Braving the long road to musical fame

This week, Society Magazine’s Patrick Buchana visited Dark Matter Entertainment Studio to catch a glimpse of the budding music scene

This week, Society Magazine’s Patrick Buchana visited Dark Matter Entertainment Studio to catch a glimpse of the budding music scene

Dark Matter, an underground recording label, records music and sets up live concerts. At the moment they have four members- Angel Mutoni, Mike Kayihura, Benny Black Mutoni and Darkecy Muganza, their leader.

I must say I was pretty lucky as I caught them around the time they really needed to be in the studio. They had an upcoming concert in a few days.

After walking down a small dusty road below City Oil Petrol station in Kicukiro, I finally got to the studio. Whle it was not in a very upmarketneighborhood, the studio itself looked suprisingly tidy. There was even flower pots at the entrance. 

 “Even though we are still in this small studio in a not so great area, there has been tremendous improvement,” said Darkecy, the leader of the group.

“Previously, we were in a one roomed studio in Nyarutarama and we are still progressing. We do not worry because in time, things will get better.”

Entering the studio, there are rules you have to follow. Among others were the usual no smoking and no drinking.

I entered the office which seemed empty but organised. There were cans of Red Bull energy drink, wires, headphones. a table and a chair. There was a door leading to the room where the producer sat instructing artistes on what to do.

Entering the sound-proof recording studio I said a quiet “hello” but no one paid me much attention. Everyone was in the middle of recording a song, which judging by the look on the producers face, was becoming a tedious process.

There was a guitar and microphone and Mike was singing as Angel and Darkecy waited their turn. The equipment looked quite expensive; I imagined these guys were drowning in debt. Shockingly, I found out that wasn’t so.

“We would rather use up all the money and buy something of excellent quality than buy fake products,” said Darkecy.

After the stressful session, I got the chance to say hello but they seemed low. They had a brief meeting and discussed which song would go first.

Their leader Darkecy made suggestions and Angel, the girl of the group, thought otherwise. They seemed very indecisive. 

The rules are strict and anyone who wants to smoke or drink steps outside.

It was getting dark but if anything, they seemed to get more energetic. I simply couldn’t understand why they were so peppy at night! Were they not human?

They practice live as well. The guitar guys were new and because Mike plays the piano and had never played with them before, they would go off key and practice had to stop for a while. “This is probably because we haven’t practiced together,” assumed Mike.

“We are making great progress for people who have just come together and at such short notice. With more practice, we will become perfect,” he added.

This went on for a while and Angel, Benny Black and Darkecy found it quite frustrating as they had to do it repeatedly. They had about 15 songs to do and remembering the lyrics seemed to be a problem.

They took a break and some went out for some water.  Benny Black started singing in funny voices causing bouts of laughter.

Darkecy was worried about how the show would go and talked to the producer Barrick. Angel communicated with people via phone, email, social media and texts, telling them about the concert. Mike believes in delivery - he just sat back and sang his tunes. The break seemed to be busier than practice.

I literally don’t remember anyone eating or crying hunger. I guess there is another rule that says ‘come when you have eaten or starve’. Practice went on and concluded with encouraging words.

Edgar Kabera, one of the guys in the studio said his inability to sing doesn’t stop him from being a part of Dark Matter.

“Being part of a group means offering support when needed and being there through thick and thin. I believe in Dark Matter and I know they will change music in Rwanda and that’s why I’m here with them,” he said.

Even without significant earnings from music yet, these artistes keep going and their confidence pushes them each day.

 

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