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A Ryan Dent in the Scene

Author: Rezo & Ghostwriter Killah
Friday, 11 April 2008
Ryan Dent’s won more awards than any other South African DJ/producer, so he’s royalty in the African clubbing scene. Which means that if he’s not a household name in Sydney yet, he soon will be. Rezo and Ghostwriter Killah spoke to him ahead of his Australian tour.

Everyone knows about the music scenes in England, Germany, France, the US, Australia, Brazil… but what about South Africa- Sure, it may be known more for its surf and safaris but there’s also a healthy club scene that has burgeoned over the past two decades, spawning a number of renowned producers – but none have received the same acclaim as Ryan Dent.

“I must admit, South Africa obviously isn’t the sort of place you would think electronic music comes from!” Dent laughs. “But the thing is, you are so far south down here, that it’s hard to imagine what’s happening in Europe or the USA.”

“You might catch some music on the net and get a chance to live a bit of that culture, but electronic music in South Africa is probably only a reasonably recent phenomenon. It has been difficult to cultivate here for all manner of reasons. We have our own style down here which is a little house-like and it’s been really good to see, really good to be a part of. Basically I was very young when the scene was emerging here. It was the early 1990s and there was a small group of people in Johannesburg that loved it. It began just before the time I decided to move to Cape Town and there was, like, 200 people between these two clubs we had there. They were the people, they were the scene. We would go to this rave called New Nations and it was the most amazing experience I had ever had. I realised then that I wanted to be a part of that profession and that those people were instrumental in building the scene here in South Africa.”

Fast forward 15 years or so and Dent has made a name for himself in that very profession, even remixing for the likes of Tiësto, Erick Morillo, Timo Maas and van Helden, bringing his own unique brand of sexy and progressive house to the table. Good news for fans is that you don’t have to wait long to hear new material from Dent, with a full-length out soon, closely connected to his local scene.

“I’ve just finished a DJ mix compilation called Soul Candy – they’re a group promoting the scene over here,” he says. “I’ve also done a couple of remixes for a few acts down here; it’s a collaborative type thing we’ve got going on. And there is also my side project, a band, which also has its second album coming out soon.”

With so much on the go, Dent admits that it’s his mood that determines which project he’ll focus on at any given time.

“The Bute mix, for example, came about one morning when I was returning home from a gig. I was doing this mix and handed it to a person who put it on the internet and it became known as a bit of a legend mix,” he says. “The funniest things are achieved when you least expect them!

“And Platform Records has been doing well also; it’s a holding label for all of the stuff we produce and basically because we’ve been so involved in it, it’s going the way of a bit of a media company. We’re doing some television and jingles and things like that so it’s actually becoming quite lucrative. It’s basically my business partner Craig and I, with a couple of different angles that we’re doing things from.”

But all this comes after his return to Australia, something Dent is more than a little excited about.

“I’m really looking forward to it actually. I’ve been to Sydney once before – what a city!” he boasts. “I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to get back to play some fresh stuff.”

WHO: Ryan Dent
WHAT: Plays Lost Baggage at the Cross
WHEN: Saturday 19 April
MORE: Facebook search ‘Lost Baggage’