64hiphop caught up with the former member of ‘Necessary Noize’ crew . He is a producer and artist, and is not about to stop. He tells us about his journey to music in this exclusive interview.
Welcome to 64hiphop.com, In a nutshell tell us who Bamzigi is
~Thanks for having me it’s an honour. To answer the question Bamzigi is a proud Kenyan citizen, recording artist & music producer , radio personality plus innovator of music & anything music related. I also pride myself as a motivator for youth empowerment and drug awareness ambassador.
You have been a pioneer in the modern music revolution in Kenya. What inspires you?
~ My inspiration comes from day to day life and my experiences plus other people’s experiences as well. But mostly my inspiration comes from music itself and my passion and undying love for the art of music and music making and creation. Nothing gives me a rush and excites me like creating a sound, a beautiful melody, a sick verse and so on from scratch. To me there is nothing more satisfying than watching something you created bring joy to a person plus if you think about it creating music is like leaving a footprint so to speak in history for generations to come so in essence every time I create a song I leave a piece of my soul and solidify my place and leave my mark in the history of my country. So the fact that we are leaving a mark in the music industry history of our country is also a very big inspiration for me.
Tell us about your label. Who have you worked or working with currently?
~ My label is called 3050 Muzik group studios, it gets its name from my vision and movement philosophy of the type of music we do which we call 3050 Muzik. Not to be confused with the genre of music we created and make called “Mizuka” style music which consists of experimental fusing of EDM, Kenyan Hip hop, R&B, Afro-pop, Afro beats, kapuka, dancehall reggae, Trap, Soul, Motown, Rock and basically any type of music we feel sounds good a meshes well with our sound .
The 3050 Muzik group movement and studios believe in thinking and making music that’s targeted for the future and the modern urban Kenyan and youth of the world today. Hence our name 3050 as in the year “3050” meaning we think in a futuristic state of mind frame. We believe that as we become more technologically advanced as a people and a world race then the more our culture will be affected, and which aspect of a people’s culture best expresses them more than music? None!
In the music world technology’s main contribution in my book has been advancing it from the analog systems to digital which has opened up a whole new world of sounds and procedures more so in creating new types of sounds that wasn’t possible in an analog world. That said no music genre is a better example of using the digital framework of music making and musical instruments than EDM (electronic dance music). That’s why apart from it being a genre of music I’ve loved since my teens, we at 3050 muzik are committed in fusing our African music culture with various international world music genres with EDM at its core foundation and creating our own unique sound and music genre which we call “Mizuka” style music. We believe in working with artist who are open to exploring this type of music making as well as experimenting and taking risks to create music that’s never been heard or attempted before in Kenya.
Considering the studio has only been officially opened for about a year, Bamzigi started the 3050/movement way back in 2008/9 and so far we’ve succeeded in making a mark especially internationally in the EDM circles as Kenya’s pioneer EDM/Hip hop acts but unfortunately it’s taken the Kenyan market a few years to catch up with us and support our music but we are finally on our way and so is our market and media support. The main artists that we can mention at this time that we’ve worked with are Bamzigi , Kora, upcoming artists I.T and K.I.P plus other upcoming & established artists who we will openly mention in given time.
The key is establishing our label and sound and we’re creating that sound using me (Bamzigi) mainly as a stepping stone. We believe we have to set the example in order to ask others to follow and so far the feedback has been very positive with various artist both established and upcoming showing interest in working on projects at 3050 Muzik as well as doing their own versions of Mizuka style music at their own studios in the last few years. I’m sure you’ve noticed a few Kenyan artists do more EDM influenced music in the last few year’s.
On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate the music industry in Kenya
~ Right now I would rate it at around 4 maybe 5. I know that may seem low to some people but considering that the Kenyan industry was ahead of every industry in Africa at one point including south Africa and also considering that our neighbours Tanzania and even Nigeria have left us behind by a large margin even mentioning a 5 rating would be generous. To put it in another way I believe right now the most advancement that’s happened to our industry in the last few years has been the establishment of a music royalties foundation but the most advancement or improvement rather has been the quality of music being made and music production. Don’t get me wrong all these are great improvements and that’s fine but in terms of building an infrastructure that works and supports both the artists and the service providers in the music industry then we have a long way to go in having a self sustaining industry that the future youth can pursue without fear of not making a proper living doing so. I say this since the royalties system that’s been set up doesn’t seem to be doing all it can to secure artist’s royalties and get it to them. Even though the money is being collected the thing is it doesn’t seem to get to the creators of the music which puzzles me a lot because if you think about it where does the money go?
Plus as a society we are still bent on supporting other music cultures but our own. Case in point Nigerian, Tanzania and western music are more vastly supported by both the Kenyan media and the music consumers (I didn’t want to use the term fans since fans would be describe as kenyan music supporters which they aren’t since they seem to support other music genres but our own)
Are there any challenges you experience as an artiste and producer.
~Most definitely and some of them I’ve mentioned in previous answers but just to elaborate more the majority of challenges we face are related to support from our government in terms of proper royalties collection and distribution of royalties and music rights and enforcement of laws in piracy protection etc. ~We also lack equal level of support from the media in terms of airplay and promotion coverage etc as compared to western music and other popular African music despite that fact that the reason other types of music get so big and the reason their artists are successful is because of the support they get from there place of origin. It seems the Kenyan industry and people fail to grasp that fact and concept.
