Kamu Duclass is Ready
Kamu Duclass is an artist I am certain you will soon know very well. He has
worked hard to cultivate a sound he feels will not merely set him apart but
will garner the support of a diverse audience of music lovers from House
heads and beyond to those who just want to rock, Kamu Duclass is ready to
make you feel it. I asked him a few questions to better understand this
imminent star and this is what he had to say.
BM: What led you to music? Do you have any specific memory of what
sparked your interest in making music?
KD: As cliché as it may sound, I am one those who started music when I
was very young. At age 5,6, or 7 I already had the interest in music,
because I had an uncle who was a drummer in church. It developed as I
started making my own instruments with [plastic] bottles and container
drums, I’d just play drums with different [materials] that would give me a
different sound, I would use the bottles to make [like] trumpet sounds. I then
got my cousins to join my band and we all made plastic instruments; at the
time, I didn’t think I would become a musician – it was just a natural interest.
BM: How did you finally decide to become a musician?
KD: As I was growing up, I realised the love I had for music from jukeboxes.
Before we had our own music [collections] I only had [access] to records
that were collected by my parents. If I wanted to listen to the music that I
wanted to, I had to go to a spot that had a jukebox. That’s how I came to
know that I can make my own sound, so I started collecting records in 2005
until my matric year; 2009. In matric I knew that the following year I’d be in
University in Joburg - I’m from Limpopo – so I needed to prepare myself for
whatever I wanted to do in the music [industry] because I’d be in the city.
That’s when I got into DJing, then I learnt how to produce and in my first-
year of varsity I was already producing. I just knew that this is what I liked
and the interest of being able to produce my own sound is how I got here
BM: How has your musical journey evolved and how has it influenced you
as a person?
KD: I released my first project in 2015 and when I did, I thought the follow –
up project was going to be a walk in the park but it wasn’t because it came
with a lot of challenges, the industry kept changing. From 2015 to now there
has been a lot of changes in the dynamic of music; how we release; how we
buy music etc. I experienced challenges especially after releasing that EP.
One of which was I lost my entire catalogue of music. I was young and
hadn’t had the wisdom of backing up and creating cloud accounts.
Another thing I figured out was that I use my music as a form of therapy, I personally switch to my music lab when I feel like I need to inspire myself, it’s not
always about music sometimes I just want to refocus after spending most of
my day at work. It has built me as a person because in this economic world
we’re living in you cannot rely on one stream of income and you also need a
coping mechanism. How it’s helped me as a person, is I’ve applied a lot of
things into my music: business relationships, affiliations with people I never
thought I would meet. I have grown a lot from the entire experience and just
being in the music scene.
BM: What inspires you musically?
KD: It’s a lot of things, but one thing that really stands out is my background
[it] really inspires me. In my family, it is just my uncle and I who have in
interest in music, everyone else is either an academic or just doing their own
thing. My family plays a role because one of my biggest aims is to show
them a new dynamic, that ‘you don’t have to like what I’m doing but see the
support that I’m getting.’ The support that I’m getting is not much yet but my
inspiration is that I still need to prove to them that this is possible, you don’t
need to agree on the journey but you just need to support me because I
know the younger generation is coming up and it shouldn’t be difficult as a
family to support them if they want to take on a career in music or something
BM: How is the music made? Do you have any collaborators, how do those
KD: There are lot of things that go into that, like geographically for instance,
with Sylvia Simone I didn’t have to go to New York, she has her own studio.
I approached her and said “Surely I can send you a beat and you get in the
studio with your sound engineer and record the song, send back the vocals
and then I would do the arranging, the mixing and mastering from my side.”
Apart from Sylvia, another collaborator is Nini Malooks, he is the one who
helps with mixing and choosing some instruments, my mixing engineer.
I do everything else by myself, it’s a one man show.
BM: What’s your purpose with your music?
KD: It’s for it to be heard by the people that really love the sound, I don’t
have way of engaging with people, I don’t have a large family and have a
small circle of friends. I feel like the message carried by my music needs to
be heard, and through music you can reach many people and different
BM: Since you’ve been in the industry for 10+ years now, where do you see
yourself now and where do you want to be?
KD: I’ve always been a perfectionist which is why I have taken so long to
release and I’ve always felt the need to prove my skills with every project.
Then I’d reach a point where I think I can do better than this, and I get back
in the studio and do better and so on, now I’m sitting with like 1000+ songs
and all those songs were like stepping stones. So now it’s put me in a better
position for this market and I’m not talking about a specific niche, I’m talking
about the entire market in general. Whether it’s people who listen to hits or
people who resonate with it. I just want to make music and that’s the spot
I’ve enabled for myself, where I took my time to perfect my craft. As much as
perfectionism is not a good thing, it’s good to take a bit of time because I’ve
learnt quite a lot. Within this time 2015 and 2021, there’s been a lot of
research, networking, and learning and studying in between. That EP is one
I know for sure my confidence was at a 100, because I knew I’ve done my
homework. No one is going to accuse me of anything theft or otherwise. I
took a backseat to figure out what I wanted.
The purpose for me to take my time was for to be a global artist, a global
artist is not a deep house artist, a global artist is a musician. I’m a whole
musician, I can manoeuvre around different spaces I can go wherever and
still rock. I see myself as a global artist nothing is limiting me to South Africa.
This is usually the part where I review the work released by the artist but I
feel as though Kamu has spoken to well about his sound it would be
redundant. I will say that is an exquisite display of artistry, you can tell how
considered it is in the intricate sounds displayed. There are four tracks to
this EP and it features a collaboration with vocalist, Sylvia Simone on the
first track entitled “Work It Out” – a soulful but mildly upbeat song about a life
of struggle a familiar and sad tale but the layering of instruments provides a
sort of silver lining as the lyric says “Still gon’ work it out.” The entire EP is a
mix of sounds that lead you to wherever the musician tells you, it’s an
instructive sort of feeling the music give perhaps because as Kamu has
detailed it’s that the music is a form of therapy for it is almost prescriptive in
its invocation. Listen to Manifest EP while reading this article and you’ll
understand why Kamu decided to wait this long and how apt the title is not
only because of the vibes emitted but because being intentional and working
towards your best self are essential to manifestation and that waiting is not
always a bad thing.