May 04, 2021
Vanco's 'ALGRA' Apple Exclusive Mix & Interview
Today we’re joined by one of the rising stars in the Afro house scene. Vanco first burst onto our radar when his music was played by Black Coffee on the Tomorrowland Mainstage in 2019, and since then we’ve celebrated his landmark Ultra Music Festival set and more! Today we take a closer look at his growing brand ALGRA, pandemic life and progress, and the electronic music scene in South Africa. Turn it up for his Apple Music Exclusive Mix which takes you on an incredible journey with recent favorites from Themba, DJEFF, Karyendasoul, and many more!
Vanco, thanks so much for joining us to celebrate your new 1001Tracklists Exclusive Apple Music Mix! Take us inside your head as you approached crafting your mix. How might the set compare to a Vanco live set in a club right now?
Music is a feeling and a mood setter. This mix is a collective of different tunes within the dance music genre that bring different feels and moods that I am currently feeling. In a few lines, this mix is a journey that starts mellow and builds up, which is what I also enjoy doing as a creative. Unlike a live set, in that you never know until you step up on the stage. I don’t prepare for live sets but I usually have a few cuts that are a must to rock on. When it comes to live sets I generally believe in having a balance of really cool moving tunes and most importantly bonding more with the crowd.
Looking closer at your Apple Mix, can you highlight three tracks included and why they stand out?
“In Control” by Karyendasoul that dropped on Defected’s Sondela label is a massive tune, with a really smooth build up & a dancefloor banger.
“Blind Faith” by Themba. This jam has a festival feel to it... I really think it’s such a universal tune that bridges between races, cultures, traditions, beyond genres and if house was really a nation this tune would be the anthem.
“iSgubhu” by myself featuring Soulstar & Given Zulu. The term isghubhu is a term used by mostly the African people to describe clean powerful sound, very much fat bass, usually in taxis that transport the majority of the people to their respective final destinations. It usually has that party joy feel. I really enjoy dropping this tune on the dancefloors, usually get good feedback and I really am looking forward to releasing this tune at the end of May.
The name also has your ALGRA brand attached to it. Tell us some more about ALGRA and what it stands for.
Basically ALGRA is my record label. Acceptance, love, gratitude, respect & acknowledge is self-love. The current situation shows us that’s what we need. In order to be good to one another, we’ve got to be good to ourselves. Good is what matters before everything else.
ALGRA will be doing events soon in addition to my music releases. The goal is for this to be a platform for more creatives to showcase and grow in their respective careers.
How do you view the state of the Afro house scene currently?
It’s amazing how Afro house music has evolved over time. It’s still evolving, but at the moment is at a point where it’s starting to get to so many more ears than before. It hits home for me since it’s African music that also incorporates other elements that the world can relate to. Such a universal sound.
Could you tell us some more about the state of dance music in South Africa as well as how you see Afro house growing globally?
South Africa loves music, and it’s one thing that unites us all. Music is therapy for us, something South Africa embraces and we love. Amongst so many sub genres in the dance music scene, Afro house has a wide reach in South Africa, impactful, it’s also mainstream to an extent. It’s on radio, televisions, clubs, and this is such a great feeling for general people to be able to consume and enjoy this product that we call Afro house.
You’ve recently been able to return to some gigs. What has it felt like to get back behind the decks?
Joy... The best office ever.
How are you maintaining creativity and inspiration as an artist for your music during this period of COVID? Have you been using your time in any new ways over the last year?
Really tough time for the majority of us. First, being alive is such a blessing in times like this, that kind of gratitude goes a long way. With gratitude in so many ways brings faith, hope and belief that someday will be better then ever before. That has kept my spirit alive as well as my surroundings which is my family, partner and close friends. A year and a few month later, I am here doing what I love.
What can you tell us about some of your upcoming music and releases?
More experimental, a story with a happy ending and uplifting moods. “Isgubhu” featuring Soulstar & Given Zulu is the highlight at the moment and dropping at the end of May on my label.
And as we look ahead towards the summer season, what has you excited?
I am looking forward to the summer and I would think of music as being part of therapy for most of us with high hopes that always “Where words fail, music speaks.”
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