“I do still enjoy the clubbing part as well, as long as the crowd is more on the mature side… and by that I don’t mean age, but behaviour.”
Helmut J, is a front line artist for local electronic music record label Triplefire Music. His DJ sets are a blend of pulsating dub, beautiful melodic and rhythmic forms of Techno. He will be performing alongside Ryan Sullivan at the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival on Sunday 16 February at 12:00 PM. He talks to us about technology integration for DJs, being a weird prefect at high school and what creativity comes down to.
1. DJ Technology: IS it harming the art of DJ-ing or improving it?
It makes no sense to be pessimistic about it, as it’s just going to progress and pass you by . There is definitely an over saturation of choices and products. Everyone is allowed their own opinion though, and mine is to learn the basics on turntables or CDJs even, and use newer technology to add on to what you already know. Also when you start messing around with adding samples and loops to a track that’s already full enough and usually even out of key, then you may need to take a step back and add a bit of music production theory to your skills. You can hear when someone hasn’t learned the basics… loudly and embarrassingly clear. Overall, it’s improving the art of DJ-ing… if used properly.
2. An electronic music festival like CTEMF is… yet another stepping stone to what should have happened in Cape Town a long time ago. It’s a great time to be here for sure, and completely surreal to be included in the line-up!
3. Electronic music is best translated as… the integration of technology into the musical realm.
4. As a DJ/Producer you would never… surrender to any commercial influences to further my status.
5. In high school you were best known for… being the weird ass prefect in the band with the ‘Nine Inch Nails’ t-shirt.
6. Being creative as an artist comes down to… clarity of mind, focus and time management, as with any profession.
7. In your opinion where and how do club parties and festivals differ?
There definitely is a bit more pretence in clubs, compared to the more relaxed vibe at festivals.
Which do you prefer and why?
I’m not too big a fan of the dodgy toilets on day three vibe, so I’ll usually enjoy the first two days of a festival, and go home early on the third. At the moment I’m really enjoying the day time events and rooftop parties that ‘Make-Believe’ and others are hosting. Apart from that I do still enjoy the clubbing part as well, as long as the crowd is more on the mature side… and by that I don’t mean age, but behaviour.
8. A truly South African sound is… the Vuvuzela, unfortunately.
9. Name something in your artist career you feel you could have got more
Nothing much, everything happens as it’s supposed to. I would have liked to see my ‘Sideways Sessions’ go bigger in Joburg at one point but that’s about it.
10. There will never be too many cowbells and chilli chocolates in the world.
11. What do you enjoy doing the most when you aren’t producing beats/looking
Skateboarding, running, reading, dinner or braai-ing with mates.
12. Any pre-set rituals? [Get drunk, special meal, meditate, etc.]
Sushi and a beer or two. I don’t believe in getting smashed before a gig at all.
13. Being a DJ/Producer in Cape Town is a lot like… a breath of fresh air, compared to my experiences in Joburg. Hopefully it’s changed by now.
14. Name that sneaky track on your favourite playlist that would shock
your other cool DJ friends?
Slayer – Dead Skin Mask, although I don’t think they’d be overly shocked.
15. If you lived in a fantasy cartoon world where all the characters
were DJs, what would your catch phrase be?
“I wish I lived in the real world, where not everyone’s a DJ” Oh…wait.