Photography by Francesco Mbele

Free yourself emotionally with Living Dlozi

The brainchild of stylist and art director Lenzo Mangonyane, Living Dlozi is a sonic character and artist that expresses himself through sound and music. His first project, “Check your voicemail”, is a visual series comprising of a mix and stills.

Shot and art directed by Francesco Mbele, one half of a visual duo alongside Lenzo and a member of the musical collective Djinns, the concept and styling were done by Lenzo. “We shot it on film because we wanted to stick with that old school feel because of the character and the message of the mix.” These visuals and mix, with its blend of old and new songs, reinforce what the character embodies: someone who is from the past but lives in the present.

Conceptually set at the beginning of a relationship, at the time when one is wanting to tell the other person how one feels, the mix features the likes of Sade, Outkast, Brandy and The Weeknd and plays out as the message on the love interest’s voicemail with the lyrics explaining the feelings. “I’m trying to tell a girl how I feel and I end up getting to her voicemail and the mix ends up being the voicemail. The mix is the message and exactly what I want to tell this person.” Released on a Sunday, Living Dlozi wanted to create a setting for the mix. “The back cover has the message that says listen to this by yourself at night in your bedroom. With the track selection I was also going into the environment I was trying to set for this person listening to the mix.”

The visual series forms part of a large project that details the patterns of relationships, from tentative first steps to dating and breaking up. “Living Dlozi is a character based on emotional and spiritual freedom. This mix was emotional freedom. Not being scared to tell someone how you feel and just letting it out there.”

Apart from the emotional freedom, Living Dlozi will be putting out projects around spiritual freedom, focusing on authentic tribal sounds as well as tribal house and is looking to release original music next year. “I’m trying to keep it digital until I get to the point that I’m making my own music. For now I’m going to be releasing a lot of mixes. A lot of compilations as well. I’m probably going to start doing my own music next year. Mixes with a concept. That’s one thing I want Living Dlozi to have, a concept to everything that they do, storytelling.”

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