Mixing it up in the Mother City
They may have started out with an album called Look Mom, No Hands, but Mix N Blend could very well have called that album and every subsequent offering Look Mom, All Genres.
Created by friends and DJs-cum-producers, Jon Arnold and Kevin Ribbans, Mix N Blend are the result of music that is composed by the pair and performed by a live band that transcends any one genre.
The eclectic band includes vocalists EJ von Lyrik, Crosby Bolani as well as Lee Thomson (synth and trumpet), Callum McDonald (guitar), Ross McDonald (trombone), Inka Kendzia (visuals) and drummer, Sean Ou Tim. Those last two acts are, of course, professionally known as Mr Sakitumi and The Grrrl. Arnold takes care of the tenor saxophone as well as samples and Ribbans is on beats and effects.
Most recently, Mix N Blend have decided to work with South African DJ SFR, who now lives in Switzerland, on a collaboration EP called Mother City.
“SFR is a really good producer and together, we’ve written a track called Tantrums that featured EJ von Lyrik on our first album,” Ribbans explains how the collaboration started.
“For this project, initially we just wanted to write one track together. We wanted to combine that UK electronic funk with the kwaito flavour.”
The Mother City EP features the Cape Town kwaito duo The Ruffest and Bonj Mpanza on the tracks that use kwaito-inspired sounds as a base. Ribbans says the title of the EP “came about when we started to get this ragga element into the songs and Crosby came up with ‘this is how we do it in the Mother City’ chorus and it just fit since we all have different backgrounds.”
Speaking of backgrounds, many people from all over the country and even this continent (including The Dogg, a kwaito musician from Namibia) have been inspired by kwaito. There is even a subgenre simply referred to as Durban kwaito. Is there such a thing as Cape Town kwaito?
Ribbans laughs: “I don’t think I have the authority to speak on that, but I do think The Ruffest is sculpting a kwaito flavour that is unique to Cape Town and even they have some influence from Durban kwaito but, you know, people grow up differently.”
And this unique, out-of-the-box method of mashing up genres is what makes Mix N Blend refreshingly different.
“We’ve always liked the multi-genre approach to music,” explains Ribbans. “We wanted to keep this EP dance floor-friendly and kwaito fits in well with that dance floor aspect.”
• Download Mix N Blend and DJ SFR’s Mother City EP for free from www.soundcloud.com/ mixnblend.