On a day when Vetkuk and Mahoota are behind the decks and Emtee is waiting to present Club808 with a platinum plaque for supporting his debut album, Avery, DJ Sox and DJ Tira are relaxed.
It’s the silly season, wheren everyone is vying to have the song of the summer and the pair that iswho are known as Durban’s Finest, along with the Afrotainment stable which includes Naak Musiq, Joocy and Duncan, are preparing to tape a medley for the show.
With a new double disc called Durban’s Finest Reloaded Mixed by DJ Tira and DJ Sox, they have a few songs that contend for the summer title.
The album features songs like Amanda Black’s Amazulu remix, Hayi Hayi featuring MiCasa, Nginqobile featuring Idols SA’s Mmatema and more. It was released on the same day as albums by the rest of the Afrotainment roster.
In a small dressing room at Club808, Tonight caught up with DJs Tira and Sox:
What did you miss the most when you were apart?
Tira: Those one-on-one sessions. It’s nice to play with someone who pushes you beyond your best. When we play together, the graph just goes up. I missed the chemistry we have together, especially when we perform.
Every time we have singles together, the songs top the charts. So I’m happy we’re back together.
Sox: I missed our energy. We’re two different people and bring different elements to the table.
Tira goes to the crowd and that’s not my thing. But when I’m with him, I have to do it and with him, I actually enjoy it. People really love Durban’s Finest. I can feel the difference between when both of us are there and when it’s just one.
The Reloaded album still has much of the Durban kwaito feel to it, but also brings in genres like gqom.
Sox: Yes. Traditionally, Durban’s Finest is about music.
We have a following of abantu who love good music. But at the same time, things have changed and gqom is in. We have to try and balance everything. We want to keep the music and grow the culture.We’ve evolved over the years and have mixed songs that show the journey of us evolving till this stage that we’re in. This album is a journey.
The queen of gqom, Babes Wodumo, features on your album on a catchy song called iData Endlini Ka Tira. How did that song come about?
Tira: That song was recorded on January 1, 2016. We recorded it right after Fact Durban Rocks (concert) at Moses Mabhida Stadium. We just happened to have uBabes in studio, just hanging around. She felt the vibe and just jumped on the song. Mampintsha came through the following day and laid his vocals down. What I’ve learnt is you don’t need a date of when you should be in studio. When you’re a musician, just keep doing songs because that hit will happen when you least expect it. You can’t plan it. Never stop working.
Your CD sleeve says your vision is to uncover talent. Why is that your passion?
Sox: From the first day we met, the vision has never been about Tira and Sox. It has always been about Durban. That’s why we call ourselves Durban’s Finest. At the time, some people looked at it as a bad decision because they thought we were localising ourselves to a specific city, but that’s what we wanted to do. It was about us and, hopefully, Professor and Tzozo would follow and, hopefully after them, L’vovo would follow and after him there will be Big Nuz and then there will be Babes.
Tira: The day we decide to sit in those aircon-ed offices and don’t go ekasi anymore, that’s when we’ll start losing our vision. These producers we work with are in unfavourable living conditions, but they have love and talent. We will help them to get to the next level.
As Durban’s Finest, what do you make of the Durban scene right now?
Sox: I don’t see anything wrong with the scene except that some people aren’t open-minded. It’s only now that Wololo has become this big that the same people who had a problem with gqom being too noisy now think it’s the best thing ever.
Tira: We came into this industry when there was mid-tempo house in 2005. We changed it to up-tempo house and people loved it. We came with Durban kwaito and now, we’re adding drums and making things a lot more hectic. If you look at international music, the likes of David Guetta, that sound is even more hectic. But we’re taking off and we are not stopping.
• Durban’s Finest Reloaded Mixed by DJ Tira and DJ Sox is in stores and online.