5 minutes with DJ Themba Lunacy

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With his unique take on hip hop and acid jazz, Themba Mpanza or better known as DJ Themba Lunacy is a party starter of note. The DJ set many a stage on fire at the 2013 Gauteng Hip Hop Awards and was the winner of the 2017 Neo-Soul DJ Battle.

Lunacy will bring his more than 10 years of experience on the DJ scene to the party when he joins the likes of gqom and afrobeat DJ Si’Noir at this year's Oppikoppi Red Bull Music Stage. We caught up with Lunacy, who shared how he plans on winning over Oppikoppi crowds, his musical inspirations and how he dealt with his mother's death.

When I was growing up my friends used to call me a lunatic. That's how the name Themba Lunacy came about. Instead of just using DJ Lunacy, I'd rather be known for my real name first, then my alias.

I'm a freestyler at most; I'm not good at planning a set. As soon as I jump in and play, I become the audience. I try to find the vibe you are on.

Oppikoppi's vibe has really changed over the years, especially with stages like Red Bull. You can fit in anywhere - it's an open-minded stage and that's the whole vibe I like about it.

All That You Are by The Foreign Exchange always resonates with me. “They say you might be crazy, and sometimes I agree, you and I know that's not all you are.” It's from the first project by Foreign Exchange and whenever I hear it, it always blows my mind.

My lowest point ... was 2015 when I lost my mom, my cousin and my aunt in the same year. That was so personal for me and I had to deal with that. I feel like 2015 was one of the worst years of my life. I've overcome it, though. I grew and I'm relaxed now. I do think about them but whenever I do, especially about my mother, I think about happy times. I try not to dwell in the past.

There's a lot of artists I'd like to collaborate with, people like Q-Tip, Corinne Bailey Rae and Seun Khuti. People like Maneo in terms of singers, Langa Mavuso ... there's a lot.

If you check the sound that's going all over the world right now, it's inspired by our sound but we don't have the same platforms as other countries. We are (going in) the right direction - look at people like Petite Noir, Sjava just won that BET now, Black Coffee is always touring all over the world, so I feel like, with time, we need to push more. The world is watching us.

I'm working on my music now. I'm probably going to release something later in the year. I've collaborated with great artists but I can't say who they are yet. I'm trying to make a cool song for December.

Oppikoppi will be taking place 9 August - 11 August at the Oppikoppi Farm in Northam, Limpopo. For more information visit their website at www.oppikoppi.co.za or check stay up to date on social media under the hashtags #redbullmusic and #OK24Nomkanjani.

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