Photography by: Andrew Mkize
by: Audrey T. Nyamucherera
Very few brands have as immense an impact on the culture as this collective recently. In the first few years of their inception, they’ve taken the game by storm, while unselfishly putting creatives on at the same time. That is part of the ethos of BACKYARD. BROKE got the chance to kick it with Shadin Kara aka SOLO of BACKYARD. We sat down with him and spoke about the genesis of the creative movement, its vision, and its promising future.
Q. What is BACKYARD, what do you guys do?
A. So BACKYARD operates as a creative agency with no precise focus, we execute parties, merchandise, and consulting for artists as well as brands. Basically using the resources of current team members to push the vision forward.
Q. So why the Dobermann logo?
A. Many of us on the team grew up in the suburbs and in our areas, it was common on the gates to have that “beware the dog” sign and that’s where we referenced, from our surroundings. Plus although a Doberman seems aggressive it’s very collected. Playing on the name BACKYARD itself.
Q. What led to the creation of BACKYARD?
A. So BACKYARD started with house parties in the South (of Jozi) in 2017/18, at one of the founding members Kurt’s, we started in his literal backyard. The majority of the initial members grew up in the South and wanted to be in the city but couldn’t always be there, so we tried to find ways to bring that energy to us. I also started deejaying but wasn’t getting booked so we created our own spaces to gig, We did our first party, and the second, and after the third, we realised there was something going on here. Someone essential to our inception was Partytime when he joined us. We were becoming more than just a party, we were creating a community with videographers, and photographers, and giving more artists a platform. That’s when we realised creating a community of like-minded people was our mission, gathering creatives to feel welcome, and safe, and connect with others like them.
Q. What inspires the BACKYARD world, where do you and the Team draw inspiration?
A. It’s usually from pushing the boundaries, and the aim of creating a holistic creative community that’s not just party based but diverse and multidisciplinary.
A. Very welcoming, especially for people that want to see and make a difference, those that feel unheard but are still fighting to make their own way – that’s the whole concept and culture of making noise.
Q. I want to question that answer by asking, what about ‘Make Noise Not Friends’ where does that fit in?
A. So the message in that is, rather be different, Don’t conform. So if you had to choose between going with everyone or being you and different, go with the latter, go by yourself and you will create your own collective.
A. Someone who doesn’t have to be a creative by profession but more likely is creative in their own respect or has a rebellious spirit. Just into different experiences and learning from people,Willing to try experiences you aren’t comfortable in or used to, it doesn’t take much but being different.
Q. So besides RUMAR what other events do you do?
A. We have Treble which is our rave-inspired event, it’s warehouse based, nuanced with electro-dance music & eclectic sounds, giving South African sounds a rave-like look and stage production. RUMAR is for that last Thursday of the month, with people you enjoy and music you enjoy so you can connect with those like you. We also still have our collab parties like the “BONESODA and Heavy Rotation” collab earlier this year and we’d still love to do the house parties, there are just a lot of logistics that go into those. Our last one was in 2020 January before the Pandemic and it was a different energy. We also had one with about 500, 600 people, even the road was blocked off, it was
mad. The house parties even had live performances where we had the late Riky perform at one (R.I.P), Frank Casino, Benny Chill. This is where it starts you know, just something we did in Kurt’s backyard and somehow we made a way.
A. There are a few people I met, some we’re in communication with, with other things lining up that I don’t want to give up just yet. There’s actually so much happening in Africa as a whole. It isn’t just us. It’s Uncle Waffles, FreeTheYouth, Ashluxe, and more. A lot of eyes are on Africa, just like what we did with BROKE in CPT, it’s looking within before without.
Q. How do you deal with the expectations?
A.We don’t pay them too much mind, we have our own expectations and values, plus goals we want to achieve and we focus on that. There’ll always be naysayers, but if you concentrate on your beliefs no one can derail you from them.
A. Firstly please put this in the article, our name is BACKYARD, not ‘BACKYARD group’, just BACKYARD straight. Then when encountering BACKYARD it varies, because we do so many things, the reactions differ, but the one common thing is that people always take away an
experience, even with the clothes.
Q. What’s the impact you want BACKYARD to have?
A. We want people to embrace their uniqueness., being different, and their full self.
Q. When are we getting the first runway?
A. I can’t say, I’d be lying, I don’t even want to put it out there, I’d be lying , when it comes it comes and it’ll be an experience of itself!
Q. Finally, how do you feel about BACKYARD’s trajectory right now, how has that been?
A. It’s dope seeing this seed grow, that’s what our focus is on, we just wanna be more consistent, work with more creatives, and connect the dots in the Globe, and in Africa especially.