Man like Sk Simeon
We love the internet, not the group (yes we love them too) but the global system of interconnected computer networks. Last week we had the chance to chat via Facebook with SK Kawuma, a Ugandan born, Dancehall MC. SK has been setting fires all over Africa and Australasia with his amazing vocal talents and positive message. With a seriously full catalogue of great tracks, his latest notable achievement was a release on Ninja Tune's 'Big Dada' imprint providing vocals for well known footwork/bass music producer Machinedrum. Mad love to Azbo for introducing us to SK and encouraging the dialogue.
AOMS: Hi SK, lovely to e-meet you. Watched your recent clip it's fire! Can you tell us about yourself and how you got into music?
SK: I got into music when I was young, my dad would play gospel music on the sound system and I was always curious of sounds and how the voices would come together. In my early primary school days I would be forced to be part of the singing because it was mandatory. However I always loved the cultural music, dancehall and reggae music, whenever I heard it, I would prance around. Music also helped me in my hard times when I was young, when my parents passed away music had a big impact on my life. The sounds of Lucky Dube, Les Wanyika and Kadongo Kamu which is the indigenous music of Buganda was my favourite.
AOMS: Sorry to hear about the passing of your parents, I cannot imagine how it was like for you. You are right about music being a healing thing that helps us get through stuff. What drew you into the dancehall & reggae genre music?
SK: What drew me into reggae is the feel and the messages, but of course the baselines, I am a big fan of bass music. Most people know me as a reggae/dancehall musician but I have done other tracks practising other bass genres like footwork, jungle etc and what I like about the dancehall and rub a dub was the direct message and wildness that came with it. It allowed me to express myself anyhow I feel. I also have influences of congolese earlier music such as soukous as it ruled the Ugandan music for quite some time when I was growing up.
AOMS: Beautiful, I love soukous music there's something about the vibrations it sends out that make you feel good. And I feel you about dancehall and rub a dub, the other day I noted how one riddim can be covered by so many artsists but make you feel different ways. For instance the Cold heart Riddim, Busy Signal tells us to Free up black people, Richie Spice makes us think of the one that got away with nuh leave me then Degree has us wanting to pull in closer with the one we are sharing our intimacy with as he sings forever making love make sweet love to me. So there's definitely freedom of expression. Is this your first time touring out of Australia?
SK: It's not the first because I have been to Germany and I did some guest appearances at the reggae festival with the irie sound system. I also went to Uganda and did some shows but this will be my first time in New Zealand. I suppose is more official and you could say its the start of the official international too with my name on the poster.
AOMS: Congrats on your tours and good on you going back to Uganda and doing some shows. If you could choose 5 artists who would you choose to work with on a track?
SK: International or local? Because I would rather work with local artist that I personally know than international. I love international artists but wouldn't work with them at all maybe international producers from Germany, USA and Japan.
AOMS: Anyone of your choosing, it could be local/international/outer space.
SK: Haha, right I am interested in working more with Yaw Faso (Melbourne) and Tru Soule (Melbourne). In terms of producers, I want to work more with King Poppa (Germany), Machinedrum (USA) and Naram (New Zealand)
AOMS: Very nice, I have never heard those names before so I will definitely check them out!
SK: Yeah, not really mainstream but I know all them and they great talented people. Machinedrum and I released a vinyl on big dada called maskaya with Yaw Faso on vocals.
AOMS: Nice! Thank you the chat SK, I look forward to meeting you and hearing your sound live. See you on the dance floor!
SK Kawuma will be performing live with Papa Naram this Friday at Cassette 9's monthly Wuk it Up. The lineup is looking like fire the decks will also be blessed by your locals Stinky Jim, Red Robin and Azbo.