John Wizards began as the project of homonymous Cape Town resident John Withers, an aficionado of African dance music and electronic pop who’s since inducted a few friends into the fold. One of those is his vocal partner, Rwanda’s Emmanuel Nzaramba, who can be heard taking lead on the upbeat wobbler “Lusaka by Night.” The lush song is set to feature on the group’s forthcoming full-length debut, John Wizards, due out on Planet Mu in September and expected to be chock-full of similarly bright amalgams of sunny guitar-play, funky rhythms, smart electronics, and lovely vocals. So, you know, it’s kind of like Vampire Weekend, but with actual Africans involved. (We kid.) The above video for “Lusaka” is animated by Sebastian Borckenhagen and features an array of playful shapes and patterns. At one point, we’re fairly certain we see a singing keyboard-taco monster.
“When I was asked to make the animation for ‘Lusaka by Night’ I was doing a project at a library in Johannesburg inner city,” Borckenhagen says. “So, I worked on it at night after the library closed. I was staying in a room on the roof. The inner city is pretty crazy, there were a lot of bonfires and techno clubs. My original idea for the video was it’d have a scrolling landscape with buildings, and figures flying around in the sky, smiling. I started drawing towards that, but got more and more into drawing the shapes in the sky, so I realized that I needed to drop the scrolling so that the detail of the shapes would be visible. It ended up being a bunch of still scenes with parts flashing in and out to create the movement. When I got back home to Cape Town, I was able to work on it full time. I hadn’t ever drawn that much before. My eyes went a bit weird towards the end of it.”
We have a feeling yours will happily do the same.