Powered by ARMC | DJ Smokes| Interview by Reggie Rasodi

Let’s enter the world of pulsating rhythms and entrepreneurial spirit with DJ Smokes, a global DJ, producer, and the visionary founder of Smoking Hot Productions. Beyond his electrifying beats, DJ Smokes stands as an embodiment of creativity and business acumen. Join us as we welcome this multifaceted artist who not only commands the dance floor but also shapes the music industry through his entrepreneurial endeavors.

Hey there mister smokey smokes! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me after a very eventful weekend you had. Let’s get to know more about your single “Asphuzeni” shall we? Please take us through what inspired the creation of this single?

The inspiration behind Asphuzeni stems from my deep appreciation for South African youth music. I drew influence from Mampintsha’s lyrics in the classic Big Nuz track “Sting Ray,” particularly the line where he mentions “abo lil wayne, bakhuze, ASPHUZENI.” This lyric became the basis for the song’s title.

Hmm, okay I see. Can you share the story or concept behind the lyrics of the song?

In crafting the lyrics for this track, my intention was to provide listeners with a glimpse into my identity and origins. My life journey has been quite diverse – born in Atlanta, Georgia, I’ve called places like Sandton, Alexandra, and even Umzimkhulu in KZN, my home, especially at my grandfather’s farm. One standout lyric that resonates with me is when I express, “Zalwe e STATES, pardon my accent, I know di street bhuz’ uSabz e Alex.”

Well damn, I thought I knew much about you but you clearly don’t talk about yourself that much. Born in one of my bucket list states in USA and raised in the streets of Alex & Umzimkhulu? That is really intriguing, so tell me, how does this single differ from your previous work?

What makes Asphuzeni stand out in my catalogue is that it is my first Proudly South African record, in the sense that all of it’s elements are taken from Kwaito, Old School House, SA Hip Hop and Amapiano. Expressing my pride in my South African heritage made this process therapeutic, honestly I believe it is currently the most important song in my catalogue.

Beautiful. How do you hope the listeners will connect with or interpret the message of the song?

Asphuzeni is a party record that celebrated individuality and South African Youth Culture. I hope my listeners feel the love and passion I put into this record. Those who listen intimately to the lyrics will get to experience my unique life path. Its infectious melodies, catchy hooks and devastating drops will shake dance floors, festivals and shows for many years to come.

Are there any particular emotions or experiences you aimed to evoke with this release?

My goal with this song is for people to feel confident and sexy on an emotional level. Asphuzeni is a song that aims to inspire patriotism and unity.

Okay, I know what track to put on repeat when I want to feel sexy and confident on an emotional level. Did you experiment with any new techniques or musical elements in this single?

I produced, recorded, wrote, composed, mixed and mastered this song, I even did my own album art. There were numerous techniques I employed for the first time, the vocal mix was a true highlight for me and it is my best master on a sonic level. Asphuzeni sounds like the future of my music journey for me. A particular technique I enjoyed learning and applying was distorting and automating the log drum to create a dynamic amapiano influenced baseline. I actually haven’t heard a hip hop record that employs that technique, as someone who prides themselves on being on the cutting edge of tech and music I’m very proud that I was able to execute such a unique composition.

Sounds like a smooth and creative process. Were there any specific challenges or breakthrough moments during the production process?

What was interesting about this process particularly was the writing. I had the hook in my sound volt since 2019 but only completed the song in 2022. For the first time ever I wrote the second verse before I wrote the first one which was enjoyable because it’s like knowing the end of the journey and finding a way to locate the beginning.

What role does visual art play in complementing the message of the single, if applicable? And also, am I going to be the video vixen in the music video? **jokes**

*giggles* you already know. Visual art plays a role in igniting the listeners imagination, I won’t lie at the time visuals were a challenge for me. I was doing it all on my own and ended up burning myself out and putting out visuals I felt didn’t hit the high standard I had in my imagination. I’m much better with visuals now because I’ve made it a point to change my weakness into a strength. I’m in the process of reshooting the music video, I’ve turned the original music video into a visualiser on my YT channel, it’s currently on 15k views which I’m so proud of.

How has your personal growth or experiences influenced the creation of this particular piece?

As a music professional I learned a lot from this single, many wins and many losses occurred as expected when one is pursuing the highest expression of their vision. I added many dimensions to my brand as a result of the campaigns I’ve run for the single. I’m truly grateful to God for this song as it has made me a bigger and better version of myself.