The Mixtape Vol. 100

Maramza is the latest incarnation of Richard Rumney’s sound story

Richard Rumney has worked in the music industry his entire life, from customer assistant at a CD shop (remember those?) to making jingles, running a industry-focused music website to teaching music technology at tertiary education level and now his current gig managing Red Bull Studios.

Djing for just over a decade, the artist formerly known as Richard The Third now goes by Maramza and is known to blend Cape Town bass, Jozi hip hop, Durban Kwaito, Gqom, iKapa Rap, Soulection turn-up and more to create a distinctly African sound.

Maramza’s exclusive midtempo mix for The Way of Us has smatterings of trappy electronica and is his take on Glen Lewis’ mid-tempo compilations of old, where he’d take 120-130bpm house tracks on 45 and play them at 33 slowing them down to a swaggerly 95-100bpm.

“For whatever reason, it feels like now is the time for a resurgence of that sound, even if its niche. Producers like Dunn Kidda are making low-slung future Kwaito, DJs like Paul Waxon and Pierre Estienne are playing old school Kwaito and mid-tempo. Its just a vibe.”

You can read our Q&A with Maramza after the jump.

You used to go by Richard The Third, now you’re Maramza. Why the change and do you think you’ll eventually change names and your sound again?

Essentially I didn't like the name Richard the Third anymore, I didn't think it suited my musical direction. In some other way I think I really needed a change, to start from scratch. Maramza was a nickname I adopted and it felt like I was a new upcoming artist. I could well change my name again, I'm actually not really liking the name Maramza, and I'm at a point again where I feel I could do with a refresh. I just don't know if I have the energy to go through all the re-building of social media pages – its exhausting.

A Maramza set is distinctly African, so tell us about some of the genres and music that you like to incorporate into these sets and what you’re trying to achieve with your sound?
When I started Maramza I was really looking for something distinctly South African in terms of strong influences of Kwaito, Gqom and Afro-House and working with artists singing and rapping in Xhosa (such as Moonchild and Ruffest). I'm less about that obvious influence now and I'm looking for something more fluid if I can put it that way. Generic tropes are still a feature in the music, but they don't define it specifically. At least I hope that's how the music comes out.

Talk about your collaborations with rappers like Tumi, your work with Moonchild, touring with Spoek and now working with Riky Rick?
Tumi was an emcee I made a couple of beats for almost two decades ago. I produced a lot of hip-hop back in the late 90's/early 2000s for artists such as Mischif (RIP), Hymphatic Thabs, BMP, Spex. I think it helped Spoek being open to making music with me, which culminated in my producing much of his debut album, Mshini Wam alongside Jakobsnake and then, adding Nic Van Reenen (Fever Trails) to the entourage, touring around the States, Europe and South America. I've never actually worked with Riky Rick. I just bootlegged Nafukwa, and then he mailed me to say, "its a problem" which I originally interpreted to mean I shouldn't have put out the bootleg, but he later called me and explained that it was a nod to say the remix was dope. Moonchild and I have made a fair amount of music together, and will hopefully make more. We click musically. ‘Cut The Cake’ and ‘Inkwenkwezi’ have been pretty successful tracks I reckon, and they were literally recorded in an hour in my brother's home studio. I've made a few songs with Bonj Mpanza as well, she's an amazing vocalist and musician.

How’s the current state of local music?

Well there's no shortage of incredible music, especially in terms of electronic stuff. If anything it’s a bit overwhelming. It feels like every week I discover a new artist making really solid music that could be played in a set or live. So it’s great for music lovers, in that there is a constant, seemingly, never-ending stream of local music to listen to. For those making the music, I think it can often be frustrating. There's such a small amount of gigs to play in relation to the amount of performers out there, and gigs are one of the crucial ways to earn money and have some kind of career. There are far fewer opportunities to make a living from music in relation to how many talented artists are out there actually trying to do music as a full-time thing. So in some ways it’s really healthy and in other ways it’s very distressing. Maybe thats just life?.

Where can we catch you playing and what should we look out for in the pipeline?
I don't have any residencies and actually as of this moment no 100% confirmed gigs. But I'm personally not fazed by this. These days I tend to get one or two gigs a month, and they've mostly been fun for the past year or so, so there's not much more I could honestly ask for. In regards to my last answer, to want more would be kind of greedy, especially for an old DJ like myself, whose gone through phases where I've been lucky to play a few times a week. But, pipeline wise, I'm working more on live Ableton, sampler style sets for future gigs. I had the amazing privilege to play live alongside Zaki Ibrahim at CTEMF and then do a live Maramza set at Design Indaba Nightscape with Moonchild, and I loved it and really hope to do more live electronic stuff.

1. Maramza - Colonel Panic
2. Les Indiscretes - Mob Hunter (Glen Lewis Mid-Tempo Edit)
3. K△YTR△N△D△ - Tr△ck ▽no (Mid Tempo Edit)
4. Maramza - 5 Tiger
5. Alaska vs Riri - Accuse Diamonds In The Sky
6. Dunn Kidda - Purple Bounce
7. Maramza - Hole Life
8. Dunn Kidda - Laanie Level (Maramza Remix)
9. The Heavy Dee Krew - Westside Steppers Mix
10. Shadow Child - Work (Midtempo Edit)

* Photograph by Ashiq Johnson