Vaughn Ahrens shares inspirational journey behind ‘Sub Saharan’ EP

Vaughn Ahrens

Vibrant musical talent Vaughn Ahrens recently had an interview with in which he delved into the heart of his latest EP, ‘Sub Saharan’.

Ahrens shared the essence of his creative process, the cultural inspirations fuelling his music and the transformative experiences of his travels across sub-Saharan Africa.

“The name was inspired by my travels around sub-Saharan Africa in the last year and a half and the common identity I’ve found between sub-Saharans,” he said.

This connection to the region’s diverse cultures and soundscape served as the cornerstone of his musical journey.

In discussing the evolution of his musical style, Ahrens described ‘Sub Saharan’ as a concept EP, influenced by the rich soundscapes encountered during his travels through Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Tanzania, and highlighted the fusion of cultural elements woven into his music.

Navigating his creative process, Ahrens unveiled the nomadic nature of ‘Sub Saharan’, crafted amid his adventures on the road.

“I would produce grooves on my launchpad and do field recordings on the road,” he said.

The EP’s raw energy was then refined in the studio, resulting in a captivating blend of organic and polished sounds.

When asked about the impact of streaming and social media on his approach to music and Ahrens admitted to still adapting to the ever-changing landscape.

“At the moment, I’m just focusing on making good music and figuring the new social media landscape out as I go,” he said of his dedication to authenticity amid the digital evolution.

Reflecting on standout moments from his performances abroad, Ahrens reminisced about electrifying shows at festivals like ‘Splashy Fen’ in South Africa and ‘Miombo Magic’ in Zimbabwe.

He said these experiences deepened his understanding of different cultures and enriched his perspective as an artist.

Despite the challenges of international performances, Ahrens emphasised the importance of unity with his band.

“Obviously, logistics are tough. We drove to all these countries, so getting your vehicle and headspace ready was important. You sit in a van with your band mates for 5 000 odd kilometres per trip and it takes a special team to not want to rip each others’ throats out every time, because it doesn’t matter how well you get along, the road is unforgiving. All in all, I think the experiences made us stronger as a band,” he said.

Looking ahead, Ahrens exciting collaborations with artists from Zimbabwe and hinted at upcoming tours in Botswana. As for his fans eagerly anticipating new releases, Ahrens said they should stay tuned for updates on social media and hinted at the production of his third album slated for a mid-2025 release.

With ‘Sub Saharan’, Ahrens invites listeners on a musical odyssey infused with the spirit of sub-Saharan Africa, a journey marked by cultural exploration, sonic innovation and unwavering passion for authentic expression. –

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