1 on 1 with Goodenuff's Ngoni
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First published: February 12, 2007
When one genuinely loves, and is excited about what they are doing they can go on forever talking about what they do. I am sure that if you ask Julie about musicuganda.com she will talk your ears off the same way I would about UGPulse.com. So I usually have to cut myself off because usually no one is interested.
Aydee and Pato of Ngoni.
With Ngoni, and what they have to say, everyone is interested. So letting them go off often without having to throw any questions was an interviewer's dream. Their passion for their craft is very evident and demonstrated in the fact that we run out of tape during the interview.
The interview started off with some little formal introduction and it was not long before they were oiled up and very comfortable to talk to us about almost anything. They seemed very content in their place in Uganda's music industry that they did not feel they had much to lose and were able to let lose on any subject.
In this interview you will learn what makes Ngoni tick. Aydee and Pato let us in on their recipy for Ngoni without fear. A true master in his craft is not afraid to reveal the secrets of his trade because they are often ahead of the game. Their product is often too creative or too complex to reproduce and by the time one has caught up with them, they are busy moving on to the next big thing.
A true master of their craft is what Ngoni is. The partnership of Eddy Mpagi and Patrick Nyanzi totally understands and is in full control of their label. They are smart and educated businessmen. Pato's voice is very clear and fits well with every beat in their music. You often hear of artists saying how hard it is to sing in Luganda. This guy makes it sound so easy and so natural... his words so audible... and with such passion. Then there is Aydee who keeps the label sounding fresh with beats that make them so easy to sell across borders. The professional arrangement and production take full advantage of Aydee's background in Sound Engineering, which includes a gig in the UK with Sony. Of course it does not hurt that they are one of the few artists in Uganda with their own recording studio.
Aydee and Pato of Ngoni- Our interview took place at Goodenuff studios... seen here.
Peter: Maybe we'll start off with telling UGPulse members your names.
Aydee: Eddy Mpagi.
Pato: Patrick Nyanzi.
Peter: ...and the name Ngoni...
Malawi- Ngoni Warrior
Guide 2 Malawi
Aydee: Umm... Ngoni... with Ngoni we just thought of a name that would sound musical and at the same time represent what we have been through. Now Ngoni, in history, they were warriors... So we just thought that since we've been working so hard for about 14 years we might as well call ourselves Ngoni to represent the Musical Warriors.
Peter: So the name is South African...?
Aydee: Well.. there is actually a greeting in... Lugbara?
Pato: ...in northern Uganda.
Aydee: ...it translates to "How are you?"... and in Tanzania...
Pato: There it is a tribe.
Aydee: So you see, it is not necessarily South African.
Julie: Okay guys... tell us about you. Let's start with you Aydee.
Aydee: (laughs) How much would you like to know?
Julie: (laughs) Well... what would you like people to know about you.
Aydee: (pauses) Umm... I live my life... it's just about music... really. I don't watch TV... If I am watching I'm watching music. My life revolves around music. I was a teenager about a decade ago. I don't like telling people my age because I think age is just a number. That's me!
Julie: How would you like to describe yourself?
Aydee: I would describe myself as a fun-loving character... I live life by the day... you know... I don't think about tomorrow.
Julie: (looking at Pato) How about you?
Pato: I love television... I love football very much... or what you guys may call soccer. I will not tell you which team because it might bring a lot of bias (laughs). Ummm... I also don't want to talk about my age... its just a number... and I'm also not a teenager. There is a difference between Pato and Patrick Nyanzi. Nyanzi loves sleeping all the time. With Pato its studio... creating stuff. I'm just a simple guy. I sing about women because they always inspire me... (laughs) -the most beautiful...
Aydee: (eagerly interrupting) ...the most beautiful thing God made. (All laugh) He must have taken his time.
Julie: When did you guys fall in love with music? There is falling in love with music in a general sense but there comes that time when one decides to go a step further...
Pato: My mom told me that I loved music from a very young age... before I could speak. She said I used to dance...
