Die Heuwels Fantasties launches 2021

Afrikaans Alternative Rock band, Die Heuwels Fantasties just announced the official launch party of their new 15 track album dubbed “2021” on May the 30th. They have very creatively used current circumstances to their advantage and will amplify the launch with an online streaming concert!

It’s not what we are used to, cause lets be honest a real gig, is the real deal, but as far as the stream in concerned, it is seriously stacked with appearances by Francois van Coke, Arno Carstens, Tarryn Lamb and Jack Parow.

“We’re very excited to launch an album with a full-on live, online show for the first time. We’ll be sending our album to you over the ether of the internet with VISUALS, LIGHTING, the full band and it will come to you 100% LIVE in the comfort of your home.” – pierre greeff

What’s amazing, is the fact that your ticket in fact includes “2021” as a full digital album. Die Heuwels Fantasties also released a Lyric video for the single “Naweek” off the album as teaser for this weekend.

We think this is going to be a fun weekend.

Get your tickets for the show here:

 

Jeremy Loops releases Mortal Man

New Music Friday took on a whole new persona. A day full of surprises and Jeremy Loops definitely added to the excitement. He released “Mortal Man” under his new licensing deal with Universal Music Group South Africa, as part of a unique global partnership with Decca Records in the United Kingdom and Polydor in Germany.

The new track was accompanied by a beautifully crafted lyric animation.

” What a journey here. From our little rough lakeside sketch of this song when it was just a work in progress to naming a whole tour after it months before it’s come out”

 

The release of Mortal Man was only part of the bomb Loops dropped on Friday. With it came the public announcement that Loops have secretly been working on 2 tracks with Ed Shereen, in his studio on his estate in Essex. It is reported that the two hit it off after one of Ed Shreen’s stadium shows in South Africa and the rest is history.

Mortal Man is available on all streaming platforms.

Get To Know Jeremy Loops Before Large On The Lawn

Interview by Dee Theart (@deetheart)

Photo provided by Stephanie Pana

The first Large On The Lawn in Johannesburg is taking place this Sunday, 29 January!  We are super excited to have Matthew Mole and Jeremy Loops on the bill, and we had an interview to catch up with Jeremy on what his plans for the year are, as well as what we can expect from Large on the Lawn!
Continue reading Get To Know Jeremy Loops Before Large On The Lawn

WIN: Large On The Lawn Tickets

Johannesburg’s newest summer series is brought to you by Breakout, the team behind the successful Parklife Festival, and City Parks. Large On The Lawn is Joburg’s answer to the Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts and Durban’s Botanical Gardens shows, and the new series will bring audiences a set of live shows that are accessible in a centrally located park that is pristine and beautiful. The idea of a few hours out with friends and family on a blanket with wine and snacks is the perfect way to spend a weekend.

Continue reading WIN: Large On The Lawn Tickets

Beardyman: Beatboxing To Daisies

Superbalist is Rocking The Daisies is roughly 9 days away from turning us into gooey piles of happiness, so we decided to catch up with Beardyman, one of the more eclectic headliners, who shall be performing at Superbalist is Rocking The Daisies and Superbalist In The City. We spoke about what his live show usually sounds like, the gear he uses and the possibility of meeting the slayer of Trump. Continue reading Beardyman: Beatboxing To Daisies

INTERVIEW: Jeremy Loops

Jeremy Loops is an artist that has been making South Africa proud since he started his musical career. He is going to be performing at Parklife Cape Town on 28 March and he decided to take out of his busy schedule to talk to us about touring with Twenty One Pilots, the South African music industry, how international crowds are similar and gives some brilliant advice for upcoming artists. Loops shall also be performing at Lush Festival on 24 March and at Parklife Johannesburg on 16 April. You can get tickets via Nutickets.

You’ve probably been faced with numerous interviews over the past six years especially since you’ve begun becoming incredibly popular overseas. They can often be incredibly tiring ordeals especially if writers put very little effort into the questions. Are there any questions that you are tired of being asked?

I’m happy for writers to ask whatever they want to ask. At the end of the day, they’re building their own careers. If you run generic, “answers you can easily google” type questions, that affects the writer’s career ultimately.

You’ve come a long way since you disembarked for your yacht-travels in early 2008 (correct me if I’m wrong) and entered into the music industry. When you started performing as Jeremy Loops – did you ever expect to get to the point where you would be touring all over the world and performing at festivals like Firefly and The Great Escape?

