South Africa

‘Music can be found in anything,’ says The Kiffness

David Scott’s journey as a musician has been unconventional, coming from a private school education and almost ending up in a suit or a white doctor’s coat. However, he believes that schools should not define a person, and there is more to an individual than where they were educated.

Scott, known by his stage name The Kiffness, says he is grateful for his education but believes that music was his destiny, regardless of where he went to school.

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The Kiffness’ music style

The Kiffness’ music is often compared to painting musical landscapes, using unconventional sounds to create his unique style.

“It is a lot like painting. You need to know what colours you want to use in order to get the picture you want. If you mix too many colours, you end up with a messy brown. The same goes for sound. It’s better to keep things simple to avoid too many sounds mixing. I think I like using random sounds to create music to show that music can be found in anything. The same way a good painter would be able to create art from seemingly mundane objects,” he explained.

And music was his destiny despite initially embarking on a journey of convention.

“I feel that music was my destiny. I even studied medicine for half a year after school, but decided to drop out as I found I had no time for music. That’s when I realised music was not just a hobby, but something I needed to do,” says Scott.

His music is inspired by his fans quite often, who send him videos to remix. Scott believes inspiration can come from anywhere and that music can be found in anything.

“Every now and then I see something that sparks an idea. I’m not entirely sure where the idea comes from, but once it’s there, it’s just a matter of trusting my intuition and seeing what happens. Sometimes the song flops, but sometimes it turns out great. Sometimes I even surprise myself, and that’s always a good place to be. As long as I enjoy the creative process, then generally my audience enjoys watching the video too.”

Music and video go hand in hand

And music is not his only expression. The accompanying videos form part and parcel of his creative output, as a whole. 

The Kiffness said his videos, often simply shot on a cellphone, complements his music.

“What I’m trying to achieve with the visual is to drop as much smoke and mirrors and create something that is completely authentic. I try my best to show the viewer what instrument I’m looping so that they get a sense of how a track is built, and that’s the basic premise,” he explained.

His famous Neighbour’s Cat track and video evidences this in bucket-loads.

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Collaboration with Converse

The Kiffness recently collaborated with sneaker brand Converse in its All Stars project where he mentored young and aspiring musicians. 

The All Stars workshop created a song from scratch, with each member contributing to the process. The Kiffness showed the young artists his creative process and shared his journey as a musician. The All Stars then got to join him on tour in Germany, which gave them first-hand experience of touring life.

“It began by getting to know the All Stars and to figure out what they do and what they’re interested in. We agreed to work on a video of a musical parrot, and each All Star got involved in the process. It was a lot of fun.“

He said it was an honour to share his knowledge with the young artists. He noted that mentoring is essential in helping young people find their footing in the creative industry.

“I’m glad I’m in a position to give back. I know how valuable it was having mentors when I was finding my feet,” Scott said.

The Kiffness has a history with Converse. A dozen years ago he entered the brand’s “Get Out of the Garage” competition and came third. One of the judges worked at a record label and eventually signed the song he entered into the competition. 

He believes that collaboration between established and emerging artists is important for the growth of the industry.

But there are several challenges that young artists face, although they can be overcome. He mentioned load shedding, high data costs, and access to music production software as the biggest obstacles. But, he said, technology has come a long way, and producing music has become more affordable. Scott says all an artist really needs is a phone, laptop, and headphones to create the next big hit.

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