Aydee: ...because she used to go to clubs(laughs).
Pato: (laughs) She was a club-banger. So really... I fell in love with music a long, long time ago.
But commercially it was the late 90's. I started looking at it as something that could bring in money, friends and a little bit of fame... and er..
Aydee and Pato: (at the same time) ...girls. (All laugh)
Aydee: For me... commercially it was around the same time... As I was saying, we've known each other for about 14 years. Ngoni was a big group. There were 4 of us... actually there were more.... Because people came and went... came and went. But I think we started getting serious... ummm... we did our first recording in 1998. Actually just a few weeks back we were at Radio Simba and I surprisingly heard it... I almost bought it from them (all laugh). It sounded horrible!!
Peter: What number is that?
Aydee: (laughing) Aaaay... I'm not going to say. I thought I was the only one who had a copy.
So that was around 1998... but the music comes from my mother who used to sing in a church choir. We grew up as staunch Catholics. My dad had a formula of singing that rosary... gawd!! (laughs) I got my first piano- which apparently my mom still has- when I was 4 years old. I think I started making sense of the piano when I was 8. So I started way back but commercially it was in 98.
Peter: How did the two of you meet?
Aydee: Oh gawd!!! (laughs) That's another story. I was coming in from Budo... I was actually repeating a class cuz I had not done well... I had spent my 4 years at Budo playing the piano.
So anyway I went to Makerere College and I was trying to get to know people... I think it was around my second week. I was at the football pitch... see I used to like watching football as well... I used to play football. I was a goal keeper. So I'm at the football pitch and in one corner there are three guys... (Pato is laughing like crazy at this point.)... huh... pretending to sing (all laugh)... and it sounded really horrible. They were good rappers but they just couldn't sing. Pato could sing but the other two... No. They "could" actually sing... all of them... but everyone in their own key... so it was disorganized. But that was the music... that was the hip-hop of the 90s... It was not really musical.
So I just went in and said, "Guys can I join you?"... and so we started doing stuff together... umm..
Pato: He arranged the vocals actually. For the first time he told us... he taught us so many things. That music has keys... and that you just don't harmonize just like that... you have to follow certain principles... you know. So for that I'm truly grateful because I started paying attention to so many musical aspects.
Aydee: I'm not paying him to say that. (They both laugh)
Peter: Where are the other two guys now?
Aydee: We are actually in very close contact. Pato and I are like best friends now... we are like brothers. Even our parents know us.... We are like unofficial brothers. The other two are in England... one promised he is coming back this year... (laughs)... the other one is helping us with the videos and marketing. They outgrew the performance side of music but they are still very supportive.
Kiddu David... I think he is actually still singing in church. He is a born again Christian... and so are we(laughs). He sings in church. He is also an accountant.
Then there is Ronnie... he is a jack of all trades. He is a computer expert... a computer wizard...
Pato: ...Ronald Katobazi. He went to school in Nakasero Primary School... and David Kiddu was at Buganda Road before they joined Makerere College.
Julie: What have been your challenges along the way?
Aydee: The first one was to get the proper direction where we would be identified as "Ngoni". That identity thing... because if you remember our first song Banacity... it was not a bad song but we now have a new version of it... I think probably because we now have studio time and we just keep recycling songs(laughs). But that was our first song that was heard... probably because it had a video. Looking back, when we analyze ourselves, we think that was still what they call "childish music". Musically... when one says "childish" it means that you are just doing what you love, or what your peers are going to love, and not being commercial. So trying to get that direction...
I remember when I came back... the first time I decided to stay here in Uganda in 2004... I shipped in the equipment and stuff and then told Pato that we are going to make some music(laughs). Actually before there was even a studio... as soon as the equipment arrived... testing it at home because it had been on transit for about 4 months. We were testing the machines... everything was on the bed... and we said ... Okay.... Now where do we start? (laughs)
I was thinking R'n'B... but there was this idea that for us to make money, we needed to go local. I said No... h%ll no! ... umm... To me, the music we make here, by that time sounded so... so... that's what I call childish... it sounded so... raw. Because I had been working with Sony... dealing with professionals and listening to guys doing their things. It sounded so horrible to me. So I told Pato... we're not heading in that direction.
