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DJ Spoko is a producer based in Atteridgeville, South Africa, who makes “Barcadi house” music, the most bodily club music I’ve heard for time – since I first got bowled over by footwork in fact. That’s not to say there are aesthetic threads to be drawn between the two musics, just that their intricate rhythms hit the ears with a thrilling ease and present new shapes to make with the body. Spoko’s percussive-led melodies have a lightness that speak to the shoulders, while his gutsy drums are all about the hips. You might recognise that percussive dexterity from DJ Mujava’s Township Funk – and you’d not be wrong: Spoko worked with Mujava on the massive tune that got on outing on Warp in 2008 and, it turns out, is working with him again. With New York label True Panther having recently released his debut EP ‘Ghost Town’, Dummy caught up with DJ Spoko for a quick email chat about the origins of Bacardi house, working with DJ Mujava and what draws him to the dancefloor.
What did you listen to growing up?
DJ Spoko: The likes of Fela Kuti, Chicco, 2Pac, Brenda Fassi, Mariam Makeba and anything that is fast tempo.
Can you remember the moment you decided to make music yourself, and why?
DJ Spoko: Yes, it just started to play itself in my head.
How and where do you make your music?
DJ Spoko: I use computer with music softwares, in my bedroom studio.
Where did the idea for “Bacardi house” come from?
DJ Spoko: The music used to play only at night on a street bash; street bashes normally attend by “Bakakathi” (Gangstars). Most they used to drink Bacardi cider; that’s how the name came up. Normally we call it music of the night.
And what makes a track Bacardi house?
DJ Spoko: The synth, drumming, the upright bass or can say Fruity Loops software is Bacardi house.
What is the club scene like in Atteridgeville?
DJ Spoko: Crazy man!
Do you know when a track is going to kill the dancefloor or is it a case of testing new beats out in the club?
DJ Spoko: Each n every track I do I do it for its purpose on a dance floor so I know what it is going to do to the crowd.
Dancing and dance music isn’t just about partying – it’s good for the mind, body and soul. Would you agree with that?
DJ Spoko: 100% yes.
What makes you get on a dancefloor?
DJ Spoko: A feel.
Could you tell me about your involvement with DJ Mujava and Township Funk?
DJ Spoko: Yes, I did the track before with a rap version so I decided to put it on a dance version. Mujava was there, we worked on the drumming till we got it right.
What was the idea behind ‘Ghost Town’?
DJ Spoko: My section is called Ghost town where I started doing music so everything started there.
I love the percussion on ‘Ghost Town’ – it really gets into my bones. There’s a bit on Batauweng that sounds like the chinking of glass bottles? Do you sample a lot of sounds around you?
DJ Spoko: Yes, is a real bottle glass chinking. I only sample sound that have to sound real.
How did the collaborations with the MCs and singers on ‘Ghost Town’ come about?
DJ Spoko: MCs and singers are my artists at the Ghetto Boyz music, my label.
Will you be playing in Europe at all in the future?
DJ Spoko: Hope so.
Which other producers and singers from South Africa should we be listening out for?
DJ Spoko: Dj Mujava is working on something with me – is very good – and many other producers are cooking at the studios.
What else have you got coming up this year?
DJ Spoko: Darkness and Ghostship8 – The Master’s Code.