Kilo Kami Releases Debut Track [Interview]
Kilo Kami teams up with Cape Town-based Gang Activity to release ‘TRNCE’
“The energy in the studio that day was contagious and I hope to carry that through to every person who listens to this track.” – Kilo Kami
Musician and music producer Kilo Kami has recently teamed up with local rappers, Gang Activity, to launch his debut single ‘TRNCE’, a hip hop/ trap production. Kilo Kami’s goal with this track was simply to produce an uplifting and energetic track. From the heavy trap production to traditional Japanese elements like Gong Cymbals and Koto Guitars, ‘TRNCE’ is something different and soon to be a favourite among South Africans.
With Kilo Kami’s session musician background, his goal is not to have any limitations when it comes to releasing music. He mentions that the next track may even be a full-on pop song. For Kilo Kami, inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes – watch this space!
I caught up with Kilo Kami to find out more about the new project, the debut single and his future plans for the new project:
Congrats on the new release, “TRNCE”; how did the collaboration with Gang Activity come about and what is this track all about?
Thanks so much, appreciate it. I was actually chilling at Clarke’s in town one morning when I came across this track on Soundcloud by Zaniko La Kalito, one of the Gang Activity members. I sent him a DM on Instagram and the next thing I knew, we were in Redbull Studios, Cape Town, recording TRNCE. Literally, seconds before we started tracking, I met the other guys of the group (Shango ADE, Mdubb and Sensei). I think every member has their own meaning of the track but it’s pretty much about being under some sort of trance.
That’s awesome! Now, I know you have a session musician background, performing with artists in mostly rock and pop genres. Why the change to a more electronic, hip hop/trap sound?
Before I started playing drums, I actually used to make songs as a kid in a program called Fruity Loops. I burned my own CDs and gave them to family and friends. When drums came into the picture, I just kind of forgot about production for a while. I think because session work and production started intertwining so much in recent years, I realised just how much I’ve missed it. Although I’ve always ended up doing rock/pop work, I’ve always enjoyed and studied multiple genres. That’s why I will definitely do a lot more with Kilo Kami. These are so many avenues I still want to explore.
You’ve played with many different artists in your career. Why did you decide to start this project?
Drumming itself satisfies a certain part of me but producing and composing has always been in the back of my head. I wanted to express myself artistically and I think Kilo Kami was the answer to that. I must say that it’s such a privilege to be working with such big names in the music industry as a session player, cause I have learned so much and I’m still consistently learning from them. Nice to use that information and experience as Kilo Kami.
Absolutely! You’ve referred to ‘Kilo Kami’ as a persona or an alter-ego. Tell me about what you mean by this? I’ve tried to look for a meaning behind the name but couldn’t get anything. So, how significant is this name and why the Japanese influence?
It was important for me to have an identity separated from my drumming career. It’s a different side of me that’s always been there actually, but not expressed. I’m actually more myself as Kilo Kami, to be honest. There are no limitations and I can explore and make anything I want. It’s so much fun. Regarding the name, it took me a while to come up with something that I thought suited me and the journey I’m on. As cheesy as it sounds, ‘Kilo’ is literally from Kilometers (like the journey I just mentioned) and ‘Kami’ actually has many meanings from the ancient Japanese ones to more modern ones. It’s open for interpretation. Werner Louw von Waltsleben is also just such a mouthful.
Haha, indeed! Which South African producers currently inspire you and why?
For hip hop music, I have been following a producer called Lordnelle. I had the privilege to work with him before and he’s such a talented guy all around from producing, singing, rapping to even designing. Everyone will definitely know who he is in a while. He just has such a great ear and he sets trends for sure. For pop music, I’ve been really looking up to an outfit called Pop Cult from Potchefstroom. They produce for literally everyone from Majozi, Jethro Tait to Die Heuwels Fantasties and Tresor. They consist of Rudolph Willemse, that also plays bass in Francois van Coke’s band with me, and Ewald from Monark. Those guys are incredible and can turn any song into a hit. I’ve learned a lot from them.
So, what do you hope to bring to people through the music of Kilo Kami?
I just want everyone to enjoy themselves listening to my music. I also want my tracks to be an expression of what people actually deal with. Good and bad, as long as it’s real.
You’ve said that ‘collaboration is your next big thing’. Which South African artists do you want to collaborate in the future?
Oh wow, there are so many. I would love to work with Sho Madjozi. Love what she is doing and have been following her career for a while. Definitely Moonchild Sanelly, Kash CPT, Nasty C, Tembisile, PHFAT, the list can go on forever.
Awesome artists! And besides other artists and music, what inspires you to get up and make music every day?
My girlfriend, my dog, my family and coffee! My imagination also plays a big role in getting up in the morning, actually. I imagine myself reaching certain goals and I play it out in my head. I think it’s important for someone to visualise what they are working towards.
Oh yes! And finally, where do you hope to take Kilo Kami and what are you currently working on?
I am currently finishing up my second track. It’s more of a pop song this time around and the one after that will be something completely different. I just want to release music that I love. I am also planning to do some live sets next year, so I am just busy brainstorming ideas to combine my live background with a DJ set.
Get ‘TRNCE’ Now – HERE