SA Music Scene does #RTD2017

It’s been 3 Years since I have attended the annual Rocking The Daisies, and wow has it changed. They have definitely bumped up the catering for different music lovers, aiming towards the main market, which is about time.  It saddens me that there was hardly any live rock ‘n roll acts this year, but hopefully, they will bring back the Rocking part to the Daisies Festival with female headliners, along with the variety that they have incorporated now. Continue reading SA Music Scene does #RTD2017

Das Kapital: Diversity And Community In EDM

Photography courtesy of Jono Ferreira and Jono Jebus.

Das Kapital has been a staple of the South African electronic music scene for several years and just released Overtime via his label Do Work Records. The album itself is a compilation album featuring all the talent that Das Kapital has signed to Do Work Records. In light of this release, we caught up with Das Kapital to discuss the compilation album, his vision for his label, the nature of EDM music in South Africa and his massive opportunity to open for Knife Party at Rocking The Daisies.

So let’s talk about Overtime first. Dance compilations are a dime a dozen these days and are hardly rare releases. What makes Overtime different, and gives it an edge over the compilations backed by huge EDM labels?

The Do Work team is really hands on with the music we receive. It’s never really as simple as just “oh fix that kick and it’s done” when we’re working on new releases. That’s a big part of the Overtime album.

Sometimes, it takes a few hours to get a track we’re sent to the point that we’re happy with it, and sometimes it’s taken years. We understand that raw talent is nothing without direction, and want to see South African artists (for now) making their mark on the global scene.

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime”

I understand that the album was something that had been in the works (mind the pun) for a while now. What led you to finally decide to release this album as opposed to waiting a few more years?

It’s simple – both the music and the audience were ready now.

The tracks we’d held on to and the newer ones both blended together seamlessly. There was never really a fear of the release sounding dated, because of how exciting and unique the productions were. This is a blend of tracks we’ve been keeping secret and brand new records, and I highly doubt anyone would be able to tell me which tracks are which.

Most importantly, the audience in SA is more ready for unafraid, to-the-point club music than they were when we began compiling the album. NOW just felt right.

You mention that Overtime essentially marks a relaunching of the Do Work Records brand. What can we expect from Do Work Records 2.0? Are we going to see an increased involvement within the local dance scene?

Increased involvement – 100%.

Do Work itself is going to be pushing more content out than we have since its inception in 2013, with a bigger focus on making objectively great records that people can hear just easily on a radio and in a nightclub. Our artists are already producing for major labels and big ad campaigns, but it’s time to make more of a visible mark on the industry. We’re looking at music videos, cross-genre collaborations & big singles as the definition of DW2.0.

On that note, what is your vision for Do Work Records, and by extension the South African EDM scene as a whole?

Basically, I want to use my position in the music industry to push and promote South African dance music to the rest of the world, and vice versa. I’m using the Do Work network to allow the world to see South Africa as the musical powerhouse it is, rather than the distant place international DJs or artists might tour once in a while.

The press release for Overtime talks about a sub-label being launched soon. Is there any chance you could give us more details regarding this sub-label and when it might launch?

We’re launching a new sub-label, SEBENZA, to find and promote young South African producers who might not otherwise get the opportunity to be seen. It’s a label that will be focussing more on club releases, drawing on and unifying the network of artists I’ve come into contact with over the past few years. Expect local and international artists, with releases by bigger names and up-and-comers alike. It’s a really exciting project, and I’m really looking forward to seeing that progress over the next few months. I’m finalising a lot of the infrastructure now, but the first releases are already getting signed.

What I really like about this album is that the sounds on the album are incredibly diverse, and not limited to a single genre. Do you think this diversity is something that the local EDM scene needs to start pushing towards? Do you think events need to start featuring much more diverse ranges of EDM as opposed to whatever is popular at the time?

I always tell people that I think diversity is important. Doing the same thing forever is boring, and unfulfilling, so it’s no real surprise that an album from us would be so varied. I would like to see South African artists taking more risks with their music because creative expression doesn’t need to be limited to what you’ve already done a million times before.

As for events, I always think that the most important thing is pushing stuff that makes sense to your audience. IF you’re pushing entirely experimental music, the audience won’t ever really be that big. HOWEVER, if you can find a way to introduce people to new things, whilst still pushing what’s current and exciting, you’re creating a culture with longevity and a wider scope than if you’re just chasing trends.

das-kapital-press-photo-09-15-credit-jono-jebus-1

You’ve been releasing music professionally for a while now, and your career has survived every trend in the local industry, while other artists have either disappeared or had to completely alter their sound and style to match these trends. How did you stay so steadfast in your sound, and was there ever a time where you considered hopping onto the various trends in EDM?