So Pato was like... okay let's try and compromise. Now that's why I actually credit him... that he's got the African melodies. If you listen you will notice that he is the only that... yeah I do R'n'B as backup... but he knows how to fit his vocals within the melodies, and the writing and so on...
Just for the record, by the time we started the studio, he could not play any instrument. He had the ideas within his head but he couldn't play. Now he can produce songs without me being there... within two years he's learnt everything.
But anyway... back to the whole process of setting up. So I told him that's the key... that's the snare... now you play the drum pattern. So he played it and I said... Gosh! And then I started filling in. And I said that if you want to make it sound different and not R'n'B, we are going to use just Rock guitars... and we used just Rock guitars for Digi. And then we filtered out to make it slightly different.
So... to come up with that creativity... and to come up with that identity... I think that was our biggest challenge... musically.
Pato: Hmnn yes... and actually what we were programming by then were two songs- Digi and Mumuleete by Benon and Vamposs. So those were the first two "experiments". Blending local and a little bit of urban. The way Aydee plays is too R'n'B and its good because it adds something to the music. Like he's been telling me about the chords and why R'n'B is different...
Aydee: I hope this is not going to sound bad but the other day I was with Chameleone... and I was on his guitar... playing stuff... and then he played chords... and he sang Befula, he sang Letako, they all fall in within the same ... then he tried Nasiima Gwe... then wow... it sounded different... (All laugh)
Peter: Different... good or bad?
Aydee at Goodenuff studios.
Aydee: Different because it did not fit within the chords that he was playing. He was like playing one track and mixing in the songs... and when it came to Nasiima Gwe... it could not fit... because of the R'n'B beat.
Pato: The R'n'B background really helps because even when we write songs in Luganda, we keep that... I did not know these elements... He just told me that these songs start in a different chord. I was just writing... and he was telling me that the songs start differently... and umm... (laughs)... up to now I still don't know. (All laugh)
Last year we went to Dar es Salaam and we worked with a client... and again Aydee was complaining.
Aydee: Yeah... They were playing something different. But when they actually got the feel of it- we actually had like a week with them- they actually enjoyed it. I hope they don't start copying me man...(all laugh).
Back to the challenges... recording is the easiest thing you can do. P-r-o-moting music... You go to radio... and because it is something different... they say... Oh gosh!... your music is clipping. I say... Oh Ok!... Because our music is mastered.
Now when you take a song done in Uganda, they take it though a channel that has already been enhanced to make it sound radio-like. So when they put in your song that has been mastered, it's gonna clip.
I was actually over here in the studio, on the phone, and Pato was at the radio station whose name I will not mention. So Pato was like... "man... they have rejected it." I said gosh... Okay... "How has he played it?" ... and so I told Pato, "Tell him to get a Kevin Lyttle song and play it." Kevin Lyttle was a good reference at the time. So we had him put our CD out and in the same exact player play the Kevin Lyttle song. And it started clipping (all laugh). He is actually a very good friend of ours now. He was actually initially very opposed to our music.
Another challenge was like... I hate to talk about this...
Peter: Go ahead man...
Aydee: You know... you hang out on the streets... and you meet friends there. They don't know what you are doing on the side. They think you are also wasting time like they are. But when you come up with something... they accuse you of leaving them behind.
Pato: (laughs)Back to the music... there are things like promoters using our beats... using our names. This is a general problem. Every musician in Uganda faces it.
Aydee: Actually... you know what?... Last year we had to go and do a free show in Jinja... well more or less free... on Valentine's Day. We missed out all the money in Kampala. We had been announced in Jinja for almost a full year for some function we knew nothing about. We were forced to sacrifice and make the appearance so as not to disappoint our fans.