When I started performing, I never had expectations like “oh, one day I want to have a platinum album or play at Glastonbury” or anything like that. That’s not me. I just had two simple goals, really: one, write the absolute best songs I could and, two, put on badass live shows. Playing to 50 people in a tiny venue turned into 100 here, then 300 there, then 1000, then this small festival and then that bigger festival, and then this country and then that country. Everything cascaded because we were focused on small attainable victories and used those to open new doors and new opportunities, and we continue to do so. So to be at the level we’re at now, while it’s cool, I don’t look at it all starry-eyed. It’s not scary to me, but I don’t feel entitled to it either. We are where we’re meant to be right now. We’re still in the trenches, trying to write better songs, and trying to put together even more badass live shows. As long as we do that, hopefully, that opens more doors and more opportunities.

You’re quite popular in places like the UK and the USA – which is a big deal for any artist. How did the initial international tour come about and what made you keep going back?

I made a decision at the end of 2011 that my commitment to making a career in music work meant I had to have no artificial glass ceilings. So we saved and reinvested 90% of the money we earned and I looked at how we could leverage the internet and build relationships that would make touring outside of South Africa possible. And so we took that risk with our savings for our initial USA and UK Tour, and realised my instincts weren’t wrong. We just kept going back and the crowds kept getting bigger and bigger.

You were recently on tour with Twenty One Pilots in Europe. How did you come about being able to tour with them and what was that tour like?

My agent and their European agent work at the same booking agency. So through that, we got wind they were putting together the European tour in support of their album, Blurryface. I had actually gotten into a couple of songs off Blurryface around that time and I told my agent I liked their stuff. He said we should send our stuff through and see if they’ll consider us to open for them. It made sense at every level, really. So he submitted music, as did a bunch of other acts, I imagine, and Tyler and Josh of TØP came back saying they liked our stuff a lot. That was a huge upshot, but it still wasn’t enough to land the tour itself. At that level, just being liked by a band counts for pretty little, actually – you also have to have the right profile for it to make business sense. But we had tons of momentum in Europe back then already and were the perfect fit and Twenty One Pilots liked the music, so we landed the tour.

Since you’ve had the privilege of touring overseas and in South Africa – how do the overseas crowds differ to South African crowds and are there things that the two crowds can learn from one another?

Jeremy Loops audiences worldwide all seem to have the same worldview and all have the same attitude to shows. Our shows are intense energy wise, but no one comes there with negativity. We’re all there to have a really good time.
Perhaps the only fundamental difference is shows happen earlier in Europe and most venues tend to have 11pm curfews, which is kinda nice. You get to go watch a band you love without a major commitment of having to be out all night. Our concert culture, at least in the bar and club level, isn’t quite like that. This is neither good nor bad, it’s just a notable difference.

With regards to your yacht travels, is there anything that you learnt from those travels that you feel like you’ve incorporated into your music?

I learned that agency is everything. Nobody babies you out on the yachts. What you do with your time – whether it’s dick about watching series and YouTube, doing rails of cocaine, working out, or practicing your craft as a musician – is up to you. I decided early on music is what I wanted to spend my spare time refining, and just committed to it, even if there was no one else to motivate me to do it. I’m still like that to this day. Nobody opened doors for me and my team. We all self-motivate and continue to do so.

I recall reading somewhere that a few people on the yacht, especially the captain, used to mock you for practising with loop pedals and for possessing a dream of becoming a musician. Is there any truth to this and how much of an impact did it have on you at the time?

There’s a degree of truth to it. Mocking may be the wrong word, but how many people really support your dreams if they are outside the realms of what most people believe is possible? Life beats people up into being realistic, and in their love for you, they try protect you from life beating you up too. In a yachting industry which many get into as a stopgap with intentions to leave but never really do, becoming a musician who can pay his bills, let alone one who is somewhat successful, just doesn’t seem realistic.

You started your career at a time when MK was at its height. I remember being exposed to your music when your music video for “Howling (Mission to the Sun” began playing on Hoordosis just after I got home from school, and I instantly fell in-love with that song. Do you think that MK played a big role in your music becoming quite popular and how do you things would have played out if a platform like MK didn’t exist?

MK played a huge role in getting my music to people who otherwise wouldn’t have heard it, for sure, and the way they backed Mission to the Sun is still something I appreciate to this day. Irrespective of that, different platforms at different levels will always exist for propelling acts to higher levels. If it isn’t MK, it’ll be something else. In time that becomes radio, then TV, then magazine covers, and so on.

A lot of people are of the opinion that the end of MK is one of the major reasons why the South African music industry has gone into such a slump with regards to gig attendance and support for local artists. Do you think there is any truth to this statement?

When you say ‘South African music industry’, I assume you’re talking specifically about ‘the band scene’, right? Because hip hop has never been bigger in SA. As in ever! But it too once had its slump. My point? It’s important to not look at our subset of the industry’s challenges as a sign of the times for the whole industry.

