Deep Aztec is one of South Africa’s most exciting House Music acts but his talents don’t stop there, he creates music across different genres and is also a unique live performer as we recently witnessed in his cool performance in ‘Deep Aztec In Glass‘. His Funky sound boasts touches of Jazz, soul as well as a fair dose of classic House and has been on our radar for a while now so naturally we had to sit him down for a quick chat about what he’s been up to and what lies ahead for this unique artist…
So for anyone reading this who isn’t familiar, describe Deep Aztec as best you can in a few words.
Passionate individual and a sucker for greatness.
We have seen quite a bit of international interest in South African dance music over the past few years, is there anyone locally who you’d love to collab with?
BEEN collabing low-key with some fellas locally. Still continue to do just that but now I feel the need to focus on myself and the direction I’m taking musically. Of course I do have quite a few unreleased collabs with some talented musicians from here at home.
“ Using hardware is super cool ’cause I can flip a lot of my songs to the ‘James Blonde’ style/sound which I find really fun. “
Tell us about your label Turn Left Recordings, what was the initial spark that inspired you to start a label and what’s your vision for the future?
Turn Left Recordings was actually founded by James Igoe from London. He signed my debut release “A message to Larry Heard”. After receiving a licensing deal with Sony Music for my debut release to be featured on the DJ ALL STARS compilation (House Afrika) James then handed over everything to me, now I’m running the label. Since I now have my own international platform the plan is to introduce some unknown talents and of course release my own music too and not just wait for other labels.
We often see you sharing clips of music in styles other than House, could we expect more of this ‘not so dance music focused’ stuff get released sometime in future?
Of course there will be LOTS of music incoming from my alias James Blonde. I have a lot of that music you hear clips of haha. So excited to share with everyone. Might be dropping a single soon actually.
As we have been in a weird state of lockdown recently, we have to ask… What have you been up to and what’s your take on all this?
I’ve been resting of course and working on my craft. I won’t try sound like a conspirator haha but what I’ll say is these are indeed interesting yet strange times to be alive. Everything is changing and everyone is freaked out and everyone has different takes on the current situation . I just hope that we will all come out of this better humans. The future is NOW.
You have been expressing your interest in an ‘Abelton-free’ setup recently. Tell us a little bit about your process, how you go about sourcing sounds and how going analogue has affected your workflow.
Yeah…about that! Okay…so the setup consists of the Electro-Harmonix Looper & the MicroKorg XL. The SP404 is my “drum machine” everything is recorded by the Electro-Harmonix Looper of course and I play keys, bass, vocoder and lead synths using the MikroKORG XL. I mean, my workflow was already beast before using hardware hahaha. Using hardware is super cool ’cause I can flip a lot of my songs to the ‘James Blonde’ style/sound which I find really fun. Also when I use a DAW I treat it like jamming using the looper .
Your tracks are often laced with elements of Jazz, Funk and a whole lot of groove. What have been your biggest musical influences during your career?
My parents LOVE Jazz music. I guess I sucked the love for Jazz from my mother’s breast as an infant haha hence you will find influences of Jazz in my music. I can’t pin point one specific in my career. Everything that I grew up listening to until this point I believe has had a big musical influence in my career.
Lastly, what have you got coming up and do you have any exciting projects in mind for later on in the year?
There’s quite a lot coming! My solo EP release with David Nicol’s & Alex Agore ‘Closer To Truth’, also a collab with the homie Boogie Vice forthcoming on Get Physical. Some collabs with my homies Floyd Lavine and Chad Lawrence and the homies at Gaplife yeeees!