Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse chats about music, mental awareness and his new musical projects

Sipho 'Hotstix' Mabuse is one of the country's best-loved and most respected musicians; more than just a musician or an artist, he is a legend. The Beat sat down with Sipho to discuss his involvement with the rerecording of the Generations theme music, his opinion on his least favourite character in the soap, his remix CD and his thoughts on Mental Awareness Month.

Hey Sipho! How you doing? Very well thank you ,We just performed last week at the Macufe Festival in Bloemfontein so we have been busy with shows and studies and now in the next couple of weeks  I need to get my UNISA assignments of so we can write my exams 

You were recently involved with the recording of the SABC1 soap Generations' theme music. How did this came about? That is an amazing story ,I was approached by Trevor ,when he was in Johannesburg ,He and Mfundi go back many years as friends and  I am also a family friend of Mfundi and when he came to the studio Trevor heard me saying Bra Mike and he had this confused look on his face and I remarked that Mfundi and  I both went to school together too, as I call it the mighty Orlando West High school in Soweto ,so we were friends before Mfundi even dreamed up Generations. The recording took place over 4 hours in Johannesburg .It was and is a massive honour to work with Trevor. He had written and composed the entire piece of music and all I did was play the sax part which goes through the song. Trevor remarked to me that I have a distinctive way of playing the sax and this brought across the feel he wanted to portray for the new theme going forward. All I remember was blowing like mad take after to take to get the perfect take , but I did not realize was that Trevor has over 15 different takes for the producers to add into the show as each episode ends with a different mood ,Trevor has captured that already .

How did you met Trevor Jones? I have known about Trevor and his work and whited at a distance to extraordinary music he has produced for movie blockbusters , but never actually met ,until March this year at Music Exchange - in Cape Town at the City Hall. We hugged like long lost family members perhaps it is because we share a similar upbringing the District 6 kid and the Soweto Born and breed person . What brought us together was a music program that will change lives and teach the next generation music exchange. I must admit that  I am in awe of Trevor's work .Bear in mind each film can have over 50 -60 pieces of music in them so Trevor's catalogue is over 6000 pieces of music strong . That is just remarkable!

What elements did you bring to the new theme music? I brought the sax parts to the theme music, which Trevor asked me to play.

Are you a fan of the soap?  I know what is going on because friends tell me  ,but I just can't watch the show regularly as i always seem to be busy early evening ,with my kids or family commitments or traveling to events .

If so, who are your favourite and most hated characters on the soap? Let’s rather keep that too myself. It will open a can of worms

October is the International Mental Awareness Month. Firstly, what does this mean to you and what message would you like to convey to South Africans struggling with a mental illness? We need to educate people about these problems especially the youth so that we can learn to guide kids on how to overcome the difficulties and we as adults need to look out for symptoms ,i have a great friend who is bi polar and he blows hot and cold ,but when he takes his tablets he is 100% and sometimes when  I see him he goes off on a tangent and then i know he has not taken his medication and we work through why he has not taken it for the day .

Coming back to your music. What is next in line for Sipho? Maybe a new CD? I have remix of Jive Soweto coming out end Oct and then next year we would really like to do  a DVD talking about my music history .

What is the one thing that fans will find hard to believe about you? Next year will be 30 years since I recorded that song that has been so good to me "Burnout" - Can you believe that ?