I think the defining feature of my sound is complexity and change. The reason I’ve never really been seen to follow trends is because I’ve always been inspired by so much music, and create my own unique product out of those inspirations. I don’t want to release songs that sound derivative, or “samey”, but that’s not to say I won’t release something that sounds a little bit “on trend” or “current”.

To be fair, I always wonder if I should just cheese out, and write generic music, because life would be a lot easier that way, but at the end of the day, I’d rather release the records that mean something to me and my fans than make some easily replicated throwaway garbage.

You recently were given your own show on 5FM. What has that whole experience been like and have you learnt anything from it?

Getting the job at 5FM had been many years in the making, so when I got the call, I was really just thankful. It felt like all the work my team and I had put in over the years was validated, in a sense. The biggest things I’ve learnt from the show over the past 4-ish months is that there is a huge need for community within the SA dance scene, and that the world is VERY interested in hearing more from South African musicians – Both of which I am actively pushing for harder than ever, as you can tell.

You’re known for being open and honest, which is pretty rare in our industry, as people tend to get shot down if they express any kind of honest opinion. So let’s be brutally honest – What are your thoughts on the current South African EDM scene and what do you think the scene needs to improve on to better itself?

I think there are some incredibly huge egos rearing their ugly heads right now, especially in the more “mainstream” (hate that term) side of things. A lot of artists are suddenly hot shit and think that gives them the opportunity to act like dickheads. The same could be said for a lot of management and agencies as well.

I think it’s important to note that success is something that has to be maintained, and if the proper measures aren’t taken when you’re in demand, you can easily lose it all when the audience moves on. At the same time, there are a lot more people that are honestly just hard-working, well-meaning creators of cool things, that keep their head down and get the job done.

The easiest advice I can offer to the industry as a whole is this: “Be thankful for those that work with you. Disregard those working against you. Stay humble. Be present in your decision-making. Be aware of the impact and influence you have on those looking up to you, at all times.”

There are conversations going around about how the South African clubbing scene has become complacent and is suffering as a result of that. What are your thoughts on this?

I think things have become ‘easy’ for a lot of artists, but there is also a massive challenge for others. I can certainly see how some producers and DJs feel safe right now, but we all know nothing lasts forever. I trust that the top-tier promoters and artists killing it right now have the foresight to be prepared for whatever comes next. That adaptability is what gives a career longevity.

So this is more of a personal question, but recently a new set of events called Emo Night have cropped up that propose a totally alternative style of DJing to the traditional EDM format. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think SA can stand to benefit from events that tackle DJing in a different way and with a totally different style of music?

At its core, DJing is supposed to be about making people dance. Whether you’re doing that as a club DJ, with intentional blends to create a seamless mix, or as a “selector”, who really throws the mixing party aside to rather just play cool tunes – I’m cool with both.

As long as people are having fun, I see no problems. I only hope people can tell the difference between someone who’s a career DJ and someone just slamming records together for fun, is all.

Finally, you’re opening for Knife Party at Rocking The Daisies this year (so stoked for that). What can we expect from your set and are you looking forward to it?

I’m happy the lineup times are out because I’ve been sitting on that info for a while!

I always try bringing something special to the table when I play Daisies, and this year is probably going to be my biggest set at the festival to date. I’m putting together a custom audio-visual show, with new loads of new music to debut. It’s a crazy slot, between OPIUO and Knife Party, so I’m going to have to really step up and push myself harder than ever to deliver something phenomenal. I want to make sure people leave the Electro Dome at 4AM on Saturday morning, and remember every detail of my set for weeks. That’s the plan.

 

Rocking The Daisies: A Benchmark For Inclusivity

Photo taken by Rocking The Daisies

“It is ROCKING The Daisies. Not HIP-HOPPING The Daisies.” A phrase that was repeatedly uttered in vehement defence of everything held sacred by the whitewashed supporters of Rocking The Daisies – namely flower crowns, indie rock and white privilege. It was a defence raised in response to ‪#‎HipHopTentRTD2016 – a growing social media movement that advocated for a hip hop tent to be included in this year’s festivities at Rocking The Daisies – a movement that rapidly obtained momentum as Steyn Entertainment and Pop Bottles Entertainment quietly began preparing to launch a stage that shall ultimately usher in a new era for Rocking The Daisies.

