Post Office Productions: stirring up change in South African music.

Post Office Productions is an indie production company with a whole lot of bells and whistles. P.O.P is run by a trio of top notch producers and designers who are constantly challenging the generally accepted mediocrity that governs the quality of music produced in South Africa. With many pieces of equipment which are firsts in the country and a head producer/CEO (Francis Müller) who has been trained by the best in the business from the world-renowned Berklee Music College in Boston, USA, this company is truly a force to be reckoned with.

P.O.P offers a wide range of facilities with two recording/practice studios, a graphic design studio, gym and a JimmiJagga sponsored chill area/gazebo. The business offering is pretty simple – this place is a home away from home for artists who are looking for productions of unprecedented quality. Some say that this set up is a reaction to the overly corporate environments of most studios in South Africa – which are not necessarily conducive to the creative process but rather all about the bottom line.

Not only can you write and record your album or practice with your band at this facility, but you can also get your album and promotional artwork custom designed by some of the most creative people in the business. In addition to all of this, the company is beginning to branch out into the events industry – organising massive events and putting their clients on these line-ups at every opportunity.

Overall, I am truly impressed with the nature of this business model – they are constantly releasing exceptional productions and offering a level of comfort that is not really found anywhere else in the country. The drive here is inspiring, as not many indie production companies can say that in just two years they have managed to build a client base of some of South Africa’s most well respected artists. I mean, these guys have worked with Camagwini; Da L.E.S; The Teargas/Cashtime Fam; L-Tido; The Soil; Spaza$hop!; MXO; Lira; Crash Car Burn; Pro Kid; and world renowned legend Tsepo Tshola. This is all seriously impressive given the company’s recent entry into the market. Visit the Post Office Productions website here, and follow them on Twitter (click here) and Facebook (click here).

Advertisements

Loui Lvndn

I had the pleasure of meeting up  with one hella talented up and coming musician last weekend. So this weekend, Loui Lvndn came to hang and talk creativity with me at the studio. Currently, Loui is creating art in any and all ways possible. He does not only write lyrics for his music, he also writes short stories and poems, he is a graphic designer and painter and he has a keen interest in photography. However, the main focus of our chat was the single Loui is about to debut entitled “Funnily“.

The lyrical content of the song “Funnily” is closely related to the metaphor in one of Loui’s previously released tracked entitled “Breathe”. Loui tells me that in his messages in these songs he is telling his audience the story about his experience with a place called “elsewhere”. This place is a town where all of the people are contaminated with a sickness which Loui descirbes as “fear of self”. The “fear of self” disease renders the towns people fake and flashy as they cannot focus on their true selves and so they distract themselves with material possessions and generic lifestyles. In the songs the people of elsewhere look at Loui “funnily” as he tries to show them that they can use their imaginations and escape the terrible town to become more in touch with their true selves. Reminds me a bit of a Dr Suess story, no?

As much as I love these lyrically themed lessons found in art, I digress. Although Loui has the theme of elsewhere running through two of his songs, his most recently released track “OMFG” is more lighthearted. All of his music is definitely the type of sound we all want when we are partying – so regardless of message the music is consistently fun. In addition to this, Loui creates some interesting artwork, seemingly aiming to be the provocateur in this sense.

In terms of his creativity, Loui says that he is “unfiltered by expectations” and that this is his life’s motto. I like this, and it shows through some of his work that you can check out on his blog – the lvng rm, where he is entirely unfiltered and organic. I enjoy the style of the content in this blog, as it eminates the eclecticism of the man himself while remaining composed in it’s layout.

In terms of influences, Loui tries his best to be as unaffected as possible. He says he does not watch TV as it is worse than Hitler. I agree, but can’t say that I am living that life because I still get sucked in to the ludicris entertainment of TV today. Truth be told, I expect this artist to blow up here in South Africa and potentially abroad too. The vibe to his sound is just too catchy and his flow and lyrical content is definitely original and unfiltered. You can check out Loui’s music on reverbnation here.

Skermunkil Designs

I recently visited a store in Melville called Superella. This was a great experience because the store had a totally unique vibe which was a mash-up of retro and modern, traditional and funky, organic and original. The one brand they stock which particularly caught my attention is Skermunkil.

