Interviews

Interview with Mix ‘n Blend

Interview with Mix ‘n Blend

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September 23rd, 2013

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From the sound-soaked streets of Cape Town city, the double SAMA (South African Music Award) nominated Mix n Blend DJ/ production duo has been giving electro boogie lovers a reason to throw their hands in the air and dance like no one’s watching since 2001.

When did you start DJing – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

We started Dj’ing late 2001, initially it was just on a UCT radio show we had. From the show we were introduced to the African Dope crew, who at that time were the likes of Honey B, Farrell Adams, Blunted Stuntman, Sibot and Waddy (Die Antwoord). All of them were very influencial in getting us into all types of genres of music. So we have always tried to keep true to that concept.

Where did you learn your skills from. Self-taught or education route?

All self-taught. For the first part of our first year at UCT, Jon was in the UK and when he came back he brought with a pair of turntables and records, so we used to sit in his room in Kopano res and mix and mix and mix, much to the dismay of our girlfriends ha ha. Same when it came to producing our own tracks, started out just playing around with production programmes and then started linking up with other producers which we learn’t most of our stuff from. Jon is also one of those types who can actually read a manual and learn from it, which has helped us a lot on the technical side of things.

What is your current studio set-up?

We have a little home studio at Jon’s place. We use mostly Ableton as a sequencer, but also Cubase and Logic. And we have a bunch of analogue stuff too; A Juno60 synth, a Sh101 synth, a Moog little Phatty, A Virus and a korg ms10

What part of the production process do you find the most challenging?

Hmmm, most likely answer would be the mix-down part, that’s where you really gotta go in and make sure everything sounds good and balanced. And trust us, certain tracks will fight you till the very end!

What are currently your main challenges as a DJ? What is it about DJing, compared to, say, producing your own music, that makes it interesting for you?

I think one of the biggest challenges these days is trying to fight off the overbearing american pop culture…in a sense that it makes it difficult to often play local stuff without crowd’s asking for some American artist. Not that all American music is per say bad, it’s just that it can make South Africans think less of their own local culture in music when it is, in fact, of a really high standard.

What’s your current live/DJ set-up and why have you chosen this over everything else available in the market?

Our current setup for Dj’ing is Serato and a Macbook using CDJ’s. We went the laptop linked with traditional dj setup because, not only did we keep the feel of Dj’ing on a pair of CDJ’s/Decks, but it made sense for us as we could easily load our own music onto the laptop quickly, as well as being able to have a huge music library at hand. If we had to write all our music onto cd’s we would probably need an extra stage just for the cd’s. he he

Do you feel a crowd is actually able to appreciate the intricacies of complex DJing, if they don’t actually know what, precisely, is happening behind the decks?

Hmmm, i think it depends on the crowd really. If you go to a drum n bass night like Pressure for example, the crowd are there for the music and have taken an interest in what is being played and how it is being played. However, I wouldn’t expect the same from a crowd at say, Tiger Tiger for example. Most people are there for mates and to have some drinks and a good time. To expect them to suddenly want to learn all about how Dj’ing works would to me, be a little self-indulgent.

What’s your perspective on the relationship and the balance between technological advances, music and the art of DJing? How have particular technologies changed your style of DJing?

The world moves on, and no matter how much one goes, “in my day” nothing is going to stop the tech march from going forward. So it’s really up to the individual as to what they do with it. I think if you get yourself a fancy new controller with tonnes of effects and features…and just use it to mix 2 songs together and nothing else, then you are doing yourself and technology and injustice.
For us, it allowed us to take a lot more music out with us, which made for better sets musically. It has also helped us in the formation of our live band, which is an electronic cross-over between electronic and traditional musical instruments.

Out of all the tunes you have, which one ‘never fails?’

Hmmm, I would say “Bare Necessities” from the jungle book soundtrack has always been a great tune, seems to pull people back to their childhood ha ha. Another one would be Bob Marley – Could you be loved.

how is the scene in your eyes at the moment?

The scene is great, lots of people doing cool stuff and also lots of big parties going on, and more and more popping up all over the place. This means more line-up space for up-and-coming Dj’s to showcase their stuff and also a move toward more diverse line-ups and so on.

Anything else you would like to say? any Shouts?

Shouts to SFR and the Ruffest, Crosby and Bonj for being awesome and doing such good work on the EP, we are very proud of it! Shouts to all our other friends and family that have supported us too!

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Interview by: Ben McCabe | @callmeben0

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