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Culoe de Song (pictured) is in a philosophical and unusually talkative mood when I meet him at Lucky Bean in Melville for our interview. The normally reserved man does not like to talk much. Even at social events he keeps to himself.
In fact, I have only really seen him liven up once and that was at that Hansa debacle with the blue tokolosh Brenda Fassie and Zaki Ibrahim failing Lebo Mathosa. Culoe was with his fellow Durbanite, Zakes Bantwini, and the two sat having an animated conversation.
We are meeting to discuss his third album, Exodus, which he describes as more vocally friendly.
“There are two sides to this album. There is the Afro appealing music, with a commercial accent and then there is the other side, which is deeper electro with some trance.”
The album is self-produced and has many vocalists. He also believes it is his best work yet.
“When I go into the studio I make music. Without music life would be so dry. In terms of the name Exodus, my book of Exodus is music. I am encouraging everyone to find their circle. You can never run away from your circle of life. Everyone has a central point. Whoever you are right now, you have to have a central point. Inspire to inspire.
“With my music it’s something that I was born with. It’s like asking an artist to take a photograph with your mind. It’s an imagination game and its energy. I like using my imagination game.”
These are deep words from a DJ and producer who burst on to the scene with the iconic, emotional house track, Webaba, featuring Busi Mhlongo. Culoe is signed to Black Coffee’s Soulistic label and was initially nurtured by the gentle DJ.
In fact, the two have a similar dress sense and similar mannerisms like in the quiet way they talk. But Culoe did not stay in the shadow of this giant internationally acclaimed house DJ. He has gone on to create his own career nationally and internationally.
“I recently returned from playing in Paris. I was playing soulful underground music and I would love my music to be consumed in that environment.”
Having collaborated with many big names on the album, and with tracks from his two previous albums released on other dance labels, it is clear that he is building his international name.
The album is also one of the most anticipated releases for the year. And it is not just dance fans who are waiting. His music has enough integrity to appeal to music fans from other genres.
“I have always imagined myself as a nomad. It’s always about the central point. Your life is your mind.” Deep words from a producer who makes deep dance music.