City centre is ‘capital of creatives’

Lorren Fredericks, who co-owns ImmacuLit Music Group, a local record label, said moving to the city centre has been his best career move yet.

“Myself and my business partner and brother, Gideon Jay, decided to move to the city when we decided to take our company more seriously. We knew that the studios were here, the gigs were here and it was central,” he says.

Lorren, who grew up in Athlone, says he always “had a thing” for art.

“From a young age I was always drawing and painting little pictures,” he tells CapeTowner.

“My brother had a cartoon printed in the Cape Argus at the time, so he was instrumental in fostering my artistic nature. I studied visual art, and went to Namibia to basically paint my life.”

He says while visual and fine arts are difficult industries to thrive in, he had a vision which helped him prosper. “I did a few odd jobs, painting here and there, and in the process I found my passion for music.

“I had some programmes and my brother encouraged me to explore them. I taught myself how to mix and produce music.”

He says he quickly improved his production skills because he surrounded himself with good local producers.

“So we got investors on board, and started our label. We were officially registered at the beginning of the year, and it has been smooth sailing from there.”

He says being a successful producer depends a lot on who you know. “My first client I landed was with a rapper in Miami. I had to produce beats for him, and he would rap to them and we would package the song.

“I was so shocked and elated – it was the craziest experience ever, but it really put me in a good position.

“When people saw my name, Lomacks Beats, accredited with an artist in Miami, they booked me immediately.”

He says as his business grew, he and his brother planned their move to the city centre, just off Long Street.

“Moving here has made my life so much easier. Everything is so central and its very convenient. You can literally go downstairs and get anything – from food, to leisure and nightlife and meetings.

“We also host our main events at Saints in Harrington Street, where artists assigned to us perform under the label. Everything is close by.”

However, he says, living near the entertainment strip can be noisy. “It’s at its peak from 11pm from Wednesdays to Saturdays. In the beginning I had some trouble sleeping, but I got used to it. I make music every day – and I hate silence, so I sleep through the noise. It’s not the same for everyone though.”

Lorren says Long Street is more like a “frat” rather than a community. “It’s like a party neighbourhood with new people coming in all the time. Everyone knows everyone, but it’s not very neighbourly.

“The CBD is the capital of creatives all living in the city centre. I try to network as much as I can, but work is demanding at this stage, and I sleep little, but I don’t mind because I do what I love.”

However, he said that begging in Long Street is becoming aggressive. “Begging is out of hand, and I think it’s one of Long Street’s downfalls. I see beggars come up to tourists and they would say no, then a group of them will show up after. They are persistent, and I feel that it chases people away.

“Also, there is a rowdy crowd on any given night that frequents Long Street, which impacts the scene negatively.”

Asked about how he thought the party strip could be improved, he says some of the clubs need to upgrade their facilities.