Award-winning music duo Black Motion ‘Stay True’ through exciting new partnership. We explore their dynamism, synchronicity and positivity in their musical careers.
Tell us about how the Ballantine’s partnership came about? How does the platform assist with your career?
We had been involved with the Boiler Room project which Ballantine’s is part of – and that sort of paved the way for both Black Motion and Ballantine’s to explore synergies. The brands involvement in music, as well as their Stay True focus, spoke to what Black Motion stands for. As Black Motion, we remain true to what we believe in – when it comes to making music and when it comes to performing. In that sense, the partnership is a natural fit for both Ballantine’s and us and the mutual benefit is almost a no-brainer. Through our work and how we relate with our supporters, we are able to present this brand, and at the same time we’re able to expand our offering to beyond making music and performing.
What’s the musical journey been like for you guys between Talking To The Drums and Fortune Teller?
Each of the projects we have released has been part of a story of development and growth. Ours is likened to the journey taken by a traditional healer. The first wave is when a healer is called by the ancestors – and with us this was represented through Talking To The Drums (similar to the conversation to the “called” and the ancestors). Upon responding to the calling, the prospective healer would under training – and this involves water and going under water while undergoing this training. This is why we titled our second album Aquarian Drums. Thereafter, the student completes the training and begins practicing as a healer. This is why the third album was titled Fortune Teller. The musical journey also mirrored that progress and each album has its own unique sound – while still having that Black Motion signature. With our coming album, we have now been practicing as “healers”, and we dedicate that to the ancestors – and hence it will be titled “Ya Badimo” (for the ancestors).
How do you navigate your way through collaborations? What goes into a creative partnership and what rewards do you receive from working with other musicians
From the onset, we have always embraced collaboration. Black Motion is a duo and that means there is collaboration between us, firstly. When we work with other musicians, we relish the moment as we appreciated the power it brings. We always give musicians space for creativity and we ensure they bring in their own personalities into the music making process – thereafter we add our own interpretation in the process. We enjoy collaborating that is why we always manage to produce quality music – and seeing people enjoy that produce is the ultimate form of endorsement. Simply being in studio with other talented musicians is a reward in itself as it only brings growth to us as musicians. We have done over forty songs for other musicians since we entered the industry.
You guys are known for you dynamic live performances, what kind of work goes into preparing for a live show?
No preparation whatsoever. We get driven by the moment and energy of each show. The crowd and the mood of each show guide us. The music is in us, the rhythm is in us, the energy from the crowd feeds us, and when all these elements come together you get a Black Motion performance. This is why our performances can be described as dynamic, they never the same nor are they static.
How do you guys synchronize your energies and make sure you’re on the same wave length for a live show?
It’s the music. We are partners. We work together, we understand each other. We don’t even have to communicate anything about any show. It all just comes together. We are both former dancers as well – so we show each other our unique dancing styles and that always comes through in our performances.
How have international audiences received your live shows?
It’s always been special performing for audiences abroad and it’s always positively received. From Miami to Switzerland, and across the African continent, we always received positive reviews. We have also won an award for best live show – in Canada.
You guys have consistently put out great hits like Rainbow, Set Me Free, Bhana Shilolo and TsaMandebele. What is your formula?
If there is a formula then it’s just the passion and the drive to always do a better job each time. That’s as far as it goes. We love making music and we love pushing ourselves to improve.
What’s the production process when you guys make songs? Who does what?
We do everything. There’s never any one way. Sometimes Thabo would work on a rhythm or a melody and then I would continue where he left off, or vice versa. At other times, we just get into studio and just work on something together when one of has had an idea. We also always talk about ideas when we are just sitting at home or when we’re on the road. For example, Fortune Teller was done in the car while we were travelling to a show in Kimberley.
You guys haven’t released an album since 2014, when can we expect some new music?
We release projects every two years, and our next album called Ya Badimo will be out at the end of October 2016. Our first single, “Heartless Intentions” has been on high rotation for the last five months.
Your shows are always fuelled by vigour, energy and positivity. Do you guys have a mantra or reminder you live by that helps you perform on a high level at each gig?
We just go out there and let the energies guide us.
— BallantinesSA (@BallantinesSA) September 5, 2016