Mama Dance Music Composers – Anthony “Luka” Kasirivu
With two albums already on the Mama Dance ! Music Library and another two soon to be released we thought it was high time that we found out a bit more about Luka and just exactly what it is that floats his boat…
Tell us a little bit about yourself: where were you born, where did you grow up and what career did you dream of having?
Well I was born in the north-west province, in a small town called Saulspoort. From there I grew up in Mahikeng. In high school I was not really sure what I wanted to do once done with matric. When I got a varsity I did a bridging course which highlighted the aspects of marketing as a career and from there I pursued my marketing degree.
What do you do from Monday to Friday, 8 to 5pm (or thereabouts)?
I’d have to say it’s mostly music. If I’m not researching sound manipulation techniques as well as the effects of frequency on the body in its auric field then I’m probably looking into new production techniques that I can I add to my arsenal. I also produce music for other artists as well as my own production library.
What takes up the rest of your time?
I’d have to say looking into new ways of staying afloat in the music industry is what preoccupies most of my time.
When did the desire to make music first grab you?
The desire to 1st make music came in high school where I first learnt to DJ. It was great to play other people’s music but I always wondered what it would be like to actually make a song myself.
What gear do you use to produce music?
Currently I use Reason to build concepts as well as the basic mixing all my projects and then Cubase to do all the final mixing and mastering. I have a Rhode mic, a UAD-2 satellite mastering unit, Korg MIDI keyboard, a Lexicon Omega soundcard, KRK rocket 8 monitors and a Yamaha MG166cx mixing console. That makes up the core of my production gear.
LET IT SLIDE
Which artists or composers have influenced you over the years?
I’d have to say Charles Webster in terms of the house genre and J Dilla in terms of the hip-hop genre have greatly influenced the way I approach my production process as a whole. Rather than trying to create a specific sound according to the norm I incorporate a fusion of the different aspects of multiple genres in order to achieve a feeling and mood that’s unique to just me.
What are some of the challenges for local composers, artists and musicians and in South Africa?
I’d have to say the biggest challenge is that the industry’s heavily fragmented. Meaning that a composer or artist cannot rely on the conventional avenues of old like CD sales with the advent of digital sales and streaming that have cut earnings greatly for the up-and-coming artist. Even radio play is not guaranteed with a great song as trends dictate what makes it to play listing or not. Now one has to find other ways of adding value to their catalogue by incorporating music into ad and brand campaigns through sync deals and corporate partnerships. Well that’s just one way as you will still need to figure out a couple more.
How did you find out about the production/library music industry?
I initially started composing music on a fellow producer’s record label. He was doing his publishing through another company. The publishing company that was doing his admin inquired as to whether I’d be keen on doing production music and not just commercial. I was unfamiliar with the term production music so I began to do some research and I realized that it was actually a great stream to get into. I’ve been at it since 2013 and haven’t looked back since.
What would you do if you had to stop working in the sound/music industry?
If I had to stop working in the music industry I’d probably be working in advertising or a marketing department for a company I believe in. Well only if I had to.
The STARS are shining on Mama Dance !
As seen in the March edition of Screen Africa…
The music industry is changing fast, and as artists have seen their CD sales slashed and are still waiting for streaming and download income to catch up, other business models have stepped up to provide much needed income to composers and musicians worldwide.
Due to the explosion of media, especially online content, but also TV, radio, apps, podcasts and games, a huge demand for “ready to go” music has been created. And because the aim is to maximise eye balls or ears on the content, the creators are reluctant to infringe copyright legislation by using unlicensed music. The swathe of digital monitoring technologies that constantly reports all music broadcast and streamed online also helps copyright owners identify illegal music usage.
Numerous high-quality music libraries are now supplying a wide variety of production ready music to content producers, final mix engineers, ad agencies, corporate communications companies, podcasters and thousands of amateur YouTubers!
