Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Launch / The White Guy Challenge...


Well, first and foremost, to those who came to the show on Friday, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!


It was a blast to be back up there and all the Whites are very happy with the first round!


The White Guy Challenge


It's every critic's nightmare: find out what happens when a journalist takes up the challenge to sing.


This is the blurb attached to Speakerbox’s blurb on news 24. Those of you that were there saw the results… Those of you that weren’t see the below…


Main article with intro to videos: http://www.speakerbox.co.za/content/feature.aspx?cat=Rock&id=70


Diary and practice video: http://www.speakerbox.co.za/content/video.aspx?cat=Rock&id=220


Live performance video: http://www.speakerbox.co.za/content/video.aspx?cat=Rock&id=219


Gallery: http://www.speakerbox.co.za/content/gallery.aspx?id=798&albumID=52



A special thanks to Speakerbox and especially Niel Bekker and Annel Malan for taking up the challenge. If you have views on the show, please send em thru, we’ll publish them.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The White Advice: White Guys The Movie


Here's a question: If you were to direct a movie of the famous life of 'the whites', who would play each of you? i know i always ask this, but it's a good one...

-CB, submitted via email.









Artur:

Mmmmm, toughy. Do I make myself look all buff and stuff and get Vin Diesel? No. Because I don't like him much. Do I go for looks? If so, it would be what chicks would want and I don't think Brad Pitt looks like me. So I will have to go for Edward Norton. He looks just as weasel as I do, and I think he is good enough to learn the drums for a role.



Frank:

I would play myself.
or, failing that...

Anton – Sidney Poitier,Steve - Sidney Poitier, Art - Sidney Poitier ,Frank - Sidney Poitier.

You know, like those movies that Eddie Murphy does where he plays all the characters.










Anton:

Larry Fishburne. And then, in the Klingon version, Danny Glover.






Steve:

Anton: Cate Blanchett... if she can play Dylan, she play Marshall. Art: Robert De Niro... small, wiry, and able to go punk on yo ass at the drop of a hat. Frank: Ewan McGregor... likes facial hair. And motorbikes. Also been to outer space. Steve: Steve McQueen... Same name. And same savoir faire. But mostly same name.





Art (ctd):

Anton - no clue. Louis Gosset Jr? Frank - Sam Eliot. Steve - That guy that played 2 face in the Dark Knight,



---



You Knighted Artists presents a film by Milos Froman
THE WHITES
Frank Ellis - Edward Norton - Cate Blanchett
with that guy that played Twoface in the Dark Knight

and Sidney Poitier
director of photography Steve Irwin's former cameraman
story and screenplay by Oliver Gallstones
directed by Milos Froman

White Noise 1.2: Artur Pereira


The concert-going kids seem to be into many different streams and genres and the impression is that they seldom cross over. Metal kids, for example, would seldom go to a punk show, and the pop tarts hardly ever see anyone except Arno Carstens. Your thoughts?


Well, this has been an interesting thing for me to understand. It isn't necessarily a "scene" thing, it is the general Cape Town thing. People only go to gigs if it is the place to be. Or they only go if friends are playing, and generally they go to one and don't go again, preferring to watch DVD's instead. I have seen metal heads at punk shows and vice versa, but only because they are "regulars" at the venue. I still say that "scene kids" only go to what is cool at the moment. One year it is punk rock, the next year it is hard-core, and the next year it is Indie-rock.


Leading on from that I want to ask you about the labeling of the band as country or rockabilly, as they were calling you at one point (and still do) and whether you felt it was limiting or indeed helpful?


Labeling is something the population can deal with, and I do not think it will ever change. It has to be labeled so they know what to wear to a show.


You’re tossed in with the 'fringe crowd". Some would say your audience is older and less likely to see younger genres of music…?


I think I am too young to understand the question.


How much other literature (books, films, etc) filter into your music and lyrics?


Erm, last time I wrote lyrics, it was own experience-based. If I wrote comments that have been filtered through what I read, I would write lyrics about air-cooled VW's and Batman!


That would be quite cool, actually. I was going to ask you about other artists too - the commonly-held "influences" on your music. Dylan, Cash, and the like?


Bob Dylan - interesting story. Didn't care for him at all before I was involved in a tribute show, and now he is an influence for sure. Music wise, it is simple as possible which makes his strong lyrics shine. The understanding the musicians had was really astounding to me.


If an artist is not likeable as a person, does that detract from your enjoyment of their work – looking at some colleagues in the scene you might know?


Most definitely it does. There is nothing worse than trying to get creative with someone that hinders creativity. What comes out is emotionless and bare and plain rubbish. Been there, done that. Not again.


Do you think that your work in any way captures the vibe of the city or scene or people of your surrounds?


I wouldn't really know, I just play what the music tells me to play. If it feels right and good, do it. So, if that is city vibe, then yes.


You decided early that you were happy to perform other people’s work – many of your peers are horrified by the idea. What's your take?


Well, performing other peoples work can be looked at in 2 ways. 1 - personal gain (as in releasing a cover as a single). 2 - enjoyment (the act of performing your favourite songs in your own way so that the audience can enjoy it with you)I am all for a cover here and there on stage. But when it comes to recording them and releasing it as a "single', uhm, no thank you.


So when you’re playing other people's songs, do you draw inspiration from their work?


I draw inspiration from who the guys in the band enjoy. It is all about making it your own.