The irony in this public outcry against the movement is that Steyn Entertainment would have introduced a hip-hop tent even if there wasn’t an entire social media movement crying for its creation. Managing director of Steyn Entertainment, George Avakian, has always been a huge fan of hip hop which resulted in the RTD team and Steyn Entertainment “talking about the hip hop stage before the [Steyn Entertainment takeover] was finalised” and it happened to be the first change that Avakian brought to the table after Steyn Entertainment assumed control of Rocking The Daisies. The newly formed team just required some kind of catalyst for the idea to rapidly take a physical manifestation even though it had been in the pipeline prior to anyone even taking to Facebook to express their desires for such a stage.

It was in the weeks leading up to the first phase of ticket reservations that line-up requests began to flood the Rocking The Daisies event page with the usual smattering of outrageous requests for Billboard topping mainstream indie and alternative acts, but this year saw the requests become reminiscent of mimicking the line-up for this year’s edition of Coachella. At first it was just people requesting popular hip hop acts like Chance The Rapper and Drake – both of which had performed at Coachella in the past, but then 25 April came along and the catalyst for the social media that would eventually fuel the creation of the Two’s Up Stage (the official name for the hip hop tent) emerged. It started with Mini Radebe posting a rallying call for all hip hop fans to begin using the hashtag #HipHopTentRTD2016 as a means to get Rocking The Daisies to consider introducing the tent. This was after she had occasionally posted in the days before hinting at a vague desire for hip hop artists to perform at Rocking The Daisies on a single stage. The support came pouring in for Radebe’s vision with many fans just wanting a tent where hip hop music was being played as opposed to an actual stage with hip hop acts performing on it. It is here where Pop Bottles and Steyn Entertainment plans to surpass fan expectations. Pop Bottles has stated that “it isn’t going to be a tent as many fans expect. [They] are in the process of putting together a really unique and exciting production matching any of the other stages at Rocking The Daisies. The stage will include the biggest names in SA hip hop, all to be revealed over the next few weeks. [They] want to provide a space where hip hop music can shine. We aim to please, the Two’s Up Stage at Daisies is going to be awesome this year and hopefully for many years to come.”

It makes logical sense for Rocking The Daisies to introduce a hip hop tent when you consider the direction that many global indie festivals have been taking as more and more hip hop artists begin to feature on the line-ups. However, the biggest reason for this being a logical choice is quite simple. Hip-hop is the most listened to genre in the world. This is especially true amongst the youthful demographic to which such festivals usually cater, seeing as 41% of Spotify users in the USA fall into the age bracket of 18 to 29 years old. In 2015, Spotify created a musical map of the world (or at least all the parts of the world that has access to Spotify) and documented the listening of habits of 1 000 cities to create unique playlists based on each city’s listening habit which would be updated on a biweekly basis. Hip Hop was the genre that most frequently showed up in the vast majority of these playlists. Thus it is safe to say that hip-hop is the most popular genre in the world, but that can be contested when looking at 2015’s album sales date which indicates rock as being the most popular genre as 33% of all of last year’s album sales in the USA happened to come from the rock genre according to Nielsen’s 2015 Year-End Music Report. However, their data also happens to support the fact that Hip Hop is the most streamed and listened to genre with over 21% of on-demand streaming (via services like Tidal and Spotify) coming from the hip hop genre. Based on this data, doesn’t it make sense for festivals promoters to begin curating line-ups that integrate hip-hop into line-ups that predominately feature indie, pop and rock artists? Festival like Coachella, Glastonbury and Reading and Leeds seem to agree with this line of thinking if you consider some of their most recent headlining acts, so it makes perfect sense for this to become the norm for festivals.

However, one could argue that these statistics cannot be applied to a South African context due to the fact that we don’t have access to Spotify and that we can’t really comment on album sales as no-one is entirely certain of those statistics on a localised level – which is rather unfortunate. This is true, but we can use the Spotify data as a benchmark for determining the global consensus amongst the youth regarding the artistic value of hip hop and furthermore regarding it popularity. Let us consider that the dominant racial demographic of the aforementioned areas happens to be Caucasian yet their most listened to genre is hip-hop – a genre that is predominately associated with black culture so much so that people often accuse Caucasians of committing cultural appropriation when they listen to hip-hop. Race should not play a role in determining who listens to what, as one should not be able to appropriate music to match one’s own particular culture, but hip-hop does stand as an exception to this rule as it is an entire culture and mindset as opposed to just being a musical genre. It is a culture that is closely tied to black culture and more precisely black oppression as it was born in the 70s as a reaction to much of the racism and oppression that remained within the United States despite the “win” of the Civil Rights Movement in 1968 with the passing of the Civil Rights Act. It quickly became a voice for the disenfranchised youth who were still upset with the outcome of the Civil Rights Movement and used it to reflect the economic, political and social realities of their lives.

