Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

Trevor Noah has pulled out at the last minute from hosting the MAMAs 2016, due to 'a severe upper respiratory infection'

Interview - Craig De Sousa

2009-12-15 15:43

When and how did you become a DJ?

 A friend of mine's brother was a DJ at a popular club in Jozi and had his own set up at home. I would mess around after school and soon realized this was something I really enjoyed. It wasn't until my first year out of school that I got my first paying gig. That was 16 years ago.

Is music what you always wanted to do – what would you have been hadn't you become a DJ?

 Music has always been my first love. I grew up listening to my father's record collection and always wanted one of my own. I don't think anybody really realizes what they want to do growing up, so I did Chemical Engineering after school, when I should have actually taken Sound Engineering.

Tell us about Iridium Project…

 Iridium Project is a live Electronic Dance Act. The concept is very Basement Jaxx or Daft Punk, where the core consists of a production duo (Nick Matthews and I.) Every new release features a team of who we consider the cream of the crop artists. In a live performance we perform a few of our well known hits, but have the capability of making music live on the spot. This allows us to read the crowd and feed off their energy creating a unique performance every time. Our new single "Show My Love" features RJ Benjamin and is the lead single on my new mix Audio Flux 2009.

 How would you describe your music as a DJ?

That's a tricky question because my music continually evolves and is very different now to what it first started out as. I guess my influences are Jazz Funk Soul Disco Motown and they all have played their part in my choice of house. I believe in sticking by my guns and only play music which inspires me. This attitude has not always paid off as choosing not to follow the latest dance trend means less work, but I am still loving what I do.

You're also into producing…tell us a more about that….

 I have been producing for 9 years. I learnt this in Paris by collaborating and sitting in studio sessions with some of the pioneers of the French house revolution. All my projects have been collaborations since and this is how I have learnt everything I know. At first I only produced House as I felt that the only way to make a name for myself as a DJ was to play my own music. I now produce other electronic genres such as Acid Jazz, Lounge, Dub and so on.

You've obviously toured the world as a DJ…. Are there any memorable tours or clubs that stand out overseas?

Sure!, one of the perks of being a DJ is the traveling. As I mentioned already I spent a lot of summers in Paris and was fortunate enough to play at some of the top clubs in Europe. For me the best was definitely The Rex Club. However, putting on my first record at WAGG (Whiskey A Go Go,) on the same stage Jim Morrison used to perform on, was a real moment for me.

And locally?...

 Locally my residency with H2O is very special to me.

Which DJs both locally and overseas are your favourites and why?

MAW,Danny Tennaglia and Deep Dish where some of my favourite international sets. Locally my favourites are Roger D'Lux and Erefaan Pearce. The thing they all have in common is that they could keep me on the dance floor for their entire sets.

What's your source of inspiration?

My Wife and sons are a huge source of inspiration for me and are the very reason for my success.

Many fans will remember your Deeper Sounds series…. What happened to its continuation?

The DSO series was the beginning of the underground SA house compilation market. Respect to Nigel Laver for having the balls and foresight to believe in the talented, then up and coming DJs on the circuit. The likes of Ryan Dent, Lady Lea, Troydon, Pimp Squad, Erefaan Pearce and Roger D'Lux can all attribute their current success to these mixes in some way. Unfortunately with the digital music revolution, CD sales are now 5% of what the where 10 years ago and the only projects that are now viable are the commercial, cheesy, pop dance compilations and the underground has gone back to where it came from.

Audio Flux promises to be yet another series…..who did you work with and how different is it from your previous work?

Audio Flux is the beginning of a new annual. Each year I will put together a mix of my favourite tracks that influenced me during that time.

Any tour planned to promote your new project?

I will be touring the release towards the end of summer. The CD is selling nicely and I decided to wait for everybody to get a copy first and then I would go around playing the set live.

What's your view on the death of the vinyl and the birth of newer ways of Djing such as using CDs (CDJs) and more recently the emergence of Serato?

As a vinyl junkie I did not take to the digital revolution at first. The culture which came with collecting records was quite special. Also in order for people to hear their favourite dance track they had to go to the club to hear it. Now everybody gets the music the same week. This has killed the longevity of the music not to mention the economy. Nobody pays for music so producers are not being paid and the quality of good music has dropped substantially. I however prefer to see opportunity in crisis and realised that the only way to get ahead was to produce my own music. I have also embrased the technology and am using Serato. This Software has re-inspired my DJing and with the SL3 I am working 3 sometimes 4 deck mixes.

Many people say though this might seem like a breakthrough of technology – it requires less of a skill or personal talent when playing with the newer equipment which is seen to be doing "most of the job" for DJs…. Your view?

Those people don't understand what it is that Serato is doing. In the same way CD replaced vinyl, Serato has replaced CD as the format on which the music is stored on and that's all. So instead of going to the club with my CD wallet I arrive with my laptop with all my music. Unlike other Dj software Serato does not mix for you and If you’re a bad DJ it’s not going to change that.

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time is mostly spent with my family but I enjoy the beach and a good movie.

What is one thing that your fans don’t know about you?

I have started a new band called The Magic Carpet Ride.

The 2010 FIFA World Cup is around the corner…. From a musical perspective, how is it going to benefit you and the rest of SA?

2010 has a high demand for entertainment on and off the pitch so I'm going to be really busy. It's like having another season, but just in winter. I can’t wait, viva Portugal!

What's the future of house music in SA - Is the sound where it should be?

SA house producers are some of the best in the world at the moment. SA has some of the top Electronic acts too. I think that the future of House is live. The crowd response and attendance is definitely going that direction.

Other than promoting your new album, what else is in the pipelines?

New radio show on a new radio station, brand new website on the way:, and a brand new live act but that's all I can say about those right now.

How and where can people contact you?

For bookings, contact Heidi from HDS Management 084 446 0069, or send me messages on Facebook or Myspace. My website should be up by Jan 2010.
Craig boasts an overwhelming experience of almost two decades behind the decks, but he maintains that his hard earned success is attributed to always staying true to the craft of house music that inspires him. The unwavering flagbearer of deep tech house tells us a bit about his life, love for Djing, and what the future holds for SA house...
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