music feat. Bonj Mpanza from the band ‘The City’
- Mix n Blend & SFR – Another Killer feat. The Ruffest
The Mother City EP is out today and available for download on the Mix n Blend Soundcloud page.