In the next 50 years, the genre would spread across the world becoming the voice for oppressed black communities all over the world, but there were certain places where hip-hop was used to voice the frustration of a majority group living under the racial oppression of a minority group. The most prominent place where this occurred was in South Africa where hip hop seeped into the townships and was quickly assimilated into black South African culture as the townships morphed into an entirely new beast that amalgamated traditional African sounds and African languages into the genre to create kwaito – a subgenre of hip hop that allowed many budding South African hip hop artists to express themselves in a fashion that existed out of the normative “drugs, gangs and money” lyrical themes that came to dominate American hip hop in the 80s and 90s. Thus, South Africa’s hip hop community was born and at first it remained underground and out of sight to mainstream media due to the restrictive music bans put in place by the National Party during Apartheid. Yet, despite these bans, hip hop became incredibly popular within the black communities of South Africa and thus, when Apartheid ended in 1994 – hip hop quickly became one of the most popular genres in the country due to the sheer weight of demographics behind it.

This is why the Spotify’s data can be easily be applied to South Africa for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it is reasonable to assume that a vast majority of people of colour in South Africa listen to hip hop, based on the fact that hip hop is intrinsically tied to black communities, and more specifically disenfranchised black communities. This would imply that hip hop has an immense amount of popularity in South Africa as people of colour make up the majority of our population. Furthermore, if one looks at the charts of a commercial radio such as 5FM one can immediately notice that hip hop, and especially local hip-hop, features incredibly often on the charts. This has become a common occurrence with the introduction of the SABC’s 90% local quota. This points to the sheer popularity of the genre as Top 40 charts are usually based on which songs are the most requested at the station. The increased presence of hip hop artists on 5FM’s Top 40 charts confirms Avakian’s statement that “hip hop is the biggest genre in our country”. Although radio play isn’t the only measure of success for a genre, it seems to be the only way that hip hop artists can truly ascertain their success in South Africa’s music industry despite the fact that “[the] level of artistry has far exceeded the world standard, and the scene is a force with which to be reckoned”.

The sad reality is that hip hop is underrepresented in South Africa across multiple channels ranging from its media to its festival line-ups. Even music stores have a rather disappointing selection of South African hip hop, but this statement rings true for all genres of South African music as most artists without record deals hardly ever get their music distributed to Musica. South Africa’s major music blogs tend to pass a rather lazy eye over South Africa’s hip hop scene – in the rare case that they cover hip-hop at all. We, at South African Music Scene, admit to being guilty of hardly ever covering the South African hip hop scene, but it is something we hope to improve on in the near future. It seems strange that media outlets would ignore one of the biggest genres in the country. It begs the question – why do we steer away from covering this genre? I suppose it links to the idea that “hip hop naturally has a bad stereotype attached to it, because it is so real, it spoke of which was meant to not be spoken of, it portrayed what people were really feeling” and this may have been true thirty or forty years ago when covering this genre would have gone against social norms and conventions in South Africa. However, “those days have gone and the world has changed. Hip hop is currently the biggest genre in the industry right now”, so why is there still a lack of representation of South African hip hop?

This is perhaps because the South African live music circuit caters towards a very specific demographic that enjoys mainstream electronic beats, guitar riffs and up-tempo indie pop over the rapid-delivery of rap vocals and bass-heavy hip hop samples. The mainstream media outlets are intrinsically linked to this live music circuit as it fuels much of their coverage and introduces them to new artists to cover. Unfortunately, the whitewashed state of the live music circuit leans itself towards ignoring hip-hop as it tends to cater towards the whims and desires of the upper middle class. In my personal experience, I have rarely noticed events occurring in Cape Town’s prestigious live music venues that feature hip-hop artists with the exception of YOH’s themed events at The Assembly – which tend to blur the lines between hip-hop and indie while staying true to their links with the underground. It is hard to pinpoint a reason why events don’t include hip hop artists, but that could link to the fact that although there is a “[hip hop industry in Cape Town”, this industry is “still relatively under-exposed”. This is where Rocking The Daisies shall play a vital role. “Hip-hop is coming to Cape Town and Rocking the Daisies shall be bringing it to [Cape Town’s] doorstep,” as the line-up shall draw from multiple talent pools which shall ultimately result in Steyn Entertainment bringing “the best acts [they] can bring to [their] line-up”.