If someone were to receive a collection of all your material (including what you've done solo or with other projects) right now and start browsing randomly, what would you suggest they listen to?


HAHA! Holy crap, uhm. I have no idea. I would suggest the listener keeps an open mind and leaves it on random! Wouldn't want to scare them away with certain types of music. Dunno how to answer that one.


Is being in a successful performing unit a case of “know your limitations”?


I would think so, but not in that term. It is more of knowing your strengths. The difference between a good band and a great band is knowing what works in the unit itself. If you listen to a band where no one person stands out, where the music is louder than the sum of its parts, then you are listening to a great band.


How do you feel when you look at your earlier material now?


I feel good about it, because listening to back to some of my previous work, I can hear that I was mentally in the same place I am now. The performance isn't any worse than what I do now, but it was a lot simpler. So it stands out just as well as what I can do today. Feels good.


Are there any modern artists among your peers you enjoy?


There are many I enjoy listening to. And thankfully, I perform with them all.


Are you surprised or happy at the amount of material that you’ve generated?


The material that has been generated has been very enjoyable. It is a good change to actually play songs, instead of parts that make up a song collectively.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

White Noise 1.1: Frank Ellis

We posed the same series of questions to each of the White Guys. In series one, we chat about genre-hopping, influences and being boxed. These are their 'shoot' views.
***
1.1: Frank Ellis


The concert-going kids seem to be into many different streams and genres and the impression is that they seldom cross over. Metal kids, for example, would seldom go to a punk show, and the pop tarts hardly ever see anyone except Arno Carstens. Your thoughts?

I don’t think that’s anything new. There have always been borders between genres that only the brave few have dared to cross. The mods and the punks, the rockers and the ravers, you can follow the breadcrumb trail as far back as you like. I don’t really mind it either. It provides a bit of exclusivity for whatever it is that you do musically. It’s like a club that people are proud to belong to and that they support.


Leading on from that ... the labelling of the band as country or rockabilly, as they were calling you at one point (and still do); do you feel it was limiting or indeed helpful?

Most people need to categorize something to be able to process it. If labelling the band helps people make sense of what we do then I’m fine with that. Actually, I’m even fine with people labelling the band for no good reason at all. So, what I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s limiting or helpful. It just is. However, what I do believe is limiting is when a band labels itself. In doing so you lock your music in box and throw away the key.

You’re tossed in with the 'fringe crowd". Some would say your audience is older and less likely to see younger genres of music…?

Personally, I think that the whole concept of a ‘fringe crowd’ is bullshit. There is no such thing. There are just people who are better at posing than others. There are no true ‘outsiders’ in our social paradigm. There are only plagiarists and people who don’t give a shit. I don’t give a shit. As for our audience being older and less likely to try younger genres: When I’m on stage I see old faces and young faces and when I’m not on stage I see those same old and young faces at various venues and shows. Our audience is everyone.

How much other literature (books, films, etc) filter into your music and lyrics?

I’m not a very prolific writer of lyrics. For me the process is visceral, like a mental fugue. So I couldn’t really say that literature inspires my music, at least not in a conscious way.

I was going to ask you about other artists too - the commonly-held "influences" on your music. Dylan, Cash, and the like?

This is a difficult one for me. I don’t really consider the music that I love as an influence. I just play the sounds that sound right. As inspiration I visualize my grandfather playing on stage. He was a country musician.

If an artist is not likeable as a person, does that detract from your enjoyment of their work – looking at some colleagues in the scene you might know?

It comes down to honesty. If a person’s attitude, good or bad, is truly an extension of their personality then I don’t care because at least it’s honest. It’s the performers who adopt attitudes that they believe aid their expression that really irritate me. Don’t get on stage and tell me your going to smash my face in unless you mean it.

Do you think that your work in any way captures the vibe of the city or scene or people of your surrounds?

Not at all. I think what we do is more a realization of our collective mental landscapes than our actual surroundings.

You decided early that you were happy to perform other people’s work – many of your peers are horrified by the idea. What's your take?

I don’t see the problem. If I like a tune then I want to play it. If it sounds cool then I want to play it for an audience. What they do with that is up to them. I’ve had my fun.

You've done standards like Ring of Fire but also songs that South African audiences wouldn't have necessarily heard of. Warren Zevon anyone? The Bottle Rockets?

Um…. Yes, we have.

So when you’re playing other people's songs, do you draw inspiration from their work?

Not at all. As I mentioned before, my inspiration comes from somewhere more personal.

If someone were to receive a collection of all your material right now (including what you've done solo or with other projects) and start browsing randomly, what would you suggest they listen to?

I haven’t recorded all that much. In fact, you could probably get through all of it in an hour. So that’s what I would suggest…. Listen to the whole of ‘Chicken, Live At Sui Studios’ and the Three Bored White Guys EP.

Is being in a successful performing unit a case of “know your limitations?”

No. There really aren’t any limitations except those that you impose on yourself. It’s a case of knowing what you want to do and doing it, period.

How do you feel when you look at your earlier material now?

Depends how early. I have definitely improved technically over the years and I’ve eased into a style of playing that I am happy with. Lets just say getting here was a process.

Are there any modern artists among your peers you enjoy?

A list:
Sugar Drive
Black Milk
The Dolly Rockers
Them Tornados
Unit R
Taxi Violence
Benguela
Jimmi Dludlu

There are more…. many more.

Are you surprised or happy at the amount of material that you’ve generated?

I don’t care, really. It is what it is.

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