As soon as I got home I did my research and this is what I found on the Skermunkil page. “Skermunkil Design Studio is a small jewellery design and manufacturing company based in Muizenberg, Cape Town. Our studio and shop is located in Muizenberg and is open to the public from 9 til 4 every week day. Everybody is welcome to come and see where we work, how we work and what we make. You are also most welcome to buy some lovely things… or just come for tea. Done deal.”

The notion of being open in this way really impressed me, as obviously these guys realise that their work is awesome and that people should get to see them in action. Next time I am down in the mother city I will be sure to visit the studio. I have never seen anything like this before, so I thought it important for me to share this beautiful brand. I sourced some pics from the Skermunkil blog, so check them out below and click through to visit the Skermunkil page.



Le Meth : Coming up in the electronic dance music scene

LE METH IS  AN ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC PRODUCER WHO SHAPE-SHIFTS ACROSS GENRES AND LEAVES A BOPPING SENSATION IN YOUR BRAIN…

Marc Woods (a.k.a Le Meth) is creating music which is original and professional. Electronic music producers are a dime a dozen, with so many cheap you-tube-tutorial amatuers regurgitating the same old beats and the same old sounds we’ve all heardmany times before. When it comes to DJs – as much as we don’t complain about hearing our favourite songs being shuffled through on their  itunes “top-40 hits now” playlist…it is only those who can play their mixes live and proud that gain true support and respect. It doesn’t even have to be an original mix, a mash up is fine, it’s just the element of mixing up live is what sells it to a crowd – well, that and the actual music of course.

The music Le Meth creates encompasses drum and bass, dubstep, popstep, psytrance, progressive, electro, tech and house sounds in original tracks and mashups.“The Whistle”, “Le Piano Relevant” and “Shake” are my favourite orignial songs by Le Meth, and I quite enjoy bopping to the mashup “Video Philospophy”. I asked Marc a bit about his music production and his creative process. What her told me was this: “It’s music that makes people want to move and stomp thier feet. I produce many styles of electronic dance music. It all depends on how I’m feeling when I’m in my studio – I could end up with a dope hip-hop beat or something funky like some house or electronica styles. I believe I am not limited to one genre of music.” To follow Le Meth on Twitter click here, and to check out his music on Soundcloud click here.

Freedom of Movement

CARGO KILTS ARE A FRESH ARTISAN COMPANY THAT DOESN’T JUST OFFER KILTS, THEY OFFER FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT…

There are times when I find myself straying away from the university library and out of the gates into marvelous Melville in search of a little adventure. This little suburb is Johannesburg‘s bohemia – a little village of cafe culture and boutique shopping, where one will find the most interesting characters. I feel that my trips to Melville are sort of like mini-adventures, because everytime I go there I end up spending time with people who take me on a journey through the stories of their colorful lives.

Enter Sean McClymont – a kind, bearded South African Scottsman who plays the bagpipes and rocks the kilt. As I was scouting for interesting encounters, I came across a store which seemed to have evaded time. Cargo Kilts has no glitzy, digital, 21st century elements – it’s all pure old school, analogue and tradition. The lure of this time-warp was what drew me into the store, where I struck up a coversation with manager Sean. Innitially, I assumed that the kilt is for men who play bagpipes….but Sean soon showed me how wrong I was.

Sean explained to me that the whole concept of the kilt revolves around freedom of movement. It is about being functional and comfortable, as well as making a statement. I was right about the bagpipe players though – they are indeed a big part of the cargo kilt customer market, but there are many other cultures which have embraced the kilt. Farmers and non-city folk, homosexuals and activists, rockers and hippies all buy kilts from Sean. The mini kilt is a kilt made for ladies (can’t wait to get my own) so there goes my misguided perception of kilts being for men only. Sean had me try on a couple of the kilts he had in stock, so that I could get a feel for the freedom of movement concept – as he insisted that the only way to understand the concept is to feel it. I can say from experience now that the concept of freedom of movement really is the only way to describe the feeling of wearing a kilt.