The introduction of the Two’s Up stage at Rocking the Daisies is a pivotal moment in the transformation of Cape Town’s music industry, and ultimately the national music industry, as it has the potential to set a precedent for inclusivity in the mainstream live music. The introduction of this stage is just one phase in the evolution of Rocking The Daisies as they intend to grow their music offering to best showcase South Africa’s local talent which shall ultimately grow the music industry. Avakian summed up his plan for Rocking The Daisies by stating that they aim “to build a world platform [for music] in the Mother City”. The question is whether the introduction of the stage will actually have an impact on the nature of the live music market and ultimately result in promoters restructuring their events to become more inclusive spaces. It is difficult to make these predictions in such a fickle and fluid industry as one can never be sure of what is actually going to occur. However, the fact that Rocking The Daisies is one of South Africa’s biggest festivals will make promoters pay attention to what the team is doing with the festivals. Rocking The Daisies is often considered to be a tastemaker for Cape Town’s live music habits as their line-up shapes the summer music habits of the Mother City. This will play a major role in determining whether or not the introduction of the hip hop stage will actually result in a widespread trend that reshapes the live music circuit. Steyn Entertainment is quite confident in their belief that “everyone will follow this trend” and that the hip hop stage will transcend from just being a single stage at the festival to being a musical trend that finds itself amalgamated into even the staunchest of rock line-ups. The fact of the matter is that “we are a multicultural nation” and “our music offering needs to reflect just that”. This is something that Rocking The Daisies is clearly trying to do – and not just with the hip hop tent. The main stage has currently taken an interesting form as there is a clear juxtaposition of mainstream indie and rock acts and slightly more eclectic artists that wouldn’t necessarily be found on past Rocking The Daisies’ line-ups such as AKA, BCUC, Mango Groove, 1st Project, Moonchild Sanelly and much more.

It is much-needed eclecticism and inclusivity as the live circuit of Cape Town has become so oversaturated with indie artists that it is at the point where new indie bands don’t even try to be creative with their music yet they get all the limelight. Inclusivity is not just limited to including more racial groups in the live circuit. It is also linked to ensuring that all genres are represented in our live music venues and that no particular genre is favoured. It can be argued that this occurs overseas with certain venues and festivals catering to specific genres, but that just cannot work in South Africa especially on a localised level such as in Cape Town. Our music scene is too small and too segregated for us to underrepresent any genre regardless of whether that genre is EDM, hip-hop, metal, punk or whatever other hare-brained musical project that someone invents. At the end of the day, it is up to the promoter to take the steps to make the scene more inclusive. It is here that Avakian practically sums up what is being done behind the scenes with regards to Rocking The Daisies. Local promoters can make the scene more inclusive “by taking the time out as promoters to listening to the music, following the culture, and supporting it whether or not they have booked the artist. Also, listen to your people. Every artist request, every Facebook comment, every tweet; we are watching, learning and growing.”

If you think about it, the introduction of the stage is actually reminiscent of the DIY punk ethos that was part of the early hip hop movement. It is a moment of rebellion against the norms of Cape Town’s musical environment – one that points to Steyn Entertainment not really caring about what occurs within the mainstream live circuit as “[they] are here to take over” both the local music scene and the global music scene. The team is instilled with such a ferocious sense of patriotism as they seem to display a deep appreciation for the “different cultures of our beautiful country”. It is in the midst of this patriotism that Steyn displays their intent for Rocking The Daisies to become this wonderful inclusive space where the racial lines that scar our country and divide our industry are erased – a space where “everybody comes together for the love of music”.

It is here, in the concluding paragraphs of an article that exceed the length of most semester essays, where we return to that terrible argument of “It is ROCKING The Daisies. Not HIP-HOPPING The Daisies”. It is a ridiculous argument as Rocking The Daisies has never claimed to be a “rock” festival. Yes, many of their international headliners on the main stage have been drawn from the realms of mainstream rock and indie, but that is mainly due to the sheer demand for these bands to tour South Africa and a festival is often the best way to get a band to do that. To imply that Rocking The Daisies should only cater towards rock fans is steeped in ignorance regarding the entire musical ethos surrounding the festival. The argument in itself ignores the fact that there is a multitude of stages that are dedicated to music that barely even resembles rock music. In fact, there are usually more electronic artists performing at Rocking The Daisies than there are rock and indie bands due to the fact that there are two electronic-themed stages. The people raising the argument seem to only be opposed to the introduction of hip hop and at the end of the day – most of the hip-hop will be performed on the Two’s Up stage so it is very easy to avoid the stage and not listen to any of the music. To that Avakian says the following: “if you opposing the hip hop tent because it isn’t your preferred genre of music, I want you to know that we have made an incredible effort in taking RTD as you know it to a whole new level. The quality of production will put every festival on the continent under pressure. Your favourite stages will get facelifts and the overall detail of the festival will be taken to new extremes.”

