Black Moss

We were surprised to see a new Black Moss video pop up in our Youtube stream, what with him him travelling the world and all. But Mr Moss has been keeping busy in his travels as we find out in the interview below. We chat to Black Moss about his travels, how the SA hip-hop scene can raise it’s game and how the Durban scene matches up internationally.



DIY: What’s been happening in the world of Black Moss lately?

Black Moss: I have been living in the republic of Georgia for a year and a half and now in South Korea. I have been travelling and working as an English Second language teacher in both these countries.


DIY: If you were to describe the sound you are producing now to someone who is new to your music, what would you say?

Black Moss: My style has always been spontaneous in the sense that the music I make is about the feeling I have when making it and not necessarily trying to stick to a specific sound or formula. In my latest  album I have many different sounds that you can feel purely because I have been working not only with many producers but also artists from different countries. I would call the music Hip hop music but really there are  many different records on the album, from Rock to dubstepish to kwaitoish and even Russian folk.

We have many good artist that are telling genuine stories about their country but as a people we like to follow trends instead of supporting what we feel is good music.

DIY: Are you working with any local producers? Have you faced any notable challenges along the way?

Black Moss: I work with the good folk down at The Soul Academy, (the Durbanite duo Lunatik and Zenith). Lunatik actually produced the single  “Better day” off my new album Bits and Pieces. I have also worked with Ryan Reddy who produced my previous Mind Trip EP, Audiophile 021 who is the head Engineer at Redbull Studios in Capetown and  Durban producer Lastee. The biggest challenge I would say has been finding a wider range of local producers to work with. Being overseas has made me realize that In South Africa we are not on top of our game when it comes to using the internet as a tool for working. It was difficult to get some producers to send me their compositions, make any changes back and forth as I needed in a timely manner so a few songs didn’t make it onto the album because of this reason.



DIY: How has living and working abroad affected your music making? Has your creative process changed in anyway? Been influenced by the people you’ve met and places you’ve been at all?

Black Moss: It definitely has. Firstly I have had the opportunity to work with  amazing artists from different countries. Being abroad has made me appreciate that the people of the planet Earth all share common social ills. This has made me grow into a more universal MC instead of only identifying with South Africa. Georgia is an amazing country where the people have so much love for everyone else. Georgians are poor but you never hear them complaining. Instead they have love and tolerance for all people. Being part of that society for a year and a half has made me grow as a person and I feel as though it shows in my latest project.


DIY: What would you say is the major difference between the Korean scene and the Durban scene? And in what ways are they similar?

Black Moss: What many people in Durban don’t realise is that we actually have a scene. I have not been anywhere where the musicians and bands all know each other as friends and the fans all attend show across genres. In Durban at a hip hop show for example you have people that also support house music or rock and at an event like GMT you will find people that go to rock shows or hip hop parties. That really makes it a scene because everyone has a bit of a taste as to what’s going on in the city in terms of the music. Durban has (some might say small and not very profitable) community which I think is special and I haven’t seen it in Georgia and Korea.

I spent a month in Chicago  last december and noticed that on a Friday night there could be about ten different hip hop shows and ten different rock shows and so on. I felt like there was no scene in that situation because you almost feel as though there is no community of people making things happen together. Even if it’s on a small scale we definitely have this in Durban.



DIY: What pitfalls do you think hip hop as a genre still faces in South Africa? What would you like to see happen in order to, for lack of a better phrase, raise South African hip hop’s game? Government funding? More attention paid to artists from areas other than Jo’burg?

Black Moss: It would be nice if the radio and television community started respecting good local music. I am yet to visit a country that plays american pop music as much as South African radio does. We have many good artist that are telling genuine stories about their country but as a people we like to follow trends instead of supporting what we feel is good music.

The SA Hip hop game as a whole I think is on the rise. There are a lot of positives taking place from grassroots to mainstream so I think only time will tell where it’s all headed.

I would like to see more love and support within the hip hop artist community. Hip hop artists in South Africa see each other as competition and threats instead of finding creative ways to collaborate and grow their fan bases together. In my opinion it would be great to see more unity and respect among hip hop artists


DIY: A lot of attention by South African media/critics is often paid to how ‘South African’ something sounds. Do you think this is important or necessary? With Hip Hop having an incredibly universal sound and following, do you ever consciously make an effort to ensure your work sounds ‘local’ or is it more of a natural thing for you?

Black Moss: I think music should be personal. I don’t care what the sound is like because as an artist you should be able to be to be as creative as possible. I do however feel as though your identity should come out through your music. I think we live in a global community now so our influences aren’t just South African so the music doesn’t have to sound a particular way for it to be called South African.



DIY: Your new album Bits And Pieces, was recently launched on the internet. What has the feedback been from the public? What was the reasoning behind making it available for free download?

Black Moss: The Bits and Pieces Album has been well received. We have had almost 10000 downloads in the first month which I never imagined would have happened. I decided to release it online for free because I always try to release free music as much as I can.  I wanted to give the fans a gift that  hopefully lets them see who I have become as a person and the things I have experienced as a traveller. People have given me so much on my adventure and it’s a  great pleasure for me to share my music with fans that have been so patient for the Black Moss release.


DIY: Any plans to return to your home town and break (back) out into the South African market? What other plans and goals have you got set for 2013?

Black Moss: Since I am only back in Durban for three weeks I plan to spend a lot of time in the studio working on my new album coming out in mid 2013.
I will be performing for one night only at GMT on the 8th of January. Then it’s back to South Korea where I have been lucky enough to find work as a DJ and performing at various events in the capital city, Seoul. After that my wife and I hope to buy bicycles and cycle as much of the world as we can starting in Durban and going up Africa

DIY: Cool, best of luck.


You can download all of Black Moss’s albums here.

You can also follow him on Twitter @blackmoss, on Youtube and on Soundcloud

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