Dreams and Arkitect
Dreams is an L.A.-based producer specializing in experimental club music. Its a cliche, but it fits: the “club” in question isn’t so much a physical space as an expansive mental terrain, marked by lush sounds and sparse breaks. Alongside fellow L.A. resident Arkitect he runs the Private Selection label: he’s given us their latest release, two remixes the label heads made of an essential South African tune by DJ Mujava, “Mugwanti.” Both Dreams and Arkitect twist the sticky vocal into strange new shapes over clattering breakbeats. The release marks the beginning of Private Selection’s foray into the world of South African kwaito-influenced club music. They will be releasing music from fascinating South African artists who have yet to make an impact beyond their home turf. Stream the remixes below, and read our interview with Dreams about his label’s uncompromising international vision.
Who is DJ Mujava and how does he fit into the wider context of South African club?
DJ Mujava is a producer and DJ who came out with this track back in 2008 called "Township Funk." It was a pretty big track that year and was one of the first tracks to have global success. Warp was one of the labels that played a part in getting Mujava recognition for his work and exposing his music to a wider audience. It had a UK garage influence but was still inherently South African in rhythm and melody. I think he paved the way for a lot of the newer South African producers and got more people from outside the country interested in the scene.
What originally drew you to South African club music?
Kyle [Arkitect] actually found the Mujava track "Mugwanti" on a South African house compilation he picked up at a record store… We both were immeadiately inspired by the rhythms and vocals. From this track we found a whole scene of artists who make darker and more stripped back music, sort of the we approach our productions.
What is the scene in South Africa like today? How did you get involved?
The scene is huge in South Africa but the music really hasn't had a big impact on other parts of the world. Kwaito music as a whole means much more to them as it is representative of freedom and the cultural movement started after apartheid. Besides Mujava, there's plenty of artists who are getting attention like DJ Spoko [Lit City Trax] and there's a lot of other innovative and genuine producers exploring that sound who we want to shine light on.
Tell me about the South African artists you are going to be releasing through private selection.<
We're in talks with a few different guys, but the one we plan on releasing first is DJ LAG. To us, he stood out from a lot of other Kwaito producers. Unlike a lot of Kwaito that can sound more like hip-hop or feature vocals, his style is all instrumental and plays with rhythm and expectation.
Tell me about the driving ideas behind Private Selection. How do South African artists fit into a wider curatorial vision?
The whole idea behind the label and the name is to be able to release carefully selected music that is pushing the boundaries of contemporary club music. The South African Kwaito scene is something we see as inspiration because of how truly underground and community-oriented it is. Their musical ideas are unique to where they live but they still share a similar quality to the tracks we make and aim to curate from various parts of the world.
Ezra Marcus on Twitter—@ezra_marc