South African House music fanatics, local and international travelers gathered at The Bannister Hotel in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, for a special birthday celebration of a one-year-old soulful baby named City Soul Addicts on Saturday.
Dr Selektaa, who studied Medical at University of South Africa, as well as Danny K and Clive Bean are the three DJs who gave birth to City Soul Addicts movement.
The trio’s collective experience totals 50 years and has extensively spanned both South Africa and abroad. These pro-claimed soulful addicts’ traceable musical prints could be found in the legendary event files of Slickmanagement London boat parties, Maftown 60s and Miami Winter Music Conference – and they have also played in various local and international clubs, including New York, London and Amsterdam.
Speaking of UK-based Slickmanagement events, the co-founder and the then dreadlocked Dr Selektaa – real name Tulani Gumede – has earned a remarkable reputation as one of the most influential South African House music promoters/DJs, who passionately helped the township cooked house music to be recognised globally.
For this reason, it is not surprising that the name Dr Selektaa, who spent almost a decade in Manchester, England, regularly gets a mention whenever UK-based South Africans revisit the history of Mzansi style parties in Britain.
Now Tulani, 39, who returned to his homeland in a historical year of 2010 Fifa World Cup, continues to fly the musical Rainbow Nation’s flag, hosting local and international DJs in Joburg city.
In an exclusive interview, Dr Selektaa, born in Mofolo, Soweto, introduces City Soul Addicts movement and shares his memorable UK experience with The Voice of SA (Tvosa).
Briefly, what is City Soul Addicts all about?
DR SELEKTAA: City Soul Addicts is a movement which we’ve started in order to bring global house music to Joburg. Even though South Africa eats and sleeps house music, there are a lot of events serving niche audiences. We thought that house music is something that should be shared with as many people as possible and that’s the basis we’ve built the movement from.
City Soul Addicts turned one last week, how would you describe the past 12 months since the launch of this project?
DR SELEKTAA: It was tough and fulfilling at the same time. Working with strong minded partners is very rewarding, but also highly challenging. The only way we can grow is through ideas, originality and constant evolution of what we do and how we do it. That said, when you do something that you truly love, it’s always worth the challenges you face.
You are one of the founders of this project; tell us about your partners Danny J and Clive Bean?
DR SELEKTAA: I met Danny in London when I was running Slickmanagement and he was running his own party. He had been playing in London’s house scene for a few years at that point. We kept in touch when he returned to South Africa and I actually put him in touch with Clive Bean.
Danny played a few parties and residencies here and there in Joburg before giving Clive and me a call one day and telling us that he wants to run a proper party that can be shared and grow organically into something definitive for Joburg (he mentioned that it was his time at Miami WMC which inspired this idea). That’s how the three of us got together.
When it was launched what were you hoping to achieve?
DR SELEKTAA: A movement that shares global house music with as many people of different races, demographic, background, professions, education levels, ages…you name it.
What have been the highlights of City Soul Addicts?
DR SELEKTAA: Turning one is pretty special, our new years party at Randlords [billed as Jo’burg’s ultimate club night by Mail & Guardian newspaper] also stands out – and some of our guest DJs have been Charles Webster, Andy Compton, UPZ and Vick Lavender to name a few. But probably stepping back and looking around once in a while and seeing so many happy people loving what we’re doing – that’s probably at the top.
Where do you see City Soul Addicts in a few years to come?
DR SELEKTAA: We want to be the definitive house music party in Johannesburg. When you think of house music, you think of City Soul Addicts.
You are also known in Britain as the co-founder of Slickmanagement project which was quite successful. Do you still have some memories and highlights of the Slickmanagement era to share? And how is City Soul Addicts benefiting from your UK experience?
DR SELEKTAA: Each and every Slick gig we have done with my partners (Kinetic P & Dr Kagisho) from September 2004 till 2010 has its own unique fond memories. Each one was a builder to the next one.
We had club parties and major ones, like the annual Tropical Boat Cruise parties along River Thames, of which I still believe we were the 1st Southern African outfit to have hosted such for 7 successful years.
I will also like to believe that Slick parties could have introduced South African definition of house music in the UK while all other Southern African promoters were still into Kwaito and SA rap music. We were very strict with ambiance and world class quality.
The moment we started to have our own fellow Southern African promoters hating on our brand and trying to nick ideas, we then knew we were doing something right. We also tried not to copy other people’s events and themes, but made other people/promoters copy what we have been doing, which again was a good sign for us.
We managed or mentored a total of 15 djs throughout the years, not only Southern Africans but Brits too.
City Soul Addicts has its own unique challenges. It’s a different market, different politics & logistics. I have been itching to get back to entertainment for the last 2 years since I came back in 2010 August.
I have been to almost all major parties around Joburg as I was doing my mini research. The results of that research, combined with my experience and that of my two founding partners Clive Bean & Danny J, will definitely bring a new movement that will change the regular house music party scene in Joburg.
Our different experiences combined unleash a movement that will look at South Africans not according to color but a global house music nation. That is why we define our style of dance music we play as ‘global house’. Watch this baby as it grows in the heart of Joburg City
If people want City Soul Addicts experience, where should they go?
DR SELEKTAA: They can come check us out every week at our new home, The Bannister Hotel, in Braamfontein. We’re there all afternoon and evening on a Saturday.