Sunday, 31 March 2013

April's Mixtape

I started this monthly feature in January and then I kind of forgot about it.


So, I'm asking you to forget that I forgot and listen to April's mixtape.


1. alt-J feat. Mountain Man- Buffalo
2. Jake Bugg- Two Fingers  
3. Paul Banks- The Base  
4. Future Islands- Cotton Flower  
5. Shotgun Tori- These Birds  
6. The Hollow Man- Old Adam  
7. Gateway Drugs- Summer Time featuring Fuck You  
8. Spoegwolf- Loerie  
9. Christian Tiger School- Third Floor  
10. Iron and Wine- Upward Over The Mountain  
11. Theophilus London- Calypso Blues Theophilus London - Calypso Blues by TheophilusLondon  

12. Imperial Mammoth- Requiem On Water

The Hollow Body to tour up north

Gauteng, say hello to Jonathan Velthuysen. He is the man behind The Hollow Body, a wonderfully unembellished folk act from Cape Town. The good news is that he will be paying us a visit this week when he sets off on tour to promote his debut album, Johannine. "It all began as an experiment with old gear and testing mics on guitars and went on to become a full album of songs overdue for release," says the musician's Bandcamp page of the album.

Man, I'm excited.

Here are the tour dates: 

02.04 - Waiting Room | CPT

03.04 - Arcade Empire | PTA

04.04 - Wolves | JHB

05.04 - Railways Bar | JHB

06.04 - The Library, Brazen Head | JHB

You can also listen to Johannine below. If you like what you hear, you can buy the album off Bandcamp. The best part is, you get to name the price. 

You can't say I don't look after you.  

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Tell Your Story

I love how Oxydo Eyewear jazzed up their posters for their new campaign called "Tell Your Story". 


New music: Jeremy Loops- Down South (Live)

Jeremy Loops opening for Xavier Rudd at Parklife Joburg.

It's been a wondrous year for Jeremy Loops so far. He opened for Australian musician Xavier Rudd in both Joburg and Cape Town, he nabbed the award for Best Solo Act at the MK Awards last Sunday and then, this week, he announced that he's off to tour the UK and the States in May. With every reason to be in a celebratory mood, Mr Loops decided to release his track, "Down South", for free. It was recorded live for Balcony TV in Joburg.

This one, he's going places alright.

Download "Down South" below.  

Watch "Down South" being played live at on Balcony TV.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference

The Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference is a two-day conference taking place on 1 and 2 April in Cape Town. It aims to share information between people involved in all spheres of the African music industry through a series of workshops, panel discussions, presentations and exhibition stands. There will also be a networking lounge an a concert showcasing the best of Africa's musical talent. 

I caught up with Trenton Birch, Founder of Black Mango Music and Founder and Director of the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference to talk about the growth of the African music industry, the challenges his team faced in putting the event together, and music apartheid in South Africa.

Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference team outside Cape Town City Hall. from left, standing, Thabo Mobo, Trenton Birch, Shameema Williams; seated, Daniella Nathoo; on the ground, Marco Wielander. PHOTO: Black Mango

 Why did you feel there was a need to start a music conference like this?
I spent a number of years in London immersed in the UK industry and pushing SA music into Europe and I started to see a big increase in interest in music coming out of Africa, especially South Africa. I've been back two years now and while the industry is growing fast, we are incredibly fragmented and there is no unity. The world is waiting for us to step up but to do that we need to [be] a lot more organised and trained to support the great artists coming out of the country. I have, and always will be, deeply passionate about African music and believe it has such power to unite and empower Africa. I put the idea to our team and they jumped all over it.   

Being the inaugural conference, what challenges did you face in organizing the event?
The usual challenges of running a first time event have been experienced. Getting sponsors on board is the toughest because the event doesn't have a track record. But we've been lucky that SAE Institute Cape Town and Markham took a leap with us and we have so much industry support we know that it can only grow from here.

