John Wizards Biography | History

John Wizards

John Wizards is a six-piece band from Cape Town created in 2010 by vocalist and guitarist, John Withers. The other members of the band includes Raphael Segerman (drummer and percussionist), Emmanuel Jean Thierry Nzaramba (vocals), Geoffrey Brink (guitarist and keyboardist), Alex Montgomery (bassist and keyboardist) and guitarist Thomas Parker.

Their eclectic sound can be described as a fusion of R&B, soukous, afropop, reggae,South African house, Shangaan electro and dub. Their first album, John Wizards was released in September 2012 which includes the singles “Lusaka by Night” and “Muizenberg” and it was voted eighth on The Guardian UK’s Top 10 Albums of the Year for 2013.

Internationally they’ve performed at Glastonbury (one of Europe’s biggest music festivals), Primavera in Barcelona, Midi Festival in France, Melt festival in Germany and Pukkelpop in Belgium. They were also featured on the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans of 2014. Locally, they made their debut at Rocking the Daisies last year and played at the Cape Town Electronic Music Festival (CTEMF) this year.

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John Wizards

Early Stage

The band members of John Wizards mostly met each other at school. Three of the band members (Segerman, Montgomery and Brink) had previously performed with Withers on other projects. Thomas Parker, a mutual friend, would join the band several months after the others.

Withers met Nzaramba outside a coffee shop in 2010 and the two became friends. They subsequently fell out of touch for a period. In 2012 they happened upon one another in Cape Town and it turned out they were both living on that same street. Prior to their reacquiantance, Withers had been working on recording and producing the set of musical ideas that would later become John Wizards’s self-titled release of September 2013.

 Nzaramba added vocal recordings to some of the songs and began to perform with the rest of the band. John Wizards released a mixtape, in August 2012, that roughly sketched out the songs on the album. This mixtape was passed on to Mike Paradinas, owner of Planet Mu records. Planet Mu would announce the band as part of their roster in November 2012, releasing the album some ten months later.

John Wizards

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