Interview: Thandi Draai

South African music producer Thandi Draai teams up with German record label Get Physical once again, this time for the 5th edition of their ‘Africa Get Physical’ compilation series.

The 15-track various artists album includes music from names like Bun Xapa, Foozak, Tribe Of Afro, DJ Clock, and others – and channels the continents rich and historic music culture into percussive-heavy, dancefloor-focused club productions.

We spoke to Thandi Draai about her approach to putting the tracklist together, what she’s most looking forward to in 2024, and which South African artists everyone should be keeping an eye on. Read the full interview below.

Hi Thandi, I hope you’re well, how has 2023 been for you as an artist?

Hi there! 2023 was built around strengthening myself as a music producer, catching up with studio work and working on my second unapologetic African techno compilation Africa Get Physical Vol.5, dropping on December 15th. This project kept me busy and we can’t wait for the universe to receive our offering.

And what are you hopeful for in 2024?

In 2024 I would love to travel and work more in spaces that are open to our African techno sound. I love introducing Afro tech in spaces that have rarely experienced how magical and healing our sound is. I’m praying our music does the magic that needs to be done for all of us to work in better conditions so we can comfortably showcase our music in healthier work spaces. We have come a long way as South Africans in this sound and I can’t wait to collaborate more with other artists and become stronger in my abilities as a creative.

You’re about to release ‘Africa Get Physical Vol.5’ on Get Physical, what can people expect from this album?

Ooooh Maaayyynnn, I’m super excited about this follow up from my previous compilation. As usual it’s unapologetic African techno stories. One can expect a lot of hardcore, percussive, driven sounds. We have infused African folk instruments and African spirituality with evocative African chants and voices, a lot of African culture and colour, I mean this is Africa Gets Physical. You will have to listen and feel to understand what I mean by unapologetic African techno!

It includes 15 tracks in total, what was your process in selecting which tracks would be included?

I look at Vol.5 as a continuation of Vol.4 just like the previous one, I was super unapologetic on the type of African sounds and rhythms I found, unearthing new sub-genres and artists within the African techno sound. I selected music from artists all over Africa: Nigeria, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Morocco, and South Africa just to name a few. Vol.5 pays homage to our classic traditional tribal and ancestral house music. This album was built on nostalgic Afro house vibes, backed by legends such as Roland Clark, DJ Clock, Aero Manyelo, and a whole lot of new Afro sauce.

Do you have a favourite from the tracklist?

Not to be biased, I love each and every song on this mix, I would play it as is from track 1 through 15, to get that true Afro tech experience. Each song interlinks with the next telling an African story, so I need each and every percussive sound, melody, and vocal, all of it, I need it!

You’re from South Africa, a country which has produced some really special club talents over the years, who are some of the next generation of South African headliners that you think we should be checking out?

O.M.G where do I start, South Africans are so talented and so good at making house music, we must definitely look out for Blaq Rhythm, Nanna Atta, Suffocate SA, Shamiso, Torque Muziq, MCK, Kaargo, Khokho Madlala, Tribe of Afro, D.O.A, Candy Man – the list is endless, South Africa has a lot of sauce.

And for anyone visiting the country, what’s one non-music-related thing worth doing?

If you come to South Africa you have to try out our different cuisine, culture, braai’s, our wine and natural scenery. There’s so much epic stuff to do in this country.

Anything else you want to mention before we finish up?

YES! Please keep on showing love and support to African techno. We need much healthier working structures and all the support we can get so we can be free from a lot of the low vibrational situations, our music means everything to us. Enjoy Africa Get Physical Vol.5.

Love, Peace and Music always.

Africa Get Physical Vol.5 is out December 15th on Get Physical.