Artist Spotlight returns with an interview with yet another African artist making waves in the New Zealand music scene. Triplelan has been making waves for a couple of years with his unique afrobeat/afropop sound. With an ear for catch melodies, and an excellently produced sound, the Uganda raised Congolese artist is a breath of fresh air in the New Zealand musical landscape.
Max Shotta – For those who don’t know you, please give a brief introduction to Triplelan.
Triplelan – My name is Triplelan, born in the Democratic Republic Of Congo and raised in Kampala Uganda. I left Congo at the age of 12 lived in Uganda for Ten years before I came to New Zealand and I have been here for almost 10 years.
MS – You have a refined Afrobeat/Afropop sound, what drew you to making afrobeat in particular? Who are you biggest influences in the genre?
Triplelan – Thanks for that- great question.
Yes I do. The reason being the various musical influences I’ve had over the years and the unique sound I want my fans (the world) to know me for.
Since I was a kid I have always been doing some sort of afro style, for example, I started in a choir then moved up and joined an all male group then from there I gained the inner confidence as an artist. Within all that time spent in the group /band; we were doing almost all african style, such as Congolese style of which you have Rumba, Seben, Zouk and so on.
I can’t say that there is one particular influence in my music.There are a few artists that I am drawn to; In Congo there is Ferre Gola, who for me knows how to incorporate the Roumba style and make is come to life. Then there is Fally Ipupa who seems to know the sound that’s more accepted overseas, other than just Congo. Then you have someone like Jose Chameleon from Uganda who has changed Ugandan music. This guy was very smart when it came to composition. He incorporated various musical styles from other countries and made them his own and it worked. There is also Radio, also known as Moses (he recently past away). This guy was the game changer of Ugandan music. He knew how to create something new from something old and it worked for him and his legacy will live on forever. Each of these artists, although some may come from the same place, have unique styles.
MS – Being an African born artist, making music that is distinctly African, what are some of the challenges you have faced in the New Zealand music industry?
Triplelan – Well it is very obvious. None of the African artists, making african music have made it in the New Zealand music industry as of yet. However this shouldn’t discourage us from working hard because we know one day we will make it there, it’s just a matter of time. African music is slowly becoming popular and more people have started recognizing the sound. Look at the Islanders, they love Afrobeat music like crazy. My greatest challenge is finding platforms that will embrace the genre and promote it.
MS – Most of your music has a live feel to it, i.e. it sounds like you incorporate a lot of live instruments in your recorded music. Is this something that’s important to you? If so, what is it about live instrumentation that makes you go for that sound?
Triplelan – Yes most of my music has some sort of live sound to it. I have been in a band for a long time so the only thing I took with me was that sound.
Again, I believe in live music more than anything else in music. That live sound you hear is simply a representation of who I am in music. Most congolese music is mainly live recordings. It’s only natural that I follow that path.
MS – The first thing that drew me to your music was your live set. You were playing with your band and you guys ripped the stage with a high energy performance. How important is the live experience to you? What kind of effort goes into preparing each set?
Triplelan – Thanks for the compliment. Live performance is all I knew throughout my music career, so I lived it and breathed it all my life so it has become part of my performances. I usually say, once you have experienced a live music performance you get addicted to it. For example, playback is like I am missing something and I am not usually comfortable because I am not in my comfort zone.
In terms of preparing for each set, because I have gone too far into live music, it doesn’t take me much time to prepare. The band already knows most sets and the arrangements so it doesn’t take much time.
MS – Your visuals are always top notch. How much effort goes into each music video you release? How involved are you in the process of creating your visuals?
Triplelan – The effort that goes into making each video is hard to explain. You really have to be there to understand the real work that goes into it. I am the director, producer, editor and colourist for all my music videos (and at times I’ll even be the cameraman). I like to visualise everything first before I start all my projects. If I don’t believe in the visual concept of the song, I don’t do it. I like getting into the process knowing exactly what I’m doing. However, in saying that, most of the time I get more and more inspired while I am in the shooting process and as a result, the initial vision may be altered / enhanced.
In addition to this, I have got a Degree in Film and Television and a Diploma in Photography so this knowledge helps when it comes to the technical side of things.
MS – Since releasing the album “Now or Never” in 2016, which is a very impressive project, do you have any new projects lined up in the near future? If so, what can we expect to hear from you?
Triplelan – Thank you.
At the moment I’m focusing more on releasing singles. I want to explore different elements of my sound. The goal is to work with different producers, do more featurings and expand my range within Afrobeat music. I am also wanting to drop a single (along with the visual) every two to three months. I want to enjoy the process, take my time before releasing another album and really have control over my art.
MS – We’ve collaborated on a couple of songs, including Okedeo which we released last year with some success. What’s your approach when collaborating with other artists? How do decided which artists to work with? Are there any artists you hope to collaborate with in the future?
Triplelan – Yes we did and that was amazing and a good experience. As most wouldn’t know, that song was done in a way that only you and I can understand. Thanks to the almighty, it was a success. Just to let everyone know, we still have more songs together, hopefully they get to hear them in the near future.
Collaborating with other artists all depends on how I feel at that time. You have to have a vibe with the other artist first. Or else one will always hear the disconnect within the song. Yes there are many artist I hope to collaborate with in the future. As for now I will leave it as a surprise for my fans.
MS – You seem to have established yourself quite well on the New Zealand, do you have any plans to bring your sound across the ditch? If so, when can your Australian fans expect to see on these ends?
Triplelan – I think I still have a lot of work to do within New Zealand. As for Australia, apart from the couple of shows I’ve done in Perth, I am yet to bring my music through.
MS – What can the fans expect from Triplelan in the immediate and distant future?
Triplelan – My fans are everything to me. I’ll go the extra mile for my fans. I can promise that the new music that is coming in the near future is going to be a game changer. I am working on improving and being more diverse with my sound. Like I said before, I want to experiment with my range so expect to hear from me every couple of months.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all my fan from all around the world, I am very appreciative for all the love and support. Continue to support me and I wont disappoint you.
Check out Triplelan’s music: