Chee designates himself a ‘Trailblazer’ with new Tsuruda collaboration [Q+A]

Back in the early 2010’s, Chee—real name Lesego Mlangeni—was walking down the street after school with his friend Jon Casey when he first discovered bass music. Both artists were in eighth grade at the time, and Skrillex was riding high. While bass music itself was not extraordinarily popular in South Africa, from which the two artists hail, they were able to discover the sound due to a passing car that was blasting it through its speakers. “I looked at Jon and we were just like, ‘we have to follow that sound.’ And we’re just walking, following the sub. And it’s this ghetto car with this guy playing dubstep in his trunk with 20 subs in there,” Chee reflected.The moment served as a catalyst for them to move to the United States and later become some of the most talented rising stars in bass music. With his new collaboration with Tsuruda—”Trailblazer,” which arrives via Deadbeats—Chee is showing just how prominently he’s making waves. Marked more as a “producer’s producer” due to his experimentation in sound design, Chee’s artistic signature finds him dabbling in darker atmospheres influenced by the cold weather. Rather than returning to South Africa when the pandemic first began, Mlangeni hunkered down in Philadelphia, writing new music every day. “I was writing a lot of dark music at the time, but honestly, everything I write is pretty dark, so it doesn’t really make a difference,” he explained.“It’s such a playground,” Mlangeni added of creating music. “I can do whatever I want. You know, I can open Ableton and throw this there and there and there. I try to take advantage of that as much as I can, you know, and I think that’s where all the weirdness comes from.” He laughs at the sentiment that his sound caters more to other producers and also at their capacity to “nerd out” over how different plugins work and the different sounds that can be created. “Sometimes I’ll come across a producer who knows their shit like, to the fucking T. and they start asking stuff like the exact frequency it takes to play a specific note. And I’m like, ‘I only like doing this because it makes it go ‘bruhlbruhlburhl’ or whatever.’” But Chee stands firm that he will not play it safe when it comes to crafting his own sound.With live music kicking back up, Chee has gone back to a steady touring schedule. Although the artist had already performed a few shows before joining Zeds Dead for their annual Deadrocks event, he “was shaking.”“I was trying so hard to just stand still,” he said. But, he’s managed to return to a routine that sees him traveling consistently alongside Tsuruda for their “Trailblazer” tour. The shows see both artists taking to the stage for their own sets, with a 30-minute back-to-back that closes out the show.Calling in from his apartment in Philadelphia, Chee spent an evening chatting with Dancing Astronaut about his new collaboration, the tour he and Tsuruda are in the midst of, how he’s evolved his sound, and more. Read the Q&A that resulted below.What initially inspired this collaboration?What influenced the change in title?You mentioned that you couldn’t work on the track in the same room due to COVID-19. How did you adjust your process in order to comply with that?So it’s been a long time coming.Is there any possibility that you might release some of your other collaborations?What was your inspiration for first creating this track way back when it was still “Hollow Bastard,” when it first started?Do you guys have anything special planned for this tour?What about this tour are you really excited about?You mentioned that you’ve been creating darker tracks over the course of the pandemic, even more so than usual. Do you think that there may be some kind of lightness as we come out of it?Do you think you’d do a tour around South Africa once the pandemic is over and the borders reopen?Is there anything else you’d like to add?Featured image: @c.2.h.2/InstagramTags: , , , ,
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