Peter: Tell us what you first went through with the success of your first hit Banacity.
Pato: Well the industry started to take us seriously. Not Ugandan radios... It was Kenyan and Tanzanian radio stations...Rwandese. Straight away they started appreciating us. This was a relief for me because it is very hard to please everyone...
Aydee: There is a saying-"Ugandans don't make stars..."... We knew that we either use money to make you a star... or use a bit of money and contacts... to come up. That's the reality of the industry all over the world. Use a bit of money as in studio time and videos... and then send them to people who you think are going to be genuine about your product. People who will criticize you constructively... "Oh man... Wano tewakubyewo ka gita(Shouldn't you have guitar right here)?" (All laugh) Man... sometimes when I listen to Timberland's music and I say... I wish I had done this here and there... you know. I think everyone in their own right is a critic.
...I didn't taste the early fame.
Pato: Coming out with Banacity gave us a very, very firm foundation. Because, from East African radio and tv stations, people saw that we were doing something a little different... they started caring. In Uganda it has always been like that. From Chameleone, Bebe...
Peter: You mean these stars first get a following outside of Uganda and make them Stars over there and then once they are known abroad Ugandans import them back in... follow Stars instead of making them.
Pato: I don't know why it's like that because in the end Ugandans end up loving you even more. But in the beginning they don't want to know you. "Ani akumanyi?" (who knows you)
But we are down-to-earth guys. So when Banacity came out we did not grow wings and all that.... nah...
Aydee: (All laugh) we grow wings now.
Pato: nah... not really... But it helped define our direction and we have since maintained that careful mix of urban and local pop. To cater for lovers of local music we mainly use our lyrics while with urban it's the beats. There are some people telling us to go even more local but I don't see us doing this any time soon.
Julie: Tell me about your album Nasiima Gwe.
Pato: We wrote all the songs together... It's a love album...
Aydee: Strictly... we don't do politics. (laughs)
Pato: It has been received very well in Uganda and in East Africa as a whole. It has taken us years to compile.
Aydee: Actually I think... One... Two... Two of the song have 3 versions... One is coming back on the next album... but in a different way...
Pato: That's Rose.
Peter: So run through the songs... tell us what each of them is about. Let's start with the current hot track Bigula.
Pato: Bigula... some people think it's a song about lust... but its about love...
Aydee: Just appreciation for the African booty. "Shake that #ss!" (All laugh) Its not lust... it's just that African women are blessed and we felt that it was about time that someone actually talked about it.
Pato: And we are glad they love it so much. The moment they hear it they just want to shake it (All laugh). The way we wrote is not offensive at all. We were just trying to show how we appreciate the female anatomy... every bit of it.
Pato: ...First Love. This is how people have described it to me. That the song describes how they felt about their first love.
Nasiima Gwe video
Aydee: It has that teenage sense. I think the biggest feeling you have when you are in love is when you are in your teens. It's so dreamy then... you don't have anything like money to worry about. If anyone did not concentrate on love in their teens then I think they missed out.
Pato: It's a song in Luganda but Tanzanians love it, Rwandese love it, Malawians...
Aydee: ... I met a Tanzanian who was in love with the song and when I asked her why. She understood very little Luganda... She described the emotion Patrick used... that you can tell that this guy is really begging for love.
Digi! (All laugh) People have run with it. Now Digi is basically a motorbike. (Laughing) We woke up one morning and were like... what can we write about? Because like we said... we first programmed it from my parents' house. But it was just programming without any particular song. So we sat up one morning and then were like... Imagine if I got a motorbike here and my babe was sitting on the back.... And we start riding around town... So basically he described a journey from when you put the key in till the time you get back... and probably on the way back you've run out of petrol... Amafuta gawedemu.
When people heard that song, they thought it was a sexual song. Maybe it is(Laughs).
Pato: You just have to interpret it the way you want to.
Peter: I for one never thought of it as being a song about a trip on a motorcycle(All laugh).
