Feature Interview

Mr Sakitumi: An Excess Of Work & Play

At the beginning of this month Mr Sakitumi dropped a sonic double-whammy, releasing his new EP and video simultaneously and followers lost their minds.

In the wake of his new body of work, Jessica Kramer tracked down Mr Sakitumi (who was high flying in Berlin) for a little catch up.

Jessica Kramer: Your new EP, “Sweet and Sour Vol. 2” just dropped. With a year having gone by since you released Vol. 1, have there been any new major influences that will be heard on Vol. 2?
Mr Sakitumi: We actually wrote the song ‘Mr and The Grrrl (sour) feat. The Grrrl’ where we did some vocal jams. The Grrrl even kicks a verse. It’s fun, tongue-in-cheek and catchy. Not sure where the influence of that came from. Meeting and checking out Nozinja (Shangaan Electro) inspired the track ‘Space Fortune Cookie (sour)’. It’s my fastest track to date… 180bpm!

I was playing around with the idea of some of those Shangaan Electro elements and the track developed from there into its own kind of thing. The ‘sweet’ tracks are influenced and inspired by cinematic composers whom I admire, like Goldmund, Max Richter, Olafur Arnalds, etc.

JK: Your live performances, with their strong visual element, definitely set you apart as a musician in South Africa. Do you have the visual side in mind when you write the music? Do you “choreograph” as you compose?
MS: Haha, thanks. The visual element and identity is strongly driven by the wonderful world and mind of The Grrrl (with my 5c of input every now and again). I just write what I feel and as the music develops The Grrrl starts visualizing and creating elements that match. She’s really brilliant at quickly visualizing ideas, even with rough drafts of the tracks. Unless we’re doing video mashups, then of course, the video and its sound lead the process.

JK: You have already changed the game in a big way with the visual aspect. Are there any more things you would like to add to the live performances?
MS: Never viewed ourselves as game changers, but glad to be part of the movement.
For future performances, The Grrrl would like to make the visuals more interactive, which is largely dependent on a specific stage setup. With the right opportunity, we’ll be able to realize this vision. At the moment we are experimenting and brainstorming that idea further.

JK: You have performed all over the world, and with various incredible artists, both locally and abroad. What have been some of the most memorable and influential countries, festivals and artists you have worked with?
MS: It really is hard to pinpoint favourite and memorable moments etc. these days, as my career has spanned so long now, and I’ve been fortunate to have performed with sooooo many talented South African artists. Along with the traveling and festivals, there are too many amazing experiences to directly say which really features in my mind. Most recently it’s been very cool to be playing with Jeremy loops and PHfat.

JK: As an Ableton trainer (and one of only about 200 I believe) I am sure you have come across some amazing new talent in your workshops. Anyone in particular that has really caught your attention?
MS: I’ve just been to visit the Ableton mothership in Berlin recently… and to date, there are 203 Ableton certified trainers in the world. So to be 1 of that many is a real honour.

There have been some amazing inquiring minds at the workshops, but most of my workshops involve me sharing my knowledge etc. Fletcher, who teaches Ableton classes and 1-on-1 students, always tells me about the bright, new talents that he encounters. He has mentioned someone who I’m going to connect with, to help and inspire with Ableton and production.

JK: Congratulations for the Oppikoppi announcement! It’s one I am particularly excited for! Anything special planned for that?
MS: Thank you, we are sooooo excited to be playing there again! We are performing on the Red Bull stage, Friday 8th August at 7pm. The best thing for us with that time slot is, being an audiovisual act, that it will be darker and much better for brighter, crisper visuals. We have some new toys to strut at Koppi (keep an eye on The Grrrl), so we are making big plans to create something special. We’ll also get to play out the new tracks from Sweet and Sour vol.2 at Koppi for the first time in South Africa (arriving back from Europe).

JK: What else lies ahead for Mr Sakitumi in 2014?
MS: I’m continuing with the very extended vocal collab album, working on producing and finishing our Closet Snare album and planning a collab EP with Mix n Blend.