5 Questions With Vann

In the latest edition of 5 Questions With… Josh Scheepers gets to know local hip-hop producer and rapper Vann and finds out more about DBNKD Records and how it got started.



Vann gets lexical after I ask him a couple of questions about what he’s up to, what he thinks about robots making music and some other boring shit that he manages to make sound interesting!! I think the aliens got him already though. His record label, DBNKD, recently released a video and mixtape that sounds like dark RnB for trap queens, it’s pretty sweet.


DIY: Can you tell me a little about what DBNKD Records is all about and who is involved?

Vann: DBNKD… We about all that c*rny shit and more. I mean, I don’t want to give lofty descriptions of guys who make hip-hop. We’re dream chasers. We’re a pantheon of legends! It’s an embodiment of a feeling we held after super tumultuous periods in our lives. We decided to believe in ourselves, and our abilities, our craft, and took a journey to build a creative home for ourselves and people who value quality and really want to build a life with their craft. The ‘label’ consists of rapper/crooner Lwazi Dladla A.K.A. “Looney D”, and also producer/rapper Ntsika Nduli aka “Vann”. A business established on the 7th of July in 2016, we have taken the time to focus on improving the quality of our product while also understanding and appreciating the administrative aspects of the industry we are a part of. Currently, we’re building publishing, marketing and distribution models for our music, in order to fully exploit our prospective value-chain for the benefit of our artists while growing our artists and DBNKD Records’ profile as a brand.


DIY: How long have you been producing for, and what got you into it?

Vann: Whew, let me think… I started playing around on DAWs around late 2011/2012, but I only decided to get really serious about it May 2016. So, it’s almost four years now give or take. As a kid, I read, drew and listened to A LOT of music. My father too was, like, really into music. I remember jamming all the original MJ, Rare Earth Ma, George Benson and Greenday CDs at my early childhood home. In the mix came radio, I really loved late night R2000 and 5fm in my pre-teen years, so that expanded my taste quite a bit.

A couple piano lessons when I was 12 and Mr Chris Ntombela’s (bless) ‘08 poetry club at George Campbell helped shape a creative approach to listening to music. Adding extra keys in my head as music was playing on my V360, reciting my poetry over Coldplay instrumental covers and Kanye loops around the time I was 16. When I was 19 I adopted the pseudonym “Lexophiliac” and was doing slam here and there, nothing major, small-time gigs at the BAT and college campuses around Durban.

Well, slam can be kind of… meh. I wanted to start adding background instrumentals my poetry. I was not really happy with the producers I kept meeting at the time, I was like f*ck this, lemme just make my own. Now I’m here. It’s only after 4 years that I could put it together well.


DIY: Do you think robots will make music and we’d be able to appreciate it the same way we do now?

Vann: Tell me bruh, can a robot have a double Smirnoff and dry lemon, roll a J, while cutting a sample after having rounds? Can robots black-out after a case of Black Labels? Tell me bruh, TELL ME!!


DIY: What are your top 3 albums this year?

Vann: Oooh… this is tricky… off the top of my head:
1. Antiphon- Alfa Mist
Alfa is my G bruh!
2. Cigarettes After Sex- Cigarettes After Sex
I like shoegaze. STFU
3. Process- Sampha
These kids in England bruh. Somethings in the water, I swear!


DIY: What do you think about the state of the music scene in South Africa right now?

Vann: What can I say, on the one hand, is that it’s wonderful to see that homies can attain really comfortable lifestyles off a passion. Dude, Cass has two Bentley’s. All I have is my vans with a hole in the corner of my little toe. It’s also great to have different sounds emerging into the mainstream- I can definitely say 5FM now and 5fm When I was a kid are veery different (Except for Roger Goode, I think he’s going to cash his retirement annuity there). On the flipside, the more the truly passionate get a chance at building careers out of their creativity, the more the quality of our output will improve. Shit’s popping, so I really can’t complain much.


Check out the video for Changes by Looney:


Check out DBNKD on Twitter






One Response to “5 Questions With Vann”
  1. Conrad says:

    This guy gets like 3 thumbs up from me for listing Cigarettes After Sex! What a damn good band!

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