Over our many years of supporting Chee, few new words remain to describe his incredibly unique style that ceaselessly pushes the boundaries of bass music. Watching him grow from an underground force into a festival favourite has been an exciting journey as the South African artist has been grinding for years, staying true to his roots and earning every accolade that comes his way. Recently, Chee released another four-track collection via Deadbeats titled the Polarities EP, where he showcased his ever-evolving production mastery and ability to weave spine-chilling melodies through sinister soundscapes.
Shortly after the release, we had the extreme pleasure of catching up with Chee to chat about the project, his recent shows, his relationship with Jon Casey, and more. We have also been blessed with an enthralling mix of largely-Chee originals which, in his words, may never see the light of day. An exclusive mix and a detailed interview – there is no better pairing. Dive in below.
Welcome, Chee! Been wanting to connect with you for a long time and super stoked to finally make that happen. First, tell us about the mix. Is this mix a “typical Chee live set” (if that even exists) or is this more of a unique selection of tracks?
A bit of both. It’s a 50/50 split, released and unreleased music from myself & collaborations with friends. Most of which might never see the light of day so I figured I’d throw ’em on it so they exist on the internet.. oh and some cheeky It Hz material.
On the note of a Chee live set, you recently went b2b with the legend Coki. I can’t imagine that being like any show you’ve ever played. What was your relationship with Coki prior to that night and how has it changed since?
I’m still in awe that we did that… in a f$@! cave. We both did a co-headline show in downtown Los Angeles not long after I had moved and briefly kicked it. The idea for the b2b was brought to my attention by Jay Rogovin (co-founder of Kompass) at which I wasted no time saying “RUN IT” and the rest is history. Have so much love for Coki, hopefully we can run it up on a track soon.
I think this is one of the few bodies of work I’ve done that make sense together.
Selfish question, but what would it take to get you to play in Toronto? Still dying to see you live.
I would LOVE to play in Toronto. Hit up ya local promoters and let’s make it happen!
Congrats on your latest Polarities EP, every tune is incredible and really ties the project together. How did the project come to fruition? Was it a collection of individual tunes that were picked for the EP or was each track created to fit within the confines of the EP from the start?
These songs are all derived from an album I had written during lockdown in 2020 which was roughly 13 tracks that ended up getting scrapped as a whole project. I guess they work together because they were already part of something before so there is a theme with it all. Apart from Eddy Morphine, I think this is one of the few bodies of work I’ve done that… make sense together.
Is there a specific meaning behind the name of the project?
Yeah, partially personal but sonically I feel the EP visits both corners of the kind of music I write. Even though they are bangers, the melodic & atmospheric elements that creep in from time to time helps it not be one-sided. I would’ve liked to have some even chiller songs in here but as a body of work it wouldn’t have made sense. There’s definitely an inner conflict I’ve been dealing with creatively on whether I should punish the mix and destroy everything or let things breathe and have emotion. So it’s a creative compromise on both ends.
I really enjoy when artists incorporate/pay homage to their earlier work with a new twist.
I can’t help but notice some elements from Read Once Then Destroy throughout the project, and specifically in ‘Spangled.’ Did you purposefully include some of your earlier influences in Polarities?
Good ear! ROTD was personally my favourite body of work I made before this. I really enjoy when artists incorporate/pay homage to their earlier work with a new twist. A head nod of appreciation for how they got here. In some ways it’s a blend of ROTD and Paralysis Analysis but.. bedazzled with ear candy.
As a long-time supporter of your works, it has been a pleasure watching you evolve from an underground talent into a household favourite. What have been some key moments in your journey that you think are critical to where you are now?
The internet (lol). I’m not even trying to sound sarcastic but the thought of putting my beats out on SoundCloud for strangers to listen, enjoy and share enough that it has brought me the opportunities I have had the pleasure of experiencing (traveling the world, collaborating with my favorite artists and playing large scale events) baffles the hell out of me. On the creative side, not much has changed. I switch up my flow almost entirely nearly every year because I get bored really quickly. Hence why I also do art. I’ve now been getting into the modular world and building my own plugins which has been fun.. would love to learn 3D animation/sculpting and possibly TouchDesigner in the near future… idk. So many avenues :oooo
Absolutely adore everything you do with Jon Casey and the It Hz project as well. Can you talk a bit about your relationship with Jon and how you’ve supported each other since moving from South Africa?
Jon and I have known each other now for over 13 years and I would say he is my closest friend and now collaborator. I mean, we found electronic music together in high school (2010) after writing an exam and from that minute we were hooked. The It Hz project was birthed around late 2015 – early 2016 and we released our first EP for free during Christmas week. Our rollout was chaotic because we had announced a date… without any music. And so the days leading up to us putting up (on Dropbox for free) we started and finished each song the day before uploading on SoundCloud and somehow got 4 out of 6 tracks featured on Noisia radio?? Pretty nutty. Fast forward to 2022, we start getting offers for shows out of nowhere which prompted us to go “damn… I guess we running this up” hahaha. Also, I don’t know if people can see but we tag each other in a fair amount of unhinged memes.
You’ve played a few shows together in recent months. I know you’ve both just released individual projects, but any joint releases planned?
We are definitely sitting on a lot of new material that have been laced in our individual and joint sets. Things are coming, new music is definitely on the horizon 😉
Any last words for the audience?
Halloumi cheese has a high melting point of 140 degrees Fahrenheit… also go peep new EP titled Polarities on Deadbeats <3>
Chee – The Wisp Song
Chee x Black Carl! – ID
Chee x Moore Kismet – ID
Chee – Spangled
Chee – Once
Chee – Destroy
Flowdan – Welcome To London (Chee Bootleg)
Chee x Fly – ID
Beaver Fever x It Hz – ID
It Hz – ID
Chee – Vultures (It Hz edit)
It Hz – ID
Chee – Act Like You Know
Chee – Rusty Nickels