Get To Know BCUC Before Park Acoustics

Interview by Lee Mavuso (@lee_thelemon)

Photo by Christelle Duvenage Photography (@StellaTeleur)

We got to catch up with the amazing BCUC before they get to perform at Park Acoustics this Sunday at 2pm sharp on stage.  We’re pretty excited to see them live, and you should pack your dancing shoes in too.

Every single entity and member of BCUC is completely unique and brings something different to the table. How did the universe gravitate you all towards each other to start this band?
We were just a bunch of friends that knew each others friends.  We shared a passion for music and the same beliefs.  We decided to make a band that will change the way people think about music.

Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness is such a powerful and particular name for a band. What inspired the inception of the name and what the band does?
We wanted to come up with an ill name that will sound like it belongs with names like, “A Tribe Called Quest”, or “Mystical Revelations of Rastafari”.  According to us our name has a place along side these mighty names.  Moreover, our name is a hint to how deeply rooted our music is to the mother continent.

Many up and coming bands tend to immediately go into studio to start recording an EP as soon as they’ve gathered a fan base and play a few live shows. Why haven’t you followed suit on this?
Because our music needs to ferment so it didn’t feel proper or necessary to jump into the studio.  We want to play music for the rest of our lives so we are under pressure to record a masterpiece of sound, era and the foundation to our projected longevity.

Your image and your sound is truly distinctive and different to the norm. How do people who haven’t yet grasped the concept of your style listen to your music with a firmer understanding of the message that you’re conveying to them?
Our image, for us, is just typical Soweto, effortless everyday wear.  That means we dress for comfort and functionality.  In terms of our music, it too is a typical black, nostalgic, family influenced sound.  We are not so particular in a certain style of genre but we always aim for timeless and honest, traditional/ ritualistic sound.  The music should always resonate with the spirituality, the history and the future of the people.  All in all, we curate an African soulful, spiritual path way.

Did you find it difficult to introduce your style of music to the audience back home in Soweto or did they come to embrace you as you are?
At first it was a big ask for the audience to grasp our non-commercial and non-conformist approach.  To make things worse it was not hip to sing indigenous music.  Luckily because of the constant rules of evolution that says;  In order to go forward, you should always go back to the beginning, now a lot of people are forced to go back to the beginning.  It makes it easier for us because we still play music like it was played in the beginning phases of African/rock/spoken-word/soul and funk.  In an odd way it seems like the people have caught up with us or we have caught up with the people.

 

Photo by Christelle Duvenage

Photo by Christelle Duvenage

 

Your live performances are always so genuine and authentic. What kind of mind set do you guys put yourselves in before playing a live show?
We never anticipate how the set is going to turn out or the response from the audience.  We just go in and court the audience from there on what it is, is what it will be.

Your sound includes a mixture of poetry and the state of our politics encased in a beautiful soundboard of chants and trancelike rhythms. What inspired this completely fresh approach to live performance?
Culturally as black people whenever we congregate, whether for spiritual purposes, political pursuits or just for fun, we always sing.  Within that music there always are orators/praise singers/Amagosa, so for us there is nothing new with our approach.  As far as we know music from where we come from has always been done like this.

Your ancestry is a main recurring theme in your music. Why do you feel that this is an important message to be conveying to your audience?
It is not our ancestors but it is ancestry that we all have as we are all the continuation of our descedants that walked this earth before us.  It is important for us a band because we engage with the audience on a spiritual level (beyond the music that the ear can hear but the music that your soul can hear).  Ancestry is the source of where it went wrong and as we are the continuation of our bloodlines it is our earthly duty to rectify what our kind did wrong and amplify what our kind did right.  That is the only reason we find it very necessary for us especially as a country to engage as a people beyond what money can buy.

What is the creative process behind your song writing and prepping for your live performances?
There is no prep time for writing songs or playing live.  Our lives as a band, as human beings, as artists, as responsible audults are a continuous existence in a world co-habited by like minds and unlike minds alike.  Who we are and what we do on stage is a continuation of our existence on this earth.

Any exciting new projects that we can expect from the band in 2016?
We are contemplating on dropping a digital riddim (a bunch of artists creating their own songs on top of a single beat, almost like remixing a single beat).  Also, finally we are going to drop some form of an EP or LP we are still thinking about which one we are dropping.  As everbody knows by now we are never under pressure to release anything. We have three international tours lined up.  First is Spain, then the US and lastly France.  For now the important thing is Park Acoustics is going to be lit.

 

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