Aydee: Actually one thing I credit about us... is that after this song I have heard about many songs trying to be sexual and getting rejected. And people think we are paying radios to play our songs... they think Bigula is sexual as well. In Art... I was never good at visual art but even there, in abstract art you are left to figure out what you want.
Pato: Nakupenda is like a Swahili version of Nasiima Gwe.
Aydee; Some people did not realize that. There are those that did... Different melodies but the words were actually almost the same.
Pato: Sunita is about this Asian lady that we love so much. Even the parents love her so much... Here it's not just the words... We wanted to bring in a different sound. There is actually another version coming out soon... featuring Papito. We were testing the market.
Peter: Wow... I'm looking forward to it.
Aydee: That was one of our biggest experiments.
Banacity... Banacity is actually based on a folk song. (Starts humming some tune I guess I'm supposed to know)
Pato: Here we talk about sharp girls... banacity... towngirls.
Aydee: Ones where you need to watch your wallet (All laugh). It wasn't meant to diss girls but you know sometimes some reality can hurt.
Pato: We are still singing about love...
Aydee: The lyrics in the second verse... Tolemera kwoyo ata kwagala.(don't stay with the one who does not really love you)
Pato: Gwe nonya oyo sweet mutima. (Go and find your sweetheart)
Aydee: Don't think you are going to find a girl in the club, buy her a beer and you think you are in love. So tolemera kwoyo... go home and find your sweetheart.
Rose... Rose... Rose... gosh... this is the third version... oh no... this is the second one that is on this album. It features a Jamaican guy Captain Deus.
Pato: ... and also Rude Boy Devoh from Afrigo Band. It's about a girl... my beautiful Rose.
Peter: You often sing in Swahili...
Aydee: We can't even speak a word... but we can sing it. (All laugh) We get people to translate. We are trying to learn it.
Pato: With the Digi Remix... we just wanted to spice up the original song. Here we were describing what happens on that digi(motorbike) when everything is reversed and you let your girlfriend ride you...
Aydee: (All laughing by now) ...and she describes to you how strong you are...
Peter: Who is the female vocal here?
Pato: Her name is Baby Gee... She was the one who sang Ani Akumanyi? Also done at Goodenuff Studios.
Aydee: So there you have it. 9 tracks (Aydee is generous to include the Intro in this count)... that is 3 songs more than your average Ugandan album. Normally its 6 songs...
Pato: Actually its usually 4 songs and 2 remixes... making it 6.
Aydee: Basically it took us about 2 years to finish this album- Nasiima Gwe. It was out in July 2006. It's about Love... even what people perceived as dirty... it's about Love.... Maybe dirty Love (All laugh). But no politics. I was even surprised to hear that Bukenya is the Vice President... I thought it was still Kazibwe (All laugh). So you know... we don't do politics. We don't know anything about politics so we don't sing about what we don't know. Just social and personal experiences.
You know... you will be surprised. Someone pretended to buy this album and signed a contract. Everything was there minus the Digi Remix and Bigula- because Bigula was supposed to be on the new album. He bought the album and we have not seen a coin... and he is still selling tapes.
Peter: Here in Uganda?
Aydee: (With a slight anger in his voice) He is called Abitex (Abbey Musinguzi)... such guys. Actually we have decided that for the near future... maybe the next 5 years or something, we are not signing any contracts with anyone... If we need to distribute stuff... I think we have sold about 300 copies of this by ourselves... because for us, the harsh reality is that here in Uganda a musician will live off performances... not CD sales.
Peter: Are you using the internet to sell albums?
Aydee: We are going to start that... sometime this year.
Peter: So where can we direct UGPulse members interested in getting your music?
Aydee: They could find it at UGPulse(All laugh).
Peter: (laughs)... ok... we can talk.
Aydee: But distributors?... Actually some people are regretting because now that the Copyright Law is there, even their videos can't be played on TV and stuff. It's a bit silly. It's a silly industry here.
Pato: Though somebody will be releasing a mixed tape with our music in Tanzania.