Why do you think the African music industry still lacks the skills and network of our international counterparts?
There is lack of real training in Music Business. Most people fall into it and learn as they go along. Also a lot of people get into the industry for the wrong reason. They think it’s one big party and while it is certainly a fun industry to work in, it is also very complex and you have to work really hard to make things happen. We are getting better all the time but we need to try harder. Artists also have a role to play and need to school and empower themselves in the business side of things. It’s no longer acceptable to be an artist without some sort of knowledge of how things work. 

"It's our strength that has become our weakness." 

The conference also strives to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves. How will it help the three charities that you have selected?
We are working with local community groups and charities to ensure young people on the ground working in the industry are getting exposed to knowledge. They are the future and [are] too easily forgotten. So the role of the conference is to facilitate music business dialogue but also help people grow and learn through knowledge transfer.
Our workshops are under the banner "Empowering Your Art" and supported by our educational partner SAE Institute who are a global creative media technology school with a huge legacy in education is this space. They are aimed at young people wanting to get into the industry and up-skilling those who are already working in the industry but need more practical knowledge. They are hands on and embrace the rapidly changing industry.

Siyabonga Mtembu of The Brother Moves On spoke at the Moshito Music Conference last year, saying that SA music festivals, promotors, record labels and music media make "racial assumptions" all the time. Do you agree with what he said? How do you think are solutions to this music apartheid?
Absolutely agree. Our industry is still polarised by race and genre and we need to get over ourselves and embrace the diversity that we have here. It’s our strength but has become our weakness. The solution is for everyone to start opening their minds and letting go of pre- conceived ideas that have been pumped into our heads via cultural colonisation. And if we can't get ourselves together to break these barriers down how can we expect the general public to do so?

For more information about ticket prices and the panel discussion schedule, visit the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference website and their Facebook page. 

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Woodstock Mafia embark on Born Wild Tour

Cape Town's Woodstock Mafia attempted a tour up north at the end of last year but if there ever was a band that had a bout of bad luck, it's these chaps. First their single, "Rebel Dreams" was leaked before its official release date and then they got stranded in Cape Town thanks to 1time (remember that debacle?).

Fear not, fans, because the band are embarking on their Born Wild Tour this week. Below are the tour dates.

You're welcome.

Thursday 28 March:
22:00 - Grant Erskine Main Stage
Facebook event:

Friday 29 March:
with Shadowclub
9pm, R50
Facebook event:

Saturday 30 March:
with Dave van Vuuren and Jet Black Camaro
9pm, R40
Facebook event:

Friday 5 April
with Goodnight Wembley! and Man as Machine (JHB)
9pm, R40
Facebook event:

Listen to "Rebel Dreams" below: 

Color Propaganda Lookbook

Color Propaganda is a collaboration between designer Marco Oggian and Davide Binda, a DJ and owner of a shop called Refresh in Italy. According to their website, "Color Propaganda is a brand contextualised in an artistic, musical and cultural movement based exactly on the colour." I just love their lookbook, which combines fashion and design in a quirky way.

For more information, visit Color Propaganda's website.

P.S. Dearest Grammar Nazis, it pained me each time I had to spell "colour" like an American, okay? Peace. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

Gil Hockman releases new EP

Gil Hockman at Park Acoustics                                                                                                  PHOTO: Christelle Duvenage                                        

Gil Hockman has released a 5-track EP called All The Little Things. Take a listen below to it below and then download the EP on Bandcamp, where you can name the price you want to pay for it. Be generous, okay? It's a pretty cool collection of tracks.

What went down at the MK Awards

After watching the MK Awards from my not-so-comfy couch at home last year, I was mighty chuffed to get the chance to go this year's event which took place last night at the State Theatre in Pretoria. 