~ We as producers, label owners and artists also have to deal with this notion that aspiring Kenyan artists have, which is music production and recording of music can be done on a credit basis or a record label contract usually because the artists don’t want to pay for studio time mainly due to lack of funds. But I always stress that like everything else in this world that one may want and can’t afford they should save money for it till they can afford it and music production is no different.
~Another challenge I face is from fake wannabe artists or what we call studio rats who pretend that they want to work on a project but all they want to do is come to the studio and hang around all day. Others might be talented yes but don’t want to pay for the sessions so they hang around the studio all day as well in hopes that they will get an invite to record a verse on a particular song when a paying client is working etc. This is one of the reasons why 3050 Muzik has a home studio setup, not only does it benefit the clients by providing comfort and utter privacy while recording but also filters out the jokers and serious artists because only serious artists get access to the home studio and all meetings are done elsewhere since we don’t have an office area per say.
If you were to be a vehicle, what would it be and why?
~ I would be a Mercedes G-Wagon AMG sport. Why? Because first they are very good looking ,have 4×4 capability ideal for African roads ,it also has the comfort and luxury specs of a high end luxury car included ,it also has all the latest technology and safety capabilities of the Mercedes high end models like the S-class which all other automobile companies come second in comparison and last but not least has the speed and acceleration of a top end modern supercar despite its size,height and shape, it can go from 0-60kmph in less than 5secs. It’s basically the perfect car for daily driving and all round general terrain driving and is made by one of the best car manufacturing companies in the world in my book.
What is next for Bamzigi in 2017?
~For 2017 and the future I plan to re~establish my presence in the Kenyan music industry as well as continue to build my brand in the international music scene as not just a Kenyan hip hop artists ( a title I decided to drop when I started doing Mizuka style music in 2008) but an all round entertainer. The mission is to show the world that Kenyan music has more to offer and can reach international levels in the commercial pop,rap,hip hop and dance categories.
When working on a new piece, what comes first?
~ When starting a new project I’m not necessarily picky on the order of progression but if I have to choose I usually start with the beat. The beat for me influences the flow ,the melodies ,the mood of the song and even the concept. I usually have one key tune & instrument that drives the idea of the whole beat which I play out and add on instruments till its a full instrumental beat.
If I’m working with a producer I usually feed him info or explain the kind of track I want and being a producer myself I usually have a key melody and an instrument in mind that I play out for them or hum which they then build on and we go from there. A producer is only as good as the artists their working with and vice versa because they feed off each other, that’s why every producer regardless of his/her signature sound has a distinctive difference in sound with every artists they work with and it’s the same for artists. Anyway after determining the beat I’m using then comes the concept after that the next thing is the chorus of the track which to me is the most important part of the song since this is most likely the part of the song that will be mostly remembered and it will the part that determines if the song is a success (apart from the beat) if it’s a commercial song that is. A catchy chorus is key when making a commercial party track for instance, you wanna make it simple enough to be remembered but yet not to cliche that it sounds corny or not well thought out. After that I usually move on to the verses which BTW I don’t have a particular order I go by when writing them. At times I can start by writing the first verse and it ends up being the second or third it’s really according to how the feel of the track and mood takes me. When I’m done with all that is when I play the entire song to my producer and close friends and family for feedback as well as re~playing it a few times to myself to see if everything sits well with me if it does then it’s off to mix and mastering and it’s a wrap.
What word of advice would you give to aspiring music professionals who want to follow your trend?
~ One thing I can’t stress enough is originality. Sure sampling sound or copying a style isn’t unheard of but if you do then make it your own or do it differently by adding your own flavour to it so that even the artists you copied it from can appreciate your vision. Also be consistent with your music and do it first for the love of the art. If you do it for anything else it will show in your music. An artist who does music for the love of it doesn’t have to be forced to work on it in fact he’s the one person who drives everyone else in the team to keep up with them and do better.
Another thing if you’re going to compromise your art to make money (which we all do it’s not a secret) then do a side A of the tape that’s full of music to sell copies and leave side B for your type of music if you catch my drift. Lastly never listen to haters ,and if you do then use their words to push you to work harder. A hater only says hurtful things only because they see you achieving something they can’t themselves and want you to fail and be miserable like them so when you acquire haters please smile and remember you only have them because you’re making progress. I mean have you ever seen or heard of haters hating on a looser? Hell NO! Only successful people have haters y’all. Church!
Drop your links to your music.
~ I’ve recently opened an account with Mdundo.com so be one of the first to download my music for FREE by clicking on the link below. The music on that site is from my younger days with tracks like “The Bounce”, “Songa”, “ Rusha”, “Nataka Nini” (Dunda) etc. To tracks from my recent 3050 days like “Bachette”, “ Mutuma”, “P.A.R.T.Y”, “Mizuka”, “ 254” and even unheard tracks from the 3050 Muzik vault. Enjoy and keep supporting Kenyan music. God bless.
Click HERE: http://mdundo.com/a/989