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Another Chance with Teargas

2007-02-05 16:38
Their musical taste spans Mzansi hip-hop, US hip-hop to kwaito and Afro-pop. They recently took a break from listening to their dirty south hip-hop CDs to have a chat with us at the Electromode offices in Bryanston, Johannesburg.

Nomfundo H Mbaba+Tshabalala for The song “Chance” blew up in 2006 and led to Teargas winning Metro FM Music Awards. What inspired that song?

Kolep$: We were trying to connect with the people. S’bu (Sibusiso Tshabalala) produced the track. And the lyrics are a synergy of all three. We wrote the lyrics individually and hooked up to put the song together. We wrote about what we saw and people's experiences.
Ma-E: We wanted to come up with a story that was real. Everyone has been in the situations we talk about in the song. At the Metro FM Music Awards you scooped three awards for best album, best hip-hop and best song of the year? What went through your mind when your names were announced?

Ma-E: We were surprised that there was so much love for us out there (Metro listeners vote for their favourite artists). We wanted to win. And winning was so overwhelming and humbling. We love SA and we were so happy that the love was mutual. You have these story telling themes in this album that have worked very well...

Kolep$: We came up with the concrete album. So the whole story telling was unique and fresh. People picked it up and were drawn to it. You guys have been involved in the production side of this album too.

Kolep$: Because we were unknown, many big time producers didn’t have faith in us. So to overcome the whole challenge, we had to learn the production ropes and nurture our skills. It worked for us cause it brought out our vision and style.
Ma-E: Our producer S’bu and us had the same understanding. We shared the same goal and it worked out. The title of the album K’shubile K’bovu, where does that come from and what does it mean?

Kolep$: We came up with the album title after recording. Basically K’bovu means something red, and red signifies danger. So we wanted to tell everybody: “Look out, something dangerous is coming." For many people the word teargas brings up negative emotions of pain, fear and instability synonymous with the apartheid era. Why choose that name for the group?

Ma-E: We use Teargas as a mind state for social change. Our music is a tool to disperse social ills like HIV/Aids and crime. We know SA's favourite songs on the album are “Chance” and “Teargas Anthem”. Which tracks are your favourites?

Kolep$: A song that has become my favourite is “We came to party". I also like "Daddy’s Son" and “Rise”, which I produced. The whole album is crazy!
Ma-E: Ja, the whole album is banging. “Rise”, track 7 ("Hold on"), track 4 ("Ithathe Kancane") brings back that pain, that kasi experience and encourages people to have hope. My other favourite is “Still Down” it’s a little harsh, but it brings back that weight. What are your plans for 2007?

Kolep$: We have our next single coming out “Daddy’s Son”. We are going to tour the country. At the end of February we will be in Cape Town for the first time. We hear there’s a lot of love out there. In April we kick-start our countrywide tour with, let’s just say a huge kwaito act and a crazy DJ. With songs like “Daddy’s Son” and your dedication to your families in the credits makes it clear how important your families are.

Kolep$: It’s been so much of a struggle being away from my home in Mpumalanga. I value the importance of family. I went to school did my diploma, but I couldn't find a job. I decided to stick to this music thing and persisted. My family supported me throughout my struggles. Even though we not so close, my Dad was also there.
Ma-E: Me and N2xa (pronounced ntoo-ksa) are brothers. And when my dad died I was two. We dedicated the song “Daddy’s Son" to him to make him proud. Showing our love for our father is comforting for my mother. It’s emotional for her. We also wanted to recognise all those people who were father figures to us: our uncles and grandfathers. We dedicate the song to everybody who played a role in bringing us up.

Here’s your chance to watch the Teargas video for their award-winning hit “Chance” .

Broadband version (7.9 MB)

For the Teargas tour and shows keep checking and your local listings.

-Interview by Nomfundo H Mbaba+Tshabalala
With a name that conjures up images that are hard and negative, ironically Teargas members Kolep$ and Ma-E are really big softies who want to influence social change in Mzansi.
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