UE.47: Zepherin Saint
Zepherin Saint is a DJ, producer and head honcho behind Tribe Records, a globally minded British label trading in a refined brand of deep, afro and soulful house.
It’s an imprint that’s played an important part in bringing the afro sound to the global stage, at a time when Black Coffee now holds one of Ibiza’s biggest residencies and Sun-El Musician tops the South African charts. Think of just about any name operating in these realms, and it’s more than likely you’ll find they’ve made an appearance on Tribe. Atjazz, Ron Trent, Larry Heard, Enoo Napa and Manoo are just a handful of those who’ve graced the release roster – Europeans, Americans and Africans all under one banner.
The man behind the brand, Zepherin Saint describes his own raison d’etre with concise charm as ‘championing the emergence of indigenous influence in electronic music’, something now so endemic to much of the most in-vogue house productions, displaying a worldview that values above all the organic and the human in this machine music.
While he’s undoubtedly best known for his work over the past eight years establishing Tribe as one of the world’s leading labels pushing the afro and soulful envelope, his own legacy goes way back to 1988 when he released ‘Give Me Back Your Love’ under the synonym Boyz in Shock, credited by many as the UK’s first soulful house record.
Last month saw Saint release ‘Butterflies’, a collaboration with vocalist and long-term cohort Miranda Nicole on Tribe. An impeccable slice of soulful house with an infectious hook and warm musicality that puts it cheek to cheek with archetypes like Shaun Escoffery’s ‘Days Like This’ and Karizma’s ‘The Power’, it’s some of his finest work to date. Trust us when we say it’s a future classic, and keep an ear out for this one in the mix.
Saint now resides in Berlin, a city where techno tends be the primary substance flowing through its veins, yet whose own afro scene has truly flourished in the last couple of years – not least because of parties like Rise run by masked duo Hyenah and Cape Town producer Floyd Lavine. So as Berlin, like much of the rest of Europe right now, revels in an implausibly sizzling summer that has its carousers trading dark rooms for day raves, the sun-soaked soul of Saint’s upbeat mix provides a fitting soundtrack.
Zepherin Saint’s Butterflies EP is out now on Tribe.