Sir LSG: the past, the present and the future

Sir LSG

The interview with Sir LSG was a spontaneous idea which hit us (Nitefeva) up as we were listening to his latest remix of Andy Compton ft Lady Bird – Missing You. After having heard that remix as well as some of his other works, his musical skill became clear. We got down to business, contacted Sir LSG immediately and set the interview for Sunday 10 March 11am. But before we get into the interview we thought it would be bad manners for us not to introduce the man in the hot seat.

Sir LSG intro

He a Mafikeng born DJ/Producer known for his signature style of soulful house music with a portion of jazzy grooves. He’s been enlisted on numerous remix jobs by the likes of Andy Compton, UPZ aka Avi Elman and Ralf Gum to mention a few. He has also collaborated with acclaimed vocalists such as Brian Temba and Kafele Bandele. There’s more to learn about this promising young DJ/Producer and Nitefeva wanted to find out how he got where he is today musically….So here goes:

Nitefeva: Where and how did it all start?

Sir LSG: Well, with music in general, I would say it started around my teen years, I used to sing classical and choral music. Fast forwarding to 2006, when I actually started buying records and learnt my way around Djing, and only started making music in 2008.

Nitefeva: Where was this happening?

Sir LSG: In 2006, when I was doing my first year in Electrical Engineering at WITS, is when I started DJing. In the same year I met some guys from Soweto and we formed what is now Hood Natives Producions, but then it was just an events company. 2008 I left WITS and went to SCIM to do music production, which was really an introductory course.

Nitefeva: Did going to the SCIM help in becoming a fine producer that you are now?

Sir LSG: Yes, although musically the course was not that intensive because most of the music classes were just a repeat of some things I did for years when I was still a singing in a choir, but the technical stuff was needed. After leaving SCIM I did a sound engineering diploma with ASE and that’s where I really learnt the intensive music stuff as well as the technical part of things. So you could say SCIM was the foundation, and ASE brought a lot of discipline in my way of doing my recordings, mixing, as well as business.

NF: Your type of production requires a good knowledge of the instruments especially the key board…How did you get your way around that?

Sir LSG: At SCIM they teach a music introductory course and that includes the keyboard. So between going to SCIM and say 2011, I used to play everything in my music, but not anymore… I’ve got session musicians who work with me. I play simple progressions, send it to them, they send back this well-played thing, and from there that’s where the real work begins. It’s a good thing to know how to play a keyboard, but for the kind of music that I’m doing now I require more than just simple chords, I need a certain feel. I can also play a few things on guitar, which I was taught at ASE by Bheki Khoza, but I won’t be playing guitar on my songs if I can get a good guitar player to do it for me.

NF: So how do you then work with these musicians in studio when you’re creating a track…in terms of what you want from them?

Sir LSG: We’re never in the studio together, what I do is I play some progressions, send the MIDI files to one of the guys I work with and I get back the same progression but played better. From there I re-do the bass, send files back and forth, until it’s something I can work with. There after I decide which recordings I would need to do if any. Same with the Burning Star remix, I knew I wanted to have an “Afrobeat” sound, in that case I needed horns, but unfortunately I could only get the Saxophone player, so we recorded only that instead. All in all its really only ideas, until this process gets here.

NF: But if you started as Classical and choral music singer…why are you producing dance music?

Sir SLG: hahaha I got tired of it. Honestly I believed I got what I needed from there. That kind of music here in SA, is quite a big deal in the underground scene, but you can only sing so much of Handel and Mohapeloa before you realise you’re singing the same thing

NF: LOL…but did it play any part in your musical endeavour?

Sir LSG: Yes, a big part. I knew about a minor chord from classical music, and most of deep & soulful house is made of minor scales anyway. But also the kind of discipline one should have in music. Jazz also plays a big role in my music, the kind of inspiration I draw from jazz is beyond words.

NF: I see a lot of producers with a Jazz background are actually doing well musically…would you say Jazz is good foundation?

Sir LSG: It’s a great foundation, in whichever genre you’re into. I think it’s the foundation of what we’re currently doing. In SA we have a rich jazz history, and I think if we drive house music in that direction, we might create an even better scene.

NF: Ok i like that Sir…Moving forward, how and when did you get your big break?

Sir LSG: In 2008, I won the SAMC DJ Battle, and that’s where I met DJ Christos… my mentor. I regard that moment as my big break because I met Ralf GUM through DJ Christos and eventually that’s how ‘Sax In The City’ was released on GOGO Music.

NF: How has that changed your career?

Sir LSG: After working on the release of ‘Sax In The City’, I became close friends with Ralf GUM, and the knowledge I get from him is immense. He’s a perfectionist, so I began treating my work in a similar manner. But then, I spent over a year without a release, after leaving Hood Natives last year. My name kind of faded in the scene for some time. Not that I wasn’t making music, I was, but I couldn’t make what I wanted to make, until I started the Burning Star remix in August 2012.

NF: But now you are working with the likes of Ralf Gum, Andy Compton and others. Was that part of the plan when you started?

Sir LSG: Not at all, or rather not exactly. I knew I was going to grow someday, but I thought it would take me about 20 years or so. With the internet and the way the scene is at the moment, things happen a lot quicker and simpler than they used to. I met Andy Compton and Avi Elman about two years ago, and we started talking about working together and that’s how the remixes came about. With Ralf, I believe it’s more of a long term working relationship and friendship. I still have a few other artists I would love to work with someday, only time will tell.

NF: You are growing both as a producer and as a human being. What direction are you taking?

Sir LSG: As a producer I’m working on my album due in 2014, although the entire process is quite consuming, it’s a good one. If I get take all that’s in my head and put in on this debut album, I’ll be a very happy man. Personally, I’m looking at venturing into other forms of art, but that will come a lil later on.

NF: Who are you working with in your album and which label is releasing your album?

Sir LSG: For the album I’m working with Brian Temba and Kafele on a track, with Joseph Junior, The Muffinz, Atomza from The Muffinz, a lady called Thakane. The ones I mentioned are already recorded songs, I’ve got a few other vocalists to approach for collaborations. I’m still talking to a couple of labels about releasing the album, however nothing has been confirmed yet. I want to do this right, looking at the tracks I have now; it’s going to be a very special album to me, and a very personal one. So it has to be done right.

NF: What challenges did you come across to get to where you are now?

Sir LSG: I think right now the main challenge for me is funding the recording of the kind of album I want to make, it’s quite intense. And just by looking at how things are right now, producers need to constantly release so they can get booked. I might even have to take a single out from the album as early as May 2013, just to get on the road again and eventually fund the rest of the recordings.

NF: You were blessed with opportunities to meet Christos, Ralf Gum and Andy Compton which have helped you get to where you are now…what advice do you have for upcoming producers that want  get to where you are but are not getting the same opportunities?

Sir LSG: The most practical thing would be to send promos to labels, most good labels have websites and are very welcoming to new music. While I used to do Hood Natives admin, I would send promos to every label I knew, and find those I didn’t know on Traxsource, Beatport, Juno etc. But 1st, the tunes have to be good, both technically and musically. The second thing would be to go to other peoples gigs. Even if you’re not playing, be there for an hour or two to meet other DJs and producers. You might not meet Ralf GUM or Christos, but you might meet Tim White or Kid Fonque.

NF: Last but not least…if you had the power to change something in the local scene what would it be?

Sir LSG: Among other things, the rooms, I would treat all of our venues’ acoustics, and provide clean bathrooms to those places that are not providing this.

http://www.facebook.com/SirLSGSA?fref=ts

https://soundcloud.com/sir-lsg

 

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