What started out as an ordinary friendship between Jonathan ‘Ziyon’ Christian and Thabo ‘Ryzor’ Shokgolo has evolved into much more than that, giving birth to the house music duo, Liquideep.
American born Ziyon, who is a musician and producer, moved to South Africa in 2000 and found himself really turned on by the house music culture. Around this time, he met Alexandra boy, Ryzor through a mutual friend. The meeting was a timely one as, Ryzor was a DJ and Ziyon was interested in learning how to DJ. Since Ryzor wanted to learn how to produce music, the two decided to exchange skills, with Ziyon teaching Ryzor music production and Ryzor teaching Ziyon to DJ.
The duo became close friends and started making music as a team. With all the connections Ryzor had in the DJing cycle, they hooked up with 2lani The Warrior, who, at the time, was establishing independent label, BassBreaks & Beats Records with Sakhile Mzizi. “We decided to play 2lani some of the tracks we were doing. When he heard them, he was blown away and we ended up signing a deal,” says Ziyon. BassBreaks & Beats Records started punting some of their songs to radio and it was not long before one of their early compositions, ‘Be Free’ started getting airplay.
In spite of the numerous songs the duo had in different albums, most people weren’t familiar with who they were.
It was only last year (2009), when Ziyon split with someone he truly cared for and expressed his feeling through his music. “I am not really good in expressing myself conversationally. I can either do it in writing or in a song. When I made the song, I had just come out of a relationship and there was a lady I really cared for. What I wanted to tell her conversationally, I had to put in a song and that’s where ‘Fairytale’ comes from.”
The song has indeed captured many music lovers’ attention across the country and hasn’t lost the momentum since it was released.
One way to test the longevity of audiences appreciation of the song, is to play it at a gig and see how the crowd reacts. “What people don’t understand is, before we got to release the project in House Afrika Sessions, we went to many places and tested our songs,” says Ziyon. He adds that the duo prefer taking their music to the people before including it in an album, as playing their music to a crowd is where they get an honest opinion.
Commenting on how the duo construct a song, Ziyon says that how he puts a song together is based on what he hears in the mind. “I’ll either be riding my car or in the shower and suddenly there is a download of a song in my mind and its not just elements, but the whole song.” Ziyon says that by the time he hits the studio, he knows exactly how he will lay down the song.
Speaking on the success of ‘Fairytale’, he said that, even though they never expected the song to be so big, when the song was sealed, the duo was happy with it. For Ziyon, in every song he jots, he makes sure that he sits down and tries to find a proper melody for it. “My dad always says I have a unique ability to find a melody and make it stick. There are songs I made when I was a like fourteen and my dad still remembers them because of the melodies in them.” The lyricist says he takes a lot of time to find a melody that will stick in somebody’s mind and tries to fit the correct words with the song.
As for the duo’s future plans, Ziyon reveals that Liquideep is comprised of two proper musicians and are in the process of putting together a full live band for their stage performances. “We are also going to drop Liqudeep solo project around June and also establish our own label, he concludes.