EXCLUSIVE: In Conversation with Shimza


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Having spent Christmas in Cape Town, it’s a treat getting to welcome Shimza to my beloved eastern side of London, UK for 20th July’s Knee Deep in Peckham. We dig into his influences, rise across the South African music scene, and how he envisions his trajectory as he transcends from newcomer to name fans seek out at European summer sunsets.

You’re covering some ground through your European dates, how do you find your fanbase differs between the countries you’re visiting?

While traveling around Europe I find that my fan base differs in terms of numbers. I still see that there are places where I need to work to get more and more people to know about me and my music. Generally after every set I find that I gain followers all the time because of how I deliver my sets and how unique it sounds to them. Every territory has a certain sound they are used to so I try to mix my unique sound of Afro-Tech to what I think will blend into what the people in that place are used to.

What are you most looking forward to about playing in London’s Peckham?

I have never been to Peckham before, all I’ve heard is that Hot Since 82 shuts it down when he throws a party there. I’m very excited to be playing there for the first time and I hope I get to go back after my first time to build my profile even more.

What myth would you like to dispel about South Africa? How different is it playing a to home crowd compared to abroad?

One myth I would dispel is about the crime; yes, we have crime like every other place but it’s not as crazy as people make it seem. South Africa is a beautiful and safe place for everyone, especially party-goers. In South Africa, the people in the scene I’m part of like listening to what they know and are seldom open to listening to new music. You always have to find a way to sneak in new music but our cycle of music is very fast because there’s so much music coming out of SA. I appreciate playing abroad more because I don’t know what the people listen to so I am more challenged to make sure that the people on the dance floor have fun. I love that challenge.

Who are some of your influences fans might find surprising?

Drake and Kanye West. I just love how they deliver on their music and I sometimes try implementing that in my music production​.

How have you found your Ibiza experience evolves with each summer you’ve played there since 2016?

I learn more every year about the scene in Ibiza, which makes me understand in depth what it is that the electronic music scene is about. I’ve also learnt how important it is to play at the right parties with the right line-ups for proper positioning. Every year I come back onto the island and learn something new that I use when I go back home to South Africa. Ibiza is an institution and I’ve seen what making the right moves there can do for you globally.

What tracks do you find yourself playing on repeat?

– & me: rapture ll
– Benjiflow: Deep End
– Frank Ocean: Moon River

Who are some of your dream collaborations?

I never dream about collaborations, I dream about festivals that I would love to play at and venues that I would love to visit and play at, that is the only thing I dream of.

How would you like to see SA’s scene evolve?

[With] the contribution of DJs like me that travel and see what happens globally, [we] take the knowledge and take it back home to see how we could plant it back there to shape where the scene goes. It is very important for us to take our experiences back home to educate and develop our scene back at home.

Which SA artists have we not heard of yet and should be checking out?

Peer Jhonson, Kususa, Argento Dust and Julian Gomes

What’s the one track we should add to our playlists this summer?

Shimza – Dancefloor Keeper

We’ve queued it up for the weekend, Shimza!

Catch him across European summer gigs, kicking off at:
Knee Deep in Peckham, London 20th July

For your headphones, Shimza’s “Eminence” is hot off the presses: