Jacques spent time getting to know Spoek Mathambo. Spoek in one of those South African musicians that is loved locally and internationally and has been featured on a range of publications from Pitchfork to MTV Iggy.

Photo by Sean Metelerkamp

DYD: Let’s start at the beginning. You have quite an interesting sound. Where do you get inspiration for your songs and how would you attempt to describe your sound?
Spoek: I’d describe it as my sound. The Spoek sound, which is always evolving and mutating. I’m inspired by a lot of different music, comedians, visual arts and film. I’d best describe my sound as, ‘Spoek having fun with art.’

DYD: Every mixtape and album should be a favourite because of the amount of work that went into it but do you have a favourite mixtape or album out of the ones that you have made? 
Spoek: They’re exercises in music production and song writing for me…I’m kind of sharing my practice sessions.

Erm, the mixtapes are really just fun summer projects. Not too serious. Not as focussed as my albums. I pick a theme or vibe and run with it for a few weeks. I loved the Escape From 85 computer game we made (http://www.spoekmathambo.com/game/), which was nominated at the UK Music Video Awards for Best Interactive Video. I’m excited about the Wave Crusher t-shirts I’ve just printed with the New Orleans based illustrator Otto Splotch, who’s work is crazy. He’s a really funny illustrator, comic book artist.

DYD: Have you at all been surprised by the response that you’ve received from audiences all over the world?
Spoek: Surprised by what?

DYD: How and when did you get verified on Twitter?
Spoek: I don’t remember. It was kind of random… A button came up that said, ‘Do you want to be verified?’ Being curious I clicked it. Truth is I’ve been a certified G from birth.

DYD: Any rad collaborations that we can look forward to in future?
Spoek: Yeah, I have done an EP with Mark Crew who produces for Bastille and others. It’s been a great collaboration. I have also done a song with the UK singer Eliza Doolittle. In SA, I’ll be working with DJ Spoko, a genius producer from Attridgeville in Pretoria. I also wanna work with two guitarists, Andre Geldenhys (formerly of Machineri) and Tiago from The Volume/340ml.

DYD: Do you have a favourite gig venue?
Spoek: I generally like playing festivals, especially weird hyperactive festivals like SXSW which is about 300 venues across a city, just going hard for a week. In the one festival you might play 10 gigs, multiple shows a day, it’s summer, it’s Texas so a lot of outdoors stuff. I played one of those shows at the Fader Fort with Bon Iver, Trash Talk, Odd Future, Lil B and P Diddy, it was the funniest show day.

DYD: Who are you listening to at the moment?
Spoek: Some Khoi San shaman/artist called Ngubi. I’m listening to Iggy Pop, Phil Spector stuff, Parquete Courts, PJ Harvey, Gucci Mane and Boards of Canada. Also listening to Okmalumkoolkat, DJ Spoko and Aero Manyelo. From Sweden I love artists like Gnucci, Beatrice Eli, and Seinabo Sey.

DYD: If you could star in any television show or film, which one would it be and who would you play?
Spoek: I would be Jerry in Seinfeld.

DYD: This is kind of a personal question, but we’ll ask it anyways. How did your parents respond to your move from medical school to Creative Communication to then becoming Spoek Mathambo? Have they always been fully supportive or have you had to prove yourself to them?
Spoek: They’ve always been supportive. Their focus is on education…not specifically caring what I studied as long as I pursued tertiary studies…so I studied graphic design and marketing and continued making music as I always have.

DYD: So, what’s next? Can we expect a new mixtape or album soon? Any local shows lined up for 2014?
Spoek: Keep watching my website www.spoekmathambo.com follow the live dates, play the game, buy the t-shirts, DL the albums and mixtapes. I’m in SA from Nov – Feb… I’m going to try do as many shows as possible but my real interest is being in studio in SA and working with all my friends at home. Dropping a new EP in March.

If you want more Spoek Mathambo information:
– Like the Spoek Mathambo Facebook page
– Check out the Spoek Mathambo Soundcloud page
– Follow Spoek Mathambo on Twitter

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