Photography by: Khabazela Mkhize
BLK JKS (pronounced Black Jacks) is a South African rock band from Johannesburg formed in the year 2000 consisting of four members. In case you haven’t heard, the band will be headlining the first Live @ Future Music Series brought to you by Live SA and British Council Connect ZA in association with sSHADOWORKSs. They’ll be performing alongside one of the UK’s hottest producer/DJ Actress plus DJ Danger Ingozi. We recently caught up with them ahead of the first event on 19 July.
Who are the BLK JKS and what influences their style of music?
BLK JKS are a band of musicians who make music that is heavily inspired not influenced by, their ghosts, the past present and future spirits of Africa. This music is further shaped by the souls it encounters along the way…our friends and our frenemies. The energies floating about our spheres are diverse and equally important, existence is a harsh miracle, the BLK JKS open themselves up to connect to this truth, sometimes beautiful sometimes ugly….always terrific all the time.
Using one word, how would you describe the type of music you guys make?
If you guys could be anything you wanted to be in the world apart from being musicians, what would it be?
Can’t speak for the rest of the band on that one, ha ha! I should have been a dirty politician, but I always wanted to be a fireman. My school teachers would probably rather have me writing though – the pull towards the arts and music in particular was too powerful in the end – for all of us I guess.
Does your social environment influence your music, if so. How?
Certainly our social environment seeps into what we do, we’d be dead otherwise. As for how it does this exactly….pretending to know the answer to that would be slightly disingenuous, it’s more for the people to feel and perceive – in the search for magic, we’d prefer to not control that so tightly.
Name one African musical legend you would love to collaborate with or would have loved to collaborate with?
Our late friend and musical god mother uMa Busi Mhlongo the original Urban Zulu (long live).
Music is a language on it’s own as it communicates with people in different ways. With that said, what is it exactly that you guys are trying to communicate with your music?
Freedom, we are trying to communicate, spread and share the true spirit of freedom. A freedom we are still searching for ourselves, should we find it as a people, with genuinely free minds the potential is limitless. Until then, enjoying the journey is of paramount importance – we hope people take that away from our gigs…..along with the odd hangover and zing in the ear of course.
What are you guys looking for in the ZA scene to develop? What’s new and happening here that can follow in the success of your band?
It’s happening already, right now. Re-evolution – there is a palpable buzz and you can see the braver in many young artists who are not afraid to walk the skeleton riddled narrow path anymore….it’s incredibly exciting ! The world is watching!
What do you guys think we can learn from each other via a collaboration between the UK and ZA?
What can we learn from the Great Brits! Well, how not to let the weather get you down. Make good art! Live! What can they learn from us, is a question for them to answer…no ?
Who are your top three upcoming artists in ZA and UK?
Don’t know about up and coming, but in terms of the UK “underground” we’re really digging on Actress, Holy Other and Savages. Locally? Wow, I mean we’d leave too many important ones out here to even begin, three is tough.
Get your earlybird tickets for R50 http://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=405454102 and join our Facebook event https://www.facebook.com/events/173336896172882/ .
For more details about BLK JKS, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Blk-Jks/50708824098.
Event: Live @ The Alex
Location: Alexander Theatre, Braamfontein, Johannesburg
Date & Time: Friday 19 July, 9pm – 2am
Price: Earlybird R50 http://www.webtickets.co.za/event.aspx?itemid=405454102 (R50 – R80)
Line-up: Actress (Honest Jons/ Ninja Tune, UK) + BLKJKS – live (Secretly Canadian, ZA) + DJ Danger Ingozi
Age:No U18 / right of admission reserved
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/173336896172882/