Also, look, gig attendance is ultimately the responsibility of bands and, to a lesser extent, promoters and venues. When we want to blame other people like MK’s absence for folks not coming to our shows, we absolve ourselves of responsibility and I can’t accept that. Maybe you’re thinking ‘oh, that’s rich coming from you Jeremy, because you’re at this level ‘ or whatever, but we fucking sweat gig attendance! We respect our promoters’ hustles, and we respect our audience’s time, and so we’ll work hard to never book something we cannot sell out, and if sales are struggling, then we’ll come up with strategies to boost them.

When bands – big and small – go ‘oh, no one comes to gigs anymore’ but really, it’s just because you’re booking venues too big for your current profile, who is to blame? And yes, I get it, maybe it’s a macro problem for the whole industry, but the solution is bands taking it upon themselves to write music people give a damn about and to put on shows people really want to see.

There is a lot of talk about the state of the South African music industry. Some are of the opinion that it is a deplorable state. Others are of the opinion that the industry is still growing and going places. What are your thoughts on where the scene currently stands and where it is going?

Our industry has a long way to go before it can compete with the major markets around the world, but this is a good thing! It’s so exciting to know what’s possible and where we can take things to. What’s also rad is we have some decent promoters, decent production companies, decent media people, and decent bands too. But getting an entire industry growing takes building infrastructure we just don’t currently have. We can get there, though, but it’ll take a lot of time.

Look, I don’t have rose tinted glasses – things could be way better – but knowing where things can get to is hugely encouraging for me.

One thing that people do agree upon is that the industry is a tough one into which to break. What is your advice for young artists trying to make it in the local industry?

Write the absolute best songs you can. Design a killer live show. Respect and serve the audience you’re lucky enough to build. Look for opportunities wherever they present themselves and follow your instincts. And, finally, always handle your professional relationships with the utmost integrity. Doing all of those things doesn’t guarantee success – anyone who claims to know the full proof recipe to success in music is a liar – but they will put you on the right track for sure.

One final thing, you have been sitting on Trading Change for close to two years. I remember because it was one of the first albums I reviewed when I started out as a music journalist back in 2014. Can we expect a new album from you anytime soon?

No new album soon, because we’ve just dropped Trading Change in Europe and Australia. However, I’ve got some songs I’m amped about and looking at dropping this year as we gear up for some big things in 2017. So sit tight with the Deluxe version of Trading Change – I may drop one or two more singles and videos from it – but stuff is coming. Big tings!

ALBUM REVIEW: Sean Koch – Natural Projection

As I’ve written before, an artist’s first album is always interesting. An artist’s first album is a statement of who they are. It’s what tells listeners their general direction and identity as an artist minus any pressure of following up as they consider two things: what has received a positive response (and, conversely, what hasn’t), as well as where the artist wants to go creatively—balancing these two things is not always an easy thing to do.

For this reason, then, a first release is a unique opportunity for an artist to introduce themselves, giving a first impression to listeners. Just as somebody’s impression of me starts to form upon my introduction—“Hi, I’m Matt; I write for SA Music Scene—a first album introduces listeners to an artist. The question then is, from this first impression, do I want to get to know this artist?

Comparable with artists like Jack Johnson and Jeremy Loops, Sean Koch, a Cape Town based singer-songwriter has made quite the statement with his debut EP, Natural Projection. The rich acoustic guitar tone, complemented by percussion and an idiomatic constant kick to ground the music in its folk music roots.

You can just picture the tumbleweed as the EP opens with an almost Western feel. The doubled vocal it opens with, complete with a slight disregard for intonation, completes this, really setting the scene. However it’s not long before the mood lightens with the entrance of the drums, bound to get the foot tapping.

But before we get too carried away with the almost Wild West sound of the first track, “Flow”, track two takes us back home, combining a care-free mood with a distinctly local flavour—a song aptly named: “Good Times Keep Rolling.”

The care-free mood these first two songs shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the Kommetjie surf culture from where Koch is from. A serious merit of the album for me, however, is how well rounded it is. We have the upbeat, carefree as well as the more serious, audible in “Rock Bottom Avenue.” However, what the listener will find is no lack of cohesion. What we hear is versatility within a genre and clear evidence that Sean Koch is comfortable and confident in what he is trying to achieve. All the way through, through the ups and downs of Natural Projection, we have an unmissable folk sound, from the foot-tapping upbeat songs like “Good Times Keep Rolling” to the story-teller song “Rock Bottom Avenue”.

