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.