It is always interesting when one is a fan of a friend’s work, particularly in the creative spheres. The basis of a friendship, for me, is about personal connection outside of work yet the work can create an element of discomfort, if it does not resonate. Fortunately, with Zubz, this is not the case, and with his new project, Wav_One, he continues to demonstrate why I enjoy his music.
Wav_One is a collaborative project between South African hip-hop legend Zubz The Last Letta and acclaimed producer, musician Peach van Pletzen. Both artists have made their individual mark on the musical landscape – Zubz as one of the artists that helped solidify the foundations of SA hip-hop and Peach with his work as Yesterday’s Pupil among other achievements.
Over the last few years, Zubz has drifted away from the life of a rapper and has not really released anything ‘commercially’ in a while, which I think is a shame and leaves the industry lacking. But, it is always important to evolve and make decisions for your own life, which is something that Zubz has always done. I should note that this site was developed and designed by Zubz so it has worked to my advantage that he continues to fully explore other sides of his ability and capacity.
The birth of Wav_One
Anyway, it took a random meeting between Peach and Zubz for the two-song Wav_One project to be born. In the press release, Zubz said, “I have had the chance to be around Peach and his work a few years ago and remember vowing to myself that no matter what the future held, I’d work with him. That future is now. He’s a sonic genius.”
Peach went with the alias Lavabeast as a ‘banner’ under which to collaborate with rappers and this is the first project. He said, in the release, “I decided to use the alias Lavabeast because Yesterday’s Pupil has become associated with a certain sound and style. I wanted a space where I could be totally free from any preconceptions and Lavabeast is that space.”
The Wav_One Process of Collaboration
I asked Zubz about the project, the process and where he is, musically, and he said:
“The thing is I am more self-indulgent with the music I create now more than ever. For the most part, I play around with all kinds of ideas at my spot; experimenting with my voice, sounds, styles etc. It’s a lot like being in a crazy lab with all kinds of chemicals and instruments at your disposal and being told you can go nuts with it.
When I spoke to Peach in the basement parking at our complex, he seemed to be in the same head-space. The more we chatted, the more it felt like we were supposed to be having the conversation in a studio, so we could put some of what we were saying down.
Basically, ideas were flooding into our space so easily, and rapidly. We couldn’t wait to get into studio. That same day he sent me a bunch of beats he was playing with and I got to working on them. This way of working, where I feel my way through everything, is my favorite way of collaborating. It feels right and it feels good.
The process is an iterative one. He started the ball rolling with some music. I picked up the ball by attaching concepts and themes to that music. I wrote everything and pieced it together at home then sent it to him. He unwrapped what I had done and created extra moments in the musical production; more/less instrumentation in parts, ambient moments, vocal inflections and pitching etc., then sent those back to me.
The final phase was him and I sitting in his studio and feeling what we had done out together. We spoke about it for a while, then I got into the booth and recorded all my parts again from scratch, this time with a clear vision of where we were taking the songs. He then got to engineering the music and smoothing it out, making it sound sublime etc.
The next bit is the really exciting bit for me. Happy with what came out, we decided to immediately throw it out to the world and see what happens. Whatever happens will inform what we do next. So now the collaboration has involved whoever listens to the music and is moved by it in some way. We are keeping as close an eye and ear on what happens around Wav_One and whatever jumps at us in any kind of intriguing way will inform how we move forward with it: if we even move forward at all! We’d like it to be as organic as possible so we’re not trying to force anything.
This iterative, symbiotic approach is exciting for us both. It makes what we’re doing completely different to what we’d ordinarily do in the studio. I don’t know what the next wav will be like; who will be on it, how it will sound, if I’m gonna be singing, rapping, talking, dancing…we might end up making it a visual wav, or a wav in the form of food!! I honestly have no idea what will happen. But we’re open.”
The two songs are First Contact and Buy. Spend. Take.
Take a listen. I hope that we will be hearing, seeing, experiencing more of Wav_One.