The professional, polished sound, as well as the versatility, demonstrated through the album should come as no surprise—for this EP Koch worked with some of SA’s finest: Yanick Bathfield and Josh Riley (Grassy Spark), Tessa Johnson (Al Bairre), Anya Zinn (Birthday Girl), Jess van der Merwe, Ross Hillier and Shaun Cloete (Los Tacos), and Byon Willenberg. Produced by Shaun Cloete and recorded by Giles Hardcastle and Dean Bailey, it’s no wonder this EP sounds as polished as it does.

A first album is like an introduction. You can decide for yourself what your first impression of Sean Koch is from his debut EP – as for me, I want to hear more.

8/10

Win Tickets to Synergy Live 2015

It’s that time of year where we all get ready for the summer season, beach filled weekends, great events and of course that December holiday we’ve all been waiting for! To kick off the festivities, SA Music Scene are giving you the chance to win 1 of 10 Synergy Live 2015 tickets!

Continue reading Win Tickets to Synergy Live 2015

Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts Line-up 2015/2016

Summer Sunset Concerts at the impressive Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden‘s programme has been announced and it’s EPIC as always! Buy tickets here!
Continue reading Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts Line-up 2015/2016

SA Artist Spotlight Behind-The-Scenes Interview With Cassper Nyovest and Jeremy Loops

There are a couple of noteworthy names in the South African music industry who need very little introduction. Jon Savage, Cassper Nyovest and Jeremy Loops welcomed The SA Artist Spotlight to come and film an exclusive behind the scenes episode of their latest collaboration in the SONY Xperia Mashlab on 5FM series – and oh boy is this a good one!

These SA music heavy weights have been matched together to create one of the most highly anticipated Mashups on the series to date.

Nick Darke and his team caught up with Cassper and Jeremy in their mid-creative flow as they discussed the beauty of collaborating and the exciting but nerve-wracking process of working to a deadline to create something magical.

Watch the full behind-the-scenes episode here.

 

INTRODUCING: Flint, Meet Spark

 

Flint, Meet Spark is a Pretoria-based acoustic-folk duo, comprising of Adelle Nqueto and Josh Pretorius. The two musicians met via a chance encounter through mutual friends and decided to join forces and craft a British-African-acoustic-folk centrepiece around which to co-create their collective sound.

Since their inception in 2012, the pair has performed at almost all of South Africa’s biggest music festivals, including Rocking the Daisies and OppiKoppi, as well as several stints at Park Acoustics. Earlier this year the duo joined Jeremy Loops and several other leading South African folk artists at Cool as Folk, a one night only folk-orientated evening in Cape Town.

Considered by some as Pretoria’s best kept secret, Flint, Meet Spark’s sound comprises simply of the two talented musicians on vocals and guitar, providing gorgeously ambient harmonies expertly woven together. Live performances can almost see them to be two solo artists who have somehow stumbled into the same time slot and, acting on instinct, blended their sound to create something entirely new – and that is what, I believe, makes them stand out in our country’s music industry.

Adelle’s voice is fine as silk, adding a delicacy of their sound as a whole. Tinkling, jangling acoustic aesthetics work their way through the music, courtesy of skilful classical guitar. African influences weave their way in and out of their sound too, as well as some markedly British folk moments. The careful balance of their music stems from each member’s distinctive style and creates a curiously delicate sound, bouncing effortlessly between one another’s markedly unique incorporations.

The duo continues, however, to maintain their respective solo projects too. Adelle released her debut solo single, Sailor’s Draw earlier this year. In the light of collaborative efforts with fellow folk musicians, Adelle also leant her voice to Jeremy Loops’ debut album, Trading Change as the female accompaniment in “Lonesome & Blue”.

Flint, Meet Spark are currently working on their debut EP, The Way I Remember You, which they hope to release before the end of the year.

Find them on:

Facebook

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Soundcloud

ALBUM REVIEW: Matinino- Matinino

Solo artists have a tough deal. They’re expected to produce music of the same quality and standard as bands, that have access to the combined creative and musical talent of entire band, and are expected to do it with much less resources at their disposable. Solo artists tend to produce simplistic and captivating music – relying on their main musical talents to allow them to create music that can easily rival that of established bands. However, you get solo artists that completely flout the rule book and create music of grandiose and complex proportions. This is the case with Martinique du Toit, who goes by the moniker of Matinino.

She is a self-professed child of the music industry – a statement which is glaringly true seeing as she started playing the piano when she was five years old and quickly progressed to writing her own music when she was ten years old. Having received classical training and a BA in Music Technology from Stellenbosch University – du Toit went on to master a variety of musical instruments as she cycled through a variety of musical projects with her most recent project being CROAK. It was within CROAK that du Toit began to experiment with the loop pedal, and much like Jeremy Loops – she realised that the loop pedal could be a powerful tool in the hands of a musician.