Aydee: Yes... but still here we are not planning to make much from this... just to get our name out there. When the time is right maybe we'll set a compilation.
Julie: So about the new Copyright Law... is it a good idea or...
Pato: It could be a good idea but the people running the industry...
Aydee: You know one thing I have discovered about... it's not just the music business in Uganda. Ugandans have a tendency of Yanguwa... funawo duka. Meaning that you see an opportunity and you want to reap from it tomorrow and then run off. You come up with your videos... you spend about 4 million UGshs on a video and someone comes in and they want to buy the rights for 2 to 3 million. I won't mention any names... but are you running a business? Because even if you paid me the 4 million... or even 10 million for it... you are going to stop TV from playing my video.
Julie: How about the current conflicts and rivalries going on in the Ugandan music industry...
Aydee: We have been provoked so many times for ridiculous things...
Pato: We try to stay out of rivalries. Sometimes... everywhere you go... You are hearing an artist that records a song that sounds like your song... every little bit of it. And most artists in Uganda would fight with such people but we just look at it like.. Okay... We have inspired someone... Let them continue doing the music.
There is beef but it's too childish because this is a very small industry. In Tanzania... everywhere you go there is a musician... But here there is just Wilson Street... (laughs)... and guys are beefing.
Aydee: Whoever wants to fight... fight... but not with us. To answer your question- we don't really care...
Pato: We are above that.
Aydee: We are mature as well... I don't mean to brag... but you know... we are graduates. We see things from a different angle.
Peter: Tell us a little about that...
Aydee: Well I've got an Accounting Degree from Nkumba. I've got a Sound Engineering... Audio Engineering Diploma from a school of sound recording in Manchester, UK. And a Sound Engineering Degree from Salford University.
Pato: I have two higher diplomas... one from MUBS(Makerere University Business School - Nakawa)... Accounts... the other one from ACTEC... in Information Technology. Education actually really does a lot...
Aydee: I'm about to give him a Diploma in Sound Engineering... (All laugh)
Eh... Because he has learnt everything...
Pato: Almost everything. Sometimes you really need Aydee to come in... to do the final touches.
Pato at Goodenuff studios.
Aydee: When I'm away he does everything... actually he is lazy...(All laugh) When I'm here he waits for me to do the final stuff. But when I'm away...
Pato: (Laughing) Because psychologically you know that something is missing...
Julie: So what should we expect from Ngoni this year?
Aydee: We are just going to do what we do and hope for the best. We hope it is for the better now that we have a solid foundation... now that we are in the industry... it's a full time job now... so we just have to keep up...
One thing is for sure is that... People have asked us this question before... We are not going to release albums at the speed of some artists because we feel like we compromise quality... compromise creativity, as things end up sounding the same. So we do it at a reasonable pace. So like we said for the next few years, we are not rushing to release albums... singles do it for us now. Keep our quality- Good videos... good songs... Hopefully by mid this year the album will be complete... all the songs are there.
Pato: ...we just need to look at the songs critically...
Aydee: ...make sure that they don't sound the same.
Pato: This time around we are working with different artists from different nations. We already have a single out... Mimi Na Wewe... with AY from Tanzania. The next single is gonna be Ngozi with Nonini from Kenya. And then we have a lady from Rwanda...
Aydee: It's in Kinyarwanda...
Pato: Yeah... I think she is about to come here... we'll do a song with her. We want to go East Africa. But at the same time we have to be careful and keep our fan base... you know... with Ugandans... you have to give them what they want.
Aydee: One thing I know is that good music is good music.... No matter what. I'll give you an example. Seven months after we came out with Digi, a song that was quick to please beat-wise and generally easy to get into, we came out with Nasiima Gwe. And people were like, "What the h%ll have you guys brought? How can you bring out such a club banger and then you come up with this garbage?"
That was a chance we took... we don't want to sound the same. With some artists you can get one instrumental and put 6 albums on it.
