Updated: Oct 7, 2020
Tuesday February 4th, 2020 saw Recovery Collective resident artist Bongani soundtrack the 4th Arteq Live direct from Redwood Forest.
For 90 minutes, Bongani accommodates the scenery with beautiful electronic music.
Continue for a full interview with the talented artist below.
Filmed and edited by Focus.
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Over the last few years Bongani has taken the reigns as the A&R for Australian based record label Recovery Collective, overseeing the music direction for the label and giving young up & coming producers a chance to shine and release their music to the world.
Where were you born and raised?
Born and raised in Melbourne, with South African background. My love for music is in my blood and my heritage. My mum is a really organic individual who exposed me to some incredible healing soundscapes growing up that looking at it in hindsight shaped my love for melodic music. My father was a successful percussionist for his entire life, playing with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Donny Hathaway and many more so from the moment I was born African rhythm and soul has been in my life.
How did it feel playing in Redwood Forest?
Feeling was indescribable, when I was first exposed to music as a kid it was always in an outside environment. Being able to take in different sounds and rhythms whilst feeding off nature and its surroundings has always been for me the best way to listen to music. When we arrived at Redwood there was this incredible calm and silence as you walked around, a sense of energy that you couldn't see and once I started it just took over and your able to lose yourself in the music being lost amongst the trees.
Did you have the scenery in mind when selecting your track list?
Location always plays a huge roll for me when selecting records for different sets however this particular set was something I had been tucking away tracks waiting for a special chance to put them together. Most of the time the type of sets I play are a lot heavier and dance floor specific but I have a real love for super melodic, progressive tracks that take you on a journey. I found this location a few years back and was eager to be able to let these tracks go in this type of environment. For me it enhances everything about each composition.
Did you play any original productions? At what time were they?
I was able to close the set out with an original composition and a remix, the second last one was a track titled 'Wandering'. Funnily enough when i wrote this track my vision was of someone wandering through a dark forest being lost so it definitely fit the location. The closer was my latest remix that came out as part of our Recovery Collectives 5th birthday compilation. A killer record 'Paint the Sky Pink' from Fabrication. When I initially heard it I was instantly hooked by this intense melody throughout the break. I felt like I could capture it but flip it on its head to re-create a softer side so it could create this balance between intense and beautiful. The intro was made for a location like this as it accentuates the surroundings but brings it back to the rolling rhythm section that I love.
How do you feel about the video on Facebook reaching over 20k people in a few weeks?
Extremely humbling feeling, when you have an idea for a period of time and finally get to live it out it's quite daunting, you put so much time and effort into the creative process and in the middle you feel this incredible sensation you hope people can feel it too. The love and support I've received has been overwhelming, really appreciative of Jeff from Focus as well as Arteq for giving me this opportunity.
Define the Bongani sound?
When it comes to defining my sound there is always an intention to everything. There has to be more than just putting sounds together that’s pleasing to the ear. I need intent during the creative process that inspires me to take it in different directions. Over the past few years it's been constantly progressing as I mature as an artist, sounds heavily influenced by artists like Boris Brejcha, Deadmau5, Township Rebellion & Flume.
I have a love for heavily melodic soundscapes but need that dance floor rhythm people can get down too.
What’s coming up for Bongani?
From a production perspective I have a few releases on the way, some local labels and some scheduled mid-year on international labels. Trying to push my production as much as possible is the plan this year, I feel like I'm in a really good place musically and just want to share that. Gig wise you can catch me at some upcoming RC events we are putting together as well as Esoteric Festival next weekend for the team at Bushtechno.
Some final words from Bongani..
Just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone that has shown love and support and for everyone involved in putting this together. It was an experience I will never forget. Stay tuned as there is more on the way.