We featured a review of TheCITY's self-titled debut EP in Supernova vol. 4.6. In the interim, we caught up with the band's bassist, Ryan McArthur.
Why ‘TheCITY’? What is the significance of your band’s name?
People sometimes ask how such 'different' individuals meet, and if you look at a cosmopolitan city, you'll find very different people with common interests, which is what we are, a meeting point, a focus of a concept - TheCITY of Future Afro music.
Do you think the city in which one lives has any influence on the kind of music people make or listen to? If so, has Cape Town influenced you in anyway?
Of course. Reuben and Clem are Cape Coloured so the music of Cape Town, Goema, is part of their heritage and they grew up listening to Abdullah Ibrahim, Winston Mankunku and Errol Dyers, and hearing the minstrels rehearsing on warm summer afternoons, preparing for New Year celebrations. We fuse our heritage into the music we make. We feel it's very important.
You describe your sound as ‘Future Afro’. Can you describe the genre in a bit more detail?
It's a fusion of hip hop, electronica, afrobeats and soul.
You’re a group of people from very different backgrounds and musical styles. How did you decide on the genre of music you’d like to create as TheCITY?
We all share a love for jazz, so that is a common musical thread, and probably a subconscious understanding we share.
Who is your greatest influence and why?
Wow, it’s really hard for musicians to boil it down to one influence, especially if you’re trying something different, which is more of a hybrid of styles. Top 3: Little Dragon, J Dilla, and Abdullah Ibrahim.
That is our 1st album done in 2010. Back then, it was only a duo with Clem and Bonj. We’ve just finished a five track self-titled EP, which is our first official release as a band and is available on iTUNES, Deezer, Google Play, Shazaam and all the other online purchase sites.
What is the secret ingredient to success in the music industry?
There is no secret ingredient for success in any career path, except to be passionate about what you do and to plug at it constantly no matter what. It can get rough juggling gig management, PR, admin, rehearsal schedules, etc., so it's important to know your priorities and to strive for balance in everything.
Interview by Andrea Vermaak
Press images by Deidre Hewitson