One such library is The Mama Dance Music Library. Started in 2002, 16 years and 170 albums later, the library is booming in South Africa, Africa and Internationally.
Much of the library’s success is due to its niche as an African production music library, which covers genres from Boeremusiek to Kwaito to Bongo Flava and Maskandi. Its focus is both on traditional sounds as well as the latest urban and EDM flavours from Gqom to Hip Hop, Trap and House.
With a reputation for releasing high quality albums, the library has attracted renowned composers such as Dizu Plaatjies, long-time Johnny Clegg collaborators Andy Innes and Barry Van Zyl, Freshly Ground’s Josh Hawks, Bright Blue’s Tom Fox, Themba Mkhize and Steve Newman.
Here is what Andy Innes and Josh Hawks had to say about the industry and Mama Dance:
What made you decide to compose for production music libraries?
Andy: Production music is a last bastion in many respects. The composer has more freedom to create than they do in other spaces in the industry. Production music is also a space that is still profitable in the long term if you can find enough avenues to keep pushing out product, providing the quality of your output is top notch.
Josh: The decision to compose for libraries is a natural progression of a composer’s life. We’re content providers and the libraries are becoming more and more prevalent and relevant. If you are a composer and have a catalogue of ideas knocking around it’s a great avenue to pursue!
How has your experience been working with Mama Dance?
Andy: Mama Dance is a professional and hard-working outfit who look after their writers. I’m really glad we’ve managed to build a good relationship.
Josh: Experience with Mama Dance was easy going and collaborative. We’d throw some ideas their way and with their experience and knowledge of the landscape, they would advise as to what was working and how to shape the material. Everything took shape quite quickly; a painless collaboration.
These great artists music can be easily auditioned and downloaded at www.mamadance.com using simple music search functions.
For a taste of some of their fantastic compositions check out the sampler playlist below:
And if clients prefer searches to be done for them, this is where the friendly Mama Dance team is on top of their game – they know and love music! Their free, personalised music searches are fast and on point. After receiving a music brief, the team will send the client a playlist of track selections within an hour.
This type of service, together with compelling music from big name composers, keeps clients coming back for more and ensures that Mama Dance remains South Africa’s favourite music library.
The simplified 2018 music rate card can be downloaded from their website and new clients will be pleasantly surprised at how little it costs to license fresh and innovative music produced by big stars!
Mama Dance is a CAPASSO affiliated library and can be used under the blanket license agreements with SABC, ETV and many Multichoice (DSTV) channels.
EAST AFRICAN TV CHANNELS LOVING MAMA DANCE
Over the past couple of years “Team Mama Dance” have been hard at work expanding into Africa.
And the hard work always seems to pay off!
Late last year they heard from the head of DSTV Media Operations in East Africa that the Mama Dance ! Music Libraries are their preferred libraries of choice for productions in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. TV shows on channels such as Zambezi Magic (Zambia), Maisha Magic Bong (Tanzania) and Maisha Magic East (Kenya) are now filled with music from the popular homegrown Mama Dance library as well as the 22 international libraries represented on the Mama Dance site!
The dynamic team have also formed good relationships with a number of Production Houses and Ad Agencies in East Africa who are constantly searching for fresh African flavoured tracks as well curated international music that works for their markets.
“It’s exciting times for us, and in 2018 we’ll be pushing even harder to source and compose more quality country specific African music as well as getting our libraries into more and more productions across the African continent” says Jeff Moffatt.
For a taste of some of the Pan African releases on Mama Dance, click on the albums below:
Summer has arrived early this year!
Bust the Winter blues with these brand new playlists!
Listen to the hottest tracks from our 25 premium production music libraries.
UPLIFTING EDM DANCE PARTY!
The steamiest EDM, ELECTRO and CLUB anthems from all of our libraries
39 warm, carefree, easy-going, happy, positive folk, pop and acoustic tracks
SUNSHINE LIFT OFF
Happy, Upbeat, positive, energetic & feel good pop and rock tracks (often with vocals)
Do you have Prawns in your Production?
The Banting diet is all the rage according to dinner party conversations. It seems we are quite obsessed about what we put into our bodies and often make others feel guilty about what they eat too.
A few years ago I went to a restaurant with my brother, an accountant. So when I ordered prawns, I presumed his disappointed shake of the head was either for a poor health choice or more likely, a poor financial decision. It was only after he whipped out his SASSI card and educated me about unsustainable fishing practices that I realized you can feel guilty about food in non-health related ways as well. It turns out some people are catching these creatures in a manner that makes them relatively cheap, but also destroys lots of marine life in the process (for every 1kg of prawns you eat, between 7-20kgs of unwanted marine creatures are tossed back…and usually not alive). But that doesn’t often cross the mind of the consumer, like me, when the yummy prawns are available right now.
So what do prawns have to do with a music library publisher? Well, we aren’t working on a District 9 sequel…yet, so the link we are making is ‘uneducated consumption’. When you use production music in an advert, film, online video etc, do you ever wonder how the music got to you and how it affects the people that created it, not to mention music in general?
There has been a recent trend where some library publishers are offering production music hard drives at “use as much as you like” yearly subscription fees. This sounds great to the user as it means you can pay upfront and the more you use, the more you save. Some post production studios may even continue to charge their clients the regular library rates and pocket the profit once the breakeven point of the cost of the drive has been passed. Unfortunately, like with our tasty little crustacean friends, there is always someone that suffers. By reducing the rate of music license fees it means that someone has to be earning less. It’s definitely not going to be the business-savvy, bottom-line-aware publisher, which means the composer is the only one left to take the hit. Some publishers are asking inexperienced, ill-informed or cash-strapped composers to sign away certain of their rights and take smaller upfront buyout fees instead of retaining their copyright and earning royalties for years to come. You can ask some of our own composers that have earned hundreds of thousands of Rands over the 15 year (or longer) life of an album whether they would have preferred a R5,000 upfront payment. It is pretty clear they would tell you they made the right decision (even investing the R5,000 for 10 years with compound interest wouldn’t get them close to their current earnings!).
The truth is that only a few libraries can operate using the subscription model because if every publisher jumped on the bandwagon (restoring the idiom to its musical roots), it would be a race to the bottom as the price of the subscription fee would get driven down so drastically through competition that composers would end up earning next to nothing for albums that can take months to create.
The more sustainable method for composers and music in the long run is the model used by Mama Dance and many others libraries. We have over 70 local composers and income is split 50/50 between the composer and the publisher. The importance of which can be seen in cases like the musician Judah Brown who was killed in a hijacking in 2007 and whose wife, a farm labourer, still receives his royalties to this day.
Another added benefit of this model is that the composers (who usually work within the sound industry), use royalties to improve their equipment, instruments and knowledge which in turn increases the quality of music produced in this country and hence why the Mama Dance ! Music Library can stand head to head with international libraries and can be heard in productions everywhere from the USA to China.
Hope is at hand though because as my brother’s shake of the head educated me, it is my hope that reading this will educate composers and music users alike so that in 20 years we might still be able to order a guilt-free prawn cocktail and we might still have skilled composers making a living out of creating high quality music. Please use composer-friendly music!
Mama Dance signs 4 fresh international music libraries to SA
Mama Dance now offers its clients eight international libraries as well as 74 albums of high quality South African and African flavour tracks.
Following the success of recent signings Atomica and Inspired Production Music, Mama Dance has been proactively seeking out more fresh and innovative international libraries to compliment their legendary and fast growing 100% home grown catalogue.
They have recently signed POPVIRUS, a rapidly growing and exciting in-your- face selection of almost 400 albums covering all genres from pumping dance grooves, pop and rock right through to monumental orchestral film score material and Reality TV music toolkits.
RELIABLE SOURCE MUSIC is another established UK library recently available on Mama Dance. It contains 142 albums and is especially strong in era specific releases such as the 20’ to 60’s anthologies as well as very impressive dance, cinematic and drama orientated albums.
MINDS AND MUSIC is an esoteric boutique European library that is popular with our TV and Doccie clients, whilst UNDERCURRENTS is a new high quality US label by Atomica that specialises in minimal moods and ever popular drones and tension beds.
“After 12 years in the business, we’ve got all the clients” says Craig McGahey, owner of Mama Dance “but until now we didn’t quite have all the music! Now we’ve got over 40 000 tracks in ALL genres available for quick search and download from our website or hard drives that we distribute countrywide. Because our catalogues are now so extensive, our free music searches are proving even more popular. We do searches every day and can deliver our busy clients a suggested playlist in less than an hour. In the production music business, service counts and with our team of three experienced music lovers, we deliver!”
The Mama Dance Music Libraries can be searched and downloaded at www.mamadance.com or contact Craig, Dale or Jeff at 021 424 0314 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a hard drive delivery or free music searches.
Mama Dance signs innovative new UK music library
Mama Dance continues to cherry pick the finest new production music labels from around the world. Its latest signing is UK based In-spired production music, a very high quality, fresh and sophisticated library set up by renowned producer Tim Geraghty in 2006.
Tim’s experience includes a decade at BMG where he played a key role creating music for the wildly popular ‘Atmosphere’ catalogue.
“When we first heard this library, we were completely blown away by its fresh innovative sound – we realised that these guys knew what they were doing and that we HAD to offer this catalogue to our many South African clients. The response so far has been phenomenal with plenty of directors and mix guys saying it’s the best library they’ve ever heard” says Craig McGahey
The library currently stands at 43 albums, all very well organised and consistently mixed and mastered. Styles range from classy acoustic and classical right through to studio shaking but intelligent bass heavy dubstep.
“We do daily free production music searches for our media clients and for our own sanity we are being very picky about which international libraries we bring into the country. We have to spend many many hours listening to them!! It’s honestly a pleasure to listen through In-spired – it’s easy on our ears and satisfies our very discerning customers!!” says Mama Dance music guru Jeff Moffat
Another recent Mama Dance library signing is US based Atomica, which has been extremely successful over the past year and has now grown quickly to over 259 albums, with new releases monthly.
“We are only interested in libraries that are regularly releasing fresh and exceptional material that is consistently well produced and emotionally moving. We’re a very fast growing library music distributer, but we’ll never sacrifice quantity over quality. We know and love good music!” says Craig McGahey
Mama Dance ! Music for Africa libraries currently contain over 40 000 tracks from nine South African and international libraries and are available at www.mamadance.com or by request on hard drive.
The company also offers free music searches, music supervision and original composition.
For more info contact Craig, Dale or Jeff at 021 424 0314 or at email@example.com
Mama Dance powers ahead in SA production music business
Mama Dance ! Music library is growing fast – in fact they have released 17 new African production music albums with compositions from over 30 South African composers in the past year. Their catalogue which is online and distributed worldwide consists of 63 albums containing 2330 home grown tracks perfect for African TV, Film and Advertising.
“We’ve been in the production music or library music business for over 12 years and in 2012 we decided really push the new releases” says owner Craig McGahey.
This was made possible by a strong, passionate and focussed Mama Dance team that also includes Dale Blignaut and Jeff Moffat.
“Most SA production music companies are one man operations but we have found that at least three of us are required to liaise with a variety of top composers to ensure a steady flow of high quality albums with great artwork and thorough keyword tagging. Our staff capacity allows us to also offer original composition and free music searches both with the very fast turnaround times our clients demand”
Early 2012 saw the release of BEAUTIFUL AFRICAN FOLK which has proved so popular locally and in the US that vol 2 containing similar warm acoustic guitars with smatterings of marimbas, mbiras and other traditional instruments has already been released.
EUPHORIC ANTHEMS is a hard set of slick uplifting electro house numbers with a smattering of adrenalin pumping African vocals that sets the scene on sports shows, fashion segments and general advertising.
Mama Dance’s recent attention to cinematic quality production is very apparent in the albums SACRED AFRICA, EPIC JOURNEYS and EVOKE by Stellenbosch based composers Helmut Meijer and Gideon Murray and city bowler Daniel Eppel.
DUBSTEP yo MAMA proves that Africa is not for sissies – keep the volume down for your neighbours safety sake!
All Mama Dance albums together with 5 fresh international libraries are available for search and download at www.mamadance.com or by request on hard drive.
The Mama Dance team is always keen to help with all music related queries at 021 424 0314 firstname.lastname@example.org
Mama Dance Celebrates 2012 in Numbers
- 2,881,843,712 – The number of people who had a chance to use South African production music thanks to Sonoton’s agents in 56 countries across the globe distributing The Mama Dance ! Music Library.
- 66,000 streams on our production music search site www.mamadance.com
- 3,500 production music track downloads by our 800 clients in film and advertising.
- Over 1000 production music tracks and original composition usages on TV programs, Films, Doccies, Corporate and online AV’s
- 464 albums containing over 18,000 tracks currently available at Mama Dance ! Music for Africa
- Over 60 local composers and musicians that benefit from Composers for Africa and the Mama Dance ! Music Library.
- Music usages in over 50 TV and Radio Ads in South Africa
- Over 40 local tracks found and cleared for films produced in SA
- 16 new albums added to the South Africa’s favourite local library, The Mama Dance ! Music Library
- Celebrated our 16th year of being in the Music Business
- 3 New International Libraries added to Mama Dance ! Music for Africa: Atomica, Catapult and Supatunes
- Music Supervisiors on 2 of the biggest films produced in South Africa this year
- Only 1 place to go for all your Music needs in 2013
2012 has been a thoroughly enjoyable year and we would like to thank all our clients for supporting Mama Dance and our composers. We look forward to working with you again in the New Year!
Production music, an important earner for SA musicians and composers
In the past Production music was regarded as a less glamorous sector of the global music business, but now musicians and composers worldwide are increasingly reliant on the mechanical and performance royalties that are earned when their music is used in TV shows, Films and in advertising.
Whether it’s the latest Dubstep, Electrofried Kwaito, the sounds of Pan Afro House or edgy rock by critically acclaimed local rockers, Mama Dance is successfully getting the home-grown sounds out there.
“These days it’s easy for consumers to swap hard drives and download their favourite tracks from illegal internet sites and local musicians and composers are all suffering badly as a result. It’s far more difficult to get away with using music illegally on TV or on the internet. For this reason many of the world’s most successful producers also write for production music libraries and are very dependent on this additional revenue. It’s a fairly new industry in South Africa and Mama Dance was one of the very first companies to start releasing library music CD’s about 12 years ago. Now we distribute almost 2000 tracks on 57 albums on our super new web site and on hard drives” says Craig McGahey, Director of Mama Dance Music Library.
Benguela is one such critically acclaimed local SA group that has just released an epic collection of moody cinematic rock pieces on the Mama Dance Music Library.
“When I first heard Benguelas album Blacksoutheaster I immediately contacted them and tried to convince them that their music would do well in edgy Doccies, films and hard hitting TV shows. After a few months of hard negotiations we are proud to finally have their unique and internationally recognised brand of improvised progressive “avant garde post-rock” on our library. It’s not unusual for our albums to earn a few hundred thousand rand over time and 50% of all these earnings are paid directly to the artists, so by using South African production music you are really helping out the local music industry ” Says Craig
Other new releases on Mama Dance are Dubstep Yo Mama, Babadance – Playtime and Picnics, Sacred Africa, Mood escapes, Kwaito Electrofried and AFRO DANCE – from Senegal to Soweto.