Zik Zak – A walk from Africa to Germany full of conscious and positive music
Meet our clients who trusted Mind The Wax to press their music on vinyl!
One of the best things in vinyl pressing industry is to get to know artists which you were following before as an audience and now you have the chance to contribute in their next album release.
This was my initial feeling when Thomas Katongole-Strauch, founder of Switchstance Recordings and known as DOGU from the Ancient Astraunats, reached out to me to press their new album “Zik Zak” on vinyl and CD.
“When we started producing music under the name Ancient Astronauts, we were inspired by a lot of music that had a deep impact on us. Concsious Hip-Hop, Reggae & Dub, Afrobeat, Funk, Jazz and Soul are styles that were always in our heart and they shaped the sound that we do as Ancient Astronauts.
Hip-Hop and Reggae built the platform of our productions and African music, especially the Afrobeat music by Fela Kuti and Tony Allen, always had a big impact on us. So when I visited East Africa for the first time around 2014 to visit the family of my German-Ugandan wife in Uganda I was impressed by the talent of local rappers and singers. Since that time I have visited East Africa many times and built a relationship to a lot of local artists and established a partnership with the studio and label East African Records in Kampala.”
“The idea behind our new album ZIK ZAK came when I met more and more quality singers and rappers that nobody knew of on our side of the world.
Ancient Astronauts have worked with big names in Hip-Hop and Reggae like The Jungle Brothers, Raashan Ahmad, Tippa Irie, DJ Brace, The Pharcyde, Akua Naru, Zion Train and many more but we never really were focused on big names. It was quality we were looking for.
Africa is full of amazing talents and Hip-Hop and Reggae get mad love from the people in the streets, but still these artists have nearly no chances to reach out to an international audience. The majority of these young talents do not have the same access to technology and the digital tools as artists in the western world, which is very sad. So we thought we should create some songs with some of the artists we know and release them internationally.”
“When we started working on a couple of songs, more and more artists crossed my way so I made the decision that we should create a whole album. The name ZIK ZAK came to my mind when I brainstormed with a friend from Mozambique about words that sound german (cause of their harshness) but they are international words. ZIK ZAK was one of these words that I always thought of being a strictly german word, but then my friend said “What? In Africa everbody knows the meaning of ZIK ZAK.” And this made a click in my head.
The artists featuring in this album were not born with a golden spoon in their mouth. They had to live a life full of struggles to make their way in the field of music. None of them took the easy road of commercial music. They all chose to do conscious music with positive and critical messages to uplift their people and to have a positive influence on their society. This road they chose to walk is full of obstacles and stumbling blocks. So they have to manage this road in a ZIK ZAK walk to evade the problems in order to reach their goals. That is the idea behind ZIK ZAK.”
Kabanjak is the main man behind the musical composition, programming and production. He plays a lot of instruments by himself and combines them with some twisted and edited samples to create the unique organic sound of Ancient Astronauts. He then mixes the songs in a mutual dialogue with DOGU where they discuss how the sound can be improved to reach the final outcome.
“To have a more authentic African feeling in our music it was important for us to have real African percussion added. In Cologne I run a live Afrobeat and Reggae night called Family Affairs Cologne since 8 years and have a team of highly talented African musicians. With 3 of them I went into a studio in Cologne to record Djembe, Calabash and drums. Kabanjak then used them to build new beats and riddims or added them to already existing ones.”
“In ZIK ZAK we feature 21 singers, rappers and musicians from Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Togo, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Guinea.
Some of them have already built an international name like Ade Bantu and his Nigerian band BANTU, the Nigerian rapper Modenine or the Ugandan Spyda MC (who has already toured Europe with the band Nihiloxica which he is a part of). The spoken word artist Ife Piankhi (Uganda / UK), Blessed San (Uganda), the rapper Art Melody (Burkina Faso) and the singer Shoeshine Buoy (Kenya) have also worked internationally before, but that’s it.
And do you know what? This has nothing to do with the quality of their art.
They are all amazing. The international feedback to the ZIK ZAK album was really amazing. We managed to get the album played on hundreds of radio stations in more than 30 countries worldwide. That was our mission to present these talents to a wide international audience. And it worked out.”
“At the end it was 20 songs together for the album, so we wanted to press it on a double vinyl album of 140gr. In order to give the best presentation of the involved artists, we decided to make a Gatefold cover that shows photos of each artist on the inside of the cover. To give it even more style, we chose black inner sleeves for the vinyl.”
“Then when we decided to also produce CDs! We also chose a Gatefold cover for the CD. We are very happy with the final result cause we got a beautiful artwork by the artist Made Of Hagop and our graphic guy Lisse added the rest of the art and design. The ZIK ZAK album looks fucking dope!”
Do you want to know more about the Ancient Astronauts?
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