Screw Power Lists. Here’s a pick ‘n’ mix selection of some young people who are actually doing things. In this #EyesOn2016 series, they tell us what’s going to blow up in 2016.
Sizo is a producer and creator of music label Antidote Music. He was born and raised in Swaziland and moved to Johannesburg to study. He created The Antidotes in 2010 with a group of other creatives; then started the label, Antidote Music in 2012. They’ve been releasing underground dance music ever since.
What are the ins and outs of running a record label in South Africa?
With the musical industry now mostly digital, it has become relatively easy to own a record label. To get you started, you need a distributor. Distributors are basically your music aggregators; they get your music to most leading digital platforms. That should get you started.
The scene in South Africa is quite rife at the moment, which is healthy. It promotes high-quality music production and management. There are really good labels here putting out some amazing work: dO it nOw Recordings, DeepTone Recordings, Just Move Records, Nomadiq Music etc. These labels are regarded as front runners in the underground scene here.
Social media basically does most of the work in South Africa, while the right mailing list becomes a big factor. You need to align your brand with the most influential beings to be visible; these can be social media gurus, DJs, and online magazines etc.
You get to participate on the world stage of the underground dance music automatically.
With all the focus South Africa is getting in dance music, participating in their music scene is the most exciting thing ever. You get to participate on the world stage of the underground dance music automatically.
What are you going to remember 2015 for?
2015… interesting one. 2015 has been a great year for South African dance music scene, seeing the likes of Jazzuelle doing great things. This has really inspired us as much as it has put a lot of pressure on a lot of upcoming artists. As a label, it’s a talking point communicating with our artists.
We felt like we were settling in well as players in South African dance music.
Most of all, 2015 for Antidote Music is the year where we felt like we were doing well. The aim was not really looking at sales but the quality of the music we were putting out. We felt like we were settling in well as players in South African dance music.
What and who do you think is going to blow up in 2016?
Vinyl. It is making a comeback. Existing vinyl lovers have convinced the average consumer that the wax plates were the ones and still are relevant. Most big vinyl shops closed down in the early to mid-2000s but there have been new small-scale vinyl shops popping up in Johannesburg and Cape Town retailing both new and vintage records.
In 2015, according to the Daily Mail, turntables sales went up 240 per cent compared to 2014. A friend acquired his player three weeks ago. So, 2016 might see the vinyl become a huge part of our pop culture. We might even see full-blown record shops opening in South Africa (we pray).
2016 might be the game changer for the ever humble Asali.
On the who? I think Asali, a Kenyan singer. I met her in Johannesburg. A humble, highly spiritual being. As a music student, she takes her music very seriously. She has released music back at home in Kenya and coming to study in South Africa looks to be a great step for her growth musically.
After meeting Andy Compton of Andy Compton’s Sowetan Onesteps band, they’ve been recording from the day they met. She becomes one of the collaborators on the band’s studio project which looks to be a highly organic house music album fused with soul. She was just the perfect fit for the style of the album, considering her sultry yet spiritual rendering on vocal with some chant adlibs.
2016 might be the game changer for the ever humble Asali. Not forgetting she has already played some of the biggest stages in Africa in Umoja Mozambique and HIFA festival in Zimbabwe. 2016 will see the release of the Andy Compton’s Sowetan Onesteps album and will raise her even to greater heights.
What’s keeping you busy in 2016?
Growing the label mostly, trying to face some interesting challenges as far as pushing boundaries. As young label owners, we get to compete with really good and well-known underground labels in South Africa but being young and having ambitions is what keeps us going.
So the aim is to try hard enough to find a niche and just make ourselves visible as a label. We’ve already started signing some projects for the year 2016; it promises to be another year of growth.
Follow Sizo on Twitter @Dideo_Antidote
You want to join in? Tell us on Twitter #EyesOn2016