Komishner, aka AWAKEN IN, is one artist who is just like these lyrics by fellow rapper/producer Classified (Canada), in that they stay “building instrumentals and kill them with brilliant rhymes”. When one looks at Komishner/AWAKEN IN – he operates in duality and for that reason; the meanings of his names signify a balancing out as an artist.
Known for executively producing Master Chef Toast’s Home Made projects and contributing on A Taste Of Maturity, Komishner also happens to be from Ga-Mphahlele in Limpopo, the same ‘hood’ where Master Chef Toast and Ampli-Fire DaCheff are both from. Since releasing his latest project entitled #2016Bars, we have gotten more familiar with his rapping side. 2016 is the year he is officially coming out and announcing himself on the scene.
Komishner afforded Lavatory Records an exclusive interview as he has decided to finally put himself at the forefront, stepping away from the shadows. We quizzed him about his dual pseudonyms, his passion for rapping versus producing, working with Master Chef Toast, the local content policy by the South African public broadcaster and other things.
Lavatory Records: Firstly off the top, who is Komishner (AWAKEN IN) and what are the reasons behind the names?
Komishner/AWAKEN IN: Komishner is a name that came to me when I was still in high school. I liked to battle a lot when I began rapping and my approach to rap was kind of fierce and aggressive. I chose it because related well with the “battle cat” I was back then.
AWAKEN IN came to me after completing my grade 12. Brain Storm invited me to his neighbourhood so I could meet another brother who could spit and make beats. The brothers showed me how to use the software and I made beats all night… in fact I made my first beats in Seshego.
The next day we had a cypher and then it hit me! I realised that we could actually produce our own music, only if we wake up the creative capabilities in us. For me it was a life changing moment and that’s when the name AWAKEN IN came to me. I have been AWAKEN IN ever since.
Emceeing came first for me. I started to emcee back in high school with four friends of mine. We used to give each other beat boxes and spit freestyles during class, after school and
in the morning before class.
After completing high school, I wanted to do some recordings but there was nobody there to record us. So, I bought a computer and learned how to produce. I have also invested in a microphone and started recording…ever since then I’ve been passionate about production.
LR: Describe your sound and tell us which artists/producers inspire you and your sound?
K/AI: My sound is a combination of boom-bap, rock and roll, jazz, heavy metal, soul, funk, blues, orchestra, reggae, progressive rock, psychedelic rock and neo soul music, psychedelic blues, psychedelic rock.
Artists that inspire me the most are Nina Simone, Minnie Ripperton, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Louie Armstrong, Fela kuti, Peter Tosh, James Brown, Jimi hendrix, Sam Cooke, Ludwig van Beethoven, Herold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Bobby Blue Bland, Gap Mangione, Les Mccan, Al Green, Billy Paul, Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, Millie Jackson, Syl Johnson, David Porter, William Bell, Raphael Saadiq, Bilal, Pete Rock, DJ Premier, J Dilla, Master Chef Toast, Thee Exorcist, Brain Storm and B.C.
LR: You are the executive producer of Master Chef Toast’s projects. Can you talk us through that experience and what it’s like to work with him?
K/AI: Master Chef Toast is a remarkably talented lyricist.
He has complete creative control over his music. It was always awesome working with him. I would make beats, give them to him and he would pick the ones he wanted to use.
He is really an amazing artist, he can take any beat I have made and turn it into a dope song. He allows me to be creative with the beats and he has 100% freedom to rap what he wants on them. Working with Chef was truly great.
LR: If there’s any artist or producer in the world right now, whom you’d like to collaborate with, who would it be and why?
I would like to work with with DJ Premier. First of all he is a living legend and his music is always extraordinarily authentic to me.
LR: Your latest project is titled #2016Bars, how did it come about and what’s it all about?
K/AI: 2016Bars is a free project. It came to me late last year during the festive seasons. I wanted to drop some bars for 2016. initially I wanted to record 20 – 16 bars and just get them out there. In the midst of the project some of my brothers wanted to be a part of it, so I have added a couple of features.
The project is all about displaying the ability to write sixteen bars and honestly express myself musically. It’s just a reflection of my thoughts at the moment.
LR: What would you say are the best and worst moments you’ve experienced so far in your career?
K/AI: The worst moment in my career was when my computer crashed and I didn’t have back up for my projects.
The best moment was when I bought my first condenser microphone. Now my recordings are proper and I can make some money through recording other people.
LR: What’s your take on the current SABC campaign to have 90% South African music on their radio stations?
K/AI: The campaign is a good move for local artists because they will obviously be heard all over the country. They will also get royalties while they are at it. It’s really a good move. Shout out to the SABC for that move.
LR: Do you have any projects you’re working for the future that people can look out for?
K/AI: I am currently working on an EP, which I am going to release it later this year. I am also working on an album which will be out in the near future.
LR: Are there any special mentions you want to shout out?
K/AI: I would like to shout out my family, Master Chef Toast, Thee Exorcist, Brain Storm, O.G, B.C, President Teezy, Staggeti, Kay-Tee, De Mess and all the musicians in my neighbourhood. Peace!