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Chuggy Basslines

by Mahala High Five Brigade / 30.08.2013

Phat Jack is a DJ, producer, record store owner and events co-ordinator who has been involved in the Mzansi deep house scene since the early 90s. Since those early days in Jozi, he has earned the reputation of spinning the unpredictable, mixing up Nu Jazz, down tempo and soulful deep house in his own inimitable style and continues to push the envelope of the scene he helped create to this day. We caught up with him ahead of his set tonight at the Puma Social Club.

How did you get into music and at what point did you realise it was a viable option to pursue as a career?

Always been into music. When I had collected records to listen to as house music CD’s were impossible to find, producers didn’t really make albums only 12 inch singles or E.P’s. Plus no one was playing the music I liked, soulful deep house. So I had records and good taste in music and set my horrible mixing upon the world.

You were part of The Original Evergreens fronted by Waddy Jones in the 90s. What was it like working with him? What have you taken away from being in that group and how do you feel about Waddy’s subsequent success with Die Antwoord

Ha ha ha, um yeah Waddy is a creative parasite. Great that he can support his family on his art but people are going to get tired of the Marilyn Manson of pseudo shock Afrikaans rap. I enjoyed being in the band, I loved the feeling of improvisation, I definitely took that with me through to my DJ’ing.

How would you describe your sound?

Deep, techy chuggy bassline house music.

Who were your early influences that played a role in shaping your tastes?

Dave Togher, Tim White, Static P, G-force, 4th World.

You’ve been DJing since the late 90s while we were all raving and mongeing pills, circa Daftpunk’s Homework. You must have seen several generations come and go on the dance floor. How has the house scene evolved since then?

Yup, showing my age. Dance music is cyclical, it’s come back to the deep slow spectrum from that horrible minimal techno rubbish from Berlin phase and a lot resurgence in 90s sounding house coming through in a big way. DJs like Kerri Chandler are having amazing response to their music once again, I’m happy as that’s my shit!

Do you still monge pills?

Ummm, never monged pills, I don’t even drink booze.

I remember you being big into deep house and those heavy rolling baselines back in the day. That sound seems to have really taken root locally. How do you explain it?

I’m still into that sound. People want to dance and it’s all about the bassline.

What do you make of the term Mzansi House? Is there something special going on here in terms of a distinctive sound we export internationally. Which artists do you feel are at the forefront of the Mzansi house movement?

The term could mean loads of things, like for instance House music has become pop in SA, look at bands like Mi Casa & Liquid Deep, so-called deep house but what they do is very far removed from what I do, but people consider that Mzanzi house. Then you have guys like Da Capo and Cuebar making deep soulful stuff that rocks dance floors. Pretoria, Durban and jozi all have different sounds that fall under the banner of Mznasi house so in essence it’s about perspective.

Chuggy Basslines

Who should we be looking out for?

Check out Do It Now Records, just heat!!

Where, in your opinion, does house music get the best reception in the country?

Jozi & Pretoria. Pretoria are deep house snobs so you have to be on your game, if not they will let you know. In Jozi people know their tunes and are totally into the vibe.

Which event that you’ve played stands out in your memory and why?

Djing before Frankie Knuckles, just amazing and honoured to play with the legend that created this thing called House!

What are you listening to right now?

I’m listening to the new Ghostface Killah.

With the plethora of sub-genres coming out under the EDM banner, is it become increasingly tougher to win over new crowds to the house scene?

No, look house music will always be the underground little brother. Artists like Disclosure, Wolf & Lamb, Soul Clap are all exposing the EDM crowd to house and like GU said: “House Music will never Die”.

Do you find there is a big difference between deep house in Mzansi compared to the rest of the world?

Not really. Well there are loads of sub categories, once again, but in the deep soulful realm Mzansi house seems to be ruling the roost.

Who makes you want to up your game, whether locally or abroad?

Everyone, I always want have the best, latest tunes. I’m just competitive like that.

What excites you most about your job as a DJ?

BOOBS! Good sound systems, great responsive crowds.

What’s the Warm Up all about? Surely we’re warm, what’s the main event?

Haha! The Warm Up is an event that starts at 2pm and ends at 10pm on a Saturday, so it was a Warm Up to your evening.

What is your ultimate goal in your career?

Right now, working on an electronic music festival for 4500 people, with the acts we wanna see.

As a SA music industry veteran, what advice do you have for the next generation of DJs and producers who are looking to earn a living off their craft?

Be sincere, stop the bullshit, play music you love not what’s popular and do it cause you LOVE music, not the drugs, boobs and fame.

Can you fill us in on any future projects you’ve got coming out?

Just more Warm Up events with our favorite producers and DJs and working on that festival.

How do you feel about hitting up PSC this Friday? What can we expect?

I’m eggcited, gonna smash some deep chuggy basslines

Would you ever drop a pre-mixed set? What should happen to those who do?

Nope, balls castrated.

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