PHFAT has established himself as a South African commercial music heavyweight, and his singles “Lights Out” and “The Whip” have secured his spot at the forefront of the music scene.
He has performed alongside (amongst others) Public Enemy, MGMT, Milky Chance, Casey Veggies, The Cat Empire and Rudimental as well as having headlined just about every major festival in South Africa (including Rocking the Daisies, Oppikoppi, Sonar, In The City, and more)
PHFAT has released his new body of work entitled ‘Sex | Love | Heartbreak’, which is a mixture of his signature dark electronic rap sound and his usual polished and catchy tunes.
When did your love for music start and why are you so drawn to the rap/hip hop and dance genres?
“When I was a kid I listened to everything… for some reason I was really attracted to punk rock from age 10… I devoured this until I was about seventeen, and when rap music hit me it hit me hard… After that it was like “Fuck the cutlery… I’m eating with my hands”… It stopped being about genre and became more about tone, rhythm and melody.”
How have you revolutionized your genre of music over the years?
“Not sure I’ve revolutionized anything to be honest… There is always a small skill gap between the sound in your head and the sound you’re capable of producing…
Any changes have just been updates to that gap. Been working super hard on my singing which helps a lot.”
Your older tracks have been described as ‘dark’ – what makes them dark and edgy?
“Technically… a lot of diminished scales… artistically, enjoying the feeling, hearing that sound progress in intensity… people who are all low key are attracted to their darkest bits and that sort of music brings it out… It can really carry you away in an oddly beautiful way.”
Why the move to a ‘softer’ sound, as in your new single ‘My Lady’?
“It’s mostly about making the music I hear… a lot of it is circumstantial. When I sat down with Ganja Beatz that day, we were all just in that kinda mood. Deciding to put it out was a big step because it’s so different… but the response has been enormous…”
You have played for South African and International audiences – how does the scene overseas differ from here?
“Well, you’re kinda dealing with multiple scenes really. Each city is it’s own scene and vibe… it was amazing to show up and see people who were so damn excited to watch the shows… incredible really.”
You have also played amongst some of the biggest names in the industry – is there one moment that stands out for you at all?
“Yeah… All of those big stage shows are huge to me. Oppikoppi 2014 was a standout… Daisies is always great, a serious chance to show off the show at full scale cos it’s in my hometown and I can call on homies to help make it happen. Lush… All of the shows in Europe last year were special… The best moments are when the music connects and people just get immersed… that can be 20 people or 20,000… it’s all just as magical to be honest.”
Let’s talk about the new EP – the concept behind it, the songs, the collaborations, etc…?
“The EP was basically just my collection of songs about love… I wanted to include all the aspects of love… Sex, infatuation, more mature love, goodbyes, heartbreak, introspection… all of things. Being in love is like riding a really big wave… it can either give you the best ride of your life… or beat the shit out of you… either way it’s only really worth it when it scares the shit out of you.”
If you could collaborate with anyone; producer, artist, musicians… who would it be and why?
“I would work with anyone who could make a dope track with me… Most of the time that’s a homie… just because hanging out in studio is kinda personal if you know what I mean…
That said I think on the more unexpected side just the more talented vocalists and singers are at the top of my priority list right now… Langa Mavuso, Zoe Modiga, Craig Lucas, Matthew Mole… Rapper-wise… A-Reece, Nasty, Riky, Youngsta, Stilo, Patrick Lee… I dunno… there’s a bunch…”
If someone, who has never heard our music before, approaches you and asks you to play one song of yours that ‘describes’ who PHFAT is, what would it be and why?
“The whole new EP kinda covers the basis of PHFAT I’d say.”
Trapped on a desert island – which one album would you take with you and why?
“Something really long and annoyingly intricate…”
PHFAT’s “sex | love | heartbreak” EP is out now across all digital platforms: http://hyperurl.co/120vop