South African DJ/producer Blanka Mazimela has released his new EP Gengesi on Shimza's new label, Kunye. The new EP combines some of the best of South African dance music in a concise three-track EP with subtle, percussive and elegant deep house on the title track “Gengesi” featuring vocals by Oluhle. “Normli” is hypnotic and groovy prog with rolling drums and synths to match. Sobek adds a remix of “Genesi” to finish out the EP.
Mazimela is one of the lead musicians and producer in Bantwanas, a collective of African producers, songwriters and musicians. He is also the Department head for Soul Candi’s Institute of Music, South Africa’s most distributed music production course. With that background in music production and education, we asked Mazimela to break down his production process for this EP in a How It Was Made feature. He keeps things simple, but it works well.
Get your copy of the EP here.
"The process was quite simple for me. I seek to always find an organic approach to how I lay down the instrumentation. My beat construction process is very simple. I used live drums from my Roto Tom kit. I use samples from the Kienemusik Sound Bank and software like Omnisphere from Spectrasonics & Native Instruments Komplete 10. This software is very important to me and allows me to express my sound design. The drum rhythm was an emulation of what you would get on a Korg Volca beats drum machine. I know software is not that exciting but it really gets the result done."
1. NI Kontakt
Using the NI Kontakt just makes the process closer to the real thing. The recordings and how they've captured the real thing. This is how I approached Gengesi. The feeling and the instrumentation is something I spent a lot of time on.
Trying to get the bassline to emulate this big festival picture. I had this image of a person shouting across the hills to send a message. Similar to the SOS message. Oluhle really got that right.
I slapped the Soundtoys Crystallizer on her vocals just to give it some texture and space. Soundtoys is really one of the tools that I use actively in my production. It is probably the one I use the most.
3. Waves Renaissance Reverb
After adding the Crystallizer, I added the Waves Renaissance Reverb. This allows the vocals to really sit in the song.
4. QU32 mixer
My setup is a simple QU32 mixer as my main sound card.
5. Presonus Eris 8s
I also make use of the following set of speakers - Presonus Eris 8s.
I don't use a lot of hardware. I prefer software so my gear is really simple and straightforward.