IN REVIEW+INTERVIEW: Shimza at the Watergate

by | indieBerlin

The South African DJ Shimza performed last month at the Watergate and he’s touring across Europe this summer. If you like electro music, this should definitely interest you!
Last month, Shimza performed at the Watergate and it’s been a really nice surprise. If I’m being totally honest, I’m not really into electro/house music so I went there without really knowing where I was setting my foot. But it turned out really well and, if you like this kind of music or just if you’re curious, I highly recommend you to go see Shimza play if the opportunity arises.

Shimza is a DJ, told to be the rising star of South Africa, where he comes from. He started music at the age of 15 and managed to make a name for himself ever since. He created his own “One Man Show” as a way to raise funds for underprivileged children. Shimza then introduced it in Europe. Now, he performs worldwide, from New York to Paris, dropping by Berlin or Manchester.

Coming back to the concert itself: Shimza’s show started around three, coming after John Agesilas. Before Shimza arrived, the crowd was already quite happy and excited. However, when Shimza arrived, it brought things to another level. As soon as he started to play, people were jumping around, singing and dancing.

On stage, Shimza knows what he does and, most of all, loves to do it. And he naturally shares it with his audience. Consequently, he creates a really chill and festive atmosphere. The public was active and everyone seemed happy to be here.

We luckily could speak a little with Shimza to talk about him and his music:

indieBerlin: For those who aren’t familiar with your music, could you explain what you do?

Shimza: I am an Afro-tech DJ/producer from South Africa. 10 years ago I launched my ‘One Man Show’ in my hometown of Tembisa, South Africa and have now extended the concept across the globe.

indieBerlin: How does your upbringing in Tembisa influence your music? Do you try to express your heritage quite strongly through your work, or do you prefer to create something totally new?

Shimza: I would say that I’m influenced by my country as a whole and the music that I am exposed to, rather than just by my hometown of Tembisa. Our heritage is rich and the multi-heritage in the country shapes the sound we both play and produce. There are definite elements of soul from traditional African music that have become staple sounds in the Afro-tech world.

indieBerlin: Where does your fascination with music come from?

Shimza: I was fortunate enough to be brought up during a time when the biggest youth radio station (YFM) was formed In South Africa. They were very upfront in terms of making sure they played the most recent local and international music and they had a lot of DJs coming on to do mixes, which really fascinated me. Listening to the mixes on Fridays made me very interested in trying to find out how they were doing what they were doing. It was this curiosity that led to me start my own career in music.
It was this curiosity that led to me start my own career in music.
indieBerlin: Do you have any non-musical influences you’d like to share with us?

Shimza: I draw a lot of inspiration from my travels and am lucky enough to immerse myself in many different cultures through touring. I think as a DJ and producer, it is really important to familiarise yourself with what’s happening globally if you want to make music that appeals to a global audience.

indieBerlin: Your One Man Show philanthropic project has been ongoing for a decade now – why did you decide to embark on something like this?

Shimza: I wanted to create a show that could be as big as any international event but at the same time have meaning to it. It shouldn’t be just about the money that DJs can make for themselves, but how they can also give back to the community. The ‘One Man Show’ was set up in Soweto initially, to help raise funds for underprivileged children. More recently I’ve had the chance to take the concept to Europe and I’m so grateful with how well it’s been received.

indieBerlin: Your signature sound has been described as “Afro-Tech” – how would you define it, or would you prefer to avoid any labels?

Shimza: Afro-Tech is a combination of the original Afro sound from South Africa fused with some techno elements, this makes it appeal to people we ordinarily wouldn’t get through to, the hard techno heads!

indieBerlin: You recently completed a residency at Privilege, Ibiza – otherwise known as the world’s biggest club. How did you find this experience? Would you repeat it?

Shimza: The residency was an eye opener and a learning season for me. Being at Privilege made me realise that anything is possible and it really pushed me to keep going and working hard. I would do another residency anytime on the island, as long as it would make sense to the brand  that I’m trying to build
Being at Privilege made me realise that anything is possible and it really pushed me to keep going and working hard
indieBerlin: If you weren’t such a successful musician, what do you think you would be doing? Why?

Shimza: After high school I had the opportunity to study marketing at college and I find that I used those skills a lot when it comes to my brand. So I guess if I hadn’t have been a musician then I’d probably be a very unhappy marketing guru haha.

indieBerlin: What does the future look like for you – any exciting projects on the horizon?

Shimza: I have two very exciting EPs coming out soon, one with Luciano’s Cadenza Records and the other on Knee Deep In Sound. I’ve also got lots of great shows on the horizon this summer so I think it’s going to be a very busy rest of the year for me!

Shimza will be playing some more dates in Europe, find the dates on his website.




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