Powered by ARMC | Imani Basquiat | Interview by Reggie Rasodi

Embark on a thrilling musical odyssey with the inaugural post of #ReggiesMusicRush, a dynamic evolution from the gaming sphere to the vibrant landscape of music. Originally known as #ReggiesGamingRush on YFM, this bi-weekly blog has undergone a melodic transformation, spotlighting insightful interviews with artists who unravel the tales behind their cherished singles. As we build on the legacy of our gaming roots, #ReggiesMusicRush promises to be a rhythmic journey, not only exploring beats but delving into the profound stories interwoven within them. Join us in this harmonious blend of passion and creativity, forging connections between music enthusiasts and artists alike.

Immerse yourself in the sonic tapestry woven by the up-and-coming South African Neo-Hop/Alternative artist, Imani Basquiat, as he unveils his highly anticipated single, ‘Groove Theory.’ This musical revelation invites listeners into the intoxicating realm of unapologetic passion and carefree self-expression. Through a fusion of Alternative and Soulful elements, Imani Basquiat crafts a vivid sonic canvas, where ‘Groove Theory’ becomes a melodic journey of surrendering to one’s most intense desires and passions. With each note, Basquiat paints a vibrant picture, capturing the essence of embracing the magnetic pull of unbridled creativity and unfettered emotion. ‘Groove Theory’ stands as a testament to Basquiat’s artistry, marking a compelling chapter in the evolution of South African music.

Imani Basquiat, thank you so much for taking the time to do this with me, let’s get straight into it. What inspired the creation of the ‘Groove Theory” single?

Honestly, it was the idea of a lost sound and wanting to reinvent that coupled with how I felt at the time. I felt that I was so far gone within my passions, being the music, that I felt lost in the process of trying to establish myself, making great music that I can stand behind and being the very best in my field. And I felt that the best way to describe that was relating it to a relationship I was once in that had me feeling similarly. It had me feeling as if I was lost, as if I had lost my initial identity and all I knew was who I was within that relationship.

That’s really beautiful, can you please take us through the concept behind the lyrics of the song?

Of course. They’re pretty simple to follow and if anything quite easy to understand. I wrote them that way because I believe in simply getting your point across without being too much or too little. The hook repetitively says “Lost in the groove” which I thought would highlight and emphasize that feeling and idea of being lost in a new found reality. The verse touches on how I’ve grown so dependent on this love that I found in this reality that it is all I know now and that I cant go without it, like a drug. Furthermore if I ever were to go without it, it would be the sole reason I would die essentially.

The bridge gives more detail on how I hope that this person who has given me this dose of love understands that I cant go without it and how much I need it, so much so that it ends with a scream, which to the listener serves as a climax to the song whilst further evoking how insanely dependent I’ve grown to this drug called love. Leading back into the last hook that greets the listener with a new rhythmic live bass that not only sonically pushes the listener to be lost in the groove of the song but puts the nail in the coffin of the story showing how further lost I truly am. Sonically I started at one point and ended in another, ended up in an inescapable point of the groove…in an inescapable point of the love.

Does this single differ from your previous work? If so, please let us know how?

This marks the beginning of a new sound direction I’ve chosen to go into as well as marks the beginning of a new chapter of artistry for me. I feel heavily that the music that I released previously was to introduce what I am capable of and now that I’m comfortable in my own realm of creativity, I’m ready to give the audience what I’ve been secretly up to. I’ve also grown as a writer and a musician as a whole, I no longer see the interest in certain aspects of creating music that I saw before.

I am so happy that you have grown in that way as a writer and musician. Were there any specific challenges or breakthrough moments during the production process??

I initially recorded the hook and then about a month later the verse came to me. When I recorded that it felt like I had found the key top the success of the song. The second moment of breakthrough is when Baitu and I went to go see Unvmi to work on the post production of the song. When we figured out the type funk driven sounds we wanted to add to the song that’s when it felt complete. The song felt whole. Fun fact, this is also the first time I put this much effort into a song. I think after the initial recording there were 4 more vocal recoding sessions and then the post production session, a mixing session and finally a mastering session. The journey of making this song what it is now was quite the lengthy one, but I enjoyed every single moment. I felt like a kid in a candy store only I have access to.

Sounds like there was some collaboration that went into the creation of the iconic ‘Groove Theory’, please tell us about the involvement from other creatives?

Like I mentioned in the previous question we involved Unvmi to bring that funky feeling we needed to really drive that point home. Another artist we brought in to gave it a different texture was Looyandah. She had been in the original session for the song to sing the in-betweens of the hook. Upon trying to finish the song we brought her back in to add backups to the bridge as well as some harmonies which gave the song a different dimension of depth and range. And of course finally Feziekk, he added a soft kick to the final mix which gave the song a Kaytranada type feel. With that all done, he mastered to perfection and the rest is history.

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

Just the feeling of almost being in a trance when hearing the song itself. Like how infectious the beat is and how captivating the lyrics are driving one to move their body even if they don’t want to. That’s all.

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

I hope that they hear it for what it is and relate that to whatever they would within they’re own lives. I enjoy when listeners can see what I was going through to have even made the song, but I far more enjoy when they can relate that to an experience they had or if the song can serve as a time stamp within whatever they’re experiencing right now. I love it when they take the song and make it their own.

What role does visual art play in complementing the message of the single, if applicable?

The visuals play a heavy role as they take the conversation of the song to heights that I had never dreamt of taking them. The colour scheme that as chosen for this single evokes passion, evokes anger, evokes love itself and how it holds the power to make you happy beyond measure or drive you completely insane, both of which are two directions one can be lost in.

Any experimenting you did with regards to techniques or musical elements in this single?

Of course, especially in that bridge. I had never sang so angel-like like that before, I had to challenge myself to really sing my heart out in that specific section and that was fun, I grew from that.

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

Man oh man, I feel that I learnt quite a lot from creating this song. It showed me how I can’t allow situations to get the best of me nor consume me and my identity as well as how I can truly commit myself to something or someone in the right ways, in the ways that aren’t self-destructive.

Thank you so much for your insightful responses. I really enjoyed this interview and I wish you all the best with your music career. Stay being a SHOW STOPPER!