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Andile Hector Makwakwa is a young, promising house producer from South Africa, who produces music under the Imperial Groove moniker. Recently, he released his ‘Imperial Groove EP’ via 4th Quarter Music, blowing fresh air into the house music genre. No better time for a brief chat with Mr. Imperial Groove, and a live interview without too much thinking…Sit back and enjoy!

So Andile, feel free to introduce yourself and Imperial Groove project to our readers.

Yeah…I’m Andile Hector Makwakwa formally known to most of you as Imperial Groove. I’m a producer from Pretoria, South Africa. I first released my first single ‘Tonìght (feat.Okhela)’with Soulstar Records, a record label of Harley&Muscle when I was 17 and since then I’ve released with Deep Nota Records and this new release with 4th Quarter Music.

Since you are very young, how did your involvement with music begin? Could you turn back in time?

Growing up I’ve always been someone who was fascinated by music and the making of it…My musical journey begins back when I was 12, when a friend gave me a virtual djing program. It grew on me and next thing when I was 13 I wanted to get into the music making side of things. So I got me the FL Studio program and couldn’t really understand it back at that time. It was only after I was 14 when everything really began. I produced my first track (laughs). Nothing close to memorable, but I kept on going and watching online tutorials to help me boost my skills and thy did because 3yrs later I produced ‘Tonight’ and it was loved by Flavio of Harley&Muscle.

Back to the Imperial Groove moniker now. Could you share a few words about your latest release on 4th Quarter Music? How did the collaboration with the label come about?

The ‘Imperial Groove EP’ has to be one of my most honest releases in the sense that I had been thinking during the making of it. I really looked into myself and fed all the feelings and thoughts that I had. like ‘Scheming’ was soley inspired by Solartape, a friend of mine. ‘The Ambience’ is a track which really defined me and my groove. Basically, the EP with 4th Quarter Music is just a small preview of where I’m headed as an artist. Steve Shaw was the man that made it all happen for me and the label, because I had finished the tracks and sent them to him and he offered to get me a deal with the label.

And so it happened!

What’s your definition of house music then?

House music to me is everything you want it to be. It can be sad, It can joyful and it can also be philosophical. Like most genres house music can touch the soul if you let it. Truly speaking house music is everything to me.

How is living and creating in Witbank, South Africa? Any interesting acts we should take notice of?

Yes! Actually I have recently moved to Witbank, South Africa due to my college and since I’ve been here I’ve met up with the most amazing producers and we have formed a group called The Imperials and what we have in store for the house heads, is something truly amazing. We haven’t released anything as of yet, but we do have tracks that are going to be in our first EP, and some interesting features too! So it’s going to be interesting to see how people think about us after our debut release.

Which are your most recent favourite 3 tracks?

Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Jazzuelle and so my favorite tracks would be Jazzuelle & Lazarusman– ‘Don’t Forget Me’ Jazzuelle- ‘Travelling’. and Solartape- ‘Sweet Love’.

Listening to your EP, a wave of optimism overwhelms me. Especially, ‘The Ambience’ is one of the most positive energy tracks I have recently listened to. Please discuss…

Firstly, thank you for that. ‘The Ambience’ was and is a special track for me because it was a project I had begun years ago and couldn’t finish because I didn’t really know what energy to feed off,-to give-.. I played the chords of the main Rhodes and just left it like that. It was only last year when I finally found the perfect energy to breath into the track and once that was that, I just rolled with it.

So you believe that regarding house music, firstly is the soul and then the technique, I guess, right?

Yes. definitely! I believe in keeping music honest in every sense of the word.

What’s next for Imperial Groove project?

Currently I’m focusing on building the brand I have, and pushing The Imperials. I can’t really go into much detail, but there’s definitely still a lot to expect.

Photo credits: Thuto G. Magopane

Christos Doukakis