When it comes to music, Dplanet and Spo0ky are solid as a rock, but off stage they like their drinks hot, writes Helen Herimbi.
Sade wails softly in the background. Earl Grey and Five Roses teas are brought to the table – much to Dplanet’s disappointment, the restaurant was all out of camomile. Spo0ky tells me about a wonderful time she had at a local spa. This treat was a birthday gift.
This scenario is a complete 180° shift from the last time I saw Dplanet and Spo0ky. Back then, the pair, who are collectively known as Pure Solid, were slap-bang in the middle of some loud speakers and had party-goers at Cold Turkey like putty in their hands.
Dplanet (Damian Stephens) moulded the crowd’s bodies to every booming bass beat he laid down and those who weren’t dancing had their eyes transfixed on the visual onslaught brought by the images Spo0ky (Anne-Sophie Leens) sliced from her computer to the projector. The sounds were past ambient and somewhat dirty, the visuals were dark and confrontational.
Taken in together, this was a refreshing sensory experience. Pure Solid offered a mash-up of original footage, recycled vocals (from local and international musicians) and dub beats that somehow seemed to work as a complete performance.
Oh, and they played Drake over dub.
It’s not far-fetched to assume Young Money – one of the jaggiest rap crews of our time – would be something Dplanet steers clear of. I mean, originally from London, the producer-cum-DJ and founder of Pioneer Unit (the independent record company that boasts Ben Sharpa, Driemanskap and Rattex on its roster) has been vocal about his disdain for some of the ideologies music like that which Drake and Lil Wayne make represents.
“That kind of rap as well as grime can be quite depressing and leave you cold and empty. I don’t want to promote that message, but,” he looks at a nodding Spo0ky, “Lil Wayne is a special case.”
Imagine, if you will, Weezy’s A Milli over a dub beat. This has gone down well with crowds because, Spo0ky smiles: “With A Milli I put the lyrics of the song up on the screen and the typographic view is amazing! Words go fast or slow according to his delivery and when we play it, the entire track is only lyrics – just patterns and letters.”
Then Dplanet’s shoulders start shaking in suppressed laughter before he asks: “You know, in A Milli there’s that line where Lil Wayne says he’s got a nice girl with a coconut derriere?”
He settles back into his chair, attempting to mask a grin. “Well, I thought ‘oh, that’s cool’,” he says, miming what seems to be his version of a fruity tush with his hands. “But it turns out he was saying: ‘Sicilian bitch with long hair/with coke in her derriere.’”
We pack up laughing. Spurts of American music aside, Pure Solid have a strong focus on South African music in their sets – especially since they plan on playing a few after parties when they attend the Riddim Collision Festival next month in Lyon, France.
Spo0ky is a Belgium-born artist who has made a name for herself as a sought-after photographer, designer and the eye behind Driemanskap’s videos.
She explains: “We’ll be taking Pure Solid overseas and want to be distinctly Cape Town. So now I’ve started incorporating images of a gusheshe, parts of Khayelitsha, dogs fighting and these videos I took of Rattex running through shacks and over wires while people try to catch him.”
Dplanet continues: “It’s not just music, it’s a whole show. That’s why if we’re playing Rattex then we try to visually back up what he’s talking about.”
Listening to this pair is like having an aural ping pong match because it’s interesting how the ball of conversation is thrown back and forth and lands on each side with precision before it’s thrown back. For instance, I ask them if they think they will be compared to Mr Sakitumi and The Grrrl. Dplanet says: “Mr Sakitumi is very musical, it’s a nice experience but his sound is a little softer than ours.”
Then Spo0ky chimes in: “We’re harder!”
To which Dplanet responds: “But not Haezer hard.”
Before Spo0ky concludes: “It’s solid!”