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Interview with Catalyst


8 January 2011 10 Comments

This week Africasgateway talks to Monwabisi Jack aka Catalyst, a producer, composer and writer based in Uitenhage which is located in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.  Catalyst has worked with big names like H2O and JBux and is currently finalising the release of his album.  In this interview we get to know Catalyst more in depth and we also throw in a special mp3 zip file at the end for you to download.

How would you describe Catalyst?

I’m a very ambitious, passionate and a self-driven artist who loves art.

How old are you?

I’m a product of 1985 (25yrs)

What subject matter do you deal with / write about?

My content is based on life experiences in general from my point of view.  I don’t restrict myself or put boarders on my creativity.

Which artists have you performed with and/or been involved with up until now?

I shared stages with the likes of MXO, Wikid, H2O, Jazzel Brothers, JBux, Zulu Boy etc.

Got a couple of mixtapes under my belt. UTown mixtape, 10 Digits’s debut album “Collectors Item” and  “History in the Making”, which featured the likes of Loyiso Bala my home boy, Dangatye, Sphiwe from H2O and Ntsiki Mazwai.

Meta4 (Sykotiq and I) “OutCome LP”, Dangatye’s latest album “Umpitilizo” and mixtape “Born Again”, the homie Malik Gita I produced his latest single “G-Spot” and the list is endless…oh and my album L.A (Long Awaited LP) also featured my homie Ciza the Journalist from Nigeria.

Describe your lyrical style and flow and what artists influenced you?

My lyrical style is not abstract at all; I choose words carefully so that my message can be heard easily.

I like Talib Kweli, Nas, Biggie but no one in particular, if an emcee is dope and crazy with the flow I learn one or 2 things from him/her.

What is your view on the music scene in South Africa?

It’s growing and the future looks bright for up and coming cats like me but wish we could, give a chance to other regions, a chance to hear what they can put on the table, Joburg cats have done their part I think.

Who in South Africa would you like to work with?

Proverb is on top of my list, then Pro, Teargas, HHP, Tuks and every cat who’s making good music.

Which producers are you working with?

At the moment no one, I’m producing myself and I just hooked up with D’Mongz and we’ve got a lot in store for 2011.

What material are you working on now?

The Malik Gita’s album, Dangatye’s mixtape, H2O’s album, 10 Digits EP and my untitled piece with D’Mongs.

Is there a plan to release a future full length album?

Yeah I’m planning to release my LA project nation wide it’s been well received this side so yeah lookout for that.

Can you give us a run down of every release you have put out and where you have featured on?

I released on my duo clique with Sykotiq the “Outcome LP” and “MetiQlous” (both produced by us with the help of IQ), the 10 Digits “Collectors Item”, “History in the Making” both produced by me, my mixtape “Thin Line” and my latest offering Long Awaited LP.  Appeared on many street tapes mostly producing in the underground scene.

Which equipment / software do you utilise for productions?

I’m messing with a ClaviTech Midi controller, ESI Maya 44 USB Sound card, Behringer  Xenyx 802 and 1202 mixers, K2233 Emp, Samson C03 condenser mic and Boston studio monitors.

For software I use Reason 4, Cubase 5.1, Sound Forge 10 and dozens of plugins.

Which producers influenced you?

DJ Primo, Dr Dre, my homies IQ and D’mongs, Kev Brown and Marco Polo.

What techniques do you employ for making beats?  Any secrets and / or tips you can share?

I listen to old school music from hip hop, jazz, ballads and that helps me to exercise different styles and be unique.  I don’t have any secret I just learn from the greats then apply that to my style.

What is your opinion on sampling in hip hop and do you employ these methods?

90% of my productions are sample free but I love sampling that’s how hip hop started anyway. I don’t have a problem with that.  As a producer you have to be open minded.

Which particular producers do you recommend our readers to check out?

It depends on style because me for one I’m not a crunk type producer but its music at the end of the day. Pete Rock, Primo, Ryan Leslie and Dre (his simplicity technique).

If an emcee wants to you to produce for them what is the process that they must follow?

First holla at me on my email then we’ll talk further.

Where can people find your music?

I’m working on a distribution deal at the moment but people can order on Facebook search for “Monwabisi Catalyst Jack”, free postage and can listen on www.reverbnation.com

Have you performed elsewhere in the country?

East London, Cape Town and most Eastern Cape towns, the aim was to secure my name/brand in my province.

As an artist what is the biggest challenge facing you?

Like most indie artists its getting a distribution and marketing but hey I can’t keep complaining gotta work hard. Ever since I appeared on the SABC 1 show Ses’khona things are much better.

What is your view on the support and/or lack of support that media gives local music in general in South Africa?

The support is there in my opinion but I think it’s us artists we have to grind to get the attention we deserve, there’s more opportunities than before especially with the online media.

Tell us something nobody knows about you?

Besides being an artist/producer I’m a father of a 4 month old (lol) and a graphic designer, so if niggas who want cover designs they should holla at any time.

What are your favourite hip hop albums of all time?

2pac’s “All Eyez on Me”, Nas “Illmatic”, Dead Prez “Let’s Get Free” and everything from Gangstarr.

If people want to get in touch with you how do they do that?

Drop me an email monwabisij@gmail.com or check me on Facebook.

Thank you for taking the time to talk to AG, any last words?

Thanx to AfricasGateway keep supporting Hip Hop and lookout for my album to come out later this year.


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