Having recently returned to Johannesburg from a life-changing trip to Brazil where he played to a crowd of 6000 revellers, the collector and DJ, Mr Muzi Mtshali – or Tha Muzik in the streets – shared his first record, his next record and life lessons from vinyl. He spoke to MR SIPHIWE MPYE.
Noted Man [NM]: What was your first record, whether a present or self bought?
Tha Muzik [TM]: “Love to love” by Jody Watley ft Roy Ayers (Masters at Work Mix). I bought it in 1998 from DJ 2lani The Warrior at Mental Groove records in Bruma. It was a white label that cost me my entire week’s pocket money. But it was worth every cent. For five days I’d eat breakfast and supper only. There was no way I was going to tell moms that I spent so much money on one song. That is where the journey began. I was 14 years old with an acute love for music. Having grown up with parents that loved and collected music, to me records were played on a record player and there would always be a pause until the next song played. When I saw DJ Fresh blend one record to another without a pause, I lost my mind! I wanted to do just that. I then began collecting mostly house records and a few hip hop classics. Hip hop wasn’t as readily available as house then. Today, not as frequent as in the past, I collect all genres.
NM: Which record do you have your eye on at the moment and why?
TM: This was inspired by the recent trip to Brazil. Light as a Feather by Azymuth featuring the track “Vôo Sobre O Horizonte”. This was their first international release that put them on the map. I have seen the cheapest go for R250 and the most expensive at R800, which I suspect is an original print. Azymuth is a special Brazilian band and the story of how it was formed is coincidentally special to me. The band was put together by Marcos Valle for a specific project. It was a tribute to F1 Driver Emmerson Fittipaldi. I love F1. This was their first recording together. Today they have coined their own brand of Brazilian music called MPB (Musica Popular Brasileiro). Samba/Bossa/Disco-fusion with a hint of jazz.
NM: What’s your most significant Prince memory?
TM: Watching Zero hour Zone with my siblings and the “Diamond and Pearls” video started playing, like many black families with a VHS recorder, we recorded it and it was played ad nauseam for many years to come. For me, it wasn’t his music that caught my attention, it was the genius behind it.
Ultimately, we are all in search of THE GROOVE, whether in life or music.
NM: Describe your recent Brazil experience with Obrigado (his music eventing concept with DJ Kenzhero).
The vision was there since the inception of Obrigado. It is an international brand and we needed to begin at the source. And we were clear. For me, the euphoria began there. From the moment we set the ball rolling. The trip to Brazil was all of it coming together. This is probably the most profound journey I have embarked on. Call it the awakening. What ever it may be, it is possible. I am most certainly not the man I used to be.
NM: What life lesson have you learned from vinyl?
TM: Ultimately, we are all in search of THE GROOVE, whether in life or music. This quote by Paulo Coelho best summarizes my lesson from Vinyl: “Culture makes people understand each other better. And if they understand each other better in their soul, it is easier to overcome the economic and political barriers. But first they have to understand that their neighbour is, in the end, just like them, with the same problems, the same questions.”