Photos by Tyler Walker
After playing both of the biggest SA festivals on the calendar this year, we took some time to speak to The Kiffness about his new album.
You started The Kiffness in 2013 and since then had numerous radio singles and even 3 SAMA nominations. What was your initial goal when you started The Kiffness in terms of music and for the band in general?
My goal was to play on big stages & become well known. Through achieving those goals I’ve become to realize that those goals serve no real purpose. The goal now is to share ideas that I believe are worth sharing – ideas that affect the world in a positive way.
In the words of Jim Carrey “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
You moved to Cape Town after studying at Rhodes. What made you decide to make the move and why did you decide on settling in Cape Town?
I had finished my degree in Philosophy & Music, and I was keen to develop my skills as a music producer. I literally googled “sound engineering school South Africa” and Cape Audio College popped up. It looked pretty cool, so I went there. I soon realized that something about Cape Town made me write kiff tunes, so I decided to stay here. I slept on friends couches for many months & paid my way by buying food & making kiff tunes in okes living rooms while doing crappy R200 gigs & making music for adverts.
Over the past few years you have collaborated with artists such as Tresor, Shortstraw, Moonchild, Mathew Gold and more. How do you choose who to collaborate with and is there something special you look for in a collaborator in terms of what it brings to The Kiffness?
Most of the colabs happen organically. Tresor was because of 5fm’s Mashlab. Mathew Gold found the backtrack for Where Are You Going on Juliet Harding’s flashdrive. Shortstraw happened because we did a show together & we were like “we should do a song together”.
Speaking of collaborations – your new album ‘Soul Safari’ features African collaborators to focus on issues in SA – how did you choose who to collaborate for with the new album and what do you think they brought to the music of the album?
I watched BCUC for the first time at Smoking Dragon last year. I was so blown away by their performance, not only because of their electric energy, but because of their outlook and message. They encapsulate the true spirit of uBuntu – the African philosophy of inclusion & togetherness (which I was fortunate enough to study at Rhodes), but only really begun to understand it again through working with these guys. I think when collaborations like this happen, it helps bring unity in these times where division is rife.
When writing and recording ‘Soul Safari’, did you do anything different for this album compared to your previous releases?
I think the main difference was that the message behind the album was more intentional – more in line with my social commentary. The music I’ve made in the past had no real direction – the focus was to get a song to sound nice. Now I’m less concerned about how a song sounds, but rather how it makes you feel.
What does the new album represent to you and for The Kiffness?
It’s an album of deep introspection. Realising that the answers to life’s questions are not out there, but within us.
Buy the album here