Spotlight on: Bazz & Victor Malaza

March 06, 2017

Originally hailing from Nelspruit and now based in Johannesburg, Bazz and Victor Malaza of Calamity Music started rapping together in 2008. Along the way they’ve linked with various producers and filmmakers to work with them on their projects. While at the Red Bull Studios Cape Town to work on their latest project ‘Welcome to the Wild’, featuring the beats of producer ECHLN, we talked them about the early days of Calamity, waves and their sound, and the inspiration behind their latest project.

There’s quite a crew here, who’s who?
Bazz: Yo wassup this your boy Bazz, I’m a writer for the crew Calamity. We started out a very long time ago, but now I’m a musician. So we both write. It’s me and my boy.
Victor Malaza: I am Victor Malaza, that’s my stage name as well. I’m here with Bazz, we just flew down from Johannesburg. I’m a musician. Both of us are 23 years of age and we’re out here with.
Kwena Semenya: Kwena Semenya, I’m the engineer and producer well not for this particular project. Graduated sound engineering last year, now I’m working with Calamity to conjure up some hot shit.
ECHLN: This is ECHLN the producer. Real name Kwetsima Maluleke. I got hit up by Victor. Said we should work and now we’re working.
Phumlane: This is Phumlane, named Zeus by Victor. The photographer and filmmaker for this whole project.
VM: One more thing I wanna add, Bazz’s real name is Nhlakanipho Jiyane.

Can you tell me what Calamity is all about?
B: Waves!
VM: Other than waves… Calamity started out in 2008 and right now we came out on a project where we’re going to do Welcome to the Wild
B: ...it was a mix of tribalism with hip hop and Africanism as well. It was a crazy mix.
VM: ...and on top of that we wanted to do this mix where what made us very infamous was how we put house and hip hop together. So we came up with that, but as soon as we met Echln this is a whole new way that is beyond words so it’s one of those that can only be explained once it’s come out. We wanted something new.

How did you link with Echln and how would you describe the sound?
VM:We linked on Twitter. I just messaged a brother and then he came through the next day…
E: Yeah it was just like that. We spoke about certain things and we agreed we’d meet. We met [at the end of January] and we’ve been working ever since. The sound is mostly something you’d hear from LA. It’s more an international sound and I’m just trying to bring that to South Africa with my own twist.

Describe the themes you like to explore in your rhymes?
B: Waves. But the theme is very tropical because we’re boys from the forest. We’re from the wild. The project we came here to do is called ‘Welcome to the Wild’, we come from Nelspruit and the vibe there, it’s a totally different place. When we came here we decided we’re going to take in the environment, we’re going to apply that to our own music. So that’s basically what we did. We can honestly say waves because that’s the most thing that we’ve seen everyday here. Waves.

How many tracks are in the project and when do you wanna drop it?
VM: I think we’ve touched base with 7 or 8 and we’re about to wrap up the third one which we feel like is going to be the strongest and hopefully by the end of day we’ll have five. Because understandably we want to be able to go back with a project that is literally just one or two touch ups on vocals, send it back for mixing and mastering, then we’ll get back to the other 16 or so that we had in mind and just keep working from there. But we feel like we’ve got a solid amount of work done to the point where we can say we have 3 or 4 tracks, wrap it as an EP and put it up. Wholly produced by the man Echln.

What else does the year ahead hold?
B: Waves. The whole year. We feel like it’s best if we work on the music we’re working on in the moment because when you hear the song that’s when you feel what you feel most from the content of the entire song. So we wanna work on that more than anything. Because from what Echln has produced, we kind of rode that wave. I can’t explain it, I really can’t explain it. We kind of rode that wave and came up with what we came up with and it’s amazing.
VM: Definitely going through the year we have the EP that’s gonna come out first and then definitely a mixtape from there and we can’t really say from there. We’re going to keep producing music.

Find Bazz, Victor Malaza and ECHLN online:
Bazz Instagram
Bazz Twitter
Victor Malaza Twitter
ECHLN Twitter