Skip to main content

Written byLiam Falls Girie

“We’re a crazy bunch of friends – we love sound and aesthetics, and having a safe space to have fun.”

At its founding, Mouth2Mouth took its seat at the table of notable CPT events with a strong hand. Working on the universally agreed notion that a full house beat clubs, the collective was quick to ascend in popularity. The genius of the idea lay in the simplicity of its concept, which sought to provide the ultimate solution to the deficit supply of house parties for a generation who wanted just that. M2M carbon dates to a time when some of us were still in matric and, for many people, its events marked their induction into the Cape Town party scene. Even to this day, the mention of the collective’s name still sends lightning bolts of dopamine to the seasoned receptors of this city’s resident jollers. And while the M2M team has since broadened the scope of their events to include clubs, the core idea of curating unique and inviting party spaces remains ever-present in everything they touch.

For reasons explicit in its name, Mouth2Mouth was forced to take a cold shower during lockdown. But with a measured approach to the change in times, the collective seized all the means at its disposal to weather the storm and emerge into 2022 at a gallop.

What we have here is a collective that has been, for nearly a decade now, intrepid in its fostering and exemplifying of the Cape Town party culture. Needless to say, we are frothing at the mouth in anticipation of what they’ve got in store for us this weekend at Smalltown Beat.

How did Mouth2Mouth come to be?

The crew is made up of 5 peeps right now:

Ridah – Event Management + Sound Engineering

Tomasi – Visuals + Lighting + Finance

Liam – Bookings + Programming + Copywriting

Jacob – Programming + Logistics + Sexiest Member

Jomar – Design + Construction + Lighting

Tafara – Very important Alumni

We were on some crazy mission to resuscitate the scene. CPR, word of mouth, Mouth2Mouth? Let’s go with that.

Mouth2Mouth as a concept started at The Red Door, but we’d been doing the same thing in High School. Just a group of friends loving music, learning to DJ, going dancing. Around this time we’d all been to some great parties, but parties like Atom, SWIM, and WeHouseSundays often got us in the same room together. We still felt unsatisfied because those parties weren’t frequent enough, something was missing. One evening Tafara addressed us at the crib and said something like, “let’s do a party here, book DJs, get sound, charge peeps to cover, then put together a stage with whatever we had around the house.” And boom. We wanted it to be word of mouth, something felt safe and intimate about that, so we sent invites via WhatsApp. We were on some crazy mission to resuscitate the scene. CPR, word of mouth, Mouth2Mouth? Let’s go with that. A short msg with Mouth2Mouth as a header and off it went. That night will live with us forever. Somehow between Wednesday night and Friday night over 400 people knew where to go with their R20 cover charge. We handled it, with finesse, and that’s when we knew we had something.

What is Mouth2Mouth?

We’re a crazy bunch of friends – we love sound and aesthetics, and having a safe space to have fun. We’re all about making an all-around experience, for us and for everyone. Fun is situated at the epicentre and everything revolves around that.

Our overall goal and motivation would be to positively affect the happiness within friends’ lives. We love knowing as many of the people that attend our parties and our aim is to always send them away from our events having felt a connection – to the people and to the music. For us though, it would be to keep doing this together as long as we possibly can. Be it in the form of house or club parties, festivals, or intimate gatherings – as long as we are able to share our perspective on the arts and have a positive influence on our growing scene.

While I understand that you have veered more so to club events than house parties, the original concept is still something unique. Now having experience in both fields of play, how would you compare the two? What are the pros and cons that come with either?

It all depends on how the venue allows you to express an atmosphere to the party. Some clubs don’t work, some houses don’t work either. There’s a lot at play, but the club experience is a lot easier, and more rewarding, financially at least. House parties are rewarding in a different way – being able to curate the space and the community in the space changes a lot for the mood of the party. There are venues that cater to this of course. We’re just doing whatever feels right at the time 🙂

M2M was forced to *cough cough* go dormant under lockdown restrictions. The pandemic no doubt presented serious issues to your operations, yet you remain standing strong. What was the experience like during lockdown and what helped you bounce back once the ban on public gatherings was lifted?

