In December 2020, Ghanaian producer, Gafacci made history as the first Ghanaian artist to have his song featured in ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ a series of action-adventure games published by Rockstar Games.
‘Azaa’ was featured in ‘The Cayo Perico Heist,’ the latest instalment of the gaming franchise.
MuseAfrica.com’s Maritha Brooth spoke to Gafacci, who is also a DJ and songwriter about the historic feat, and his creative process.
Read interview below.
MuseAfrica.com: What was the process through which the song ‘Azaa’ was licensed for Grand Theft V?
Gafacci: I have publishing and so my publisher takes care of that.
I have no idea about how he made it happen. I think the music is the number one thing and right now, I think with the music supervision and licensing, proxy is a very important part of the whole process. They want to pick artists from Nigeria, Cameron, Poland, Tanzania, different, different locations. The music was presented to them for consideration, they listened to it and it suits the style they were going for and also the sonic experience they were trying to create for their players so I think that is what made my music a strong material for consideration and that’s what I understand from it.
With these things, you don’t hit up Rock Star Games and tell them ‘hey I have music, listen to it.’
They work with a bunch of music publishers. They have their supervisors trying to speak to publishers to license music for their game so when your publisher has contacts or connects to this establishment or institution, that’s how this whole thing happens. So it’s not a very direct process and I can only speak about my part which is just making the music and positioning myself in the industry in a way that when this opportunity arises, I am always there to be considered.
Musefrica.com: What went into the Production of ‘’Azaa’’ and how do you feel about it being featured in Grand Thef Auto V?
Gafacci: I feel very happy about it because I grew up playing video games. And ever since I realised music was a big part of video gaming, I have always wanted my music to be in a video game so this happening is a big milestone for me creatively.
And when it comes to fantasies as a creator it’s like you have crossed out one of the fantasies you want to experience so it’s an experience I have had in life now that I can speak of and that’s one thing that makes me happy. And it’s also a way for me to spread my music to different listeners and also expose people to the different sounds coming out of Africa and all that. And it’s not just my music, it’s a collaboration with a very big DJ in Portugal, he is called Branko. He is part of the founders of one of the biggest music collectives to come out of Europe called ‘Buraka som Sistema,’ and we collaborated on the song.
I think that also played a role in making this whole thing possible because they are seeing the mixture of cultures and it’s something I think anyone who sees that, sees the substance in the music so that will be more likely to be picked for something like that.
MuseAfrica.com: What’s your creative process when you are producing, DJing, and writing songs?
Gafacci: I will start with producing. When producing, normally I always think about authenticity and also, my proxy, where I am coming from and all that.
So when I create, I try to make Ghana very paramount in everything I do musically. So even if I am getting influences from outside or other places, I try as much to add the Ghanaian sound or flavors to whatever I create because I feel as an artiste, that is what makes me stand out. Everywhere I go… because I was listening to someone speak and the person was saying, as an artiste, you are a flag-bearer for your country and you should always remember that. I try as much to be the flag-bearer for my country. Every space I find myself so when I am producing, I like that element to stick out in my productions and as a DJ too, it’s pretty much the same thing..
When I am making music, I feel as a DJ, it’s not just about you, it’s about the audience. So what I do is, I try to connect with the audience in a different way so normally when I am playing music, I try to educate the audience by playing different music or trying to play blends of music that they know but a remix or an edit which would introduce them to a different rhythm and maybe a style of arrangement to a particular song.
With the DJing, it’s more like an experience I am trying to create when I play my music to people but sometimes, you make DJing mixes and the DJ mixes, I try as much as possible to open my musical pallets by playing music from different places that has elements of African sound in them. Right now with the way the world is globalized, a lot of people are looking to Africa and they are drawing inspiration from our sound and there are a lot of them out there. So when I play music, I try to put people on this reality when it comes to our sound in Africa.
MuseAfrica.com: Do you have any last words?
Gafacci: I thank people who support my music all around the world because most of my audience are not in Ghana, most of them are in different parts of the globe and I want to thank them.
By: Maritha Brooth/MuseAfrica.com