Look what Batuk has cooked up, it’s Kasi Royalty!
After months of touring the world, BATUK- a duo comprised of songstress Manteiga and music producer Spoek Mathambo- have returned home to Johannesburg with new music for us all to enjoy. This new music comes in the form of their sophomore album, ‘Kasi Royalty’. The album is an eclectic mixture of soulful house, exhilarating electronic music, and mid-tempo kwaito, which is sure to send South Africans into nostalgic mode.
Although they travelled the world, SA is always in their hearts; Manteiga dishes out the goods about their artistic journey, growth, touring, the ocean and bits and bobs between.
South African music is a diamond that the entire globe treasures.”
First of all, congratulations on the release of your sophomore album, Kasi Royalty. How are you two feeling about the album as a body of work?
Batuk: Thank you very much. Both Spoek and I are very proud of this album. We put a lot of time, heart and soul into this project and it’s an honour to finally be able to share it with the world.
Kasi Royalty was released on Friday, 11 May and you performed a show at the Tennis Club in Jozi. How was it playing in the home land again, offering up your ‘musical baby’?
Batuk: It was super exciting and also very nerve wrecking hahah! We are always very happy and proud to play on home soil; it’s the best place to perform.
Personally, I always get nervous performing for people I know and love, it’s weird, I feel a lot more comfortable performing in front of strangers.
Fresh from a world tour and now a fresh new album; How did touring influence your song-writing and production in terms of inspiration, time, overall travelling and creative head space?
Batuk: Traveling always inspires the spirit. It opens you up to new things, new possibilities, new tastes, new sounds, and new smells. So the impact it will have on one’s creativity is definitely guaranteed. However, on this album, the task was to draw from the incredible inspiration we were fed while growing up in our individual townships (I grew up in Reiger Park and Spoek grew up in Soweto). Our head spaces had to be home to fulfil the essence of the album.
Kasi Royalty is a 12-track album, true to the unique house, electronic music and kwaito feeling so brilliantly honed by Batuk. How do you feel your sound and attitude has developed since your first album, Musica da Terra was released in 2016?
Batuk: I’ve personally developed a whole lot better than I was when we made Musica Da Terra. I think I was still very shy when we recorded that album. I understand my voice a lot more now. I’m a lot more comfortable and I feel free to express myself.
Spoek’s production has also gone to anooooother level, out of this world amazing. So, I had to make sure I brought my A-game, to serve justice to his genius production.
The day I walk into a popular club in Jhb and they are not spoon-feeding American Hip-hop or UK dance pop, and rather playing a solid night of music from Egypt, Kenya, Brazil, Colombia or Mexico, will be the day I rest my case.”
If you could compare the European music scene to the South African scene (including audiences) what would you say sets South Africa apart from the world and vice versa?
Batuk: South African music is a diamond that the entire globe treasures. We have been making phenomenal music for decades, which no other genres can compare to.
Just look at how Gqom is shaking the globe! We are excellent in our craftsmanship and there is no comparison. On the other hand, I believe that the audiences in other parts of the world like, Asia and Europe are far more open and receptive to various kinds of music.
I feel like South Africans are comfortable with what is fed to them…and I hope that we can break that mentality and learn to appreciate the thousands of various genres that the world has to offer.
The day I walk into a popular club in Jhb and they are not spoon-feeding American Hip-hop or UK dance pop, and rather playing a solid night of music from Egypt, Kenya, Brazil, Colombia or Mexico, will be the day I rest my case.
Two tracks on the album feature lyrical styling from Americans, namely Carmica King on Agua Vida as well as Big Space on Love at First Sight. How were the connections made and how was it working with musicians outside our shore
Batuk: Big Space is our friend and we respect him as a phenomenal producer. Him and Spoek often get together in studio and create such amazing music. We just felt that it was compulsory to have him on our album.
As for Camica King, we met her during a visit to Cape Town. We travelled with her to Khayelitsha and recorded some music in studio. She has an incredible voice and such a warm spirit. Both features were not pre-planned, they were just beautifully organic.
You JUST released the music video for your second single, called Deep Ocean Deep, written and styled by Manteiga. How easy was it creating such a beautiful visual representation of the song?
Batuk: Thank you very much 🙂
Both Spoek and I are very visual people. We have both worked in theatre and film for over a decade. So, creating visuals for a song that we formed was not very difficult.
We know that what we want to see more of in the world is positivity and beauty, and that is what we tried to create; a video that spreads a message about protecting the ocean, as well as something mystical, sensitive and beautiful to the eye.
Polarized, the video focuses both on the beauty of the ocean as well as the dire state that it is in due to pollution. How important is it for artists to use their voice with regards to environmental affairs, or even politics?
Batuk: It is our responsibility, and should be our obligation, to use our voices and platforms as creatives, to speak out about issues that cause harm to the world. Whether it be political, global or personal, I believe that it is the duty of an artist to raise important topics that could potentially reach thousands/millions of people.
So what is next for Batuk? What can fans look forward to following the release of the hit new album, Kasi Royaly?
Batuk: We are focussed on the album right now. We just released it and want to make sure we give it the attention it deserves. We have soon many things that we are working on, including a film 😉 but we want to make sure that we get our album out there and in the ears and hearts of many many people on the globe.
Get your hands and ears on Kasi Royalty now!