So, naturally, my first query was “what is the dirffernece between a kilt and a skirt?” Well, Sean showed me that the kilt has pleating at the back, and is fastened with three small buckles whereas skirts are not made in this way. The kilt also has a number of spacious pockets, a few attachments to hook keys onto, and belt loops – which all ladies know are rarely features on a skirt. Obviously, the traditional history of the kilt is also a major difference, as kilts have had an interesting hisory – having origins in Europe, going through a period of being banned by English royalty and making a statement on rugby fields for generations.

Tartan kilts have been iconic in Mc families as the various clans had specific tartans which represent their lineage. The tartans at Cargo Kilts are all handmade by the company and are not imported (as I would have thought). This artisan craft is beautiful and incredible, as the fabrics are truly top quality and the some fifteen varieties are strikingly impressive. The kilts are made to measurements, so if you buy one you are getting a one-of-a-kind tailored masterpiece. The most impressive tartan that these guys make is the only one of it’s kind in the world – the South African tartan (which Sean is pointing to in the above photograph). The store also stocks jacobite shirts, sporrans (hide pouches), flat caps (cheesecutters),  Tam O’Shanter hats, traditional Irish dancing shoes and (my personal favourite) drinking horns.

Another great thing I spotted in the store is the African Celtic Jewellery. These beautifully crafted rings, earrings, broaches, tiaras and necklaces are unique and attractive. There are also a number of interesting functional display items including a gramophone, an original singer sewing machine, a whiskey cabinet, a Gestetner printing press, and a large jeweler’s magnifying glass for customers to use when checking out the jewellery.

Visit the store on Melville’s popular 7th Street, or see their website (click here). You could also find out more from the Cargo Kilts Facebook page (click here).

The Heat is On

THE STREET CONCEPT STORE HOSTED AN ECONO-HEAT DESIGNER HEATER EXHIBITION…

Last night I popped into Greenside to check out the heater exhibition at The Street – a trendy concept store/boutique for fashionable and quirky street-ware. The exhibition was in collaboration with Econo-Heat wall heaters (you know, the simple looking panels that keep us all nice and toasty in winter).

The Street’s marketing pro, Melissa Griesel, had a great idea to use these panels as canvases. They got Econo-Heat on board and hooked up with some of South Africa’s best artists. There was free gluwhein and Jimmy Jagga were handing out free wine spritzers at their mobile photo booth, which were great crowd pleasers.

Here are the photographs I took, so you can see what I’m talking about when I say that these heaters are a must-have. (Excuse the low quality images – I used my cellphone to snap these shots, but you will still get the idea.)

Ivana Raguz
“Cold Feet, Warm Boots”

Mzwandile Buthelezi
“Untitled”

Bruce Mackay
“Campfire”

Adrian Jansen van Vuuren
“4 Down”

Justus Kotze
“Winter Blues”

Mr Alpha
“Hot Property”

Marija van Rensburg
“Hedgehog Love”

Innocent Mukheli
“Mulilo” or “Fire” in Venda

Justice Mukheli
“1955 Citroen DS”

Senyol
“Heaterbird”

Jade Klara Apteker
“Cold Blood”

Jason Bronkhorst
“Lie To Me”

Kevin Love
“Contrary to Popular Belief”

The exhibition runs until 2 August, so get to The Street before then. The artistic heaters are selling at R1500 a piece – which I think is great value for money, seeing as a heater is a winter essential and these heaters are exceptionally well designed. I am a big fan of functional artwork, so I love the idea of having a beautiful creation which doubles as an eco-friendly heater in the winter months. I also found it a thoughtful initiative that Adam Lowery (owner of The Street) and Melissa Griesel invited the guests to bring along some clothes and blankets to donate to the needy.

To find out more about the exhibition and The Street concept store click here to visit The Street’s Facebook page. To find out more about Econo-Heat – world leaders in energy efficient heating – click here.

Squeaky Clean

CREATIVE SOAP DESIGNS BY DANIEL TING CHONG AND NATURE’S SKIN FOOD

Cape Town graphic designer and illustrator Daniel Ting Chong teamed up with Nature’s Skin Food to make some punny pastel soaps. Chong is always working on unique and interesting projects, so it comes as no surprise to hear that he has now moved into soap making.

Check out the three designs Chong made for his bars of soap.

To buy any of these soaps, or for more awesome, healthy products, click here to visit the Nature’s Skin Food site. To check out some more amazing design and illustration work by Daniel Ting Chong click here to visit his site.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: