Q+A: Five minutes with Shimza ahead of Brunch Electronik

With sounds from across Africa’s electronic music scene taking over Europe’s dancefloors, it only makes sense that one of the continent’s biggest exports should take the stage at Barcelona promoter Brunch Electronik’s inaugural three day festival. Celebrating a decade of the brand, South African DJ and producer Shimza joins a lineup that includes the likes of Boys Noize, VTSS, Carl Cox, Eris Drew & Octo Octa, Floorplan, SBTRKT, Hot Chip, HVOB, and Jeff Mills. With his signature style of afrotech, Shimza has become one of Africa’s leading forces in electronic music, blending influences from techno and afro house with his astute technical skills. We caught up with him ahead of the festival to see what he has planned, and what’s next for the global superstar. 


Shimza, you’re set to perform at the Brunch Electronik Festival soon. Can you share with us what we can expect from your show at the festival? Any surprises or unique elements you have planned?

I’m bringing my usual high energy performance and I’ve been listening to brand new music which has been a vibe. I’m hoping to bring those new sounds into my set. The rest will remain a surprise. 


As an established DJ and producer, how do you keep your performances fresh and exciting? Are there any specific techniques or strategies you employ to engage the audience and create a memorable experience?

I am always trying to have my finger on the pulse and willing to learn from other people, even to this day. I pay attention to my craft and I try and practice new skills that I pick up along the way until I have mastered them. I’m also very attentive to the music that’s being released. So many people send me their music and when I’m on long flights I make sure that I listen and see what would be good for my sets.


The electronic music scene is constantly evolving. What are some current inspirations that are shaping your sound and artistic direction? Are there any particular artists or genres that have been influencing you lately?

I listen to a lot of techno house and I take the arrangement of that sound and use it in my sets and the music that I produce.  


We’re always eager to discover new talent. Are there any up-and-coming DJs or producers that you’re particularly excited about? Could you share some names or projects that have caught your attention recently?

There are so many producers that are releasing good music, I can’t mention a specific name because I’m excited for the growth of the Afrotech sound holistically. It gives space for us to be in the industry.


Collaboration is often a powerful catalyst for creativity. Are there any artists, either within or outside the electronic music realm, that you’re eager to collaborate with in the future? What draws you to potential collaborators?

Good Energy, synergy and a willingness to collaborate is key to get the right collaborations off the ground. No specific artist comes top of mind right now. 


In addition to your upcoming festival appearance, do you have any other exciting projects or ventures in the works that you’d like to share with your fans? Anything you’re especially enthusiastic about?

The expansion of KUNYE, a property that has seen itself expand beyond South African borders, and I’m also looking forward to my appearance at Burning Man this year.


Many artists have their own rituals or routines before going on stage. What’s your pre-show routine like? Do you have any specific rituals or habits that help you get in the right mindset before a performance?

Speaking to or being around the people that matter most in my life such as friends, family and colleagues gets me in the right space of mind, heart and soul.


The global pandemic has significantly impacted the music industry and live events. How has this period affected your creative process and approach to music-making? Have you discovered any silver linings or new perspectives during this challenging time?

In actual fact the pandemic challenged me to think broader and outside the box. New “Stay Home” music properties came to life and I was lucky enough to still be able to produce shows and make music, even though I could not interact physically with my audience. A different path was forged. 


With a successful career spanning several years, what advice would you give to aspiring DJs and producers who are trying to establish themselves in the industry? Are there any key lessons you’ve learned along the way that you would like to share?

Keep pushing and keep being yourself, harness your craft and continuously improve. Don’t always follow what other people are doing because when you follow your passion and do what you love, you will be surprised by the growth and support that comes with it. Be unique but also learn from others. 


Lastly, as an artist, how do you measure success? Is it primarily through chart success, fan reactions, personal fulfillment, or something else entirely? What does success mean to you in the context of your musical journey? 

Success is growth to me, every set I play, every new booking from a festival or event I’ve ever dreamt of playing and every fan I get after every show which means for as long as there’s growth, there’s success.


Brunch Electronik Festival takes place in Barcelona from 11-13 August, 2023. For tickets and further info, head to https://festival.brunchelectronik.com/ .