The Muffinz are five dudes from Johannesburg making waves with their young, funky, Afro-soul sounds. In an email interview, the band tells me who they are, what they stand for, and how Captain Planet comes into the equation.
Who are The Muffinz?
The Muffinz is made up of 5 young men who do what they love and are extremely grateful for it:
Sfiso Atomza on guitar & vocals
Mthabisi Sibanda on acoustics guitar & vocals
Simphiwe Kulla on guitar & vocals
Karabo Moeketsi on bass & vocals
Gregory K. Mabusela on drums & vocals
When did the band start?
The band with the current members started in 2011. Before then we were involved in various musical projects but we decided to come together to do this band thing full-time.
Tell us about your debut album “Have You Heard?” What was the inspiration behind it?
The album was inspired by what others may call “naivety caused by youth”. We were younger and going through many difficult and different situations. We felt that if the music could help us find solace, then chances are it could do the same for others who listened to it. So to be frank, we produced “Have You Heard?” with world peace in mind, so that whoever hears it will thirst no more.
Do you have a new album on the way? What can we expect in terms of sound and collaborations?
We definitely have a new album coming out. We’ve just finished the pre-production phase and will be heading into production soon. The material sounds very interesting and very delicate; we are much better instrumentalists now than we were when we first hit the scene. The subject matter has also intensified; the way we’ve written some of the songs is very edgy and experimental but all within the bounds of a refined The Muffinz sound. But let’s wait so you can decide for yourself once you’ve heard [the album]. There definitely will be collaborations but that kind of information always works best if it’s kept as a surprise.
Should we expect any solo projects from you guys?
Not as yet. You may hear some work online here and there, but the focus is still on building us as a band, a flipping good one at that. It’s like that ancient cartoon titled Captain Planet – by our powers combined, we are invincible!
Do you ever feel the pressure to change your sound so that you maintain commercial relevance and success?
When an artist decides to get involved in music, a serious intrapersonal conversation needs to happen to determine the reasons for choosing this specific artform. Is it for fame, money, celebrity or is it because of the passion to contribute to the artistic integrity of the human race? There seems to be a trend in the industry – people don’t concentrate on their musical craft anymore but rather they focus too much on the business side of things that the art is neglected and like things neglected, it dips into a degenerate state. A balance is always needed. The quest for relevance should never outweigh the quest for master artistry. We are here to make music and have it heard by people from across the world. Ours is not a quest for celebrity. There, I said it.
What are some of the challenges you’ve encountered in your career?
Gatekeepers exist. (Sounds like a conspiracy blog, I know, but trust us.) People form cliques on these music industry streets and if as an artist you choose to reserve your allegiance to no specific clique then things may become a little more difficult for you as an independent artist. You just have to keep on at it. Luckily we’re content with our process taking time.
What do The Muffinz stand for? What’s your philosophy on life?
There is a lot we do not compromise on – spiritual well being is very important to us as a band and as individuals. We have been granted a platform where we are able to communicate to people on broadcast level, we choose to use it responsibly and obviously speak out against injustices done to any humans. Ours is a cause to change the world “one ear at a time” and so it shall be.
What’s your opinion on South Africa’s live music scene?
There is not enough support from the powers that be. We have a growing live scene and a talented bunch of musicians that seldom get played on radio. We should adopt indigenisation policies where broadcast media is FORCED (by legislation) to play majority local content, even 80/20 sounds reasonable. We need to establish our own song charting system independent of iTunes or Rolling stone and all these others imported brands. We need to build an industry that can sustain itself without oversees content. This can be achieved but major support is needed. It was such policies in New Zealand that introduced band’s like Fat Freddys Drop to the world.
Any last words or advice you could give our readers?
Do what you love. You’re more powerful than what you’ve been led to believe. You can achieve anything you want to achieve.You just need to be smart and tactical about. If as a human you want to fly, don’t focus on growing a pair of wings but rather use the resources afforded to you by your environment to see what you can use to help you achieve your desires.
Follow me on Twitter: @Thy_Black_Hippy
Feature image taken by Kabelo Seshibe @KCSeshibe at the 15th annual Cape Town International Jazz Festival.