Threading, the hair removal technique that has spread across the Western world in recent years, is an activity I was introduced to in the ninth grade. As a boarding school student, we didn’t always have permission to go where we needed to get our eyebrows done. When a friend offered to show me the technique, that her family members had shown to her before, I jumped at the opportunity. Today, as a student, offering to thread students on campus is an easy and low cost way to pad my the allowance I get from my parents. While threading one of my clients at her apartment before her house dance, I met Justin Lucas Barth. A job that cost R 25 made for an experience when I learned that Justin started his own recording studio earlier this year in February called deBoov Studios. As someone who enjoys shining light on up and coming artists, I definitely had questions for the man behind some of those very musicians!
Q: How did your dream of starting a studio come together?
A: I grew up listening to hip-hop music but it was about five years ago when I got a vision inspired by God. I started writing my own music then but in the vision I saw myself teaching people, but only last year did I go through the process of someone teaching me about music. I was offered a scholarship to study songwriting and producing in the UK, and from that experience I’m now able to share what I’ve learned about music creation back to my hometown. I have a heart for the youth of Cape Town, and I want to see them rise up, instead of feeling like they have to go to Johannesburg to make it in the music business. For me if you’re great, wherever you are, you’ll be known.
Q: What was one of your memorable experiences from your training in the UK?
A: I’m part of a vocalist band called Kinetic IV. What we do is go into schools, prisons, community churches, and we use music to speak about our faith in God. I’ve seen music connect people in a way nothing else will; for example there is that thing in your head that says “you like music, I like music, we can talk”. We work with an organization called The Message Trust which started about 25 years ago in the UK, and now there is a chapter here that is about two years old. The Message Trust hosted the Higher Tour earlier this year, which I participated in, and the tour was all about reaching the youth in a relevant way through music.
Q: What has been a fulfilling part of being apart of The Message Trust in South Africa?
A: Here in Cape Town we have a program where we go into prisons and try to create relationships with prisoners in the hopes that when they come out they can rejoin society. There are job readiness programs and we also look to supply jobs for people who are coming out. It’s really amazing to see how the word of God has helped turn their lives around. With this organization, we’ve seen how lives have been transformed and to see them become positive role models in their communities is amazing.
Q: You’ve been interested in music for your whole life, but how did you get started with opening up your first studio?
A: I started saving up four years ago, so I did promotional work and DJ work as well. From my salary now, everything goes toward deBoov. I’ve also always made really good relationships with suppliers so that I don’t spend such high amounts on equipment. For me it feels like that’s God’s way of helping me accomplish my vision. Today I’m pleased to see deBoov have a robust client list. There are usually rappers in here, but a lot of my friends are into music, so they have always been very supportive. deBoov Studios is about access above all else. Studio time is very expensive anywhere you go, and the same applies in South Africa. Having deBoov be affordable and accessible to the youth in Cape Town is really what I wanted when I first started out.
Q: At what point did you feel ready to start recording other people?
A: I’ve recorded myself, obviously, going way back to when I only had a built-in microphone on my laptop. Funny enough, I’ve always said that hits are made in bedrooms. Then I started buying studio equipment to start recording better quality music, which led to watching Youtube tutorials to help me learn more about beat production, editing, and mixing. I knew that I needed to get to a stage where I needed to feel confident producing other people. I reached that point when I went to study in the UK. Going to the studio every day and playing around with different sounds is the trick to feeling confident enough to record others. I learnt how producers can apply certain plugins for various reasons to fit everything into a mix in such a way that there is flow. Every song has its own feel and unique sound, it’s about growing your ear. Understanding this is what got me to the point of producing and making beats while artists are in the studio. With all of that, by the time I was ready to open deBoov Studios, I felt ready for the task.
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