It is not every day or every Monday that one is asked to meet up with Tumi Molekane also known as Tumi (from Tumi and the Volume). I must say I was much excited and nervous about meeting Tumi. Nervous in a way that it has been a while since I’ve interviewed anyone.
It was one of those sunny but windy Cape Town winter days, which will put skinny people like me off balance and looking for a pole to hold on to. Hahaha! I guess it was all worth with it.
We did not waste no time with formalities and went straight into talking about Tumi’s latest offering the Return of the King, which he released as a surprised album on the 16th of June 2015. And it is safe to say that the King has returned. This is how our chat went:
Tell me about the Return Of The King?
It became apparent very clear that it was going to be an important album for me, as I have left the band (Tumi and the Volume) two years ago, but still released some music in conjunction with it. This album was to mark almost a start for me and it was clear that this is going to be important for me, for the people who were sour that the Tumi and the Volume was breaking up, and the people who were excited about what it is I was going to create next.
Why did you choose that title for this album?
I wish it did not have the connotation that it clearly has. I almost meant it in the Lord of the Rings terms, where it is about a guy claiming his rightful place and saying look this is who I am and I have a certain legacy and you cannot deny me that. That’s all it is, I’m not saying anyone else is not a king.
How was the process of making this album?
How I wrote the songs for this album, I wrote the titles first and that was before I had any music or song in mind. Then dedicated myself into writing songs based on those titles, I must say it was an interesting process. After that once I started to write and discover the music it became clear what voice and who to feature in each song.
How did you come about choosing the artists you featured?
The features were inspired or dictated by the music, and also just me being a fan.
Why did you make it a surprise album?
Because there were lots of talks within Hip Hop about people going gold, people selling, and people winning awards. I just felt like this conversation are moving away from the music, we talking less about the songs and why the songs are good or bad, and we just talking about the accolades that are associated with the music. I just wanted people to engage with my music and not my marketing plan
You released the album with an open letter titled “We were almost great”, why?
I was feeling away, because it was June 16 and Mandela Day was around the corner I was feeling that as South African we should speak less of how amazing and incredible we are as a nation, but start talking about how to pursue greatness. That’s how I was feeling when I wrote that letter.
After this long time of not releasing, what made you decide to release an album now?
Well it took me three years to make this album. I finished the album a year and half ago, and after listening to it I decided that it was not what I wanted to release and I deleted half of it. After working on it some more and was happy with the final product, that is when I decided it is ready.
Just a month before this album, you released an exclusive mixtape but did not promote it as much. Where you saving the promotion for the album?
Not at all, it was one of those need to know basis. It was a launch of the Singleton’s single malt whiskey and we wanted to do a great conceptual evening surprise, a multi sensual experience.
The single Hello Kitty was suppose to be part of the album, what made you to decide not to include it?
It was one of the song that I deleted. Hahaha! I love the song and it was an important song for me as it was the first song that people heard after the band broke up, and I wanted it to be different from anything that people they have heard from me. However, the song did not fit with the whole album.
What do you hope your fans got out from this album?
Entertainment first and foremost, and all the other stuff that they feel later is an added bonus. I really wanted to make something that people will enjoy
What motivates you to keep going, even after so many years?
The one thing that keeps me going is that “I did not do it right this time”.
What can we expect from Tumi in the four months of 2015?
I am working on some few things: 1. a surprise “thing” that I am working on with someone who’s on the album, the only hint I will give is that it is a HE. 2. I am also working on a documentary that I have made with a friend of mine Vincent Moloi which is scheduled for the next two months. 3. I am currently a judge on the reality TV show, The Hustle on Vuzu Amp, and 4. I am also working on an album with a French band called Chinese Man and that will be launched in November.
One liner for your fans
Do not take my tweets seriously. Hahaha!
Get your copy of Return Of The King on iTunes or at your nearest Musica store.