Profiles & Interviews
Meet Nitefreak the Good Music DJ, Beat-Maker & Remixer
Having learnt to perfect his craft over the years, DJ and Producer Bheki Mabhena known all around the world as Nitefreak, has been one of the people pioneering the Afro House Movement. Having released an EP in 2019, he has continued to rise and shine. His popular remixes have been playlisted by many big names including Diplo, Themba, Shimza, Black Coffee, BlondiSH just to name a few. They have been played around the globe at the big festivals like, Burning Man and Tomorrowland. One of his popular remixes recently passed a million streams on Spotify which proves the point that he continues to shine.
Tell us about yourself, who is Nitefreak? What’s the story behind your stage name?
Nitefreak is a self taught Afro house Dj/Producer from Bulawayo Zimbabwe. There’s no story to the name ‘Nite’ (night) came from my line of work djing of which most gigs I got were at night. ‘Freak’ partly I’d say is from my character, I used to do crazy stuff growing up. So Nitecrazy didn’t have a ring to it. So I choose freak instead then Nitefreak came about.
Did you study towards becoming a DJ? Has that always been the vision?
No, I didn’t study how to DJ, it just aligned with my love for music after a friend introduced me to a DJ software.
Has Afro House always been the genre you’ve focused on?
I only started focusing on Afro House in 2020, I was an all round beat maker prior to that.
How did you connect with Deep Root Tribe and Francis Mercier?
Francis reached out to me via Instagram after he heard one of my songs. We stayed in touch for a year or so and after he offered to help me with my journey. Francis is the Co founder of Deep Root with Ajamu Kambon. So after the success of some releases, I was confident they were the people to help me build my brand.
What has been the biggest setback in your career?
Cause of my nationality it’s hard to gig in some countries. I lost a number of bookings , cause of how complex it is to get the proper documentation.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Will announce that in October 😂
.@nitefreakdj blew up with his remix of @francismercier & @MagicSystemOffi's "Premier Gaou" amongst other remixes, and his releases are heavily being played by @keinemusik, @blond_ish and many more artists. #TheFutureOfDance2022 #Top101Producers2022 pic.twitter.com/5gPCpdn45I
— 1001Tracklists Media (@1001TLtv) October 17, 2022
How do you split time between making music and gigs?
Management helps with gigging and doing collabs. I just make music & Dj , but for local bookings I oversee those sometimes as they not yet familiar with the territory.
Your biggest song to date, recently passed 1,000,000 streams on Spotify, how has that made you feel? Has that changed your career in any way?
I was happy and it was a great motivator to everyone in the team that we on the right track. Million streams meant Access to work with bigger artists and labels. It got me bookings out of the country & the booking fee went up 😂lol.
Nitefreak is one of the most streamed artists in Zimbabwe and not even 10 % of those streams are from Bulawayo. Be good enough to export your craft to an audience bigger than Bulawayo and you won’t go wrong. Compete internationally and look at what other artists outside are doing
— #FreeSamke (@AllenMoyo17) September 14, 2022
How are you funding your work? Since most artists say they struggle with making money?
The music funds itself now, but earlier on. I used to do ghost productions and have side hustles till today. So if the music is slacking the side hustles will cover. Also my social capital is great, there’s always someone willing to help out if i need help.
Should we look forward to any new music soon?
7th of October have a song coming out. Be on the look out.