Talking beats, breakups & balance with RetroRootz


Bringing sexy and soul into the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival line-up

First and foremost who is RetroRootz? Where are you from? What are you about?

I am a female DJ and bassist from Cape Town. To sum it up, RetroRootz is all about the soul and sexy in music. As a DJ, my objective is to play music that my audience can resonate with. I aspire to make them feel sexy and good about themselves when they’re grooving to the sounds. The reason I chose RetroRootz as my alias is because my favourite musical era is the 90s, so everything I play will always have roots in that era, whether it be future or not.

Who, or what, inspired you start to DJing.

Being the first girl in my family, I’d always hang out with the boys and one place they’d always take me to was the skate park. Hip hop tunes would be bumping, graffiti artists were spraying art on the walls, breakdancers, MC’s and DJs were doing there thing. This is where I met hip hop and fell in love with the culture. I felt at home – like it was a place of true self expression and celebration of self through music and art. Coming from a family of musicians and artists in every form, it was naturally in my blood. I felt that hip hop was love and I wanted to be a part of that world. I decided at one point that I wanted to DJ and was meant to go to a DJ workshop, yet never ended up going through with it, but it always remained a dream.

How would you describe the type of music you play?

The music that I play can be described as RnB, neosoul, hip hop and future beats, especially anything with a 90’s influence in it. I’m always interested in how artists take these old school ideas and develop them into tunes relevant to today.

Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?

As mentioned above, it had always been a dream, but I never went through with it. Then, about two years ago, I went through a really bad break up, and as my first love, music was my biggest therapy. It made me think “why not put all of these feelings into the music?” I decided to take the leap and begin DJing; I signed up to the Pioneer DJ school and spent all my time mixing in my room, nothing else mattered to me, it proved to be my road to recovery through a very dark time. I put out my very first mix under the alias RetroRootz and it got more attention than I expected! I thought “why don’t I test this thing out and try get a gig for fun?”. Not being in the industry, I just went to my favourite event, Uppercut, and asked the door lady who I could speak to about playing there! She told me I should look for Alvhin. So I walked around asking everyone and eventually I found him. He said I should send him a mix, and a few months later he booked me for my first official gig. Things spiralled from there in a way I never expected – Alvhin gave me an amazing opportunity to change my life! The minute I got behind the decks, felt the vibes from the crowd and saw them jamming to my tunes it happened…I knew this was what I truly wanted to do.

 What do you do besides DJ’ing? And how do you find a balance between your DJ life and your regular life?

I recently quit my day job in TV to focus full-time on my craft, so in conventional terms, nothing- lol! I’m loving being able to develop my skills, researching and looking for opportunities to develop my brand in a way that will grow my creativity (whilst sustaining my bank balance!) When I’m not working, I’m spending time with my family, friends and the outdoors, you’ll often find me bodyboarding, braaing, camping and fishing! Sometimes I feel guilty for not spending more time at events networking and building my social media platforms, but this journey is teaching me to follow my heart by doing what I love, the way I want to do it!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received so far?

“Don’t worry about what others are doing around you, just do you.” (Thanks boo )

If I opened your music app right now, what five artists/songs would I see on your recently played list?

  •            A Tribe Called Quest – Stressed out
  •            A Tribe called Quest – Weekendz
  •            Knxwledge – Katamari [gttago]
  •            Alicia Keys and Kaytranada – Sweet F-ing Love
  •            NAO – Zillionaire

What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?

Cigarettes….always. Although, now I’ve completely switched to rollies, so I’m not quite sure how that’s going to work as yet. More importantly, I always keep one kin close by! It can be any kin- but just one! I watch her face, the way she grooves her body to the music, and I catch the movement of the crowd behind her – this way I know whether they are feeling me or not.

What’s in store for you during this year?

Being my first year as a full-time DJ, I’m excited to play some dope gigs, focus on developing my brand and figuring out how to make my bread and butter. I’ve been co-hosting a few radio shows and I’d love that to become a regular thing. Also, I’d really love to get my producing to a standard that I could use in my work, at the moment everything I write ends up sounding like a lullaby. There are some exciting plans in the pipeline to collaborate with a few artists and incorporate live elements into my DJ sets – I’m always looking for fresh ways to expand the boundaries of my art.

Catch RetroRootz bringing sexy and soul into the CTEMF line-up and stand a chance to win tickets here.

Get familiar with her beats here


About Author

Content junkie | Self-assured | Dance floor devotee | Empathetic | Lone wolf | “If you only read the things that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."