Having worked with the team at Red Bull Studios for quite some time now; I have banked a veritable ton of content that has been curated across all their channels with the help of Themba Kriger (as writer, producer, and audio cohort). One thing that I learnt from managing the social media channels is that there's so much space for creativity to be fostered – also your phone battery does NOT last.
I thought that in lieu of the Red Bull Studios channels become part of Red Bull Music (follow @redbullza on everything from now on) this would be a great opportunity to showcase some of my favourite work in the studios.
Every time they announce the guests for 5fm 5Live I'm stoked – it's been incredible shooting with people who I've known for so long, and seeing them perform to an audience that is almost incomprehensible makes me so proud! Khuli Chana, Opposite the Other, Locnville, The Kiffness, and so many more faces have been squashed into that studio with me – and I loved it.
CTEMF is till young by any standard. This year was breakneck. I was recovering from surgery – so running the length of city hall was a bit of a steeple chase for me. The performances, images, and experience remain a highlight of my year. This set the tone for all of it. K-$, Youngstacpt, Push Push... who wasn't on that stage!?
I always enjoy being sent on assignment when it means I can capture an artist in their space – without too much complaint (yes, I always ask before we dream of pitching up for a cup of sugar). Watching Push Push unpack her handbag onto the table that stood in the middle of the room was immensely entertaining – a dig in her cupboard, and a Snapple rounded one of the funniest shoots I had.
I'll often speak about my friends doing well, and how it makes me proud of them. Their drive. The motivation to see their tenacity embodied in a creation that is a legacy is hugely inspiring. This year I watched Mikhail release an album with Riaan, and go on to record a whole EP while he was in studio with a colourful roster of guests – big tings!
I saw Francois so many times this year that I think we might actually be best friends now. Starting with an intimate preview of his new solo album, followed by a performance on 5fm, and a collaboration with Matt Carstens – it's been a busy year for Francois en die Gevaar. I'm as stoked as can be every time I know that I'll be seeing these guys in studio.
What a massive year it has been for Black Coffee! I got to sit him down during Design Indaba, and snap a few frames while he prepared a mix for 5fm. Being part of an unannounced recording session seemed like a very exciting way to spend an afternoon. An exclusive audience. That's the story, and I'm sticking to it.
First Thursdays have become notoriously wild on Bree St. I've seen masked wrestlers, lowriders, a whole boat... Ready D brought Patty Monroe, and the Concrete Apostles, Langa Mavuso performed, Elsa Bleda was there. I've seen some things. A lot of things.
I can't say that it's not very often I find myself atop the event vehicle watching a crowd being whipped into a frenzy by a charismatic artist. It happens. I'm there to shoot it. Nasty C, and Gemini Major turned UWC upside down though! The air was actually buzzing – it was very hectic. In a very good way.
Rose Bonica was in studio with so many collaborations this year that I won't be surprised if she's ghostwriting your favourite's favourite. It's been refreshing seeing so many new faces returning to the space to create soundscapes that don't even have a genre. They don't even have a name yet. That's where Rose Bonica is – look for that name.
There is no measure for the wonderment that Ready D brings to an audience. A room full of people, a field full of kids, a studio full of artists – a curious quiet settles over anyone entranced by the pied piper of surface noise. And he's still on top of the game!
One of my absolute favourite projects was #threads for Red Bull – we got to visit Thor Rixon, Amy Ayanda, and Dope Saint Jude. It's been the most fun outside of the studio because we've explored personal spaces, inspirations, influences, and styles. It's awesome getting some perspective, and insight into the lives of the artists that are creating literal art.
Rocking the Daisies was astounding! I fought with security (but that's normal), had no money to buy food, and I think I slept at some point, but I had the best time – these images are some of my favourite. I even got a few published in the Mail & Guardian (thank you, Matt).
Every now and then you're in the company of an indescribable artist. Is it Frank Ocean? Is it an angel? Langa Mavuso is breathtaking live. Breathtaking in studio. Breathtaking. I'm really happy that I have something like this portrait to mark the opportunity that I had to work with Langa while he was in studio. It's a postcard to myself.