So the song was rejected and I went away to England and came back after 7 months... and when I came back that is when it started picking up. And I think so far... it's been our biggest song.
Actually Pato had the same paranoia. At that time... which other song had you written (looks at Pato)... I think it was Nakupenda... no... anyway it was one of those songs that had a quick-quick-yangua-tugende (quick-get-up-and-go) vibe of Digi. And he wanted to go with that song but I told him... you know what... just leave that song. Nasiima Gwe... I just knew that if you listen to that song for about 4 times... cuz he wrote the whole song by himself. But when I listened to it personally, I had to listen to it like 4 times to get the instrumentation correct. So it took me that long to like it. So we knew it was a very good song but it needed time to catch on. There is another song...
Pato: Hmnn? (like... really?)
Aydee: There is another song... I think Mimi Na Wewe is going to have the same problem...
Pato: (laughing and holding his forehead) ... with Nasiima Gwe?
Aydee: You know what... Bigula is more or less like a new song now because of the video... since it has just been released. So until June, we are not worried. (All laugh) That's the business. 60% business, 40% music.
Julie: Tell us about Goodenuff... you do your own recording... your own videos.
Aydee: Goodenuff started in England... in 2002. It is no longer Goodenuff Productions but simply Goodenuff... cuz I just think we are doing so much stuff now that if we just say Goodenuff Records or Goodenuff Videos it limits us. But with Goodenuff we can follow on and say... they can record music, they can do videos... they can do jingles... Goodenuff then becomes this one word that describes many.
So yes... we do records... videos. We are going to start working with artists on "record company" basis. There is already one from Tanzania called Abash... two Ugandans. We won't mention names yet...
As a record company there is a financial aspect of it. We are not rich people... we are just trying to give back. Actually if you look at the contracts we are not gaining anything... apart from trying to put a name out there.
And we do the videos... because we got the equipment and we do the editing... but we just can't do everything. We work hand in hand with other companies such as Deddac and Twisted Images...
Peter: Which other artists are you working with and are able to mention by name?
Aydee: Michael Ross... Benon and Vamposs... Sarah Zawede ...actually quite a number... but... not on a "record company" basis. We have recorded songs because our studio is a commercial studio. People come in here and we do stuff for them... there is Sweet Kid, Shagga... so many. But on a "record company" basis we just decided to identify certain artists... we don't want to work with already established artists. (laughs) Because they give me a headache. Actually the only established artist we have decided to work with on a "record company" basis is Michael Ross. Yeah... the rest are going to be fresh talent.
It's going to be hard work but that's when people really appreciate because... they will be like... this guy got me from there. Just like we appreciate Ssematimba. Peter Ssematimba did something for us. Because when he had just returned to Uganda he had this studio called The Dungeons.
Pato: The Dungeons produced groups like Perfect Generation.
Aydee: Yeah... in 19-da-nyo. (slang I guess for way back when- actually back in the early 90s)
It was actually around that time... and we are proud to say that that guy gave us an opportunity- we were very, very young boys. We were very lucky. He gave us an opportunity and said "You guys... I could have recorded you but you are too young." Because mzee comes back at 7 o'clock and so you have to run off by 5. That does not work in the music industry. All our parents were so...
Pato: Apart from my mom... the parents were very strict. Actually about the singing bit... I don't know how I could have done it because my Dad was against it...
Aydee: But he spent most of his time with his mother...
Pato: ... but Peter...
Aydee: Actually more recently when we met him(Peter Ssematimba) I went to do something in his studio... So he was like, "Oh its you!"... "Mwe mwajja nga muwunya ebigere?" -you are the ones who came with stinking feet? (All laugh)
He was just trying to show us that he remembers us.
There are people who can't afford and yet they have a lot of talent. So we decided we are going to do the record company side of it but without us earning anything.
We are just trying to give back. ... Cuz it's been a long journey for us. ... a long, long journey.
Pato, Aydee and Peter Kigonya of UGPulse.com at Goodenuff studios.
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First published: February 12, 2007