In case you missed it: the list of winners (and my two cents worth).
Bittereinder's Jaco van der Merwe and Straatligkinders frontman Bouwer Bosch hosted the awards, and their witty repartee was quite amusing to watch. Other presenters included last year's host, Jack Parow as well as Toya Delazey and Shane Durrant. I find the last one quite ironic, considering Desmond & The Tutus have been snubbed since their inception, but the audience burst out laughing each time Shane dryly read off the teleprompter, insuring that he quickly became not only a crowd favourite, but a Twitter favourite too.

Bittereinder kicked things off with their performance of “Die Woud”, which featured Magdalene Minnaar’s chillingly ethereal vocals. Iso emerged from beneath the stage to perform a medley of sorts. It would simply be a crime not to mention the band’s meticulously styled hair in this here blog post, so there it is. Living up to the hype that has surrounded them, Afrikaans folk rock band, Spoegwolf, delivered a solid show. Tailor wowed everyone with another one of her intense performances while Van Coke Kartel once again proved why they are awards favourites. Jaco van der Merwe and Bouwer Bosch performed “Kanker”, a tribute to a friend who has just passed away from cancer. As winners of the Best Live Act category, Black Cat Bones ended things off, confirming that they are a live act to beat. Man, I’m so glad that these chaps have finally gotten the credit they deserve. 

Although I'm not entirely convinced of the merits of a viewer-voting system for an awards show, this year's MK Awards was well put together and heaps of fun. The Tomato watches we got as gifts were pretty rad too. 

Saturday, 23 March 2013

MK Awards 2013: Rock Star

The MK Awards are taking place on Sunday. In spirit of the rock star dress code, I've put a couple of outfits together. It's all about adding a splodge of masculinity to your look. It's about heavy leather and studs, only to be accessorized with ample attitude.
 MK Awards

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Q&A with Veranda Panda

 I did a little Q&A with Veranda Panda for Perdeby's RAMfest spread. It turned out that they missed their set, which is incredibly unfortunate. I have been looking forward to seeing them live for the longest time. Holding thumbs that they will attempt another Gauteng gig soon. 


Liam Magner and Jane Baillie of Veranda Panda.

The Black EP is a bit darker than your previous EP. What inspired this?
Liam: I think it all stems from the fact that Jane and I don’t make music that fits into any particular genre. When we started producing together we had all these tracks that went from hip-hop to drum and bass and were even more unpredictable in their mood. So we came up with an idea to release three EPs, grouping the tracks together as best [as] we could. The Black EP is really special to us, in that it’s way more personal than the others. Most of that music doesn’t belong on dance floors and comes from weird places in our heads. I think, if given the chance, most of [our] music would angle towards the dark side, especially Jane. Classical musicians are a bit weird.

Will your next release, Colours, follow the same style?
Jane: Colours falls into the dance floor orientated stuff. There is quite a bit of drum and bass and some heavy glitch bass numbers. The focus is mainly quite positive and uplifting, I guess. We have already started playing out some of the tracks in live gigs and the response has been awesome. Releasing it cannot come sooner.

You guys churn out music regularly. Do you find the song-writing process to be quite an easy one?
Liam: We are lucky! Our creative process is normally really painless once we have a solid idea. We have so much stuff backed up that it’s just a question of deciding what to work on and when. We also understand each other and our process is really quick once it gets going. That being said, I never want to see how many hours I wasted on bad ideas or songs that just ended up in the bin. As with most artists, we are really reactive to our moods and we do have really bad days, but luckily they are in the minority. Mostly we are really grateful to have such a talented team. Jessica Sole and Maxine Matthews are super professional and always exceed our expectations when we call them in.

It’s safe to say that there’s nothing quite like Veranda Panda in the local music scene. Were you worried about how your sound would be received by audiences who are not familiar with what you have created?
Liam: When I started making music as Veranda Panda, I somehow managed to skip the part where you have reservations about your sound. The music was completely awful. I still have some and cannot believe I confidently went out and assaulted people with that. There wasn’t much of an alternative electronic scene in Durban back then and I sort of just carried on in my spare time. [After] I met up with Jane in 2010, it sort of went from bedroom (and occasional gig) to clubs. Once we took that leap we began having reservations about our sound. People are obviously conditioned into the house orientated genres, especially in Durban, and I can name plenty of times where we have hated being on stage. We had some guy throw bottles at us, pull out our plugs and once a dude tried to jump over the booth to hit me for playing music he didn’t like. We laugh about it now, but it was pretty awful back then. Now and again I had serious reservations about pushing our sound, but we stuck with it and are really happy that we did! Jane has been particularly adamant about it, and I am really grateful for the amount of times she has persuaded me to play our tracks. Particularly we are really amazed how Durban nightlife has changed since mid-2010, and have to credit guys like George Kretsos for helping to challenge mindsets.

Your music boasts a number of collaborations. Do you think electronic music makes it a lot easier to experiment in this way?
Liam: Yeah definitely. We have two rules at the moment: 1) Don’t collaborate with drummers. 2) Don’t collaborate with bass players.
Jane: Other than that, we are so keen to work with all types of musicians. There really are no boundaries and the more creative the collaborations the better. It also helps to employ the skills of others, because if Liam had to sing on a track, nobody would like us ever again.

Does Veranda Panda have any plans to break into the international market?
Liam: We would love to break into the international market. At the moment we manage ourselves and have to admit that our knowledge on how to go about such a thing is limited. We are working hard to build our name in SA and have a good little following building up in France and Germany. We are confident that something will fall from the sky and send us to Europe.

You have revealed that Liam is determined to somehow work his harmonica skills into your set. Will we bear witness to this at your RAMfest set?
Liam: Jane laughs every time I play it. So I am still a bit insecure. But not this time around – the good old mouth organ has not truly found its place in the set yet.

What else can we expect from Veranda Panda in 2013?
Jane: Black and white bears, immaculately dressed, sitting on country verandas, drinking tea, trying to keep making music we like that makes people happy. And our next EP launch party in June.

Listen to some Veranda Panda below: 

(Images from here.) 

New music: We Move On by Al Bairre

TRACK ART: Kent Andreasen

My beloved Al Bairre have released a new single called "We Move On." 
Check it out!

Monday, 18 March 2013

RAMfest 2013: Extremely loud and incredibly close

Have you seen our (Perdeby's) RAMfest spread? It's a beauty, no? I'll do a post with a few of my own photos soon soon. Until then, enjoy this. 

(Click on the article to enlarge it.)

Ashtray Electric: an exercise in WTF

This interview was originally published in Perdeby on 11 March 2013.  

                                                                                                                                           PHOTO: Christelle Duvenage

“Somebody tweeted the other day that they’re glad to see we’re out of our hiatus. It’s like, what f**king hiatus are you talking about? I don’t know where you’ve been, but we’ve been playing,” vents Ashtray Electric guitarist Rudi Cronje, clearly irked.

Not only have they been playing, but Ashtray Electric have recently released new material too and, true to their moniker as indie rock mavericks, they opted for an unorthodox approach to the whole process.

Truth is, Ashtray Electric have since their inception spat in the face of the mainstream music industry and given commercialism an abrasive middle finger before walking out the door to do their own thing.

The band decided to produce, record, engineer and mix their fourth offering themselves. The result? WTF, a tantalising five-track EP that still totters between being angsty and alluring, while making way for a far more gritty, experimental sound.

“This time around, we didn’t allow ourselves to dig so deep into the actual process. It was always an exercise in spontaneity. There wasn’t too much time to think about stuff and we sort of sat back and saw what would come out of it,” says bassist Reggie Nel.

                                                                                                                                         PHOTO: Christelle Duvenage

Rudi agrees: “Maybe there’s a lot to be said for not thinking about it too much and four guys getting together to make music. Literally, that’s what it is – four guys getting together and making tunes.”

“I think we were just keen to throw something out there with a bit of attitude and just say, ‘Well, we’re still around. We’re still writing the songs that we want to write,’” adds frontman and guitarist Andre Pienaar.

