Sketchy unmasked

2015-10-11 09:24
Sketchy Bongo is KZN’s young and talented music producer behind some of the country’s biggest hits.

Sketchy Bongo is KZN’s young and talented music producer behind some of the country’s biggest hits. (Supplied)

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Durban-  Hailing from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s biggest producer is part of a movement set to wow the country with what is believed to be the anthems for this summer.

Many have seen the ski mask and heard his signature in the opening bars of a song he produces, but Sketchy Bongo is already a major name in the SA music industry, working with the biggest artists such as AKA, JR, Da LES and Aewon Wolf.

Homegrown hits produced by the maestro that are getting major airplay on TV and radio, as well as topping download charts, include A week ago by Aewon Wolf and Tribal, and Durban’s anthem, Back to the beach by Kyle Deutsch and Shekhinah.

“I enjoy having a say in what South African music will sound like in the next five years,” he said.

Sketchy Bongo is also the only producer in South Africa to have his own feature on MTV Base, which playlisted all tracks produced by him.

The 26-year-old started by playing his own songs in Durban clubs after event organiser and club DJ George Kretsos offered him a spot in his line-up in 2012.

However, the composer did not just start his career three years ago, but was producing beats and making hip hop music with long-time friend Arnold “Aewon Wolf” Phillips since he was 13 years old.

Fast-forward a decade later, the duo began uploading videos and songs to YouTube and SoundCloud, which garnered thousands of hits online.

Even though he may be a pioneer in the local music scene, the mask is a way for him to shy away from the spotlight, while even close friends refer to Yuvir Pillay as “Sketchy”.

He explained that the masked persona he has now become recognised for was born impulsively before a video shoot.

“Sketchy Bongo never had a ski mask. Sheen Skaiz, who I work with, was shooting a music video for a song he made — he had a ski mask in the car and I put it on as a prop and that became Sketchy Bongo,” he said.

While many musicians yearn for the fame and popularity earned by making hit music, Sketchy Bongo takes a more humble approach.

“When artists are seen in public they sometimes get mobbed by fans who want to take pictures with them. I don’t have to deal with that. I don’t want to be famous. I’m focused on music, focused on art and focused on business,” he said.

Sketchy Bongo is a part of a Durban movement, the Wolf Pack, a creative collective, consisting of local singers, rappers, kwaito artist, video directors and even graphic designers that are putting the city and province on the map and the week ahead is set to showcase what they believe is a wave of summer music, to be released each day next week.

The Wolf Pack are also ushering in the era of releasing albums digitally, as many of the songs released in the week to come will be available for digital purchase.

Keep up with Sketchy Bongo on Twitter @sketchybongo.
Read more on:    durban  |  music

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