Time is of the essence. Radio and Weasel are launching their Obudde album this evening. They told Edgar R. Batte why everything revolves around time and why they are not ready to cease fire with their enemies.
Your song, Magnetic has performed quite well on the airwaves, in bars and nightclub. It is one of the biggest local songs at the moment. Do you consider it as big as it has got?
Radio: It is has been among the top 10 songs on afribizchart.com, a website that ranks top African songs for several weeks. We are soon shooting the official music video in South Africa. I think it is taking us places, it is performing so well. It is competing with 2Face, D’Banj, P-Square, Ice Prince, Wizkid and so many other big names on the continent.
By the way what became of your collabo with P-Square?
Radio: We have not yet worked on a collabo with P-Square but we have stuff in the pipeline. We want to surprise our fans.
Where do you get these song ideas from?
Radio: Mostly from life experiences.
Who writes your songs?
Radio: We write all our songs.
Weasel: Us, we write everything.
There was word that you were on the verge of breaking up, how true is this?
Radio: You know that is what all the losers want us to do, but we are different. We are impossible.
Weasel: People want us to break up because they think they will be victorious if we broke up. We have dreams we have not achieved half way.
Have you had any misunderstandings that have threatened to break you up?
Radio: Never. People think that we have made it. What they don’t know is that for us we are still dreaming. We still have many dreams to accomplish. I don’t know why people should dream of us breaking up.
How do you handle the misunderstandings?
Weasel: We are like brothers. We are not friends anymore. We always act mature. We are open to one another and we sort our differences maturely.
And then there was word on the vine that there was a rift with your management, is there any truth to this?
Radio: Those are stories of journalists trying to show the public that there is something wrong in our camp. They are trying to find something behind their lonely desks to write about. We are the people making the news and it makes sense for them to write about us as much as much of it is rubbish.
Weasel: Those must have been the last guys in journalism school.
How have you managed to stay together for this long?
Radio: We have the same dream.
Weasel: Even before we decided to team up as musicians, we were friends, so it goes beyond music.
What keeps you on form?
Radio: Hard work and what other people write. We always have someone to disprove. We have a reason to work hard. Currently we have 10 new hits. Do you want 30 songs?
Weasel: Journalists will write that we have no new songs yet our studio computer is full of unreleased material and we have no space. Some musicians are launching one song.
Who are you saying has launched one song?
Weasel: Jose Chameleone. Which other song do you know off his new album apart from Badilisha? Yet he claims he is still number one. Then he calls himself Africa’s number six!
Radio: Their fans are unexposed. We know all these things. Bebe Cool no longer wants to enter the disco because he doesn’t want to listen to our songs which rule the night. We are lonely when we go to represent Uganda out there, at MTV, Channel O. We would like to meet these guys out there. These guys have limited dreams. Their dreams are limited to driving a sports car.
But these are the guys who are the architects of this industry …
Radio: Not this one. Chameleone is his own architect. His music makes sense to the P.O BOX generation. We are dot.com artistes. They are limited by technology. They are telling lies. How can you say you are number six when P-Square earns $100,000 (Shs260m) per show and you perform for merely Shs3m? How can you be Africa’s number six? We can say Shanks Vi Vi Dee taught him how to sing but he recently beat him up in Kabalagala.
Weasel: They are not architects of our industry. They are only helping each other as old artistes. They are not ranked in any charts. They should not claim they help us. They are Ericsson age and we are of the iPhone age.
You have invested a lot in your music videos, $10,000 (about Shs26m) per video and they have been played on international platforms like Trace, MTV and Channel O, what does this feel like?
Radio: It really feels great. It feels like we have set an example for others refer to. We used to tell everybody that we wanted the Ugandan dream to be the African dream.
Weasel: It feels good because we used to make music videos and they were not played on the international channels, but now we know it is about investing in the music videos and it is money well-spent.
What has been your most expensive music video so far?
Radio: The current ones have all been expensive. Can’t Let You Go, Fantastic and Money, which is coming soon. At the concert we are premiering Kiboko in which we feature Amani and then another music video for Money. So our fans should expect a lot at our launch. We don’t just do the talking, there is the action.
Are you reaping profits from such investments in your music?
Radio: Of course. How do you think we survive? Things cost money.
Have you moved into your house?
Weasel: Yeah. We moved into our home about seven months ago.
In his recent interview with Sqoop, your former Leone Island boss Jose Chameleone showed willingness to bury the hatchet and make-up and anticipates the day you guys will be back together, do you guys look forward to such a day when you will get back together?
Radio: I for one, I am not willing to work with him now. When I needed him, he was not there. He instead joined our enemies to fight us.
Weasel: Why now? He was always working with Bebe Cool to attack us. We have defeated them. How is he going to take it back, all the bad politics? For now each of us should sit tight. We are in a battle and if he has run out of bullets we have ours.
Radio: You see people are now telling us to work together. Is it is too hot for them. No ceasing fire. If they have run out of bullets, let them say. We are comfortable with them fighting with us. We are comfortable with them singing our songs at their launches because we have so many songs.
Why not choose peace over war?
Radio: We chose peace a long time. We have always been peaceful. We are now only fighting the untruths. You cannot be the architect of this industry when you are limited by technology and time.
Weasel: They are like Amin when he attacked Tanzania and when he was defeated, he resorted to dialogue but it was too late. If they are the architects of this industry, then what did the likes of Fred Ssebatta who were singing long before them do?
What inspired your album title track Obudde?
Weasel: It is all the crap people talked about us. We were like, time will tell.
What should your fans expect at Obudde concert?
Radio: Our fans should expect the very best from us. We have two brand new music videos. They should come and share our victory. We are growing every day. We have covered the country and we are now going beyond the borders.
Weasel: They should not wait for one song like other recent launches. We have a lot of new music. We thank them for being hardcore fans all along even when many have demoralised us and worked hard to bring us down. Obudde is our victory party. What is Cosidiosis (Bebe Cool’s latest song)? They need to learn English. We are tired of representing Uganda alone. We are ashamed.
When was the last time you cried?
Radio: I cry all the time because it is a feeling when happy or sad.
Weasel: I do always, all the time. Sometimes it is tears of joy, like at our recent Zanzibar show.
What is your message to the president of this country?
Radio: He should know that Uganda is going to live on for many ages. They should build it, instead, they are fighting for money.
Weasel: I know he supports youths and he should also think about artistes. He should enforce the Copyright Law. We would like to earn respectably.
What has been your most embarrassing moment?
Radio: It is when I was accused of stealing someone’s songs by one of the biggest media houses in this country.
Weasel: When I fell off stage in Kasangati. People picked me and put me back on stage.
What is your favourite Jose Chameleone song?
Radio: His first song Mama Mia because everybody knew he was going to be a big explosion. That is the sole reason I wanted to work with him. He kept exploding but he has failed to explode further. Other songs are good for his fans not for me.
Weasel: Kuma Obwesiga. He was more focused. Today he sings like his son Abba.
Last message to your fans?
Radio: Let’s keep time and let’s utilise our time. Obudde.
The Obudde album launch is taking place this evening at Hotel Africana, People’s Space. Entrance is Shs20,000 to the ordinary section and Shs50,000 for VIP seats.