We had the pleasure of interviewing “Nelo HD” Mathenjwa, founder of Xpressed Records.
Xpressed Records is an independent music record label rooted in South Africa, which intends to push and promote upcoming Afro House/Tech producers and artists in the Afro/Tech music scene and linking them to the global scene.
Read about the incredible team behind Xpressed Records, their history, advice & much more below.
Q: In short, tell us about the people behind the label.
A: The label has a small but very effective team of 5 people i.e. myself, Marc Young, Lita Betha, Mpho Mosola and Des Grey.
Q: Who are they and where do they come from?
A: Marc has vast experience when it comes to music, he knows exactly the type and quality of music we look for on the label hence he is the label’s A&R. Lita is our latest member on the label, she holds a BA in Strategic Corporate Communication from the University of Johannesburg. She’s the label’s Copywriter. Mpho has designed some if not most of Afro House artists’ Logos, Events banners and artworks, he is our Graphics guy!
For every release, we ensure that the quality of the audio is outstanding, whether our releases are being played on the radio, clubs, streaming/downloading platforms or huge concerts the quality is always retained, Des Grey is our Audio Engineer, engineering every project we release.
Q: Why did you decide to start a label?
A: In simple words, rejection.
When I started music production back in 2015 I submitted demos to many labels and always asked for collaborations from other producers. I was that annoying kid in people’s DMs :). With all those rejections and ignored messages, I started to look for ways to distribute my music. After a year, that’s when the label started. The label was born in 2016 but made its first release in 2017, at first the aim was to release only my music on the label but over time I opened doors to my colleagues and friends that were facing the same rejection I was facing before the label and it grew from then.
The label releases mostly upcoming/underground artists, these producers are very talented and need their songs to be heard and that’s where we as Xpressed Records come in.
Q: What is the most successful release on the label so far?
A: We have 2 successful releases thus far, i.e. :
- Tahir Jones & Chronical Deep – Love Therapy (Original Mix)
- Da Africa Deep feat. Lyrik Shoxen – Cloud (Original Mix)
Q: How do you usually find the artists that you sign?
A: We mainly receive demos, and Marc goes through them, alternatively, we ask certain artists to do an EP/Single for us.
Q: If you could sign a track from any artist in the world, who would it be and why?
“His sound is influenced by dark classical music and his love for emphasis on tone and atmosphere over traditional musical structure or rhythm, all carried through African grooves and electronic sounds.” Which I resonate with so much!
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self as a label manager?
A: I’ve always been impatient, over the years I learnt to be, the hard way. I’d probably advise myself to be more patient, this takes time!
Q: Where do you see your label in the future?
A: We are currently working on a few projects that will change the direction/shape of the label. These new projects will enable us to work with bigger artists while still maintaining our working relations with underground/upcoming artists. In summary, watch the Xpressed Records SPACE!
Q: Who are some of the artists from your Label that we should keep an eye out for this year?
A: There’s so much talent coming out from our label and we are privileged to be licensing their work, here are my top 5 artists that have released or have their releases lineup.
Q: What’s coming up next for your label?
A: Releases, releases, and more releases! We are also looking into events for the label which is very exciting!
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