Creative house duo not bound to a particular sound

Black Coffee helps bring Frigid Armadillo out of their shells

DJ Black Coffee.
DJ Black Coffee.
Image: Thulani Mbele

When maestro DJ Black Coffee spins your track on the deck you know your career is destined for greatness.

That’s what happened to newcomer house duo Frigid Armadillo, who trended during lockdown and still are, after Black Coffee played their single Roam In a Day on his lockdown house brewed sessions.

Frigid Armadillo is made up of 29-year-old best friends Lebo Lechela and Siyabulela Buhlungu, who met in their first year at the University of Johannesburg.

“We met in 2010 at the University of Johannesburg but have both been producing music individually since high school, using different aliases before we started working together as a pair,” says Buhlungu.

And why did they name themselves after an animal that curls up into a ball to protect itself?

“An armadillo is an animal that is very shy and protective of itself and that’s why it's rolled up in a shell. That’s how we are with our music. We [are] very particular and protective and don’t just let anyone come in between it,” says Buhlungu.

Lechela says that the armadillo name is a metaphor for what they stand for in the music industry. “We chose the name as a way to respond to external pressure, as a duo that has always [been] free in our sonic creativity and have not always been bound to any particular sound other than something that has our ear at the moment,” says Lechela.

According to the pair, their music is a mixture of a variety of sounds and electro and deep house music genres.

“Our sound is an infusion of unstructured creativity, quirkiness and technical sounds; you cannot box it into one category. It is a combination of two music genres: deep and electro house,” says Lechela.

The duo pride themselves on  not being attached to any record label.

“We are not signed to any record label and we would like to keep it that way. However, we have a distribution deal with an international recording label called Aluku Records. We connected with the label though fellow artist FKA Mash,” says Buhlungu, referring to the electronic music artist and DJ.

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“We had a single released a while ago, titled The Journey, which we sent to him as feedback after he put us in contact with them and we reached a distribution agreement.”

The artists say that their next EP will be released in December and will include vocal features.

“We are excited to see how people react to it,” says Lechela.

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