However, there is a small group of people opposed to the hip-hop tent across racial lines and that is an article for another day as I could easily turn this into a thesis regarding the problems surrounding race and music in South Africa. The short version is that racial lines have divided the scene for too long and any person arguing that a festival should not include a specific genre because they don’t want a certain ethnic group to attend the festival is an incredibly problematic individual that should not be allowed access to any festival or music event unless it is a Steve Hofmeyer concert. It is a sentiment that Avakian shares in the following statement: “if you are opposing the stage for any racial reason, then you are not welcome at [Rocking The] Daises. Life gets cluttered with unnecessary tension between people who are different to one another. Rocking The Daisies is where we all come together for the love of music, we fill our hearts with love and party all our problems away.”

That is something I can drink to. I will see you all on the festival grounds.

 

Rocking the Daisies 2016

It is #RockingMondays again and it is all about diversity this time round as Prime Circle, Emtee, The Plastics, Das Kapital, Bantwanas Showcase, YETI, Speedsta, STTA, Dustland Express, The Plastics, Sol Gems, Mash.o, Roastin Records, DJ Superfly and White Nite join the line-up.
Continue reading Rocking the Daisies 2016

More than Madness – The Festival Manifesto.

There’s a certain kind of girl I love looking at, and coming from my particularly homosexual brain, that means a lot. She’s tall, maybe a little too skinny on account of her choice of nicotine over food, she’s dressed in bright colours which don’t cling to her skin in the traditional places, she has the armbands from three music festivals still wound around her wrist, and she’s smiling at me, from the other side of the mess of peroxide-infused hair that blocks her eyeliner.

She’s the kind of girl you wish you knew when you were fifteen and that you still can’t believe is finally a constant part of your reality. Because what she represents is the culture-set you longed to be a part of. And now, because she’s smiling at you, and asking you if you’ve got your Daisies ticket yet, you know that somehow you managed to become the person you wanted to be.

But, you don’t say it in so many words. That would be awkward because, right now, you’re sandwiched between friends in the backseat of a car headed to the music festival you’ve been looking forward to for months; the place where you’ll be surrounded by people having the best time of their lives and who’ve also wanted to get there as badly as you have.

And that’s why music festivals are important – because they are the peak of everything. It’s a space that’s built around the kids who grew up on the music, the ones who wished they could already have been there when they were 15, and now that they’re 21 and they’ve finally made it to the campsite (with money they somehow scraped together) they’re the happiest they’ve ever been.

See, festival culture is about more than just a 3-day bout of hedonism. The real picture is this:

She’s barefoot in the mud and the band that she’s been dying to see is on stage – she’s enjoying the shit out of their set. Her eyes are shut and her hands are up in the air – her time is the present and nothing else because, for once, she’s free of any worry about the demands placed upon her.

She’s just being.

And, because of that, the space becomes heaven, because everyone in it is happy with exactly where they are and what they’re doing there. And that’s something that I feel deserves attention, and it needs to be respected and seen for what it is. Because I’m one of those kids and music has always been a part of my life. It’s my continuous thread; my default setting.

See, when I walk into a music store, I’m with all my best friends (Thanks, Penny Lane) I’m with the friend who was there when I was crying my eyes out. I’m there with the kid who was there when I just wanted to have a good time. I’m there with the friend who was there because I needed to learn a massive lesson.

And I think that when you hear something and you relate to it so strongly and then eventually you see the person responsible for thousands of those secret epiphanies, then that’s what we need to be writing down because it’s the truest stuff.

So, yeah, I’m a fan. A massive one. And, I’ll be at Rocking the Daisies and Oppikoppi and Splashy Fen and Jungala and Vortex and Synergy and whatever other festival tickets I can get my hands onto this year, because I want to write about it.

I want to write about the kids having the best time of their lives.

Steyn Entertainment acquires Rocking The Daisies & In The City

Steyn Entertainment has concluded the purchase of top South African music festival properties Rocking the Daisies and In The City. The company had been looking for a strategic entry into the music industry and recognised the incredible value that these two festivals hold as well-established and highly successful event properties.

Continue reading Steyn Entertainment acquires Rocking The Daisies & In The City

Al Bairre Live at Rocking The Daisies 2015

These days a festival ain’t a festival without indie pop heavyweights Al Bairre, if you missed Rocking the Daisies or you’re in the post-festival-depression like us, have a look at the Al Bairre Live at Rocking The Daisies 2015 below! Continue reading Al Bairre Live at Rocking The Daisies 2015

11 People You’ll Find At Daisies 2015

With just two weeks to Rocking the Daisies, possibly the whitest music festival in South Africa, I am watering my flower crown and revisiting The Kooks’ back-catalogue (because let’s be honest, they won’t play any of their new stuff, it’s shit). Continue reading 11 People You’ll Find At Daisies 2015

Interview: Al Bairre

South Africa’s favourite wildly energetic indie-pop outfit have been slaying the local and international stages over the past year. With a UK tour and several sold out locals shows under their belts, and a debut LP set to be released in early November, Al Bairre and their foot-tapping tunes are steadily rising up the local music charts. We got the chance to catch up with the band prior to their performance at Rocking the Daisies, which is set to kick off in two weeks time.

So this year has been a pretty wildly exciting one for you. What with your first overseas mini tour and a Kirstenbosch gig. What have been some of the highlights – if I haven’t named them already?

Yeah We have had a lot of fun this year so far. Up The Creek was radical, Kirstenbosch blew our minds, Flamjangled Tea Party was straight magical, UK tour was a banger, Oppikoppi was too much and all the club shows in between have been outstanding!

Your recent collaboration with PHfat has received some incredible attention, particularly with the music video being ranked among Vimeo’s staff picks. Can we look forward to a live rendition of ‘Caviar Dreams’ at Rocking the Daisies?

We cannot confirm nor deny that at this point. We all want to play the track live, but we are currently in a ‘Mexican standoff’ as to which band’s set it gets played in. We are both very stubborn bands haha

We hear you have almost crossed everything off your list of goals for the band. Do you have a new set of goals for the future of the band or are you just taking things as they come?

We want to try get over the Atlantic to America and start pushing ourselves on them. We haven’t tried it yet and it looks fun… so hopefully in a few years.

Al Bairre is known for its vibrant, energetic performances. I actually overheard someone at the Flamjangled Tea Party this year marveling at how you can play your instruments with all the dancing. And it looks like no mean feat, how do you do it?

Thank you very much. I’m glad you asked. Every morning we wake up and run on our treadmills with our instruments. We do that for 30 minutes and then we practice our set while Jeremy, our manager, throws wrenches at us. He say’s if we can dodge a wrench we can dodge a ball. We don’t really know what that means.

You guys are doing incredibly well for yourselves and must be attracting some seriously dedicated fans. What’s the craziest fan experience you have had?

A girl pushed to the front of the stage during our show once and grabbed our set-list, shoved it down the front of her panties where her vagina goes and then morphed back into the crowd. We now print spare set-lists.

The local music scene has really been booming over the last couple of years, rising up in the ranks in people’s playlists to take preference over international bands. Which SA bands do you have on your playlists?

At the moment it’s all about John Wizards, Fantasma, PHfat, Muzart, The Plastics, Cute Couple and Beatenberg. I don’t know why we bother putting Beatenberg on any of our playlists though because every restaurant, shop, petrol station, radio station and driving car is playing them.

You have released two singles so far this year and there is talk of an album on the way. What can you tell us about the new project?

Yeah we are releasing our mini LP titled ‘EXPERIENCE THE AL BAIRRE SHOW WITH AL BAIRRE EXPERIENCE’. It’s sounding monstrous and is being released worldwide beginning of November. That’s an Al Bairre promise.
On the topic of Daisies, this is your third year running of gracing the Main Stage with your funky tunes. What are you most looking forward to this time around?

We have a really lovely slot this year, so we are looking forward to that. We also want to blow peoples willies out their butts so we are getting some radical visuals as well as a horn and marimba section because we only live once.

To get newcomers prepared for Rocking the Daisies’ 10th birthday, what advice can you give them? What are your festival staples?

One hat.

Of the incredible international acts scheduled for Daisies this year, which ones are you most excited to see? Are you planning on roping yourselves to the front railing for anyone in particular?

The Cat Empire. Back in 2006 Nicholas and Kyle only listened to The Cat Empire. For 2 years. Straight. Nothing else.

Thank you so much for the chat guys! We’ll be looking forward to crowd-surfing and rocking out with you at Daisies!

Thank you. We look forward to seeing you crowd-surfing and rocking out with us at Daisies.

Rocking the Daisies 2015 Teaser Video #DecadeOfDaisies

 It’s here – the official teaser video of Rocking the Daisies 2015. You can win double tickets to #RTD2015 or In The City 2015 with SA Music Scene, enter here!

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WIN Rocking The Daisies or Vodacom In The City Tickets!

We’re celebrating 10 years of Rocking the Daisies this year with a special ticket give-away!

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Five Artists That You Have To See At Rocking The Daisies

Photography courtesy of Adriaan Louw.

Rocking The Daisies is just over a month away, and with the hype of Oppikoppi dying down – it is time to get excited for the next highlight of the South African festival calendar. With Rocking The Daisies in mind, we have decided to compile a list of the five acts you simply have to see at Daisies this year.

Haezer

Haezer is a staple of the electronic scene, and practically a national treasure. His hard-hitting electro beats are fused with a snarling aggression reminiscent of a vague hybrid of grunge and industrial music., giving away to a furiously aggressive style of electronic music. He is known for creating complex and unique sets that don’t pander towards mainstream audiences, and rather draw on a variety of underground electronic and rock influences to produce a seething mass of electronic fury.

aKING

aKING have been a dominating force in the South African rock scene for an incredibly long time, and recently blew us away with their fourth album Morning After. The band has grown so much since the melancholic musings of Dutch Courage, and have developed into a fully-fledged pop-rock and alternative rock hybrid that promises to steal the show from the international headliners.

Fokofpolisiekar 

This band needs little introduction. They’ve been fronting the Afrikaans rock and punk scene for the past decade, and like the majority of the bands performing on the main stage of Rocking The Daisies – they’re one of our finest live acts. My last experience with the band left me with a few bruises and the burning desire to rush to the bar for a tall glass of water. Except an abrasively aggressive show as the band delivers some of the finest punk rock this country has to offer. Yes. There will be punk rock at Daisies.

PHFAT

This electro-rap outfit has been dominating the South African music scene for the past couple of years, and I still lack the words to describe their live shows. The best description would be hard-hitting, rude, and in-your-face. They are one of the most authentic live acts in the country, and are well-deserving of your time.

Al Bairre

Just like the aforementioned PHFAT, Al Bairre have been rising stars in the South African music scene. Their infectious brand of indie pop has been bobbing heads and moving bodies for a while now, and after the enormous success they’ve had this year – it shall be an absolute treat to see them performing live armed with two new singles, and the potential to drop their duet with Al Bairre.

Interview: Wade Potts Brown

Wade Potts Brown is a Cape Town based session drummer with years of incredible experience behind him. A self-taught drummer since he was a mere nine years old, Wade has since played at most of South Africa’s leading festivals – including Rocking the Daisies, Ramfest and Synergy Live – as well as worked with prestigious British producer, John Fortis, who has produced music for the likes of Razorlight and Paulo Nutini. Wade also entered and made it to the finals of South African Idols “Be the Band” competition in 2012.

South African Music Scene got the chance to catch up with him and discuss his upcoming musical project.

You have an extremely impressive resume, having been involved in countless musical endeavours throughout your career. What has this taught you about the music industry?

 The music industry is thrilling. I’ve been meeting and playing with bands since I was 13 and its super fun, man. The experience of it all, where it can take you, the amazing shows, the awesome people you meet and how diverse everything is as well. The music scene is also a tough scene to be in. It’s very competitive. You’re always learning and always growing. You’ve got to have guts to be in this industry! You’ve got to make things happen.

 Working with so many bands you must be exposed to a lot different genres of music. For example, you have worked with both Los Tacos and Grimehouse. What genres do you personally lean towards?

 I personally like any genre of music. If it sounds good, it sounds good, what can I say? I particularly like groove and rhythm based music – fast drums and deep bass. I like music that inspires me.

 You are a local session drummer, but have you ever been tempted to join a particular band full time? Or even form your own?

 Yeah, I’ve been in and started many bands before becoming a session player. Right now I’m in the magical process of starting up my next musical venture.

 What are the highlights of your career as a drummer?

 The highlights would be getting onto major radio stations, TV, and winning a drumming competition. Also sharing the same stage with bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Rise Against, as well as working with London-based producer John Fortis. Most of all just having the gift to play, man!

 You are looking to put together a new musical project yourself. What will this pertain to? Will it be a solo album or collaborative?

 My new project is going to be evolving from where my last band, Jellyfish, left off. It’s going to be a collaboration of the same fusion of sounds with a few new acts, ultimately becoming a brand new act.

I want it to be very drum-inspired music. I want drums to be the centre groundwork on which the music and rhythms are created. Right now I’m on the journey of finding the appropriate bassist and keys/synth players.

Auditions are open for any keen musicians who want to create original music.

 We’ll be looking forward to hearing this new project so please keep us in the loop. Where else can we catch you and your music in the near future?

 Right now I’m focusing most of my time and efforts on building up this new project until there’s a product to get out there, while still playing important gigs that come along the way.

We will definitely be in the scene, man! It’s going to be crazy fun!

Keep up with Wade’s upcoming projects here