The South African DJ and producer takes his mesmerising sound to Ibiza’s newest super club.
When you hear the word Ibiza you think sun, sand, riotous Brits abroad and a whole load of techno: and you wouldn’t be wrong for thinking that. But the island has a whole lot more to offer, and this year rising South African DJ and producer, Black Coffee, is one of the artists pioneering a whole new direction, with a brand new night at Ibiza’s latest super club, Hï Ibiza.
Born in Durban as Nkosinathi Maphumulo, Black Coffee’s love of music started at a young age. “As a kid I gravitated towards music, I was the boy who tried to sleep with the radio on,” says Maphumulo. Growing up he found himself listening to South African disco, soul, acapella styles and music from the UK and the United States, too. Elton John, Michael Jackson, Sting, Donny Hathaway and local South African Afro-Fusion band Stimela all have a place in Maphumulo’s heart. “I was exposed to so much rich music in South Africa. People really love music there. There are 11 languages spoken, and so many cultures that each approach music in a different way. It’s everywhere, every single day. But back then I had no plans to work in music, it was just something I loved.”
Maphumulo was also an avid fan of art. “I did a lot of cartooning and I thought I would go and study art in university,” he recalls. It was when filling in his college application that he had a change of heart. “I gave my mother two forms that she had to sign, one for music and one for art school. She told me she sent both, but six or seven months later I found out that she had only send the one for me to study music.”
Fast forward a few years and Maphumulo had found his feet as a DJ, had a jazz degree under his belt, and had been chosen as one of two South African participants in the Red Bull Music Academy in 2003. Since then, he’s played at some of the wold’s most famed music venues, won 2016’s Best Deep House DJ award and hosted Africa Rising, a stadium concert that included a 24-piece orchestra to celebrate. “For me, how we put that together and how it played out was really amazing.”
So how does Maphumulo create his mesmerising blend of South African dance, deep house and soul-infused sound? “I love structure, colour, mood, tone, and most of all I love emotion. I think that’s the part I try to do most, to evoke an emotional connection to my music.” And where better to do so than in Ibiza? Maphumulo first visited the island four summers ago when he was invited to play at DC-10. “I remember it so well. It was cool, but I felt a bit lost musically as wasn’t sure what to expect. To me, ‘Ibiza’ sounded very commercial. I asked a friend to advise me on some more mainstream songs to play, but when I got there I just played what I thought was cool, rather than those safe options. I checked out the other DJ’s before me and I thought ‘Ok, I’ve got this’”.
Now he’s headlining his own night at Ibiza’s newest super club Hï Ibiza. Formerly known as Ibiza’s most iconic institution Space, Hi offers a clubbing experience like no other, encompassing a main ‘theatre’ room fronted by a stage, an Adamson sound system, a second ‘club’ room, two outdoor garden spaces and a state of the art lighting system featuring a kinetic ceiling display. “It’s next level,” says Maphumulo. “They cater for everyone. All kinds of DJ’s and guests. The lights are amazing, but we’ve toned them down for this night and we’ve moved the DJ box off the stage and down to the dancefloor to be closer to the people.”
“I’m all about the music, the colour, and the emotion. That’s what we bring to the island. You can get lost in the song, as opposed to going to a pure techno night. That’s happening already and people fly all the way to Ibiza for that. You can watch Marco Carola on a Friday at Amnesia and have the time of your life, then Saturday you can come to us. The vibe we’ve got going on is amazing.” When it comes to curating the line-ups, Maphumulo modestly reassures me that it’s a team effort. “Everyone puts names forward. We’re not trying to compete with anyone on the island, we’re just trying to give people something that’s different. I can’t wait for people to hear Da Capo. He’s a DJ and producer from South Africa and he’s one of the freshest talents I’ve heard.”
So how does Maphumulo feel taking the reigns from the heavyweights? “The club has a new look, a new name and a new lease of life. I feel honoured to be part of this new movement. I’m starting on a brand new note.”
Sound like your kind of fun? Check out the full line-up for Black Coffee’s Hï Ibiza residency here.