Thulani Ntuli better known as 2lani The Warrior takes some time out from a busy schedule to have a chat with The Lost and Found.
The Johannesburg based DJ and Do It Now Recordings CEO has gained a reputation for well-crafted DJ sets and his ever increasing, loyal, following and standing within the music industry, has seen him featured alongside many prominent international artists.
Constantly in demand for high profile events and club nights countrywide, his DJ’ing prowess has led to tours as far afield as Switzerland.
His playing style, following and popularity have resulted in the release of many notable CD compilations. With a signature sound so popular that his ‘First Class House Volume 2’ compilation completely sold out during the first day of its release.
2lani has played an integral role in the growth and distinction of Retro Music. Subsequently moving to Sheer/Soulcandi where he developed his A&R and marketing skills and then on to Bass Breaks and Beats Records where he helped showcase some of South Africa’s leading deep house producers to the world. He’s successfully collaborated with House Afrika Records to produce South Africa’s first home brewed 4CD deep house album, which has sold over 20000 copies to date. He currently aims to make Do It Now Recordings the record label of choice locally and internationally.
Finding time between running a record label, DJ’ing and setting up a record store…Thulani answered a few questions and provided a special 1 hour mix for our first podcast.
Welcome to The Lost and Found
Thank you for having me.
Tell us how your journey into sound began
It all started with Jazz… When I was growing up, Jazz was the genre that found me. I would get lost in it for hours and hours. Since then, many other genres have interested me and the journey eventually led me to deep house.
I would mess around with my uncle’s jazz tracks, mixing them and having fun and after that, it just stuck. Now DJ’ing, for me, is like food. I cannot live without it! That need and my passion is what made me follow a career in music.
You started out working at Retro Music and subsequently moved to Sheer/Soulcandi. What prompted the move?
Retro Music was a record shop that I worked at, selling vinyl. It’s where I developed my skill and learnt how to run a record label, invaluable experience. My move to Sheer/Soulcandi was as a result of the shift to digital music within the industry. It’s funny how life works though… I am now moving back to vinyl.
You have an interesting moniker ‘2lani The Warrior’ – how did you decide on the name?
Shoh! There is a long version and a short version… The long version: I used to play at YFM and I needed a nametag for introductions. Rude Boy Paul introduced me as “the Warrior” on one of his shows and it stuck. I have never looked back. The short version: People believe I am a warrior behind the decks…
How would you describe your sound or signature style?
Music to me has never been about which label is cool, which song is big or what people currently like. It’s about pushing the boundaries, taking people on a journey and educating them with fun. I therefore, bring beats and sounds that are unusual, extraordinary, entertaining and crowd-pleasing at the same time. The tracks I select each have their own unique sound and complexities, making them party favourites.
How did DO IT NOW Recordings come about?
I came to a point in my life where I wanted to stand on my own, see how far I can go with my passion for underground music and identify local talent. The rest is history…
Give us your opinion on the vinyl vs digital debate
I personally prefer vinyl. Digital allows followers to access the music easily but it does not ensure that artists and producers receive their deserved financial rewards. Vinyl is also the original, true form of musical expression.
Why do South Africans love House Music?
I think it’s because House Music moves South Africans in a way that no other genre does. House Music has no prejudice, sees no race and no colour… It unites, it accepts, it brings joy… No matter what happens in life, there is always a track that will move us within and make us complete. Always.
What have been the key ingredients to your success?
Being humble. Success cannot be achieved and maintained without hard work and perseverance. Being grateful for the opportunities you are given and what you have achieved every day. This will ensure that you remain focused and find the joy in every little thing you do.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or DJ’s?
Education is key. Know your labels, know your artists, buy music magazines and books, stay updated and stick to your sound. Being true to yourself and following your heart will never be a mistake.
What are your career highlights, thus far?
Every moment has been memorable. I am living my passion, every minute of every day of my life… Not one moment should be forgotten.
What does the future hold for Thulani?
Expanding my record label to other genres of music.
Thank you for taking some time out to speak with us and for providing a brilliant mix for our first podcast.