By Johannes Hangula
KENYAN born producer, DJ and talent scout, Bosley Ambassadeur Keya, best known as DJ Kboz, is one of the renowned DJs in the Namibian music industry. DJ Kboz has a vast knowledge in the acoustic differences of recording rooms, mic techniques, the importance of capturing a sound that is authentic and able to be played live, and how to be prepared for the studio.
His recent interview with Confidente touches upon the most important aspect, the very essence of it all… the music!
What was your earliest music relationship?
I grew up listening to music. As a kid my father collected a lot of music and this got me interested in how people made their music because my father was constantly playing music. When I was 11 my mother bought a piano and I was very quick at playing the piano and learning new melodies. So when it was time to join high school my parents decided to enroll me in a school where I could further my music knowledge. I enrolled at Sunshine High School in Kenya that time and it had an Arts department and if I can recall, this department was really well crafted and they had all the facilities that enable one to have a successful career in music or art.
Did you always want to be in the music business?
Yah! I wanted to be in the music business, whether I was going to be in as a producer, music writer, Radio DJ. I just wanted to be attached to the music business that was my interest, even if was not producing music I would be doing something that is related to the music industry or entertainment industry in general. What prompted me to pursue this career is because I believe I am the exception and I will excel in it. I guess when I look at it everybody said one needs to find plan B because plan A might not work, music doesn’t work and it is not for everyone, but whereas to everyone music is not a paying job and one cannot consider it as career but it because of my belief and determination that I am thriving in this industry now.
What are some of the biggest challenges you have experienced so far?
Music is a very challenging business. Number one it is full of people who are arrogant and egos are thrown down at you, so you really have to calm yourself down and not allow those egos, conflicts and cockiness to get to you because if they get to you, you will not be able to continue. Think about creativity, being a creative you need to be in a space where there are no distractions, and unfortunately when there is too much distraction this kills creativity. You will find yourself in the studio not being able to do anything because of all this negativities and conflicts of he said and she that…. So you have to really focus and kill all the distractions.
The second challenge is getting people to believe in your product. You can have a good song, but to get someone to put money on you and help you elevate it is a challenge. That is why I always tell artists that when you get your first breakthrough, it can be N$500, don’t take that money and go buy alcohol and say life is good, but instead put it aside because you never know when it will come again. There is no guarantee that you will make it as a singer. People don’t see music as a business and artists must know that a talent alone will not get people to invest in them. So it’s up to artists to present themselves as businesspersons and musicians at the same time. Artists must know that people will only take one seriously when they see that you’re investing in your work.
Why do you prefer a home-recording set up over a professional studio?
Because the problem we face is loc a tion. The best location to have a studio is not the safest and the safest location is not the best that is the problem we face in Namibia.
The reason why I prefer my home studio is because my equipment has cost me a lot of money, and I have invested so much in my work. And the places where I would like to locate my studio such as the CBD won’t tolerate the impact that come with the studio set up. My home provides a proper environment for artists to perform and it is in an enclosed area and my neighbours don’t get to be disturbed by the studio work. It further guarantees the artists with the privacy they need to be who they want to be in the studio. The studio for me, until I find a place that can work for me, will still be at my home.
What can a great sound do for an artist’s career?
The right sound is very important, where a lot of artists go wrong and they tend to wonder why their music is not excelling or not selling is because sometimes they forget that the world is changing with time. Back then we supported Kwaito, we supported The Dogg, Pablo, Shikololo, Gazza and Tate Buti just like in South Africa Mandoza, Trompies, Mzekezeke, and DJ SBU those were the kings back then, but you see times have change. The crowd that was listening to these guys grew up. The time Mandoza was excelling this crowd was in high school, primary school and university, so they started working, they got married and they have responsibilities now, they don’t have time to collect music or party like they used to because they are grown up and busy now.
So a new crowd came and this crowd doesn’t listen to Mzekezeke or Mandoza, even though they know they are there, but they have come with their new sound that is why the likes of Cassper Nyovest, AKA or Nasty C are now excelling and they are top.
So in Namibia as an artist it is either you reinvent yourself and start making a new sound that the new artists are doing or as a veteran you can either scout for upcoming stars or sign them under your label because when the new crowd arrives it can identify with your artists.
In your opinion, what classifies as a good mix and good master?
Mixing varies from song to song and studio to studio l have listened to a lot songs and I have come to realise that there is nothing like a perfect mix or a perfect master. It all comes down to how you hear it in your car, your house or headphones. There are some songs that just sound horrible but there is a way you can mix and it will then sound good. One can play Nigerian music or American music -they sound different but they both sound good in your ears.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015