Almost everyone lost out during that time. We were lucky to stay connected through everything, and here we are now. We were determined to not allow the lockdown to get us bogged down, so we did what we could to stay active; doing live streams of DJ sets of residents and guests, which are all still available for your viewing and listening pleasure. Anything else that happened in that period was just a *cough cough* bonus. 

We can only thank the relationships we’ve built along the way – love to the homies! 💕

M2M is very much about creating unique and intimate event spaces for music to be enjoyed, while also in tandem celebrating the rich cultural history of dance music in and amongst Cape Town’s POC communities since Apartheid. After watching the interviews you released on Retrospect, I would love to know more about what inspired you to shed light on this important, albeit historically marginalised facet of discotek’s legacy within the Mother City.

The piece on Casablanca Nightclub meant a lot to the collective. Part of the reason for starting our own parties was the fact that some members of the collective are people of colour. The people we looked up to and aspired to book were also people of colour, it’s always been a part of us. Papa Pierre and Tafara started talks about this story, and DJ Superfly, and a party to showcase it all. We were sold immediately. Most of our peers hadn’t heard of this time, so to shed light on it was very important for us all. It’s inspiring to know that people have done it before, successfully, and without shifting their own culture to suit something else. It was authentic, passionate, and fkn difficult, but they did it. Truly motivational. Mad s/o to Vinyl Digz, DJ Superfly, Pierre-Estienne, Keenan, and Tafara.

What are the qualities of a Mouth2Mouth jol that make it unique?

We’re a big crew – many brains, many arguments, and too many opinions, but this truly brings all elements together. Amongst it all, we have the same vision and the same outcomes in my mind. We’re all focused on creating an experience that is exhilarating and safe at the same time. We build our environment and curate our line-up to make it exhilarating. Then we make it safe by inviting people close to us first, we trust the people close to us and they’ve always believed in us. We’ve built these relationships by being present and forthcoming at our events because we’re there to have fun too! Everyone must have fun!

How would you describe your sound and where do you draw influence from?

It all starts from within the crew. As mentioned previously, as a group of friends from High School, what was a strong point of connection among us was the types of music we were into. With M2M’s musical expression predominantly coming in the form of electronic music, a lot of what we connected on was different forms of underground dance music. Ranging through varying forms of House & Techno, Drum & Bass, Jungle, Garage, and Breaks, while understanding that our love for these sounds was laid in our formative years with love for Hip-Hop, forms of rock and jazz.

Those that have been to our parties know that we’re not afraid to curate a line-up expressing all of the genres we love and respect. What cannot go unsaid is that we draw inspiration for our sound by being frequent dancers within our little scene. From the foundations of House often outlined by parties such as WeHouseSundays, to dub and ambient sounds displayed by friends over at ATOM, to hedonistic Techno curated by events like VAULT; the influence of these events can’t be understated. 

In sum, we find our favourite elements from all of these sounds and mash them together and the overall sound often comes out sounding something like a blend of Dubby, Minimal, Groovy House, and Techno and playing around with anything that works well within that realm.

What are your thoughts heading into the long-awaited reprisal of Smalltown Beat? What have your prior experiences been like and what do you look forward to seeing this time around?

Elation, Excitement, and Anticipation. We absolutely cannot wait to share with everyone what those involved with STB have been keeping stored away since 2019. 

Our experiences have only been efficacious. 2018 was amazing, seeing all of the planning come together. 2019 saw improvements in many facets. Being a festival in its relative infancy, things can only get better with each passing year; that’s not to say that previous expressions have been anything short of World Class.

What can we expect from Mouth2Mouth at this year’s festival?

Anticipation is high. From old attendees to a plethora of first-time-goers; If you’ve heard great things, that’s for good reason. This year’s change in venue will be welcomed with open arms. Utopia in Swellendam is an incredible venue, we can’t wait to deliver our showcase in this oasis with precision and finesse. Music from our residents, supporting our international guest OK Williams, things can only get saucy. Catch us on Friday night delivering our signature sounds.

Lastly; With only 3 more weeks to go, do you guys have any advice to share with partygoers as they prepare for Smalltown Beat?

Come happy, come humble and allow STB to take you on a ride for one of the best festivals you are bound to enjoy in the city. Production is World Class, attention to detail is immaculate, and each and every collective involved is filled with quality. The music, venue, curation, and set-up will only leave you in awe. The power of community