Thus, Matinino was born. Jeremy Loops may use loop pedals to create infectious and upbeat acoustic folk melodies, but Matinino uses them to create soaring harmonies that are the exact polar opposite of his catchy indie-folk musings. matinino rather harnesses her years of classical training to create a variety of harmonies that find their roots in neoclassical music, but adopt a much more ambient alternative pop sound as Matinino dabbles with dark pop influences on her debut solo album. It is an album that focuses quite intently on the harmonies and melodies as a piano notes, guitar chords, electronic drum samples and variety of other ambient noises come together to create a dreamy indie-pop sound tinged with moodiness of Radiohead and the brooding energy of dark pop bands like How To Destroy Angels.

Upon her self-titled debut, shows us the precise range of her musical abilities, and the album quickly becomes a unique statement of what she is capable of doing with her music. The album opens on the rather grandiose yet sombre note of “The Clones We Own” – a soaring piece of ambient alternative pop that cuts deeply beneath the veil of human bravado with piercing lyrics regarding the variety of personas that we put on in order to survive in society. This is contrasted by the upbeat and dream-like nature of “C’set La Vie”. It is a song that aptly lives up to its translation of “such is life” with its soaring melodies and moments of piercing melancholy, as Matinino drives home the point that life happens and sometimes we’ve just got to go along with it.

Matinino destined to do great things within the music scene. She may not possess the mainstream flair that is needed to gain mass popularity, but her sound has a raw aspect to it that connects with you on an emotional level. It is something that is lacking in a lot of music these days, and something that many South African artists can learn from when creating music.

Rating: 7/10

INTERVIEW: Civil Twilight

Civil Twilight are one of South Africa’s success stories, and it is with great pleasure that we can announce that our editor-in-chief, Craig Roxburgh, got the opportunity to send some questions over to the band. They discuss what the shift from South Africa to the US was like, how it was a desperate shot in the dark,  how incredibly humbling their journey has been, and how great it is to see more South African artists receive international attention. They even hint at the possibility of returning to South Africa for a tour.

Civil Twilight is part of the small group of bands that have actually managed to make it in the US market, following in the footsteps of Seether – a band considered to be one of South Africa’s best musical exports. What was that experience like? What was it like shifting from the very niche and closed circled South African music scene to one that operates on a much larger scale, and one in which it is often very difficult to become popular?

It feels like it’s been such a long road and so much has happened along the way that it’s hard to think of it as one experience. It’s been a total education and we’ve had so many experiences along the way. I think when we first moved to the US we were very young and naive and had big dreams and thought that things might happen a lot quicker than they did. It was intimidating in the beginning, being in a foreign land and really having very little idea of how the music industry worked. But as we went along people responded well to our music and that was always encouraging, and the adventure of it all was exciting and that fueled us. It was exciting be in LA and be running into people who had worked with all these famous artists we grew up listening to. To be invited to parties at clubs you hear about on TV and in the movies, and to rub shoulders with celebrities in Hollywood. That sort of thing just didn’t happen at home. LA feels like it influences the world because it does, and you feel that when you’re there. You feel like you’re on top of the world. I enjoyed the feeling of possibility. In a lot of ways we grew up watching and admiring America, so just being there was a dream in itself. As far as the “making it” part goes, again, it was a long process and a series of relationships, events, breaks, challenges, disappointments and triumphs over a number of years. It was one thing that led to the next, that got us a song on TV, that got us a record deal, that got us a tour and so on. But even then, when you have the record deal and the tour there are no guarantees you “make it” in the end. In our minds I think making it is continuing to make music and enjoy ourselves doing it, and stay friends and love each other in the process.

This particular experience ties in pretty well with the title of your recently released third studio album. Is Story Of An Immigrant based on a lot of what you, as a band, experienced when you decided to practically relocate your entire lives?

Yes, the album title is definitely referencing our journey. It’s biographical, but it’s also referencing the journey that we are all on in life. The things we go through and the fact that we’re all immigrants in one way or another. I think it’s something everyone can relate on some level.

 There is a sense of risk but also relief to your new album. Did you have any idea if you would ever succeed in the US market, and was there a back-up plan if everything didn’t work out the way you had initially planned it, or was it just a desperate shot in the dark?

