Cassper Nyovest and Jeremy Loops: on ego, being the king and collaboration

By Drum Digital
28 September 2015

Kate-Lyn Moore, Cape Town

Jeremy sleeps not ten feet away from his looping station, in a bedroom-come-studio loft room in the heart of Woodstock. Between the clothes and books, rest drums, guitars and harmonica. It is here Jeremy is joined by producer and childhood friend of Cassper Nyovest, Aashish Gangaram.

Image: Supplied Image: Supplied

In Johannesburg, Cassper Nyovest has missed his flight. When he eventually arrives in Cape Town, they’ll have 24 hours to pull together a genuine piece of collaboration before he jets off to Ireland to begin his Euro tour.

Jeremy Loops Image: Supplied

Jeremy’s expression is earnest. He seems anxious about the constraints of the Xperia Mashlab project, but is itching to get started. One can almost see the melodies looping back and forth behind his eyes.

“We don’t really have time, but fortunately there was this one day when me and Jeremy could meet, because he is also going out to America,” explains Cassper. “Me and Jeremy have been doing this for a very long time. It’s not a matter of us getting there and trying to make something. It’s just two professionals who have been doing this for a long time and who work well under pressure.”

Jeremy wastes no time in getting started. Aashish is barely settled in his chair before Jeremy engages him. Moments later he is laying down the melodies that have been distracting him. It’s hard to imagine how he can get anything else done amongst that folksy din.

The song will unpack the highs and lows of being out on the road while important things are happening back home: the epic madness as well as the isolation. “You know your friend is getting married and you have loved ones sometimes, who pass away,” explains Jeremy. “And these kind of things happen and sometimes as a musician, you’re not always around, which is a difficult part of the job.”

No one in the room with Jeremy could doubt that this project is important to him. He speaks a lot about the community of fans. This is significant to him. He has not forgotten what it took to get him to where he is, nor is he likely to begin taking it for granted.

Collectively, his fans created such a cacophony that it became impossible for the music industry to not acknowledge his popular status of superstar.

Coming across as quietly confident at first, Cassper is soon making jokes about parliamentary infighting and Kanye West’s ego for his ensemble of five. It becomes quickly clear that Cassper’s got a personality as big as music career.

“We need more collaborations,” he says. “I feel like with music there is still a lot of segregation of some sort.”

“These collaborations with Jeremy will really really help in growing South Africa and becoming just a South African music industry, not like a South African white industry or a black industry.” Cassper continues: “I dream of a day where at the South African awards, when someone wins, we all know them.”

Cassper and co. have been In the Cape Town studio all of two minutes before his keyboardist has begun freestyling on the Roland that’s set up in studio. This sets the tone for the experimental recording session, as his tunes graduate from jazz, to more robotic and finally, orchestral sounds.

You’ve got to hand it to these guys: it’s not easy to be creative with half a dozen Xperia Mashlab crew members recording your every activity. And they’re pushing you. The project is about creating works that balance prominent artists with their own distinctive sound and creative energy. That’s not an easy thing to do.

“It’s a difficult task to have two heavyweights in one studio, because when I record, I’m the boss. I’m the king and everybody listens to me,” comments Cassper. “And I’m sure when [Jeremy] records, him being a one man band, he doesn’t really listen to anybody when he puts down his music.”

“So once we get over our egos, I think it will be really easy to knock out a record.”

Find Love!

Men
Women