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There’s something undeniably cool and fresh about South African artists Ryzor and Ziyon, who form a musical/vocal “house” group called Liquideep. Maybe it’s because in a certain light, they could pass for doppelgangers of Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff. Or maybe it’s because they possess a certain “swagger”. Either way, in advance of their Blankets & Wine debut on December 18th, we sought to find out what makes them tick. For instance, why do they constantly pursue substance and longevity with their music?
How did you meet and when did it occur to you that you should form a group?
We met in 2006 as friends. Music was not part of our friendship until we realized later that we loved the same type of music. Then we formed the group in 2007.
Also, how did you come up with the name Liquideep? What does it mean?
Liquideep is a two-part name: Liquid represents our view that music should not be rigid, but should be able to adapt to any environment it finds it self in. Music needs no constraints. As for Deep, we constantly pursue the idea of putting a lot of effort into making our music so that there’s both substance and longevity. And we’re always trying to put a message across!
Kindly describe your sound.
Soulful vocal “house” music with a lot of influences.
The first time I saw a picture of you guys, I thought you looked like doppelgangers of Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff, in a sense! Do you get that a lot? How has Ryzor’s DJ background helped shape your sound?
When we started the group we were both DJs :), so we would share a stage as DJs and play some of our tracks. For Ziyon to start singing, it was just an idea we came up with during one of the gigs where we were celebrating gold for the “House Afrika Sessions” CD (the one with “Fairytale”). Ziyon took the mic and I was on the decks. The crowd loved it and we never looked back!
In a span of just four years, you’ve been nominated and won a plethora of awards. At the start of the year, your sophomore album, “ Fabrics of the Heart”, went platinum. How do you stay relevant and fresh in the South African music industry?
We are constantly buying music and swapping promotional music with other producers in the industry so that we can all promote each other, and this helps us get a sense of where the music is going. But we still make sure that we are ourselves more than anything else when we are in studio, so we make music we love and hope others will relate to it.
Locally, there has been a major shift among artists who use playback as opposed to performing live music. Do you mostly perform live or use playback? What are your thoughts on the use of either form during a performance?
Live music will always be the best, nothing compares to it. But for the genre of music we do, we do get a lot of bookings at clubs that are mostly designed for DJs. So, in those cases, we use a “half-live” format by bringing on our guitarist, Sunnyboy, and a percussionist, Lebo. Still, there are occasions where it will just be me (Ryzor) playing backtrack and Ziyon getting it on with the mic action.
Speaking of the local scene, do you know about Kenyan music? Which artists do you like? Any hopes of a collaboration while you are here?
We want to be exposed to what's out there! Hopefully, we'll get to meet some of the artists out there and maybe one day soon share ideas. We look forward to that!
Granted, the “house” scene in Kenya is not as pronounced as it is in South Africa. How do you plan to change people’s perception with your show at Blankets & Wine this December?
We just wanna do our best, play our part, and expose people to something that they may not have heard before.
Also, this being your first show on Kenyan soil, describe to us a typical Liquideep show so that we can appropriately prepare ourselves.
Lots of energy, lots of emotion, lots of fun! We do a serious job without taking ourselves too seriously. We're gonna have a great time!!
What great plans does Liquideep have for 2012?
Our label MentalWave will release two artists, Karabo and Soletek. Karabo is a singer/songwriter who mainly does inspirational/soul/gospel music. Great musician! Soletek is a producer/DJ. He mainly does “house” music, but he's also exploring other genres. Soletek is a very talented musician as well. We also have our record that we may release mid to late next year. Looking forward to that!
Don’t miss Blankets & Wine XXXI, December 18th, at Leisure Gardens, Village Market. The fun starts at 1:00pm. Line up includes Sage, Neema, Eric Wainaina and Liquideep. Advance tickets retail at Kes. 1,300 and are available via tickets.pesapal.com and at all Dormans outlets. Gate prices: adults Kes. 1,500 and children Kes. 500.