It was a risk for sure. There are never any guarantees. I think we had a lot of belief in ourselves in the early days and we believed that we would be successful. This was enhanced when people responded well to us when we played live and that helped to keep us going. But you kind of just have to go for it and if you believe that it’s what you’re made to do and it’s what you want to do, you just have to jump and take a chance. There are never any guarantees in life. Our only backup plan was going back home with our tail between our legs. Thankfully, that never happened and we were able to keep going, but there were moments when we were definitely tempted to give up. It’s not been an easy road. But it has been a rewarding one and an amazing adventure.

Whether it was a shot in the dark is irrelevant now that you’ve moved onto your third studio album, but it was already irrelevant upon the release of your debut album which featured “Human” – a song that truly made your career. Do you think things would have gone differently if you never wrote that particular song, or did something differently with your debut album?

I think things would have gone differently if we never wrote “Letters From The Sky”. “Human” definitely opened the door to film and TV, but “Letters From The Sky” kept it wide open for us. “Letters From The Sky” also put us on the radio in the US which was a huge deal. I’m not sure if we would have got to make a second album if not for “Letters From The Sky. That song was definitely a turning point in our careers.

5) It must be quite humbling to look at where you are now – having toured alongside the likes of Florence and the Machines, Jimmy Eat World, Of Monsters and Men, and Anberlin, and then to reflect on where you had come from – playing in local clubs and being in, at the time, one of the most isolated music scenes in the world. Was there ever that expectation that these three Hout Bay teenagers would ever go on to break into the US marker and become a band know all around the world?

Honestly, it is amazing when you think about it. I think we surpassed even our own greatest expectations. When we were kids we just wanted to open for Just Jinger in Cape Town! That would have been a dream! I don’t think we ever imagined we’d get as far as we have. It’s a pretty good feeling actually, because I don’t often think about how far we’ve come. You sort of get caught up in the day to day life and the challenges of living and forget about the accomplishments sometimes. It’s interesting because you don’t become a different person when you have success. Who you are remains and is completely separate from what you do as a career, so sometimes it feels like not much changes over time. So it’s important to look back and reflect and be thankful.

A lot of international media outlets refer to Civil Twilight as being a South African band, despite the band being based in the US and drawing influence from UK alternative rock. Do you find it interesting that people often cling to that label and are surprised that such beautiful and delicate sounding music is capable of emerging from South Africa?

I think people just in general want to know where you come from because it helps them categorize you. With us when we first started in America people were so confused when they heard we were from South Africa. But now South Africa has more international profile so people are a little more familiar with the fact that there are white people who live there too.  We like being from South Africa and are proud of it, so we like it when people know where we’re from and talk about it. We think South Africa is the most beautiful country in the world and we tell everyone that!  Regarding influences, I think people are often surprised that we don’t sound more “African”, but when we explain what we predominantly listened to when we were growing up it seems to makes more sense. You can hear a little more South Africa creeping in on this new record though, and we’re excited about that.

In recent years, it has become a trend for successful local artists to start transcending to the international market with the most notable act being Jeremy Loops whom just recently was announced as a support at for Twenty One Pilots’s tour of the UK and Europe. Do you still pay attention to the local music scene, and if so what are your thoughts on a lot of the acts currently emerging from it?

We don’t follow it closely actually, beyond our friends who are in bands there, but we are certainly interested in what’s coming out of SA. Whenever we hear about other SA artists doing well overseas its always a good feeling. I think we actually share a US booking agent with Jeremy Loops and have had some interaction with him through them, and we also hear about folks like Kongos, St Lucia and, of course, Die Antwoord when we travel. One day we’ll run into them at a festival or something and all have a braai and hang out! Actually, come to think of it, we randomly ran into a fellow Hout Bayer the other day at a festival in Philadelphia. One of the girls who is playing guitar for Nate Ruess (former lead singer of FUN) is from Hout Bay, and we got to hang out and chat to her about home a bit. I think South Africa is fast becoming a legit and recognized community on the international scene.

A lot of people back here in South Africa seem to have an issue with local bands deciding to draw influence from international acts, as opposed to attempting to create a unique South African musical identity. What are your thoughts on this, and did you ever experience such sentiments when you still performing in South Africa?

Yeah, I get that. But I think people are always gonna draw influence from what they like to listen to, and if that’s an international act, there’s not much you can do about it. You can’t tell people what they have to listen to and be influenced by. I do think that people are starting to value local music more though, and that’s a good thing. Especially uniquely South African sounds and rhythms that you don’t find in other places. You realize when you play in America that it’s your uniqueness that sets you apart. No one wants to listen to another version of an American band. They may as well just listen to the original. In the States the playing field is totally level and all those big ‘international’ acts are now your direct competition. So the more unique influences you have the better. Obviously I’m speaking philosophically and in reality you just make music that excites you. But if I could do it all again, one thing I would do is place more value on local South African music and search out and listen to more of it.

