Deep Aztec is the alias of Azakiwe Jezile, a rising South African artist. After moving to Cape Town as a child, he was exposed to a lot of gospel and jazz, and the easiest portal to the latter was the deep house he could easily find online. At the age of 13, he began learning to mix the records he was digging, and it wasn’t long until he was trying to make music too. By the age of 16, he was performing across South Africa alongside pillars of the local community like DJ Mbuso, Culoe De Song, and Black Coffee—and his sets were notable because he’d play with a saxophonist to his side. It was a means of making his music that little bit more interesting, he says.
Within six years, while he was still only in his early 20s, Jezile had become internationally known. The launchpad for this was his homage to a maestro of deep house music with “A Message to Larry Heard,” released on British label Turn Left Recordings. And next month, after a slew of singles and remixes, he’ll release Healing Frequencies, his debut album that captures a journey that has taken him from Berlin’s Watergate to New York’s iconic Nervous Records. Across 12 tracks, he’s tried to capture his diverse musical palette, from smoky, jazz-tinged slow-jams through to the reinterpretations of deep house and disco he makes for the dancefloor.
Recorded in South Africa, Jezile’s EDMjunkies podcast is a celebration of the new album—but beyond that, it’s an homage to pre-pandemic times, when he’d perform at rooftop parties across his home country. To recreate the vibe of one of these events, he’s relied almost exclusively on his own material, much of it unreleased, and there’s also some tracks from the new album. With the hangover of lockdown still dragging on, Deep Aztec’s mix delivers the sort of feel-good, easy-going vibe that we’re all missing, and it’s sure to have you craving for a chilled out summer party that little bit more.
01. What have you been up to recently?
I’ve been working as per usual, handling the album’s admin. I’ve been working with my team and making sure things are going in order. I’ve also been finishing some material for 2022 even though I feel like I have a lot of unreleased music.
02. What is it that draws you into music?
The joy it brings to me whether I’m creating or just listening to it. Music always brightens up my mood. I’d say music is my drug.
03. How has the lockdown period been for you?
It’s been really tough. Losing family members and close family friends to Covid really freaked me out, and so did not being able to do what I do for a living. Apart from that I’ve been making music and keeping a positive attitude. I’ve also had the time to do things I’ve been avoiding doing like finishing my album and also forming a band which I’m really excited about. Above all, having my girlfriend in my corner at all times has made everything a bit better because I have someone to vent to and I’m truly grateful for that.
04. What music have you been listening to?
Lately I’ve been listening to some Emma Jean. I’m really enjoying her music at the moment and also some music from local artists making some really good music.
05. Where and when did you record this mix?
I recorded the mix on Monday, June 7 at my home studio.
06. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included?
It was a bit tough to choose tracks for this mix, especially with all the unreleased music I have on my laptop. I ended up choosing some tracks from my forthcoming debut album, a bunch of unreleased music, and tracks I dig from some of my favourite producers.
07. What can the listener expect?
Nothing but good vibes, of course. This mix is reminiscent of summer, the rooftop open air parties (which I miss dearly).
08. What’s next on your horizon?
There’s no sign of stopping. I still have a lot of music to release, from original work to collaborations. I’m also looking forward to heading to Europe to perform before the year ends.
EDMjunkies has now joined Mixcloud Select, meaning that to hear the podcast offline you will need to subscribe to our Select channel to listen offline, or subscribe to EDMjunkies+ to download the file. The move to Mixcloud Select will ensure that all the producers with music featured in our mixes get paid. You can read more about it here.
Full EDMjunkies+ Members can download the podcast below. If you’re not an EDMjunkies+ member, you can read more about it and subscribe here.
01. Unreleased “Unreleased” (Deep Aztec remix) (Unreleased)
02. Deep Aztec “For Real” (Unreleased)
03. Deep Aztec “Music Brings Me Joy” feat. L Speaks (Mfengu Records)
04. Deep Aztec “Sorry (I Know)” (Mfengu Records)
05. Deep Aztec “Flute Symphony” (Closer To Truth)
06. Deep Aztec “Get Up” (Do Something) (Unreleased)
07. Deep Aztec “Chicago Feels” (Unreleased)
08. Deep Aztec “Funk Sssh Up” (Closer To Truth)
09. Deep Aztec “Wishing For Better Days” (Deep Aztec Re-make) (Unreleased)
10. Deep Aztec “House Revamped” feat. L Speaks (N-You-Up Basement Remix) (Unreleased)
11. Roberto Apodaca & Mike V. “Morning Cigarette” (Duky Remix) (Fourth Kind)
12. Clara Park “Uncertainty” (Glenn Astro Remix) (Space Hardware)