Marco Resmann has a special relationship with South Africa. Having played in Cape Town and Johannesburg on multiple occasions, he has also been known to enjoy the country simply as a holiday destination. Due to the frequency of his visits he has naturally made a point of collaborating with local artists. While for many other international artists these kinds of projects rarely see the light of day, Resmann’s work with young Cape Town-based house producer Deep Aztec and prolific local songstress Black Soda has finally become a reality with the help of Watergate. The A-side sees two original tracks of deep, grooving afro-tinged vocal house music while the B-side has German stalwart techno producer Oliver Huntemann and Resmann himself on respective remix duties. Though for Resmann this release adds to an already extensive discography, it is certainly a milestone for the young Aza ‘Deep Aztec’ Jezile who has been bubbling on the surface of the South African house scene for some years now.
We caught up with Aza to find out a bit more about his career and the significance of this release.
Hey Aza, firstly, congratulations on this amazing release! You must be over the moon! Let’s hold the conversation about the record for a moment and get to know a bit more about you. So, when did the house music bug bite you and what made you decide this is direction you want to take?
Music has always been apart of my life. Jazz was my first love and the closest I could get to jazz music was through house music. I fell in love with house music at a very young age – my uncle is actually one of the reasons I fell in love with house music. He used to host parties and jam on vinyls with his mates but unfortunately at that time I was still a kid and couldn’t even go near the turntables, but that alone inspired me to learn how to DJ. I was also a very curious kid growing up and always wanted to know what’s up [laughs].
You’re one of the young guns looking to make a strong impression in the local scene. What are some of the things you do in order to go above and beyond the standard ‘bedroom producer’?
Honestly, it starts with believing in what you are doing and surrounding yourself with like-minded people that will make you realize your true potential. I mean, with the guys I work closely with I cannot afford to be basic [laughs]. They always inspire me to unlock the next level of thinking. Also as an artist it is important to always set goals for yourself and challenge yourself to be a better version of yourself.
There has recently been more viable opportunities for young South African artists to play overseas, most notably Stab Virus – are you aiming to take advantage of this or are you still more focused on the local market?
Yeah, the homies Stab Virus have been flying the flag and I’m truly happy to see people I know personally doing it! I mean, it feels like yesterday when I met Siphe and Mako. The gents have been putting in the work and the proof is in the pudding. Yes, I’m most definitely looking at touring Europe, my work travels, so it’s high time I follow through. I’ve never really focused on the local scene, I’ve set my goals extremely high from the get go. I’ve always seen my brand catering for everyone irrespective of skin colour or nationality. My mission is to touch souls across the globe not just in South Africa but worldwide.
What are some of the difficulties of being based in South Africa? And on the flipside, what are some of the advantages that people tend to overlook?
Honestly, in South Africa not everyone understands that moving as a team is important. I’ve been observing the scene abroad and more specifically the underground hip-hop scene. Those guys support each other, like, literally! They work together and push each other to be out there. Same thing with the electronic music scene, the guys work with each other and are moving as a unit. We have a lot of international artists coming to South Africa year-in year-out and they see a lot of potential here. With guys like Black Coffee and Floyd Lavine pioneering the African sound in Europe we have a big advantage as upcoming artists. It goes to show that the European artists and labels are actually looking into our scene in South Africa.
Your record with Marco Resmann is of course a huge achievement. How did this collab come about and what are some of the things you learnt from working with such an established artist?
Marco was in South Africa on holiday with his family and also had one show to play at, which was Lighthouse Festival. I was fortunate enough that Floyd [Lavine] had already told him about me so he then made a group chat on Facebook and introduced me to Marco and then just left the group chat [laughs]. Now I’m thinking: “Oh sh*t what do I say to such a big artists like Marco?”. We eventually exchanged numbers and we had a chat on Whatsapp – he told me that we have a studio session organized at Red Bull Studios in Cape Town. Man, I was so nervous and excited at the same time. I knew that we would work on killer tunes. Day One in studio with Marco was mind blowing! We met for coffee and went straight to the studio and started jamming. Basically the music was our guide. I learnt a lot from him of course, but one of the main things I carried out of those sessions was that I should never doubt my ability to create. If I can create with a highly experienced artist it means that I’m doing it and therefore I should not doubt a thing! Also, his workflow is really amazing.
Finally, what can we expect from Deep Aztec in the New Year and what are some the goals you would like to achieve?
New year, big tings! [laughs]. 2018 promises to be a rad year for the young Aztec. Now that I’ve joined the new family at Soundz Limited (EU) I’m looking forward to a lot of collabs with more international acts. Also, I’ve been quietly working on my album which I could be dropping late next year but more info to follow with regards to that. Not forgetting the collabs I’m doing with Black Soda for her album!
Click here to get your hands on the release.