Unforeseen Departure: Kamohelo Khoaripe and Magnus Larsson on the life-changing events that influenced their new EP
Breaking News, which is set for release on 4th Feb, tells the story of Off The Meds frontman Kamo’s sudden departure from his home of Sweden due to visa issues.
Teaming up with Magnus for the production, who he’d previously jammed with whilst living in Stockholm, the pair set about finding a way to channel Kamo’s experiences of leaving behind his entire life through lyrics and music.
Magnus created a foundation for Kamo to show off his more personal side, and the results are three lush house tracks brimming with uplifting synth lines and dreamy pads.
It’s not all bad though, Kamo’s been adjusting to his new life in Johannesburg and finding joy in his surroundings, some of which has been captured by Kamo and turned into the visual for the release by the project’s creative director Tobias Sedlacek.
In anticipation of the release, we spoke to the pair about the effect of Kamo’s departure, how they fed this into the release and what they have in store in the future.
Tell us a bit about how the collaboration came about. Where did you first meet and what motivated you to start working on music together?
Kamo: I met Magnus in the North of Sweden, through Tobias Sedlacek. I had a gig with a friend at a club called Rex. Tobias booked us there and Magnus was working at the club. How we started creating music? We went back to Magnus’ for a lil after party and he had a studio set up in his apartment and boom we started recording music.
Magnus: I met Kamo when he and Filip (Jelly Crystal) were booked for a gig at the club I was working at in Umeå. We hung out for a few days and then one night, after working at the club, we headed back to my place and recorded some tunes. I was a big fan of off the meds so I was really excited about working with Kamo.
Kamo’s departure obviously impacted not only the collaborative process but also led to the contextualisation of the music. Can you talk us through the inspirations and story behind this EP?
Kamo: Yeah the departure impacted the music positively, I rate. After I left, Magnus and I worked on a few songs and we decided to get an EP going. And basically the story/inspiration came from my life experience at that time. ‘Shut up’ was inspired by relationships with a friend, a partner/colleague when you don’t fully agree with one another’s feelings or decisions. ‘Current Event’: everything that was happening around me at the time, it was a lot of life changing events and problems, such as the pandemic. ‘Have You Heard’ – that came from the question I was asked by people, “hey Kamo, sorry we’ve heard that you had to leave Sweden”.
Magnus: For me the most important thing was to create a soundtrack to the stories Kamo was telling. We recorded almost all the vocals in one night over some demos and then I spent some time working out the instrumentals around the vocals. To be honest we haven’t really spoken too much about the subject matters between us. For me it has all been about imagining myself in the situations and scenarios Kamo is telling us about and figuring out what these situations sound like.
How did the departure affect you both? There must have been a degree of anger and frustration involved?
Kamo: I was mad that I was leaving my loved ones, my career, my home basically. But at the end it kinda opened up a world that I haven’t been around for so long and I think it was meant to happen? And since then a lot of things have been going nice and smoothly, music wise and in terms of my well-being.
Magnus: I was really shocked and angry about the whole situation when I heard about it. It didn’t seem to make any sense. It still doesn’t. Most of all I felt very sorry for Kamo.
What were your initial thoughts and feelings when you found out you’d have to leave the country?
Kamo: That I really let a lot of people down: my group, friends, girlfriend, myself. It’s over for me. But I had the most amazing support from both sides of the world, South Africa and Sweden.
How has it been adjusting to your new life in Johannesburg Kamo? Has this in of itself influenced the music you’ve sought to create?
Kamo: It’s been tough, frustrating and confusing. But I think I’m still re-learning, adjusting and slowly making the most out of the beautiful life Johannesburg has to offer me.
How did you channel this overarching experience into the release through the music and lyrics?
Kamo: I think that came naturally for both parties. I wrote and recorded my lyrics, sent them over to Magnus and he’ll come back with an instrumental that’s one with the subject matter of the song.
Magnus: ‘Have You Heard’ deals with Kamo moving to South Africa. I sent him an idea for an instrumental and he sent some recordings back. The demo I had sent was a pretty heavy breakbeat with more of a party vibe. When I got the recordings back I listened to what Kamo was actually saying and I felt I needed to rethink the tune. The instrumental I had sent didn’t do the subject matter justice. I wanted to make something that would match the emotion of Kamo’s vocals.
The video, directed and created by Tobias Sedlacek, uses footage and imagery shot by Kamo. How did you want the visual accompaniment to further the stories within the release?
Kamo: Ahh Tobias was basically the creative director on this project. He opened up a world that a lot of people have never seen or thought of: where I came from. I think when he heard the song, ‘Have you heard’, he did not waste time and briefed us about how we should go about the visuals and I thought that’s a genius idea.
Magnus: I showed Tobias the tunes and he instantly had a very clear idea of how the visual side should be presented. He has been a big part of the project from the beginning and did an amazing job on the video. Tobias had the great idea of having Kamo basically record what was going on around him through photos and video.
What message do you want listeners to take away from the music and the story behind the release?
Kamo: Hmmm I was not trying to send any messages, but trying to express a more personal/emotional side of Kamohelo Khoaripe, followed by amazing instrumentals. I hope people can dance and sing along to the tunes.
Magnus: For me it hasn’t really been about conveying a message, it has been more about giving life and a soundtrack to the stories Kamo is telling.
What comes next musically for you both?
Kamo: I’m working on a lot of amazing collaborations with amazing artists all over. But oh yeah, back in studio with the Off The Meds family, working on crazy music right now and dropping something before the summer.
Magnus: I’m working on putting together a proper body of work, an album I guess. I have always put out three songs at a time so I want to make a longer cohesive project. Also a couple of remixes on the way!
Do you both plan to continue collaborating remotely?
Kamo: Oh yes we busy working on each other’s projects and doing remixes together, so we’ll definitely be keeping Magnus x Kamohelo ON.
Magnus: Of course! We have a bunch of different stuff on the way so there will definetily be more Magnus & Kamohelo around very soon.
Breaking News is out on 4th Feb on Smuggler Music.