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Spoek Mathambo's new five-part collective FantasmaCourtesy of Soundway Records

Spoek Mathambo and DJ Spoko's band is totally amazing

South African electro-Zulu supergroup Fantasma's futurist EP streams exclusively inside

Dubbed the prince of Township Tech, Spoek Mathambo is at the forefront of South Africa’s electronic music scene. Mixing the underground sounds of UK grime, dubstep and punk with Johannesburg’s very own South African house music, Mathambo crafted Township Tech. Since gaining popularity in Britain with his cover of Joy Division’s "She Lost Control", Pretoria’s pounding 'Bacardi House' beats and shakey synths have taken of. 

Now embarking on a group project, Mathambo has joined forces with Machineri guitarist André Geldenhuys, Township Funk hero DJ Spoko,  drummer Michael Buchanan and Bhekisenzo Cele to form a five-man collective, christened Fantasma. With its eclectic range of influences, Fantasma combines traditional Zulu maskandi music with shangaan electro, hiphop, punk, electronica and more. Another gem is "Shesha Spann" (trans: Hell Yeah) which Mathambo describes as an “anti-turnup turnup song – about how miff and morbid partying can get.” Fantasma will be coming to London to play at 100 Club on March 4th, 2015, and you can stream the EP here, and check out Spoek's story of the tunes underneath. 

Eye of the Sun is out on Soundway Records and can pre-bought here or on iTunes

"Eye Of The Sun"

The first song we made in the week when we all met up for the first time. We always see "Eye of The Sun" as our mission statement, a place where all our different backgrounds explode into each other. We rented a little rehearsal studio in Cape Town, and Bheki was so energetic and creative, jumping between bass, guitar and accordion...and the mic. The song is mainly driven by that mad celebratory energy. Jabula! We got S'bu and Oscar from Future History to drop some saxophone. This song finally took 10 months to finish and has existed in so many different versions, Jumping Back Slash finally came through and helped finish this afro-physchadelic treat.


"ShangriLa" is from the same session as "Eye of The Sun", in those two days we wrote eight songs. Originally the lyrics were Bheki singing about how all murderers are going to burn in hell...but the summer was more about love and sunshine, so that theme came in. I invited Moonchild to resing the lyrics I laid down, I've always loved the texture and attitude in her voice.  


Bacardi on the rocks is what Spoko calls it. He says the song goes from pain, sorrow and stress to realising that things are never that bad. There are quite a couple of these songs which mix Spoko's signature bacardi house style with Andre's wailing guitars. I've been in contact with JOSIAHWISE for the past couple of years, he hit me up on Facebook about collaborating. It took me a while to listen to the link he sent, when I finally did I was blown away. I've still never met him. He's one of the greatest songwriters I've had the privilege of working with. He has a very unique way with words, and great vocal style and technique. I like that his writing is personal but esoteric, so there are always layers to peel away at. 

Shesha Spaan (Hell Yeah)

While working in Ross McDonald's studio trying to mix the songs...we were on a break and I heard Ross kind of singing to himself. I knew him as a trombonist, but no idea he was such a great singer. I asked him to jump on this semi-completed song that we were toying with in rehearsals. It's kind of an anti-turnup turnup song. About how miff and morbid partying can get. Bheki's got this weird thing where he insists that he's a world champion at impersonating different animals, so "Shesha Spaan" also features him doing a meercat.  


Fafi or Mchina as it's also known is a kind of gambling/numbers racket that's common in South Africa. A lot of the numbers system is a bit mystical in the sense that people's dreams end up representing different numbers and possibly big wins. I always imagine us in a vast desert with this one, I think it's one of our most interesting pieces. What originally started out as a grime beat I was working on took on a whole other turn as our various influences came together. From maskandi to northern African desert rock, Congolese guitar runs, synth jams, to four to the floor stompers.