- 100 percent amapiano.
- Amapiano is one of the greatest dance music success stories of the past couple years, and if you haven't heard of it, well, we'd question how—but this mix makes for a perfect introduction if you're unfamiliar. The South African genre is not exactly new, but it's starting to reach new heights of global popularity. Take NTS Radio's recent compilation, Amapiano Now, as one example, though the genre doesn't even need that kind of outside validation to become one of the world's hottest dance music genres.
So what is amapiano? It's a strain of house music born in Gauteng, South Africa, mixing the rhythms of kwaito, Bacardi house and deep house, with the cinematic atmospherics of Afro house. The basslines are wide and distinctive, hugging like a warm embrace, and the melodies defined by the wild piano solos that give the genre its name (which literally translates from Zulu as "pianos"), along with the hyperactive log drum rolls, which are amapiano's other signature calling card.
In the last two years especially, amapiano has become a bustling scene. Caltonc SA is one of its key producers, an important member of the Ejarden Entertainment label—one of the genre's hubs—who has established his own take on the genre, which emphasizes the basslines and gives the music even more space. It's soulful and jazzy, with catchy vocals and a distinct, staggered thrust that borrows from South Africa's other mega-popular subgenre, gqom.
This RA Podcast is made up almost entirely of Caltonic SA's productions, making for a seamless listen that's sequenced—and as heavy as—a proper album. Amapiano really started to take off just as the pandemic hit, unfortunate timing for producers like Caltonic SA. But through livestreams and other events, the genre's popularity is only on the up, and hopefully before long we'll be hearing artists like Caltonic SA in person on real dance floors.
What have you been up to recently?
I'm forever busy in studio with Ejarden Entertainment record label projects since I'm a stable main producer and I'm producing for most artists under our label. I also work a lot on features with industry friends on their singles and albums, especially when I'm not working on my own album or single.
I just completed Focalistic's two singles titled "Peer Pressure" and "Raitaola," featuring Davido, dropping on Focalistic's forthcoming album. I'm also in the middle of Caltonic SA's Terminator 2 album, dropping November 2021. Still to release my annual albums which are 012 Dance Album and FasciNation 2 EP. I'm also juggling tours in between pushing my latest release which is a 23-track album called Yano Masters Vol. 2, which dropped early this year, where I collaborated with Thabz le Madonga as the main artist and featuring our industry family.
What are you grateful for these days?
I am grateful for the attention and positive respond the world has given to the amapiano music genre, which makes me proud to be part of the fraternity.
Where and how the mix was recorded? Can you tell us the idea behind the mix?
The mix was recorded at Ejarden Entertainment Studios which is my record label based in South Africa, Gauteng, Pretoria. The mix was recorded using a basic DJ setup of Pioneer CDJ-350s and a two-channel Pioneer DJM-450 mixer which made it a vibe, as I use the same set up when I perform at clubs, so that created the sort of vibe image in my head—it was as if I'm playing for a live crowd type of emotional feeling.
This mix is personal because most of the track selection is 100 percent my production except for track ten, "Ngiya Dripa," produced by my stablemate at Ejarden Entertainment going by the name "Zete D'Roba" who people must look out for. The mix contains good vibes, something hard at the same time where the hard lockdrum unleashes the beast within and connects it to the soul.
Why do you think amapiano has become so popular around the world?
First, I believe amapiano music has elements that connect direct to the soul and since social media has broken down borders which makes it easy for the music to spread to bigger radius, people connect to healing music effortless hence amapiano is so popular around the world.
This mix showcases mostly production you’ve done yourself, and you are clearly a very busy producer. Have you developed a style or approach to amapiano that is specifically your own?
Yes, I did—the reason my fans gave me the name Mr. Bass Play is because I have a unique way of playing a bassline in my music and the locked gunshot style I am using in my music is the secret weapon of Caltonic SA style of production.
What's one social or political cause you want the world to pay more attention to?
Since lockdown, the gender-based violence is getting out of hand in my country, and I would like the government to give it more attention, pleading with men to protect women and children.
What are you up to next?
Of course, keep doing more music that sets the trends and perfecting my craft in the process. Obviously I want to keep serving humanity by dropping albums, work hard towards relevance in the music industry for years to come, which is not the easiest thing to do in this fast growing and evolving industry. Lastly I pray for this Covid-19 pandemic to be controlled and see the entire human race vaccinated so that I can be able to be on the road again and more do international gigs where I meet all this faces that support my craft and perform for them.
Caltonic SA x Swartspare - Zaka
Caltonic SA x Keyrabo - Ngiyashiselwa
Caltonic SA x Keyrabo - Phumelela
Caltonic SA x JaySax - Sax
Caltonic SA x MgucciFab x Leba - Uyenzan
Caltonic SA x Keyrabo - Welalela
Caltonic SA x Musa keys x Magistics - Nghamba Nawe
Caltonic SA x Musa Keys - Izinto
Caltonic SA x Team Mosha- Yekela
Zete D'roba - Ngiya Dripa
Caltonic SA x Freddy K, Zete D'roba, Gento Bareto, Johnny Antix, Stevla - Sbwl
Caltonic SA x TL Deep, Naqua SA- Backspace
Caltonic SA x Sje Konka - Fire
Caltonic SA x Thabz Le Madonga, Sje Konka, Mawhoo - Bambelela Vocal Mix