An Interview with Michael Lesar
Fondly known as Johannesburg’s King of Swing Michael Lesar burst onto the scene as co-founder and resident DJ of the legendary Deep Heet Parteez (2002-2012) which fast became one of the premium events on the Cape Town House Scene, firmly establishing him as a prominent figure within the genre. That led to him play alongside industry legends like Inland Knights (Drop Music) Jimpster, Jake Childs, Harrison Crump and The Littlemen to name a few.
In 2009 he moved to Johannesburg and was soon booked to play the opening set for DJ Fresh & Euphonik (Battle of the DJ’s), playing a back-to-back set with Tiny T inspired the birth of the house act ‘Audio Villains’ (Michael Lesar & Tiny t).
With their unique sound and combined experience of over 2 decades in the industry, Audio Villains literally exploded onto the scene and quickly climbed the ranks securing gigs at top quality events and clubs all over Johannesburg, opening for top local acts like Goldfish, Goodluck, Flash Republic, DJ Fresh, Roger Goode, etc etc etc. They also featured at events with International acts like Paul Oakenfold, DJ Craze, Jay West, Da Sunlounge and DJ Camoflauge to name a few.
While Audio Villains were rocking the house scene, Mike developed the brand “Michael Lesar’ as to share his other eclectic taste of music. This exposed him to parties across musical genres, which led to him playing at festivals and events such as Origin (Cape Town), Earthdance (Cape Town), Vortex, Mieliepop festival, Park Acoustics, H20, Fucha Gatherings, Mozamboogy, Balkanology, One Fest, Thornfest, Obs Festival (Cape Town), Tswaing Crater Gathering, Cherry Festival, Sowing the Seeds Festival, Holi One Color Festival – a highlight in Mikes career playing to a crowd of over 18 000.
He’s a regular name in Mozambique, has rocked dance floors in London (2008), Dubai (Media One Hotel House of Afrika), Koh Phangan Island in Thailand (The Jungle Experience Sonkran New Year’s festival and the electronic lounge), Portugal Tour (Summer July / August 2015) as support act to the legendary Napalma band, Bahrain (2016).
Mike has hosted many successful events through his label Tyte Productions crossing genres such as House, Hip hop & Rnb, Psy Trance, 70s disco, drum & bass, dubstep and is currently Host and resident DJ of the very popular monthly Swing event “Lets Swing It”.
I recently had a chat to Michael Lesar about the upcoming Lets Swing It event at Carfax in Newtown and a few other things. This is what he had to say…
What can music fans expect from the upcoming Lets Swing It event at Carfax?
It’s going to be a real treat for music fans with an awesome build up and variety of vintage music but focusing on the Swing of course. We kick the day of with some easy listening Swing from our much loved resident d.j Lil Bow, she will setting the mood for Greg Georgiades on Ukulele and me on decks.
By that time the floor should be nicely warmed up for a first time Lets Swing It appearance by The Swing Party Band and wow are we in for a treat this 5 piece band is absolutely amazing with a Gypsy Swing sound second to none! My band the Full Swing 4 piece Band is up next with our Electro Swing magic.
And then it’s over to 2 Cape Town legends in the South African music industry, Mix & Blend and also a first time appearance at Lets Swing It with a special blend of Swing music like you have never heard before and finally our Danny K – confirmed A-list celebrity from Cape Town, The Kiffness (with a more broader selection of music and not focusing entirely on Swing music).
This will also be our cross over set and the final act on the main stage which kicks the 2nd floor into action and focusing more on the 50s Rockabilly, 60s Boogaloo, with a 50s Rock n roll type of sound.
What are your thoughts about the current state of the Swing genre in SA?
Well, there’s bands all over South Africa that’s been playing Swing music for many years on the Jazz scene but its only since the birth of Electro Swing a few years ago that young people started taking notice of the sound. It’s become quite popular since then and growing all the time but still not a mainstream sound which is cool.
I think Cape Town has a bigger following than Joburg with a few Swing bands popping up but i have to say I’m very happy with the way things are going.
What is your favorite quote about music?
“One good thing about music – when it hits you, you feel no pain.” Bob Marley
What do the letters S.W.I.N.G stand for?
Smile With Intention, Never Give-Up
You’ve collaborated with Greg from The Ultra Natives, which other SA artists would you love to collaborate with?
GoldFish, James Copeland, Goodluck, Mix and Blend
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Lesar for this interview. I wish all of the best with his future musical endeavors.
Tickets for next weekend’s Lets Swing It Family Picnic will cost R200 at the door, but general pre-sold tickets cost R160 (once the Earlybird tickets have sold out) on QUICKET. If you want to swing it, get yours NOW!
Get an idea of Michael Lesar’s sound, have a listen to his Swing Ultimix below:
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music category on Running Wolf’s Rant.