South African artist Muzi, aka The Zulu Skywalker, has been redefining the musical landscape for the past five years.
Muzi’s path has seen him evolve from bedroom beat producer, to DJ, to now a fully-fledged performer and vocalist. A boundless and exuberantly joyful artist, Muzi has wowed crowds on tastemaking stages around the world and is confident enough in his own vision to design his own clothing and artwork, collaborate with artists ranging from Kaytranada and Chris Martin, and now even directing his own videos, including “Interblaktic,” “I Know It,” “Fools Love,” “Need Dat,” and “Come Duze.”
Channeling the rich, and until recently overlooked, house music history of South Africa with the Zulu traditions of his childhood, his recently released album Interblaktic continues Muzi’s journey through African space exploration, a theme his 2018 album Afrovision delved into.
Today Muzi releases the video for “Juice” from Interblaktic, alongside announcing his upcoming North American tour. Flaunt sat down with The Zulu Skywalker himself to dive deeper into the album from the opening phrase, “There seems to be a lot of black people on Mars,” and to hear what’s next and what to expect in 2022.
You’ve just released your new album Interblaktic, how did this title and concept come about?
I wanted to expand on Zulu Skywalker, a name that has holds aspects of both my heritage, and my aspirations, so Interblaktic plays on the same plane. It’s an album about my place in the world but also in space.
There’s such a variety of genres across the album, can identify them and tell us about how each genre influenced the sound on the album?
I can’t really identify them exactly because they’re all intertwined, but in a nutshell it’s all dance music, just different types of it, from traditional Mbhaqanga, to Detroit/Chicago house, to Kwaito and Afrobeats. I see these connecting dots between genres and I always try making those evident in my sound.
You’re based in Johannesburg, is this where you recorded the album? How does South Africa influence your music?
Yes, I’m based in Jozi. South Africa is my music. The mixture of genres is a reflection of how we mix with each other here, different tribes, same culture.
Can you talk about the idea behind the ‘Zulu Skywalker’?
That was a title for a song on my album Afrovision. Then people just started calling me that and it stuck.
You direct your own videos under your brand Clout Killed The Kids. What is the process for coming up with visuals/videos for your music?
My friend, ESPACIO DIOS, and I sit down, play the song on repeat, and then we play “idea tennis.” Everything we see in our heads, we write it down, then from there we try make it happen.
Can you tell us about the leather outfit you’re wearing throughout many of the videos? How does this tie into the album concept?
The leather is me paying homage to my favorite era of music, the 80s. So, it made sense to do that when I have tracks like Come Duze andJuice on the album. Also, it’s 100% DAFT PUNK. They’re my favorite music group.
African dance music is growing in popularity across the globe, are there certain artists are there seminal acts that people need to be educated on that often get overlooked?
ESPACIO DIOS. FKA MASH. LEMON AND HERB. JACKIE QUEENS. GINA JEANZ. Yoh, there’s so many.
What do you hope people will take away from the album?
I don’t know really. I don’t think like that. Once the music is out, it’s for the people to enjoy. What they get from it, is their truth and that’s okay. I just do my best then I let it go.
What’s one thing you learned during the pandemic about yourself? Or is there anything new you started doing for the first time?
I learnt that I was not the most patient of people in some aspects of my life, so it helped me calm down and slow things down. I was always on overdrive, working my ass off, chasing this dream. Now, I’m just chilling, I’ve found my balance.
What’s next for Muzi?
Planning US + European tours for next year. Other than that, I’m just working on being the best dad I possibly can be to my 3 year old.