MINI+VICE "All the Wrong Places": Taxi Hit Squad

Uploaded by vice on Dec 2, 2011


ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: We're here in Soweto at one of the many
taxi ranks that dot the landscape.
That's because they're the most popular form of
transportation in the townships because most people
don't have the money to buy a vehicle themselves.
And it gives them accessibility to places all
over Johannesburg.
The taxi drivers themselves have played a key and evolving
role in shaping the music scene here in Soweto.
But joining me for this mission is Krishna.
Krishna is from Brooklyn.
How ya doing?
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Hey, doing great, how about you?
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: I'm doing really well, thanks.
So we're going to go now and find out a little bit more
about how these guys actually fit into the music scene.
So tell me, what is Krishna?
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Well, I'm a writer and an editor for an
online-only magazine that's about death and dying.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: An online magazine
about death and dying?
How big is your audience?
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Well, they're all dying, so they
don't even count.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: We don't even know, we
can't even keep track.
So what do you know about the music scene in Johannesburg.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: It was born out of the townships and at
the end of apartheid.
So we're talking about '93, '94.
The music that sprung up
instantaneously was called kwaito.
So to get the music to the people, and to get these
people hearing this new kwaito music, the artists found the
best way of doing it was by using taxi drivers.
So the artists would give their demos to the taxi
drivers to play in their taxis.
And that's how these musicians and kwaito stars broke into
the bigtime in the '90s, was via taxi drivers.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: That's amazing.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: So rather than me going on and on about
my definition of kwaito, do you actually
want to hear some?
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Yeah, absolutely.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: OK, hang on, let me sync up.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: So this is kwaito.
And this is one of the biggest stars in kwaito.
This guy's called Brickz.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: What do think?
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: I think it's awesome.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: Well, we are actually on our way now to go
and meet Brickz.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Man, that's exciting.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: A star of the music.
So we're on our way now.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: Brickz, first off, awesome
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Yeah, that was amazing.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: You put a whole lot of energy into that.
BRICKZ: Thanks guys, thanks guys.
I try to make sure that I bring personal
experiences in my music.
Things that I've seen.
And everything that's happens in the streets.
It's more like hip-hop.
People who listen to kwaito, they are mostly people who
understand ghetto life.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: And am I right in thinking that taxi
drivers were the way that everyone got their music out
to the people?
BRICKZ: Yes, because most taxi drivers, they
come from the township.
And taxi drivers know how to pump a song.
And each and every one who goes in and out the taxi gets
to hear your song, which is good.
When someone gets out of the car, he wants to go
and buy that CD.
And that's what you want.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Could you teach us that Mandela dance
before we go?
You guys rock, man.
We meet at the taxi ranks.

KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: We're at Bara taxi rank in Soweto.
It's one of the largest taxi stands in the city.

KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Oh, you turn up the music at
1:00 for the kids.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: The kids like it louder.
Yeah, that makes sense.

ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: Are there drivers that people know--
I have to go in his taxi because I know that I'll hear
a great new kwaito artist.
How do you find them?

They can also you hear you coming from blocks away,
probably, right?
So you probably have a big soundsystem.
Can we go inside and have a listen?
MANDLA: What--
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: To the music, yeah.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Yeah, let's do it.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: Let's do this.
It's not your typical cab ride.
OK, so four speakers in the back here.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Yeah, this is good.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: I think you actually have to be in there
to really appreciate the power of the subwoofer sitting in
the back and it reverberating through your entire body.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: It felt great.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: So if you're ever in Soweto and you're
looking for a taxi--
BK Red.
A mundane thing like getting in a cab, anywhere else in the
world, is just that.
But here, it's almost just like you're immersed in a
cultural activity.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: When I was expecting to come here, I
thought, you know, taxi stands in New York are shit holes.
But this is like, it's kind of nice here, and the taxis
themselves are just immaculate.

ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: So what's the music that you
play in your taxi?


KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: So do you think it's an
evolution of the sound?

ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: In America and in Europe, you get into a
taxi, you don't talk to the taxi driver.
You don't want to hear his music.
You turn it down.
And here it's a totally different lifestyle and
acceptance of, you get into it because you want to have a
You want to hear the music.
Do you feel like a music promoter, in that respect?

ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: So we managed to track down this DJ
called DJ Qness.
And he appears to be a bit of an authority on house music
and also the shaping role that the taxi drivers have played
in the house music scene here in Johannesburg.

KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: So now, when you hear your song coming out
of a taxi, you know that you've made it.
It's not your way of making it.
You know that people have already heard your music.

KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Tonight we're meeting [INAUDIBLE]
at a street party of Soweto to check out some local DJs spin
South Africa's biggest house songs.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: So we finally go to the party.
It's completely bangin inside.
We brought [INAUDIBLE] along to check out JKN, which dude,
you're gonna absolutely love him.
Guys, you ready?
Want to go to a party?
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Yeah, let's go.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: What a great trip.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: Thanks so much for coming along.
I've really enjoyed having you along for the ride.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Yeah, we had such a great time.
Such great music.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: Well, like talking about the music.
I mean, like, I think we can agree that while taxi drivers
and the role they played has changed.
They'll always be inextricably linked with music and giving
it to the people here.
KRISHNA ANDAVOLU: Absolutely, and they
bring people together.
The music is irrepressible, so.
ELLIOT BAMBROUGH: To the music, and the night's being
young, and us still being here.