Bass house has been booming in South Africa’s dance music scene for many years, with artists like Munnibrothers, Kyle Watson and Chunda Munki putting local flavour on the global map.
But before this younger generation of producers began to dominate the scene, Port Elizabeth DJ Vimesh Bhana, better known as Vimo, was already sowing the seeds for what would be one of the country’s most loved scenes.
After DJing for over 20 years and playing in countries like Dubai, Mauritius, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Mozambique, Vimo turned his attention to creating a stable for artists within the genre he calls Chutney House—a South African take on Brazilian bass house.
Now running the Chutney Records label with his wife Firdose—also a well-versed music business professional—Vimo is paving the way for the future generation of producers who believe in the power of local music and putting local tracks on the map.
Celebrating 20 years of Vimo this year, we chatted with “Vimo F**ken Vimo” about his illustrious career in music, and what’s to come for his Chutney Records imprint in the future.
After being in the industry for over 20 years. What eventually initiated the birth of Chutney records?
I started the label because the music I played in my sets was very difficult to source as it’s such a unique sound. It was mostly being produced by local artists. So I decided to create a platform for this genre we’ve termed “Chutney House.”
Given that Vimo has the musical experience, Firdose, what is your background in the music industry and what experience do you bring to the label?
I've been in the dance scene for about nine years, in and out of the clubs and festivals with Vimo. I also worked in the Royalty Department at SAMPRA for a few years. This was where I gained a lot of my knowledge and insight as to how the music business works behind all of the club lights and fame, as I worked predominantly with record labels and artists.
What is it like running the label with your significant other? Are there any pros and cons?
We have very different personalities and ways in which we do things. In the beginning there were a lot of teething problems and issues, but we decided to sit down and allocate each of our different duties between ourselves. Since then, it's been smooth sailing.
Chutney has been nominated for a DMASA award after starting just under a year ago. What has the journey been like so far?
This journey has been absolutely incredible and we are so amazed at how quickly Chutney Records received so much traction. At times it feels surreal. There has also been a lot of trial and error but every day we learn something new about the music industry and we are very excited to see what the future holds. We are humbled to have been nominated for a DMASA.
You have released songs by Brazilian artist 33hz. What do you think about the relationship between the South African and Brazilian dance music scenes? Do you think there some sort of common ground between the two?
With the sound that the label is pushing (Chutney house), the Brazilian bass genre is the closest to it, hence so many of the Brazilian artists play in South Africa.
Chunda Munki’s album Interference has had a great response. What makes him a good match for Chutney records?
Chunda Munki is without a doubt our star artist and also a very good friend of ours. He knows exactly which sound is perfect for the label so we are a perfect match as he's been a part of this from the inception.
Is there a specific sound or attribute you look for when signing an artist to Chutney?
Absolutely. We are a VERY specific so I (Vimo) am quite uncompromising as to what we release on the label. It has to be within the 'Chutney House' genre
What two South African tracks have been the most influential for you?
What can we expect from Chutney for the rest of 2017?
We have the Chunda Munki Interference remix compilation dropping next week, and then of course we have our monthly release schedule running, along with some Chutney freebies from upcoming producers. We are also releasing an album with CINIMIN (Kyle and Austin Cassim).
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