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A decade of connections... FKA Mash

As a label, Sonarpilot Audio has always had a deep connection with South Africa and its music scene. Our ethos of music inspired by people places and travel. In the second edition of our connections series, looking at some of the artists we've made connections with through Sonarpilot's music, we put our focus on a young producer and DJ from Soweto - Mashoto Lekgothoane, now known as... FKA Mash.

Label manager Jonny Miller’s frequent trips to SA as an artist and DJ himself naturally gave rise to many young South African artists appearing on Sonarpilot’s radar and most recently, its been FKA Mash. His slow motion deep house sound has a unique melodic touch and groove that seems to stand out from the rest of deep house producer community, subtle tones and melody from elements of his tracks that seem to surprise and hook the listener in with ease.

Our friend in Joburg Kid Fonque and his Stay True Sounds label were really the first to pick up on Mashoto’s music, seeing the potential of his sound and running with it. Having heard Mash’s tracks on soundcloud, Kid went about integrating his music onto the label through remixes and an EP, notably the Mash remix of ‘For The Culture’ by NtsakoSoul where Mash had added the ‘FKA’ or, formally known as, to his name.

The track resonated with the masses in South Africa and became one of the biggest underground house tracks of 2017. By now deep house kings such as Jimpster and Atjazz were beginning to pay attention to Mash’s work and Sonarpilot label boss Jonny Miller took ‘For The Culture’ and another FKA remix ‘Child Of The Most High’, out to the legendary Croatia festival Suncebeat. “They were my two biggest tunes…” Jonny remembers. “Worked so perfectly in the sun and on the late night dancefloor.”

By early 2018 Jonny had secured Mash for a remix on one of the then, new season of Sonarpilot tracks. “Michael wanted this fresh selection of Sonarpilot tracks remixed in the same way we had started the label back in 2010, connecting with producers who moved us in whatever genre they worked in “we were never going to stay in one lane”.

Artists like bass music king Ramadanman and the house/broken beat edge of DJ Simbad - on the same EP… not many people were doing things like that back then.” “It felt good to give Mash essentially a downtempo/chill out track and hear him flip it without fear”. We we’re used to that and we’re never afraid to ask the remix artists to work out of their comfort zone.

Now one of the label’s most popular tracks, Mash’s seemingly effortless remix gained plenty of radio and club play in SA and across Europe. “It seemed that Mash’s name was really breaking outside of Africa around the time Dark Gate came out, we timed it well.” Jonny adds.

Sonarpilot continues to carry the torch for the South African scene, with FKA Mash joining two other underground heroes of the SA scene who have contributed to the label, Cape Town’s forward thinking bass music hero, Jumping Back Slash and Rudo Deep, the consistent deep house producer who has released on D-Malice’s DM Recordings… Everything in this music world interconnects it seems.

Between them, Jonny Miller, Kid Fonque and Joburg’s Daev Martian remixed FKA Mash and Tahir Jones’ underground anthem ‘Siyabloma’ early in 2019, under the three’s secret (not so secret) moniker ‘Think Twice’, Jonny driving the production off centre into a deep house territory that maybe required an open mind. He explains, “I think that’s the Sonarpilot influence in me coming out… not to over think things in the studio, go with a feeling and not be afraid to end up sounding a bit different and unexpected”

2019 has seen Mash remixing Bruce Loco on Jimpster’s Freerange label, whilst Mash has broken into the mainland Europe dance scene with tracks like ‘Kitt’ on the legendary Get Physical imprint, a busy diary of DJ bookings at home, Mash’s rise to stardom in SA has been great to watch. As we move into the middle of 2019, news that Stay True Sounds have picked up the FKA’s remix of Sculptured Sounds’ ‘Sad to Think’ proves the Mash train is still very much gaining pace.

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