His sound, style + why he’s linked up with Vans

L Block

Muzi - born Muziwakhe McVictor Mazibuko - has become a staple name in the South African music industry. This genre-bending musician does not confine himself to a specific sound, although his Zulu roots play a significant role in the music he makes.

He expertly blends the influence of progressive Afrobeats and electronic music with local genres like Maskandi, Kwaito, and old skool bubblegum pop.

Despite a music catalogue dating as far back as 2015, Muzi’s 2019 album - ZENO - is perhaps the one that most firmly established the SAMA nominee’s sonic stamp, which you’ll also see inked on his chest too.

This tattoo often peeks through his signature “Zulu Skywalker” jacket characterised by its broad V-shape that pays homage to traditional Zulu attire worn by men. As master of fusing the old with the new and the alternative with the traditional, Muzi often pairs this hide jacket with a pair of Vans. This is just one of the looks that make his understated yet offbeat style stand out to us.

So we sat down with “The Zulu Skywalker” to learn a little more about what influences both his music and creative style, as well as his collaboration with cult favourite streetwear brand, Vans.

How did your interest in music begin?

I grew up in a musical family so I was always surrounded by it, but the bug bit me when I was 11. I started off by writing lyrics before I made beats. That came by when I was 13.

You’re quite well-known for mixing various genres of music - house fused with Maskandi, pop as well as electronic - how did this happen? What influenced this eclectic music style?

My upbringing did.

I’m the last born at home, so naturally I looked up to everyone in the house. My parents had different tastes in music and so did my siblings. I used to listen to everything they listened to and that killed the idea of genres in my head early on, because all I would hear was just music.

Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?

Life, love, friendships.

I like living life so that I can experience things and then some of those experiences end up in the music. I just aim to live my life the best way I can and the music comes from that. For the last few years, my biggest creative inspiration has been my daughter.

M block 1

You caught the attention of megastars such as Diplo and The Prodigy relatively early in your career. Was this an affirming moment for you?

Yes, it was. It let me know early on that I had to stick to my guns and just continue doing what I’m doing.

Could you take us through the creative process of producing your music videos? How collaborative is this process?

It’s very collaborative. I do it together with one of my best friends, Espacio Dios, who is an amazing artist and creative.

We stay up for hours brainstorming these ideas then we break it down so that it is super simple and effective. After shooting, we then edit it together and that’s the video you guys get to see.

Speaking of which, your electrofusion single 'Interblaktic’ features amazing Afro-futuristic visuals where you take over Mars. Is there a message behind these visuals and if so, what is it?

I just wanted to play around the idea of black people being able to be unapologetically themselves. And since on earth that can seem like a big ask most times, “Mars“ felt like it wouldn’t be as harsh.

Plus, I’m obsessed with space + the universe, so I like having that theme in some of my music.

Mblock 2

The outfit you donned in the 'Interblaktic’ video is just so cool! Who created it and what influenced the style?

Bangy from a clothing label called DEAD; Vans and I did it collaboratively. I wanted something that looked regal but with a modern twist to it, so Bangy came up with the idea of having the jacket that way to pay homage to traditional Zulu king attire.

Describe your personal style in 3 words.

Simple. Hat. Vans.

Vans seem to be quite a staple in most of your outfits. Tell us more about your collaboration with the brand.

I’ve loved Vans ever since I saw them on television when I was watching X Games.

X Games made me start skateboarding, so it always felt like owning a pair of Vans would make me a better skateboarder (lol).

Years later, I sent them a proposal and we’ve never looked back. I think I’ve been with them for five or six years now and this year, I got to be part of their global campaign. A DREAM.

What is it about Vans that appeals to you?

They go with every clothing item I have. They are just perfect to me.

M block 3

Is there a memory attached to your first or favourite pair of Vans?

Yeah! I had to go to Gateway Mall in Durban when I was like 12 to get my first pair. And I wore them for years until my feet outgrew them. I loved them so much.

What’s beyond music for you creatively? Are there other fields that you’d want to spend time exploring?

Recently, I started exploring making music videos with Espacio Dios via Clout.Killed.The.Kids, so I’m really focusing on the visual communication side of music right now.

I also want to get into scoring and a lot more syncing of my music to commercials, movies etc.

In the space of music today, who is exciting you?

Espacio Dios, Gina Jeanz, FKA Mash, Zoë Modiga, Phila Dlozi, and Deltino Guerriera.

What’s next for Muzi?

I want to get back to touring the world and just pushing myself creatively.

seen this
History of a sneaker
Sole reflections