INTERVIEW AND MIX: RVWR

Cape Town’s elusive king of Trap RVWR is back with a new EP entitled Cupcake which was just released. We caught up with RVWR to talk about electronic music in South Africa, his new EP and his plans for 2017. He also decided to give us an exclusive mix to publish as a bit of a Christmas present. It is a truly brilliant mix that will fit in perfectly with your summer festivities. Listen to it at the end of the interview.

Let’s cut straight to what I regard to be a rather important issue. You’ve just released your new EP Cupcake and so far no South African media outlet has picked up on the EP while a few international ones have done so. Why do you think this is the case?

I think it’s partly because the genre or style of tracks that are on the EP aren’t really being pushed so much in South Africa as they were a couple of years ago.  The general public’s taste in music in South Africa has changed in the past year or two as well (possibly because of the lack of support and push) and that means Bass music has taken a bit of a hit, to be honest. I am confident that will change in the near future though and even if it doesn’t, nobody is stopping me making what I make and playing what I want to play.

Let’s actually take it further – do you see it as an issue that many of South Africa’s innovative electronic artists are often swept under the rug and ignore by the general public due to the lack of media support?

I agree with you and do think that a lot of the slightly leftfield styles of music – those not played in Ultra commercial festivals and the like – aren’t getting the local recognition that they really should.  South African music is killing it worldwide with GQOM being a big deal in Europe, Hip Hop acts breaking out across Africa, acts like Chee, Muzi having international deals, and of course Das Kapital breaking boundaries too over the last 4 years.  Goldfish and Black Coffee are pushing things too and yet I know quite a few guys writing such awesome music locally like Dunn Kidda, Hawkword and Freer to name a few that aren’t getting the deserved push in their respective areas and are not getting fully supported.

On the other hand, many media outlets face intense staffing issues and the people that do decide to try their hand at music journalism don’t tend to have much interest in electronic music and so forth. How do you propose that media outlets start tackling electronic music and featuring electronic music when they are faced with such staffing issues?

How many of those media outlets approach people in the scenes to say they would like someone to be the mouthpiece of that scene?  It’s very much a two-way street although I do fully appreciate everyone is massively stretched right now.  The best bet is to have people who want to talk to electronic artists – a lot of whom have something to say – and to search out the stories and the music.  You don’t have to be an uber fan of electronic music, you do need to have an inquisitive mind and be open to new things and have a desire to want to find out about things and be the first there.  If you can have that you don’t really need to have every electronic track ever released on your playlist.  But you should want to document what is happening across the boards because the reality might surprise you.

 Let’s talk about your new EP, Cupcake. It is a rather eclectic mash-up of genres and doesn’t necessarily stick to one particular sound. What inspired you or influenced you to create the EP in this particular fashion?

I don’t want to be known as a one genre producer, I want to be versatile and do many different sounds and mash up genres. Saying that all 3 tracks on the EP came from a different space and feel and the “Cupcake” track was me trying something different to what I am used to. I had this idea that I needed to create a new “identity” to release more music similar under, hence the “Mubla” reference just before the first drop. With “Stroke” and “Untl I” wanted to be more “RVWR” and take more left field approach to it. With “Stroke” it is the weird unconventional stereo field and “Untl” the general grimey feel as I was listening to a ton of grime at the time and still am.

What is your creation and production method when it comes to creating new music? Is there a set formula you follow, or is it a spur of the moment type thing?

Every time I open up Ableton I have a template waiting for me which I like to use, it has got my sends/returns set up with Plugins & midi/audio tracks ready to drop samples in. I tend to start with percussion & drums (try to stray from midi and just use audio samples I can manipulate to my liking) and add on synths and extra bits thereafter. There is a general idea of what Genre direction I am taking while writing, from there I just let the production goes where it wants to go really. If I end up think about it too much then it loses the fun aspect of the work for me. At the same time, I want something that will work and bang on the dancefloor, but I am also trying to make them listening experiences as well so people can tune in and out at home.

You’ve put together an insane mix for us – could tell us a little more about it and the kind of influences you had around you when going about creating it?

You will hear Trap, Bass House and moombahton in the mix and it is something I threw together quite quickly. It is basically a playlist of what I am listening to at the moment and I love the tracks I chose and they all intrigue me as they all have something that I enjoy whether it be something technical, groove orientated or general rhythm of the track and I picked them hoping that the listeners will pick up on what I am talking about.

You contributed some tracks to Das Kapital’s Overtime compilation earlier this year. What was that entire process like and what are your thoughts on more compilations with such diversity of sound being released?

I sent a few tracks to the label they listened to it, they gave feedback, I did a few minor changes here and there such a small mixing tweaks without changing my general sound I am pushing. But it is awesome to be on the compilation with such a diversity of sound. I haven’t heard of many compilations come out of South Africa lately with such diversity as the Overtime Compilation and I hope to see more in 2017 and years to follow.

 I feel like this year has seen a lot of discussion regarding diversity in the music scene especially from the perspective of line-ups. Do you think it is important for promoters from every genre to start investigating the possibility of make line-ups more inclusive of multiple genres instead of sticking to singular static genre boundaries?

I think it’s very important that they start making lineups more diverse as it helps the scene grow. Otherwise, its gonna be the same line up everywhere with the same sound.  It will take one promoter to take a risk, throwing a more diverse line up together and becoming successful with the night to make everyone else look up and take notice.  At that point, a lot more promoters will do the same &   No question that the audience is out there but they just don’t go out as often because the same music is being played everywhere.  Diverse lineups also bring a diversity of ideas and competition which makes the music better.

Finally, what does 2017 hold for you? Are we going to see you start performing a lot more club shows in the near future?

2017 will see more music and more productions released.  There is a vault of music lined up to come out, some of which need vocalists and MCs (just putting that out there!), which should be an exciting prospect.  DJ gigs are coming and you should hear me a lot more off the back of the tracks, but it’s always good to do more and take my sound around South Africa a bit more too. I predict a new “saga” is coming for SA music scene and it is exciting to know we can expect to see some more left field and bass parties in the upcoming year and further.

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