Popular house duo Black Motion have made a name for themselves as DJs across local and international airwaves.
The Heartless Intentions hitmakers are synonymous with producing house tracks that are highly influenced by African music and have featured a few African artists such as Salif Keita, Simphiwe Dana and songstress Bucie.
Black Motion have established a great reputation as artists who are passionate about their music and do not compromise to the commercial sound of house music, but rather attract listeners though their act of playing the drums and spinning music, while dazzling the audience with their freestyle dance moves.
These two men could be called the true artists and I truly felt blessed to have spent time with them both.
In addition to their award-winning albums, the duo (real names Thabo “Smols” Mabogwane and Robert “Murda” Mahosana) have performed at some of South Africa’s most popular events, and have even graced international stages in Angola, the US, Portugal and Spain.
They are slated to perform in the Eastern European nation of Croatia in August for a second time, returning for the Defected Music Festival, performing alongside the likes of DJs Dennis Ferrer, Claptone, Bassment Jaxx and Roger Sanchez.
In association with whiskey brand Ballentines, Black Motion hosted a very intimate party for a select number of guests, “a chill session”, as they called it.
The session was to show invited guests who Black Motion are off stage and give guests the opportunity to know who Mahosana and Mabongwane are.
The night involved free drinks that were made with sponsored whiskey and guests were served delicious nibbles as they mingled with each other and the hosts for the night. Guests were then treated to a mini dance party as the duo teased their upcoming single, even showing off their impressive moves.
They dancing, they revealed, is always a spontaneous event, something that they never plan beforehand.
“We always freestyle when we dance or when we play music; we just go with the flow and the vibe we get from our fans,” Mahosana explains.
The more time I spent talking to Mahosana and Mabogwane, the more I began to understand the strong chemistry and friendship that is displayed between the two men. Both guys have an interesting flow concerning how they interact with each other and with other people.
They come off as calm, introverted gentlemen, who enjoy talking about their passion for music, cars and art. However, when Mahosana goes behind the decks and Mabongwane starts playing on his drum, they cease to be individuals. It’s as though their minds fuse into one. As they perform for their audiences, they communicate with their fans and each other through their music.
It’s like they’re in a trance, a trance with a vibe that their fans feed off and is regurgitated to the gentlemen, who will break into dancing or even create a new song in the moment.
In the course of this intimate session, I learned that Robert “Murda” Mahosana is an avid car collector. He owns three cars, one of which is a vintage 1940s Hot Rod, as he called it. As he described his antique vehicle, you could hear that he was almost as passionate about cars as he is about music.
Mahosana even played around with the idea of creating a rally event for luxury cars on the weekends, in different locations across Gauteng, in an effort to bring fans, car lovers and celebrities together.
As for Mabongwane, his face lit up when one of the guests asked him about an art piece that hung on the wall. It was a pencil sketch of the late Francophone artist Femi Kuti, a man whom Mabongwane holds in high regard.
Mabongwane then went on to say that Kuti “inspires their creativity and the production of their music, as do other well-revered African artists”.
My conversation with Black Motion went totally off its original direction when we began to discuss our hometowns and, as we laughed and joked about the differences between chilling at places such as Moja Café or KwaLichaba in Soweto - or visiting Tshwanefontein in Pretoria - I learned one thing that has stayed with me since that night.
Robert Mahosana and Thabo Mabongwane are just two good friends who love to make music, drive around in the cars, and relax with friends.
They don’t particularly look like the type of men who would like to be placed on a pedestal as house music gods; they just make great house music that can capture a vast audience.
The only difference between myself, the guests invited and the DJ duo is that they can create magic with their fingers and start a dance battle on stage, while fans watch and try to imitate on the ground.