Artwolfe caught up with DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam whose first EP was recently produced by Brother Sister Records, who are an independent record producer based in Melbourne, New York and Kuala Lumpur. He discusses Namibia’s music industry and his artistic vision.
Artwolfe: When did you start Djing/Producing music/Playing Instruments?
DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam: It all started in 2004 when I was at Junior Secondary School. During this period, South African music, mainly Afrohouse music, started to infiltrate the Namibian music scene even though Kwaito was very popular in the country. I fell in love with Afrohouse as it was unique and touched many souls both young and old, unlike Kwaito which was mainly listened to by young people. I wanted to make the people happy and I always felt like if South Africans can do it, I can do it as well. After completing my Senior Secondary in 2007, I moved to the capital city (Windhoek) where I met young producers like Nyane Mokento who taught me the basics of how to use music studio and djing software. It took me 5 years of learning how to produce and I started djing at house parties with a djing software, that mixed most of my instruments.
Artwolfe: How did you get your stage name DJ SPEEDY KLEVA KASLAM?
DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam: I was once a 100m athlete at my junior secondary school and I was very fast. My classmates started calling me ‘Speedy man’ I always replied: “Yes I am speedy, I am clever and I am from the Kasi”. They all tried to link the three words SPEEDY KLEVA KASLAM. I grew up with that name and it became very close to my heart, to the extent that it became my stage name.
Artwolfe: How do you imagine your dream ‘House band’?
DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam: I would love my music to be the most played house music that ever crossed the borders of the African continent. My dream ‘House band’ would try to create new sounds and invest in knowledge. I would love to use more live instruments especially African Instruments to give quality sound to my music.
Artwolfe: What’s your relationship with Brother Sister Records?
DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam: They are my personal friends and music partners. I call Brother Sister Records ‘the catalyst’. It is because of them that I started believing in my abilities as an upcoming house DJ/producer/singer. Okey Szoke is my brother from another mother, my mentor and the force that played an important role in the production, editing and mastering of my upcoming EP ‘Mkukutu Funky Tunes Vol 1’ which will also be released under their music brand.
Artwolfe: How do you describe the Namibian music scene? How do you see it changing in the next 5 years?
DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam: We are a very young nation (gained independence 21st March 1990) and our music only started booming from 2003 and it has been growing ever since in terms of quality production and international exposure. The Kwaito (African township music originated from South Africa), Afropop and Jazz genre were dominating the music scene but with the introduction of House music by music producers such as Dj Kboz, Bojo Mujo and Maeli, our music scene found love in the genre and it is taking over the shows. Our musicians scooped a few awards in African competitions and we are yet to receive any nominations or awards at an international level. My collaboration with international brands such as BSR is a good beginning. Our public and private sectors both recognize the importance of the Namibian music scene, music institutions have been built and more investment is being made. In the next 5 years, I see the Namibian music scene getting closer to competing at an international level.
Artwolfe: What is your production set up (studio) like?
DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam: My studio at the time I produced my EP with BSR, comprised of a laptop, music studio software (fruity loops 11), a small mixer, a seed pod from a tree, used in one of the tracks as a shaker, a mic and medium speakers. Currently myself and my co-producer Nyane Mokento (Mr Bambata) of Kulenyane Productions raised some funds and bought second hand instruments – a keyboard, mixer, desktop computer, recording mic, music software and speakers. Our studio is a simple home studio, but we are trying to create something very big from humble basics.
Artwolfe: Any collaborations to look forward to? Who would you like to collaborate with?
DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam: DJ Gouveia of Botswana is a very creative DJ and producer when it comes to mixing and producing Afro house music. I like his techniques and that is the area I want to specialize in the most, as it defines my true meaning as an African. I am still looking forward to collaborating with BSR on a mature project, a project that will give birth to my first album.
Artwolfe: What artists have you been listening to recently?
DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam: I’ve been listening to old school lately, the likes of Michael leans to rock, Westlife, Lady Smith Black Mambazo and Avante (South African gospel music group), just to mention a few. I love the quality of their music and you will expect some old school re-mixes from Dj Kleva Kaslam very soon.
You can follow DJ Speedy Kleva Kaslam on Twitter…