A Quick Interview with Vaal-based Record Producer & DJ, Raza
Sole Essential’s Vaal Insider is a multimedia presentation of the Vaal Region’s entertainment & pop culture. We highlight local tastemakers, music producers, recording artists, nightlife destinations and everything in between.
In the second instalment of the interview series, we had an interesting conversation with afro house disc jockey and record producer, Raza to ask him a few questions about why he became a dance music composer, his undying love for the house music genre and life in the Vaal Region.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in the music & entertainment industry?
I go by the alias Raza, or ‘Raza Ultra Tone’ in full – which is often abbreviated to ‘R.U.T’ on vocal features. In light of that, I’m a spoken word vocalist, DJ and Producer with a lifetime contract under Ultra Tone Records.
How I got started in the music industry was more of a calling than a choice. Growing up, I’ve always had an interest in toys, gadgets and just being busy in general. In my teenage years I played soccer, Basketball, Skateboarding and a little golf.
Although I first became a fan of house music and Rap music at the age of 12, I only started making music at the age of 15 – which was after I spent a day in studio with V. Underground and C-Lab, who had just started making beats then.
I can clearly recall how I got exposed to what they were doing and immediately got hooked. I then went and bought myself fairly some cheap music production software ‘for beginners’ and I haven’t stopped making music ever since.
From your perspective, what makes your style (on the decks) unique?
In all honesty, I am one of the few people that I know who is a DJ, Record Producer and Vocalist. As a vocalist: my voice, wordplay and writing style are some of the biggest things that make me unique. As a DJ: I would say my sequencing is what differentiates me from a lot of DJs.
I also record my own mixed compilations in my spare time, so I always try and catch the perfect moment in the song to mix my songs in.
Can you list three songs on your personal playlist that do not fall under the house music genre?
- Snakeships featuring Syd – Gone
- Willow Smith – Female Energy
- Bonobo featuring Speech Debelle – Sun Will Rise
What is the hardest thing about being a deejay in the Vaal Region?
It ain’t all about the music no more – no further comment.
What is the best advice you have ever received for overcoming challenges?
“You can’t achieve anything without faith, because hard work works! Don’t ever give up on a dream.”
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What are the two most valuable lessons you’ve learned about the DJ profession?
(1). Building a brand takes time. (2) Never compromise your style of music to accommodate people – if Picasso compromised his art because he was scared of how people received it he probably would’ve never become the Legendary Picasso.
Name one female DJ that you think we should know about and the reason why.
I’ll have to say ‘2Mellow’. With me, it’s all about character first, and she is a great person, with an equally great vibe. I mean, when I first heard her play I was like “uhm, she’s getting there”.
But then after our Sunday sessions ( entitled ‘Modern Sundays’) I was convinced that “she is one of our residents for Modern Sundays”. She just got better with every set. 2Mellow actually used to drive quite a distance just to come and do her thing – very admirable, plus that kind of determination should tell you something about a person.
What is your ultimate goal for the future?
Firstly, I just want to see our record label, Ultra Tone, finally recognised so we can help struggling musicians get recognition, because we’ve been in those shoes (and still are, somewhat).
There is so much talent out there that nobody knows about. So, we just want to make it easier to help upcoming musicians get noticed and get their music out there.
Then I’m just going to be innovative, while traveling, studying, learning and trying everything that my powerful human mind can do before the clock runs out. I will be doing all that as I continue to write songs, make beats and tell stories about my life through music.
You can follow Raza on Facebook for regular updates and/or to keep track of his offline activities. Also, kindly checkout a sneaky preview of Raza & V.Underground’s “Face of The Nile” record below and do let us know what you think about the offering in the comment section further down below: