SCOOPE is always listening to and looking for really standout releases. What intrigues us is the story behind the artist’s music. In this series, I take a closer look at the artist’s music by asking them a few short questions.
Cornelius Tshepo Mashilane, better known by his stage name Cornelius SA, South African Cutting Edge Contemporary Electronic Music Producer + Red Bull Music Academy Berlin Alumnie, mixer and DJ.
He creates house music containing elements of Electronic dance, deep house, techno and Afro house. I’ve been a fan of his music for a few years now and have been following him ever since. It is therefore not only a great pleasure but also an honor to ask him a few questions.
You were born in Atteridgeville, and later moved to Shosanguve, South Africa. At what point did music start playing a role in your life and when did you start as a (professional) artist?
Hello, thank you so much for this opportunity of answering questions. I haven’t done this in year’s now…..Well, I was exposed to music at a very tender age, my dad used to collect records, cassettes and moved to CD’s as technology enhanced. As far as I can remember, music was most consumed at my home which led to me in developing an interest of wanting to know and learn how sound was produced from the speakers. I started working on the Cornelius or rather the Cornelius SA project right after the completion of my Project Management Diploma in 2009/2010.
In 2016 you were signed to heavyweight New York record producer Kenny Dope’s label Dopewax. Tell me more about this collaboration?
Absolutely, this we’re the early days of my career. The music signed to Dopewax was a trial and error which came out pretty well hahaha. It was an idea of how well I understood sound and where I wanted to see myself musically…..so for Kenny to have an interest in releasing my music on his imprint was like a confirmation of how better my sound got overtime, leading to my works being discovered by Tortured Soul “A New York based Electronic Soul Music Band” who later asked me to remix their work “U Liv 2 Far Away”, a package that included beautiful remixes from the band, myself, Cryosis, John Christian Urich and legendary Ron Trent.
In 2020 you were the first black African artist to sign with Armin van Buuren’s label Armada where you subsequently released three records. What influence did it had on your career?
At this time I was consuming a lot of electronic pop, chill, experimental and lo-fi music which helped me discover myself and my interests in this music thing even more. We all have different tastes, preferences and tempers…..so Armada to me was like a sort of graduation from labels I had released with before and since I cracked this code, I challenged myself to push even harder and archive what seem impossible to others.
Your music and remixes cover a fairly large area within electronic dance music and its (sub) genres such as house, techno and afro house. It is characterized by its depth and layered soundscapes and its feel-good and groovy beats. How would you describe your music and what do you really want to achieve with your music?
I’ve always been against the characterising or categorisation of music as I see it for what it is and how impactful sound can be to one’s life. I just do music that kind of heals the sick, whether it be mentally, physically or emotionally. I’m more focusing on meditational contemporary chilled vibes or what I refer to as cutting edge contemporary electronic music, a sound that is sure to send one to realms they’ve never experienced.
So far you have released two singles ‘Diamonds’ and ‘Faith’. What doors have they opened for you?
These are my two favourite tracks, although I didn’t know they could push this far….. especially Diamonds. The success of this two records warms my heart, “Diamonds” saw a lot of features coming in from those I draw inspiration from. This incl. Eelke Kleijn, Qrion, Maykel Piro, Shane54, Chicane, Above & Beyond just to mention a few. The record was further remixed by Brazilian based Scorz which received spins from big names such as Tiësto, Cosmic Gate, Sultan + Shepard, ACRAZE and plenty more. The right exposure is what every Artist yearns for and what tattooed my name in the industry globally. As for Faith, we’ve put together a music video for it which is doing quite great on Trace Africa .
You recently made a remix of Vonda7’s ‘Arrivals’. You gave it your own signature sound and took it to another level. Tell me about the realisation of this project.
Myself and Vonda7 met through my Anjunadeep debut “Silhouette“, a collaboration between myself and Sebee which happened to be part of a compilation series Vonda7 was part of. We then started to chatting about further collaborating on something, that’s when she later asked me for a remix. I had doubts about it because that was the 1st time I had used this kind of approach on a track, I was shocked to see guys like John Digweed, Sultan + Shepard, Hernan Cattaneo and a lot more supportive of the remix. Music Cann be strange at times, hahahaha.
African music in general and African dance music in particular are undergoing sensational development, with one of the highlights being the Black Coffee Grammy for best dance/electronic album 2022. What is your view on this development?
Firstly huge congratulations to Black Coffee on his hard work and dedication which opened on to a Grammy Award. The year’s and the effort put in to this work deserves some world class recognition….recognition leads to more growth and growth leads to opening doors for other’s. I’m certain a lot international record labels and publisher’s are rolling their eye’s in South Africa or Africa rather.
When can we expect new material from you?
More new exciting music is on the way, I’ve decided to focus more on releasing with Anjunadeep. I’ve seen a serious change in reach since my first release with Anjunadeep, it’s definitely a label that’s also interested in the development of an Artist….so, myself and Sebee will be appearing more on the label’s catalogue either in collaborative work or solo project’s. Ooooh while we’re still here, I’ll be doing my Anjunadeep Explorations debut in June at Dhërmi, Albania . This will be the first time a South African Artist has ever played an Anjunadeep event and these are the heights I chase for.
Is there anything else you would like to tell ?
Let The Good Times Roll…..
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