We caught up with the Smart Mampara aka Okmalumkoolkat just a few minutes before he took to the stage at the Cape Town World Music Festival this past weekend. The Koolkat gave us a preview of what he’ll be dishing up in the near future and his views on the current state of the industry .
LIVE: How receptive have people been to your sound given it is so different?
OKMALUM: It’s been a slow one. I started performing in 2008 but Cape Town was one of the first places where I was booked. The scene here is very curious. Even when I wasn’t getting it, they were getting what I was doing.
LIVE: I have noticed that you can talk about a number of subjects in a verse. What is your thought process when you write?
OKMALUM: I can’t really put it down to anything; it’s more of just my stream of consciousness. I listen to a track, and I write the feeling more than anything. It’s like how I am feeling and what type of character I want to play here, because you can play a lot of characters.
LIVE: Do you prefer being in studio or performing live?
OKMALUM: I dig both. You need both — you need to enjoy being in the studio for you to get booked live. You experience the good and the bad about the craft and what you are doing. I still don’t have a car because I don’t have a corporate job, but I enjoy the other things that others don’t get to.
LIVE: What do you enjoy most about performing in Cape Town?
OKMALUM: Like I said, the crowd is always receptive. It’s quite crazy because most people don’t speak Zulu here but they kind of just get the feeling. I like the fact that people get the feeling of the music like when I perform overseas, or other places around the country. People just get the feeling and they’re like ‘yeah I can ride with this.’ I dig that vibe.
LIVE: When is Okmalumkoolkat releasing a new album?
OKMALUM: Probably next year because this year everything is jam packed. We got Boyz n Bucks mixtape dropping. I’ve got this four-track EP Holy Oxygen. I’m going to Vienna now on Sunday for a few weeks to record Holy Oxygen Volume II and to shoot a couple (of) videos, then I’m going to work on an album with some guys on that side, Cid Rim and The Clonious. Then I got Boyz n Bucks here, which is the whole crew like Mkay Frash, Riky Rick – there’s so much for you guys. For me, the whole music thing I take it as art. Each album is like a movie, instead of looking like at it like an artist where I have to do this and do that. But, I am going to get to the album stage and you guys are going to enjoy it.
Images by Matthew Zients