On the note of performing in South Africa, is there the possibility of returning to South Africa in the near future in support of your new album – seeing as 5FM has had “Holy Doves” playing on a daily basis?

Yes, definitely! We’ve hired a new local booking agent and we are hoping to get back there in December or January. We love coming back to SA and we love playing shows there. As long as people come watch us, we’ll come play. And we’ll eat as much boerewors as possible in the process!

Electric Vines Artist Annoucements

The past week and a bit has been unfathomably  crazy, hence why I am a bit behind with the artist announcements for this year edition of Electric Vines. To be fair, the festival has been announcing bands at a rapid pace so who can really blame me for wanting to wait a bit before doing a write-up?

Now, according to reports Electric Vines went down like a treat for first time festival. Although, there were a few complaints – mainly it being all the way in Robertson, and a lot of people not wanting to drive that distance. The festival is now being hosted on Wildekrans Wine Estate – a mere 50 minutes from Cape Town.

We received incredible feedback from last years festival at the end of Electric Vines 2014. Two main points came up repeatedly, was the 2 and a half hour drive to Arabella Wines, which seemed simply too far for many. The farm also had nowater source for people to cool off in the amazing summer heat of Western Cape. We therefore, looked at venues closer to Cape Town and Wildekrans ultimately ticked all the boxes” stated Matt Hallowes, Festival Director at Mattchbox Productions.

Furthermore, there were many postive report about the line-up which consisted of the likes of Goodluck, Jeremy Loops, Prime Circle, Matthew Mole, and more fantastic artists including Australian indie-pop outfit Sun City. It is with this exquiste line-up in mind that the team at Electric Vines has bought Cath Grenfell on-board to handle the booking of bands, and boy – she has done a great job so far.

Here is who you can expect to see at the 2nd edition of Electric Vines: Al Bairre, Desmond and the Tutus, The Kiffness, PHFAT, Red Tape Riot, Shortstraw and a bevy of other brilliant artists. They have already impressed me with the line-up so far. Now, all they need to do is make Twenty One Pilots the headliner and I’m there like a bear.

Early bird tickets are currently available for R500, and can be purchased here.

Full ticket details are as follows:

Full Pass (2 day standard pass including camping):
• Early Bird R500* (Limited to 600. Available 29 June – 31 July)
• Pre-Sale R800* (Limited. Available 1 August – 30 November)
• December Price R950* (Only available if not sold out)

VIP experience (only 200 available):
• R2000* (Available 29 June – December)
• December Price R2500* (Only available if not sold out)
• VIP Includes
o Access to 2 VIP areas and private pool
o Welcome pack on arrival valued at R1000
o Afternoon snacks and canapés each day

LIVE REVIEW: Parklife Cape Town 2015

Photography courtesy of Peter Abrahams

It was a blustery and gloomy Saturday morning as I progressed down the N1 on my way to witness the first edition of Parklife Festival in Cape Town. It is an already well-established festival in Johannesburg, but this is the first time that the unique fusion of gourmet food and live music shall be finding its way down to Cape Town. This was the test run, and the fate of the festival all rested on the amount of people that BreakOut Media could pack into the Greenpoint Cricket Club. The only problem was that the weather did not seem like it wanted to cooperate with getting people to leave their comfort of their own homes to attend the festival.

With clouds and mist obscuring Table Mountain, the turnout to watch one of South Africa’s best live bands was beyond dismal. I was able to count the amount people watching Grassy Spark on my fingers. However, this does not include the people taking shelter from the elements beneath the beer tent and the food court – even though many of them stared on in passive disinterest as Grassy Spark attempted to combat the dreariness, which the Cape of Storms was throwing at them, with their effervescent and upbeat brand of ska tempered with pop rock influences.

Coincidently, their attempts worked and the sun broke through the clouds while Jon Savage, in his capacity as a brilliant MC, coaxed more people into coming to the front to watch SAMA-nominated pop rock newcomers: Monark. This is what frustrated me about the crowd at Parklife. When you have about 20 people gathered in front of the stage to watch a SAMA-nominated band that has taken South African pop charts, and iTunes charts by storm, then there is something wrong. Perhaps it was the weather, but too often have I attended events like these and seen people completely disregard the premiere line-up of local bands. Luckily, Monark took this all in their stride and decided to work with what they had as lead singer Eugene Coetzer constantly engaged with the meagre crowd, and encouraged them to dance and sing-along as Monark powered through hit singles like “Build It Up”, “Smiling”, and other fan favourites off of their SAMA-nominated debut album Negatives.

It rapidly apparent that the festival organisers were getting worried about the crowd that Parklife was drawing as Savage constantly urged the audience to get on Twitter and encourage people to come to Parklife. Whatever Savage did seemed to work as the crowd swelled shortly before The Plastics took to the stage. However, the nervous smiles of the Righini brothers seemed to suggest that they weren’t particularly happy with the turnout, but South African bands are well-versed with remaining humble in-face of poor crowd participation. They swept through a stellar set of psychedelic indie-pop as they delivered fan-favourite songs and gave us a glimpse of a new song that shall be featured on the new album upon which they are currently working. At this point, I would have started stressing- if it was my festival.  The musical embodiment of the spirit of Cape Town, and yet one could have fit the attentive audience into a small bus. If this was my festival, I would be stressed and hoping that the electro rap fury of PHFAT could draw a larger crowd before the international acts took the stage.

A snazzily dressed Mike struts onto the stage with a swaggering sense of purpose, and immediately the crowd grows. I attribute this to the fact that in the past year, PHFAT has taken the live music circuit by the storm with their rabidly energetic brand of disgustingly filthy electro rap. With one single performance, PHFAT prove themselves to be a live act that is perfectly capable of dominating a club stage, performing the evening slot at a major festival, or rocking a lazy 2pm time-slot at a gourmet food and music festival. PHFAT blazed through a heat-seeking set with numerous features from their favourite collaborator: Jung Freud, and promptly set the mood for one of the best life performances I have seen, short off Foo Fighters last year.

American Authors begin setting up their gear, and the excitement is palpable. The crowd behind me has swelled since I last checked before PHFAT’s set, and they’re all here for the same reason: to dance and have a good time. After an introduction from Savage, American Authors stride onto stage one member at a time, and begin teasing us with an instrumental section. Lead singer, Zac Barnett, promptly runs onto stage and launches into a musical frenzy. Barnett has one of the most lively stage personalities that I have seen of any live act. He refuses to stand still and constantly engages with the crowd, and he especially likes climbing onto the barrier to sing into the crowd and conduct crowd sing-alongs. The band powers their way through all the singles off of their debut album Oh, What A Life, and even managed to deliver a beautiful rendition of Coldplay’s “Yellow” – which saw the crowd erupting into passionate sing-along. Although, this was the case with every single song that American Authors performed. This was clearly evident that a visit to South Africa was long overdue. Sadly, their set was over as quickly as it had started, but everyone was left short of breath and with enormous grins on their faces.

It was now time for Jeremy Loops. After what looked like a very stressful set-up and sound-check, South Africa’s golden boy took to the stage for his final show in Cape Town for the next couple of months. He is about to embark on a tour of the US and Uk, and it is clear from his performance that he clearly deserves this accolade. As always, he was accompanied by the effervescent Motheo Moleko and the funky Jamie Faull – who each give their own particular character to Jeremy Loop’s live acts. Jeremy Loops had practically claimed a headlining spot as American Authors had, in a sense, just opened for him. A rather fitting event as Jeremy Loops opened for them two years during a club gig in America. However, the true headliners were about to follow and nobody was ready for what they were about to bring to the stage.

The sun had set. The sound check was taking longer than expected. The crowd was getting restless. Then the lights went black, and Modest Mouse began to walk onto the stage, and band members claimed their rightful positions with Isaac Brock being the last to pick up his guitar. Nothing could have prepared us for the display of rock royalty that we were about to witness. Modest Mouse, despite the poor sound quality, put on a fierce display of what happens when veterans of alternative rock visit a country for the first time. It was clear that Brock had lived up to his statement regarding deciding the set-list on the day of the show, and then changing it during the actual performance, as there were times when the rest of the band was just staring at Brock to see which song he would start playing. The chaos that resulted was beautiful as the band sped through a mixture of old and new songs, with my favourite “Float On” cropping up on the latter half of the set-list. However, what is a live show without a bit of a commotion? As Modest Mouse had just finished their set, some fool through a beer can at the band. This prompted Brock to angrily storm back onto the stage and, appropriately, verbally abuse the perpetrator for being a “fucking idiot”.

With the day nearly done, French DJ group Klingade took to the stage to deliver their upbeat and unique EDM sound to a large crowd of faithful fans. All of whom proceeded to dance the night away. I watched in mirth from the back of the crowd with a coffee in my hand as I mentally prepared myself for the journey back to Durbanville. Any worries that Parklife had to be eliminated by such triumphant displays of dedication from the fans. There may have been poor attendance for the local acts, which could be chalked down to the fickle weather, and sound quality that grew progressively worse throughout the day, but I do believe that the Cape Town edition of Parklife was a success. Same time next year?