It’s hard to deny that Cape Town deep house is having a deserved moment in the spotlight. A combination of hard working promoters throwing consistently great events, a wealth of DJing talent both new & old and a young wave of hungry producers ready to stake their claim has made the city a must visit destination for lovers of South African house music. One of the front runners of this wave is Dwson, the young 021 phenom who has made waves across the country in recent years with hit after hit showing a consistency founded on passion and a drive built on intense work ethic.
After a massive 2018 that included his first full length album, multiple high charting remixes and gigs across the country he has kicked off the new year with a new drop: Glimpses of You. The 4 track EP contains one solo produced cut and 3 vocally assisted grooves featuring artists Roxy Caroline, Dumama and previous collaborator Sio. We got the chance to catch up with Dwson at Black Major HQ and chat about the past few months as well as the EP.
You releasing Impulsiv last year was a big moment, both as your first full length as well as Stay True Sounds’ first album. How did the impact of that moment shape the months that followed?
The reception was incredible. It was great to be able to create without having to reference a blueprint for a first album, where you are expected to include certain elements almost as a formula. I created the way I wanted to and to have gotten the reception I did was proof of the vision.
Luna actually then went on to win Best Underground Record of the Year at the South African Dance Music Awards, that must have been a great feeling.
[laughs] That was crazy! I remember just before the host announced the winner he said that the song was a big hit in the clubs and it had no vocals with a strong melody. People even started to chant a little bit and I smiled when I looked at Allan (Kid Fonque). By the end I was thinking ‘Just announce it already!’
Seriously though it was great to receive that kind of recognition in a room with that many talented producers and DJs in attendance. It was definitely a blessing.
You’ve also been playing some high profile gigs as of late, how was CTEMF and the set with Cornelius?
The production for the party was amazing. The stage we played on, the Budweiser stage, was especially crazy, it had a Boiler Room feel where people were dancing all around us. I was interested to see how the performance with Cornelius would go because he leans quite techno and I’m quite melodic, but we settled into each others styles quite nicely after a few songs each.
Lets chat a bit about the new EP, how did the vocalists all come together?
It was actually a mixed idea which Cuito (Black Major) played a big part in. He made the initial connection between myself and them and we each ran with it from there. We had some live instrumentation sessions here and there as well, to add to what I could use for the production.
Did you have a different process for working with each vocalist?
For the most part I would be in on the recording sessions, then take everything home to work on and create to. It was a bit of back and forth from there as I incorporated feedback and built the tracks up.
The experience working with Dumama was really interesting. We did an exercise she had used before were before recording we had to stare into each others eyes for 5 minutes without speaking. We then had to trade random words with each other for another 2 minutes and from there she would start writing & recording. It was definitely special, I’m a big fan of hers now.
You and Sio seem to have great chemistry working together
I really love working with Sio. I’m into moody stuff and she’s such an amazing story teller. She has one of the most beautiful voices out here and it just fits so lovely with my music. Initially Sio was on writing duties for the song & I was going to pitch it to another artist who I adore but I couldn’t see “anyone else” [winks] on the track but her, so we just went in and created another song.
I see there is also a music video in the works, that’s a first isn’t it?
[smiles] That was an experience! It was the first time for myself and Sio but the people who put it together made us feel really comfortable. I trusted them throughout the process and I trust that they’re going to produce something great. The mood of the video perfectly suits the song.
It’s not often that you see deep house music videos anymore
Not often at all. When I announced it on social media a so called fan commented and asked if I was hungry for the limelight now! [laughs] The spotlight isn’t really that important to me. If you know me and where I am right now you’ll know it’s not who I am and why I chose to do it. It’s what the people want and I’m more than happy to provide them with it. It’s all about pushing the limit of what I can do and where I can take the music. I’m excited for everyone to see it.
Do you know when you’ll get to see it?
[smiles] No, we’ll only get to see it when everyone else does.