Fantasma and Spoek Mathambo – Artist Profile

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Spoek Mathambo (born Nthato Mokgata 14 May 1985 in South Africa) is an artist, producer, singer-songwriter, rapper defined by his fusion of a wide array of musical influences and his coining the Township Tech, to describe the electronic music he produces.

Spoek Mathambo

Spoek Mathambo

Mathambo grew up in Soweto, South Africa. His early work included collaborations with South African producer Sibot, who also worked with Okmalumkoolkat on “Nice Shandees”.

In 2010, his debut album Mshini Wam was released on BBE Records The album includes an award-winning cover of Joy Division’s ‘She’s Lost Control’. The track received the Young Director Award at the 2011 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Meanwhile Mathambo was nominated in the Best African Act category at the 2011 Mobo Awards.

In 2012, Mathambo released his second album Father Creeper on Sub Pop, gaining him a second nomination for Best African Act, at the 2012 MOBO Awards. He was also nominated for Best African Act for the third time at the 2013 MOBO awards.

Mathambo is now working on his third full-length record after debut Mshini Wam and its follow-up Father Creeper.

Spoek Mathambo

Spoek Mathambo


##Mshini Wam (2010)
##Father Creeper (2012)
##Eye of the Sun (EP) (with Fantasma) (2014)



Spoek Mathambo is the stage name of South African musician (Singer-Rapper-Producer-DJ), Nthato Mokgata. At the vanguard of a new wave of African artists, Spoek is hitting the world hard. It is clearly African music, but like none that has ever been heard or made before.

The edgy, unorthodox figure of Spoek Mathambo heads the Fantasma project:

A South African band made up of musicians with very different backgrounds and styles who teamed up to create a sound that is far more than the sum of its parts. Fantasma are electronica producer DJ Spoko, from Pretoria; Bhekisenzo Cele, from Durban, on the accordion, guitar, bass and vocals; guitarist Andre Geldenhuys, from Cape Town; and, last but not least, on vocals, producer Spoek Mathambo, from Johannesburg, whose albums have been released on several prestigious labels, including Sony, Mad Decent and Sub Pop. Into this melting pot go dozens of styles, skills, sounds and influences, from deep house (one of the most popular genres in the country) to psychedelia by way of Zulu traditions, hip hop psych rock, ancestral beats, Bacardi house (invented by DJ Spoko) and even aspects of surf music, one of Geldenhuys’ areas of expertise. They’re about to release their first album and—looking at what they’ve got to offer—their live show could well be one of the biggest surprises of Sónar 2014.


“Eye Of The Sun”

The first song we made in the week when we all met up for the first time. We always see “Eye of The Sun” as our mission statement, a place where all our different backgrounds explode into each other. We rented a little rehearsal studio in Cape Town, and Bheki was so energetic and creative, jumping between bass, guitar and accordion…and the mic. The song is mainly driven by that mad celebratory energy. Jabula! We got S’bu and Oscar from Future History to drop some saxophone. This song finally took 10 months to finish and has existed in so many different versions, Jumping Back Slash finally came through and helped finish this afro-physchadelic treat.


“ShangriLa” is from the same session as “Eye of The Sun”, in those two days we wrote eight songs. Originally the lyrics were Bheki singing about how all murderers are going to burn in hell…but the summer was more about love and sunshine, so that theme came in. I invited Moonchild to resing the lyrics I laid down, I’ve always loved the texture and attitude in her voice.




Bacardi on the rocks is what Spoko calls it. He says the song goes from pain, sorrow and stress to realising that things are never that bad. There are quite a couple of these songs which mix Spoko’s signature bacardi house style with Andre’s wailing guitars. I’ve been in contact with JOSIAHWISE for the past couple of years, he hit me up on Facebook about collaborating. It took me a while to listen to the link he sent, when I finally did I was blown away. I’ve still never met him. He’s one of the greatest songwriters I’ve had the privilege of working with. He has a very unique way with words, and great vocal style and technique. I like that his writing is personal but esoteric, so there are always layers to peel away at.

Shesha Spaan (Hell Yeah)

While working in Ross McDonald’s studio trying to mix the songs…we were on a break and I heard Ross kind of singing to himself. I knew him as a trombonist, but no idea he was such a great singer. I asked him to jump on this semi-completed song that we were toying with in rehearsals. It’s kind of an anti-turnup turnup song. About how miff and morbid partying can get. Bheki’s got this weird thing where he insists that he’s a world champion at impersonating different animals, so “Shesha Spaan” also features him doing a meercat.


Fafi or Mchina as it’s also known is a kind of gambling/numbers racket that’s common in South Africa. A lot of the numbers system is a bit mystical in the sense that people’s dreams end up representing different numbers and possibly big wins. I always imagine us in a vast desert with this one, I think it’s one of our most interesting pieces. What originally started out as a grime beat I was working on took on a whole other turn as our various influences came together. From maskandi to northern African desert rock, Congolese guitar runs, synth jams, to four to the floor stompers.

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