Soul Fishby Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi / 28.10.2013
In the five years Sakhile Moleshe has been a permanent feature of the successful electronic group Goldfish, he has shared the stage with some of electronic music’s most notable acts – including David Guetta. He has since turned much of his talent and attention to the Soul Housing Project which includes the one time Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner Bokani Dyer. This UCT music graduate also hosts a radio show, writes poetry, and composes music. We held his boarding pass hostage and wouldn’t give it back until he answered some of our questions.
MAHALA: What has the reception been like for you, coming back into South Africa after having experienced so much internationally?
SAKHILE MOLESHE: Well, luckily nowadays, as musicians and creators, we can do whatever we want, wherever we are. And that’s kind of what my travels were there to demonstrate you know. I spent six months in Cape Town after you know a short international visit over New Year’s. And I spent just six months not even leaving the city just being around and doing collaborations with artists around here and figuring out who’s on the scene, attending a lot of gigs. Most people are like what’s wrong with you, are you not playing much? Why are you at my gig all the time? I would be there, shouting and supporting and trying to demonstrate from the front line that that’s exactly what a developing scene needs.
It needs to have familiar faces in the front row pushing you ahead. Everybody gets to where they are with the support of the people that run the hard yards to buy the tickets. You know people offer me comps. I say “hell no” I’m going to be up in the front, I’m going to have a big smile on my face and I will be shouting your name. And because I’ve had so much of that, without necessarily asking for it or prompting it, I felt that it was kind of my turn to give that back. So I left with that in mind knowing that I’ve given six months of myself to the city and now it was time to see something else for a little bit. And develop from a different polar axis you know? And see what more I can give with that as an experience behind me.
Do you ever think that you will reach a point where you will base yourself anywhere else except South Africa?
It’s very possible because of South Africa’s social ills or social issues, I find them extremely distracting. I have a love and hate relationship with this country. I see so much beauty that could emerge from it being held back so unnecessarily. I’m talking from a political point of view, and from a socio-economic point of view. You see people, the poorest of the poor, and you see the richest of the rich and how their lives are polar opposites. I’m heavily affected by that. Taking time to see different countries, to see governments that are functional, to see citizens that are proud of their countries, and to see countries providing benefits for them you can’t help but long for that for your own people.
Now I’m at a space where that affects me so much that I would like to find a space where I’m just going to be defining my whole experience from fresh you know? So that is always a consideration. But there is so much beauty in this place and there is so much that is possible. There’s so much that’s possible, but then there’s so much that’s just menial shit holding people back. And sometimes I think that it’s great that I do take opportunities to observe from a distance.
As a musician, as an artist, as a poet, you’re on the frontline of reconstructing South African culture. How important is that role and does it influence what you do?
Definitely, I always try and make sure that it’s impossible for everybody to perceive every side of my artistry because I’m always waiting for the correct opportunity to display a certain side of myself. At the moment I’m in a part of an ongoing and active discussion around people reforming their identities in this new space and time that we find ourselves in. So that consumes a lot of time. I spend a lot of the time just contemplating perfect scenario, trying to sit still enough and be humble enough to let them manifest naturally. I’m also trying to build my radio portfolio which is taking up a whole lot of other time. But while I’m doing that I’m, it’s all a part of this holistic artistic expression which I’m trying to demonstrate through myself and through my work. And hopefully that genuine intention I have gets the correct attention.
In your role going forward do you see yourself kind of getting consumed by your music or by your intellectual thinking behind the music?
Actually I’m at the point now where if all the music I’ve ever made or I’ve ever had in my head is not recorded or not captured I’m at peace with that. Im just happy to have been the vehicle you know. A lot of the times I’m in my own head and I’m singing an acapella or I’m whistling and I’m more in tune with the state rather than you know finding methods to capture it. You know what I’m saying? So that’s where I find myself and that may kind of put me at a disadvantage at some point because people might say ‘hey why isn’t your stuff out there?’. But I’m content that people will gravitate towards me organically, they’ll experience my creativity when I am in a position to give it at the highest level. And that’s what I’m trying to protect right now. There’s many small opportunities or little gaps that you can try crawl through to get a ready steady mix of success. But the way I’m looking at it now is that I’m just trying to keep still and be content in that state of contemplation about you know the level of the work that I do.
You are working in radio as well these days, can you want to share a little bit more about that?
I’m involved with a radio show called Globalize Yourself Stereo. Basically it’s a little motto that I have for people. You see a lot of people stuck in a situation and they’re not able to imagine themselves outside of that situation. What I’m trying to do through this radio show is give people a chance to imagine themselves outside of the situation that may be binding them. What I have in mind is globally competitive, international, cutting-edge, honest, content presented in a very natural way where you could feel like you actually are travelling to another part of the world even if you’ve never left your city.
How do you feel about the kind of obsession with the technologies around music as opposed to the music itself?
I’ve always had a very interesting relationship with that kind of development because as an artist, as technology develops there’s the pressure to keep up. And if you look at us African musicians a lot of things are stacked against people whose social setting may not put them at an advantage. They may not have a Nord keyboard or five Nord keyboards or like five laptops lying around. A lot of people forget that with technology, for it truly to evolve, everybody must be included. And some technologies are put forward as the most cut throat. I’m trying to make sure that I explore all the options that I see even those who develop without certain technologies. What technologies do they form you know? I’m trying to be a catalyst to challenge people to create new media new methods of consuming media. More organic like when things get more technological and electronic how do I encourage people to try and develop in a counter direction and develop organic things so that they are on the level of Apple.
And in terms of Soul Housing Project, what can we expect?
We are back at the Grand Daddy Hotel once again. I really like the Grand Daddy, it sums up everything I love about a venue and a show and contact between artist and people receiving music. This year as Soul Housing Project we’re going to be coming with creative Soul Housing Project costumes. We are going to add a lot more to the visual story of the Soul Housing project because I feel sometimes people listen to music and they want it to be easily palatable. Whereas we’re trying to challenge people to listen to all kinds of music and not define music too tightly so that development of that music is stagnated or shelved within one method of expression. Through the visual element we’re going to be developing something. You know we want people to be a part of our development. And also look out for some Soul Housing Project merchandise, as well as an EP. We’ve got some stuff that we’ve been working on this year, it would be nice to see what our core fan base receives that.
* Images © Setumo-Thebe Mohlomi