Unusually, WTF was given away for free. Fans could sign up for the EP, which meant that once it was released, they got it in their inbox as a digital gift.

“Because it’s digital, your response is a lot quicker, instead of waiting for it to be distributed, stocked in the shops and then for people to buy it and put it in their car and listen,” says Rudi of the benefits of giving WTF away online.

Andre says that doing things the way they did meant that there was no pressure on the release because the band didn’t have to be concerned about selling enough albums to cover things like studio costs. “It’s out there. If people like it, cool. If people hate it then … ”

“ … who gives a f**k?” says Rudi, finishing Andre’s sentence.

One thing that hasn’t changed though, is the way Andre pours out sexy yet afflicted lyrics over a microphone. “I’ve always said that writing is a lot cheaper than going to a psychologist,” he says.
“Unless there’s a piece of me inside of it, I don’t want to create it. There’s zero point.”

                                                                                                                                                PHOTO: Christelle Duvenage

If there was ever a song which reflected this, it’s “Looper”, which is almost like a piece of performance poetry, with Andre reciting the lyrics, allowing his natural stutter to take centre stage against a musical backdrop. It starts off with staccato-like drums that echo his erratic flow of speech.

“The rad thing about what we do is that you get to do scary stuff. Writing and recording it wasn’t too stressful because I recorded it in my room, but playing it – I mean, we’ve played it like, what, 12, 15 times and performing it is still f**king frightening. I won’t lie,” admits Andre.

“I remember after the first time we finished playing it, Andre said to the crowd, and he doesn’t really talk a lot on stage, he said, ‘Thank you. That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.’ That was quite rad,” says Rudi, sympathising with his band mate. “I mean, it’s hard for the rest of us. We don’t understand how these things influence the people who write it and especially, like he said, that is a piece of someone else put into a piece of music. Even though it’s not you, you’re still a part of it.”

The conversation turns to the weight of creating an album. Is it perhaps a bit outdated and are EPs the way forward? “I think if you’re going to do a full-length album, you’re going to need a full body of work that you want to release,” muses Andre. “There should at least be some kind of line drawn through it that you, as the band, try and bring something, whether it’s a message or a sound or a theme. There has to be something about that album that makes it have a beginning and an end. EPs are nice when you don’t really know what you’re doing but you are just keen to f**k around a bit.
 When you’re really passionate about doing something f**king rad, you can do an album.”

                                                                                                                                                PHOTO: Christelle Duvenage

Reggie adds that, “People are sort of going through singles really fast. It’s so easy to quickly buy a single online and enjoy it for like two, three weeks and move on to the next thing. I think there is a subculture that is forming and people like to just sift through music really fast, but there is still a lot of weight in an album.”

“It gives you a backbone, you know? I think all of us love putting an album on and listening to it and going on the whole journey that an album takes you on, because that’s why bands write it. That’s the reason that they put it together and it’s put together in a certain way and it portrays a certain time of your life,” says Rudi.

What journey does WTF take you on then? Well, that’s probably best described by Rudi’s parting words at the end of the interview: “See you later for some chaos.” And chaos it is, but of the most delightful, head-spinning, shoulder-grooving, foot-tapping kind.

Read my review of Ashtray Electric's EP, WTF, here.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Q&A: Tailor

This article was first published in Perdeby on 4 March 2013.


In the middle of Cape Town’s train station, as hurried commuters were mindlessly heading for their destinations, Tailor burst out in song. People slowly started paying attention to the petite figure that was the source of such a commanding voice. Local indie record label Just Music noticed too. A few months later, Tailor landed herself a record deal and released her debut album The Dark Horse. Nominated in the Best Newcomer category at this year’s MK Awards, it’s as if the songstress came out of nowhere and made a beeline for success. Truth is, Tailor’s talent had been hibernating in another incarnation. She fronted the now defunct punk-rock band Mel-funktion which toured Japan but didn’t ever get to release an album. Perdeby caught up with Tailor to talk about her loyal fans, the lessons she learned from Mel-funktion and what she misses about Pretoria.

