Music by VICE

Bwana's Soulful Bass is Back

The Toronto-based DJ/producer preps the release of his debut EP for Aus Music, which includes a striking remix from Simian Mobile Disco.

by Kathryn Kyte
Nov 21 2014, 12:30am

Nathan Micay (a.k.a. Bwana) emerged a couple years back with the track "Baby Let Me Finish," a wild welding of soul and UK bass that upon first listen tickled with a lustful tone yet little was known about the artist behind the effort. Still, the song began circulating and caught the attention of underground and emerging Canadian act's including Montreal's Adventure Club.

Fast forward three years and the 24-year-old Toronto DJ/producer is back to debut his new Flute Dreams EP and has become the first North American artist on Will Saul's Aus Music.

"I have a lot of respect for Will Saul and the empire he's created," explains Bwana. "He's been able to do it all, DJ, produce and A&R. I feel honoured to be part of Aus music and the first signed from North America. It's cool too because there is such a family vibe with everyone, the guys seem to be good friends, which is a great thing."

While "Baby Let Me Finish" was our first sound introduction, Bwana wasn't even sure what "sound" or "style" he was going for and was just "messing around." He then, like many young artists, tried to maneuver through the meanderings of the DJ scene as best he could to find his niche.

"The past two years has been a learning experience, I took a hiatus and before I took that hiatus I was really trying to navigate and everything was happening fast. I signed with Mad Decent and there was a lot of expectations and honestly, I didn't want to rush things so I eventually just took time to make a music statement I'm happy about. I do know that people were getting impatient though and to them I may have not delivered, but it just wasn't the right time."

Bwana's approach to music is not to inundate the scene with track after track, mix after mix and get lost in the hype, instead, he looks to artists like Midland and Montreal's Jacques Greene and observes how they've administered their music velocity.

"Midland grew organically, I hate that word but anyway, it all seems natural with him and last year he put out two big 12" albums and kept with his vision. And Jacques Greene puts his music out sparsely and tries to make a statement. I think too many people are putting songs out every week and sure if you have that much 'good' quality music that's fine, but I think that kind of demand is too much."

That's not to say he has a shortage of music primed to distribute though.

"At this point I have an insane amount of music and everything sounds completely different from the next. I'm prepared and at a place where I'm ready to keep releasing music, more so, music that I'm proud of."

The Flute Dreams EP houses four distinctly original recordings including a special remix of the title track courtesy of a little ol' act called Simian Mobile Disco.

"I was at Movement in Detroit, I'd never been and Will Saul started talking about Simian Mobile Disco and thought maybe they could do a remix. So he sent them the track and then back in August I opened for them in Toronto and they came up to me and said 'mate we love the tune' and then they sent over the final draft to us. It was really cool."

What's great about Bwana, the EP and the music featured is his pensive attention to the senses of creation, even if some components came to life in an arbitrary manner.

For example, the title of the EP was determined after Bwana watched the classic Steve James' documentary Hoop Dreams and "the name just stuck."

As he notes, "The track "Fizzle" came from watching the kids show, The Magic School Bus with Ms. Frizzle and "Aomame" was one of the protagonist's in the book, 1QA4."

Over the span of two years, Bwana has seen a lot of change. From studying in England and getting beat up (which halted him from making music for six months) to switching managers to opening for Skrillex and getting things thrown at him while "ole, ole, ole" was chanted by the crowd—there's been a wealth of experiences to synergize.

After speaking with the lad you get a sense that he's patient, has a visionary mind and isn't about predicting trends, yet is still inquisitive of the sort.

"I follow the EDM scene from a distance in general. I do like some of the stuff that comes out, but from 2012 to now, although it's only been two years there's so much that has changed. It truly was a different time and then Disclosure came out and the scope changed again. I have no idea what's going to happen, but I do think there's still a trap fix that people are into and there seems to be more of an influx for techno."

Although he proclaims he's "terrible at the Internet and just learned how to torrent this year," he does know how to produce cogent recordings that creep between electronic spaces, collectively forming a dreamy bass disposition. If you're a fan of Mount Kimbie (an act dear to Bwana's heart) or Julio Bashmore, time to take notice of this reflective artist.

The Flute Dreams EP comes out on December 1. For those in Toronto, make sure to check out the release party on November 28 at Bambi's.

Stay tuned next week for more from our interview with Bwana and THUMP will also premiere one of the golden tracks from the Flute Dreams EP.

You can follow Kathryn on Twitter: @LoadedLove

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