I was even more excited when I received the label’s most recent offering, Difference by Darque, and then given the opportunity to chat with the man behind this beautifully Deep, Soulful track.
I was expecting a seasoned musician of mature years or at least someone in their twenties so I was understandably surprised when Darque, real name Molapo Malatji, told me he is 19 and busy studying for his Matric exams.
There’s something very inspiring about this down to earth teenager from Polokwane who started producing at the age of 13. “I just wanted to make tracks that my older brother would want to play in his car” he told me. There’s innocence about him but you can feel his passion for music and drive to succeed.
“I’m following my heart. I don’t know why people don’t do that. I’m not lazy. I’m a hard worker. I’m very social and not afraid to approach people. There’s a lot of people who are better than me but they don’t have the urge to get out there and go get what they want.”
I wondered what it was that inspired Darque to start producing music in the first place as unlike so many people, he began by making music and only later started DJing.
“My brother was at boarding school and would save up his pocket money to buy house CD’s. He once came back with the track ‘Summer Daze’ by Nick Holder. It broke me! It was a turning point and I thought ‘I want to do this’. It changed everything.”
So how did the track Difference come about?
“I called Malankane and drove to the Multi-Racial studio in Pretoria. I heard he was going to be doing the ‘House Blends’ album so I said I want to produce something for it. He told me he was looking for something deep, mellow and jazzy but it mustn’t bore people so I thought why don’t I make a track like that.”
Darque clearly has no problem approaching people but I was fascinated as to how he connected with Devon based Deep House legend Andy Compton, founder of the Peng Africa label.
“I just connected with him on Facebook, introduced myself and asked him to help me here and there. He opened his arms to me and has been so willing to help.
I felt my track didn’t quite sound complete so I sent it to Andy and he told me Charlie Hearnshaw from the Rurals was on his way over. Charlie loved it and later that night sent back a version where he played sax over the whole track from beginning to end. I found a part I liked and cut it.”
With the help of the likes of Andy Compton the world is now taking note of the talent in our country and labels like Peng Africa offer a platform for South African music to reach the global market. However, Darque feels it is important that artists remain real and true to their passion and not trade quality for success.
“The South African scene is on point but there’s too many people doing it for the wrong reasons. They don’t have the love. A lot of people I grew up respecting have changed and turned the wrong direction and for the wrong reasons. When you’ve got the love it seems you don’t get the opportunities but you have to work hard and if success happens it happens. I just want people to hear me out.”
I’m hearing him, and a lot more people will have an opportunity to during the Darque InYourCity tour in December when he will be performing in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Polokwane and Nelspruit.
Keep an eye on the IDMlife website for more information on dates and venues
INTERVIEW: Darren Rose