Meet Vanco, he’s one of the most exciting movers and shakers on the South African dance scene right now, gracing all the top Afro House labels globally with his unique and authentically soulful sounds.. DMC checks in as he gets set to release his brilliant new ‘Reflections EP’ on Afrocentric Records.
A huge welcome to DMCWORLD Vanco, where on planet earth are you today?
A place of full of great energy – South Africa.
What is the best piece of new music you have heard recently?
Honestly, Antony Hamilton – Ball & Chain, that record always sounds new to me, even though it’s not.
So you’ve been producing since 2014, tell us bit about how you first got into making music and what inspired you?
I started off as a Pantsula dancer with peers from my neighbourhood. Panstula is a South African way/style of dance where people express-themselves freely and happily. In time I felt more connected to the music itself and interested in the concept of being a musician/producer and a Dj. I started playing around and taught myself the basics and In 2010, I moved from home in Douglas Dale, Johannesburg to Braamfontein where I studied at University. I met a friend Andile Majola – a Soul Candi student who introduced me to Reason and taught me the basics and the rest is self-taught. I kept listening to different Djs including Louie Vega, Rocco, Stimming, Marc Romboy, Osunlade, Boddhi Satva and got more inspired as time flew. One event that changed my life is when I saw Louie Vega play live alongside Luisito Quintero at Orland Stadium in Soweto at a Vodacom event. I was so amazed by his performance, seeing my brothers and sisters dance and happy under one roof. I zoned out and from that day onwards I have never looked back… I knew that music was the answer to my happiness and to life.
How would you describe your sound?
An African sound with a great and vibrant energy.
You’re releasing your new ‘Reflections EP’ on Afrocentric featuring 2 new tracks, what can we expect to hear?
Feel good music – music for everyone! Both tracks talk about LOVE which is a great topic indeed. We need to love one another despite of colour, gender or tribe. Love is amazing and we need to embrace it and practice it. ‘Lutho’ features Njabulo Seh with a very cool remix from John Tejada and ‘Walls’ features Thandi Draai which has 2 really great remixes from Afrocentric boss Cory Centric and UK’s Pablo Martinez – Maximum respect for the efforts and energy contributed by all on this project.
You’ve worked with 2 South African singers Njabulo Seh and Thandi Draai, how did you link up with them both and are you pleased with what they brought to the EP?
I have known Thandi Draai for almost a decade. I paid her a visit and decided to jam the beat for her and she just told me to drop the song on her desktop. Next thing she sent the song a week after via WhatsApp. I completely lost it, it was so good, then paid another visit to finish it all off. I met Njabulo Seh at social basketball sessions, we both play ball and he told me he is good at singing. One day I called him over to the studio and we just freestyled. We made (beat + vocal) in about 4 hours one Friday evening. Overall I am humbled to have worked with both vocalist. I really had fun & will always cherish this piece of work we did together.
You’ve worked with an impressive list of artists already such as Dj Mbuso, Roland Clark, Zepherin Saint, Boddhi Satva and more.. Who else would you most like to work with?
I would welcome the chance to work with Thandiswa Mazwai, Louie Vega and Pharrel Williams.
What’s your favourite piece of studio kit and what instrument epitomises your sound?
A studio mic because it allows high flow creativity. For the instrument, it’s gotta be a guitar.
You’ve released on labels such as Tribe Records, Offerings Recordings, Afrocentric, Melomania Records, among others, have you got a personal favourite release and why?
Looking at all labels who have contributed so much to my career, I value all their efforts equally. In fact, all my releases are my favourite with each song with it’s own individual feeling, but they all share one common ground which is uplifting music.
Name three big tunes in your record box this weekend…
Vanco Ft Njabulo She – Lutho
De Cave Man & TonicVolts ft Toshi – Mabudede (Kusura Remix)
Pablo Fierro – Baobab
What was the first dance record you bought?
‘Punch Koko’ by Boddhi Satva
Who would you most like to play a B2B Dj set with?
It would have to be either Louie Vega, Manoo or Carl Cox.
Where are the best clubs in the SA scene right now?
In Johannesburg Taboo is the place to be because it’s so famous with big artists like your Black Coffee, Ganyani, Oskido and Dj Fresh all playing there. Other great clubs include AND Club, Harem, Great Dane, and Kitchners – all in Johannesburg too. AND Club is amazing for me because of the warm crowd that support, appreciate and want to hear great music. The sound is by far the best in my opinion so far. However, Kitchners and Great Dane are also really great places too and they are very open to good music. I’m looking forward to playing at AND club soon.
…and which new SA artists should we be on the look out for?
Mr Joe, Kususa, Gino Brown and Kaznova take the lead and Mavhungu is one amazing vocalist/artist that the world needs to hear!
Finally, what’s coming next from Vanco?
On the music side I have releases with Offerings, Kazukuta, Nulu records, Tribe records and Afrocentric records, all coming in the next few months and I’m also working on my new ‘Innovation’ Album which will be due for release next year. In terms of events, I have got residency in our neighbouring country Mozambiquie at the Backroom Lounge, I play there once every month. I will be playing in Bostwana in April for the first time and Angola, Swaziland and Namibia this year. Overseas, I will also be playing in Dubai at one of the Afrocentric parties sometime this Summer which I’m looking forward to.
‘Reflections EP’ will be released on Beatport Exclusive April 6th / Full release April 20th 2018 on Afrocentric Music