“We met at a party in Portugal, and it was love at first sight, simple really.”
Banging night-time psy act Hiyamyzo is the collaboration between married DJs Hiyarant and Djane Myzo; otherwise known as Stuart and Lili Vermaak.
It’s a tale as old as time itself, well, not quite: South African boy DJ goes to Portugal to play at the Quest4Goa outdoor festival and meets Portuguese girl DJ by a crystal lake.
“There was this beautiful lake with transparent water,” says Lili, describing the moment she and Stuart met. “Stu told me he couldn’t imagine a better place to be. It’s one of the most extraordinary venues in the world. We just connected from the beginning.”
Stuart is less poetic, but to the point: “We met at a party in Portugal, and it was love at first sight, simple really.” Fast forward to a sunset proposal on the beach, then an intimate wedding, and the pair are happily married and living in the coastal town of Fish Hoek, Cape Town.
Lili, or Djane Myzo, is known for playing pounding psychedelia. The petite blonde is an energetic presence behind the decks, and has signed with a number of labels that covet her ‘full on’ style. She’s also recently started producing with Stuart for their joint live act, Hiyamyzo. Stuart describes his style as ‘over the top’ and aside from his solo project, Hiyarant, he also collaborates with Frozen Ghost as psy act Dirty Motion and has a breaks project [with Dave Love] called Enough Weapons. To top it off he’s a co-owner of Disasterpeace Records.
Is there some competition between the two of you when it comes to bookings?
Lili: We don’t fight, the money gets spent by me anyway [laughs]. It doesn’t interfere with our relationship, when Stu plays, I party. I loved his music before I even met him.
Stuart: The way I see it, it’s cash either way, and whether I’m playing or not I’ll be at the gig to hear the tunes. I catch all of Lili’s shows pretty much; she’s an awesome DJ.
This one’s just for Lili. Will you also be producing, or is your focus on DJ-ing?
Lili: I produce alongside Stu for Hiyamyzo. For my solo project I only work when Stu isn’t around – I’m too shy to show to anyone, especially him. I need much more time in the studio until I’m ready. But expect music for the body and mind: big breaks and fat bass that’ll get people jumping in the air. Stu is my mentor. He’s taught me most of what I know about music production. Although our ideas are completely different we always find a balance. We have very different energies, but they complement each other—that’s why I think Hiyamyzo is so unique.
You make night-time music, would you characterise it is as dark psy?
Stuart: I’m not insulted…just surprised! I thought you had to be close to 160 IDM to qualify as dark psy. My music is my perception of psychedelic, organic textures and powerful emotions, it’s thought provoking – an experiment that’s open to perception. It’s not dark psy in the broad sense, but still dark I suppose, just not as fast.
What do you think the future holds for this kind of music in South Africa, ‘dark psy’ or ‘night-time’?
Lili: I think the style of music we play is the most loved in South Africa. It’s the only place I know of in the world that the crowd goes through a party with only night-time psy from the beginning to the end and loves it. Globally I think daytime music has got a bigger number of fans. But quantity doesn’t always mean quality. Stuart: In South Africa our music is cooking! The scene is as cool as any I’ve seen, the future’s looking good. Globally, our style is well supported, but not really on a commercial level. There are more mainstream artists who are doing really well on the daytime scene globally. Our aim with Hiyamyzo is to bring the energy levels of the night-time into the day.
To finish off, let’s do a quick couple’s test. Stuart’s favourite piece of musical equipment is…
Lili: Either his Mac or synths. His guitar and bass come second.
Stuart: My Apple Mac.
That looks like a pass to me. Keep your ear to the stomping ground: the pair says they’ll be releasing a Hiyamyzo album in the near future.
In the meantime, follow Hiyamyzo on Facebook for upcoming gigs.