You plan on moving from Cape Town to Jo’burg pretty soon. Has that happened yet?
No, it hasn’t happened yet but it will later this year. It’s to promote the album and just 24/7 focus on that.

You have an astounding ability to manipulate your voice in various ways. Is this something you practise or does it come naturally?
I remember as a kid it used to be quite strange figuring out that part of me. I knew I could do it, but it wasn’t something I focused on while performing, or ever. It just came very naturally.

Your lyrics are deeply personal and expressive. Do you find the songwriting process cathartic?
It’s quite an easy process. Writing is quite an easy process for me, especially with The Dark Horse. It was a very natural process in writing.

You bring that same emotional intensity into your performances. Do you find it draining?
It is very draining but it still feels so good. Some people think that I leave the stage feeling angry. It just happens, once again, very naturally. It’s not something I force and if I feel it, it happens and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But it is tiring.

Is it difficult to bare your soul to an audience?
No, because I get on stage and I become Tailor, a part of me that I don’t show offstage. It’s just very truthful and raw, but it’s not premeditated at all.

What was it like working with producer Matthew Fink on the album?
It was amazing – he is a genius. He just let me do my own thing and be myself. He pushed me very hard and it was very long hours, literally 10 to 11 hours every day in studio. It was a magical journey.

What lessons did you learn being a part of Mel-funktion that you are applying to the music you are making now as Tailor?
To be honest, in Mel-funktion I knew that the music industry was difficult and it was a lot of hard work, but it’s even more hard work than I thought. I guess that built me, it kind of put down the groundwork for what was to come and I know who to work with now and who not to work with. It taught me various things, but that’s one of them.

Have you been working on any new material, perhaps a follow-up album?
I have, especially since the Zebra & Giraffe tour, I’ve written over 20 new songs. It’s crazy. I’m actually performing one of the new songs tonight, to kind of test the waters and see what the response is.

Do you have any music videos in the pipeline?
For now, I think we’ve shot pretty much all of them, especially the live ones just came out, like the live ones of “Shaped Like A Gun” and “Wolf”. You never know, some creative idea might pop up, but for now, music videos are complete.

Fans from all over the world have asked when you are going to pay them a visit. Do you have plans to try and break into the international market?
There are talks of it, so somewhere in the pipeline.

Anywhere specific?
I’ve been getting a really good response from Ontario, so that could maybe be a possibility.

You’ve been nominated for an MK Award for Best Video and Best Newcomer. How would you convince our readers to vote for you?
I’ve been working really hard at this. I’m not saying that the other musicians didn’t, but I’ve been working ten years at this and especially the Best Newcomer one is quite special to me, so to just be recognised. I think to just be nominated is very cool but obviously to win it would be the bonus.

You’re actually a Pretoria-born girl. What do you miss about the city?
I miss the people. They’re much more different than [the ones] in Cape Town. Pretoria people are so welcoming and heart-warming and friendly. I just met this amazing fan now, Nadia Coetzer, she always comes to my shows. She brought me this present, like this horse and a little heart with it. That was just a sum up of how amazing Pretoria people are.

You have quite the fan base.
I know. I have a very loyal fan base. I might not have 20 000 likes on Facebook but the people that are there constantly come back.

Fans are constantly saying how much your music has changed their lives. Do you feel that the job comes with a big responsibility?
I feel like what I do is such a blessing. I keep reminding myself that I don’t want to do this for me, though I am the face of Tailor, I want it to be a very selfless project almost. My main mission with Tailor is to change people’s lives. Writing is a very natural process for me, so I’ve been blessed to do that and change people’s lives, so my job is done. I’m just going to sit back and gig. So no, I don’t think it is, in that sense, a big responsibility because it’s not all about me, it’s about them.

“As long as we’re writing, there will be Fetish.”

 This interview was first published in Perdeby on 4 March 2013.

“Everything that ever involves Fetish always nearly falls apart,” says frontwoman Michelle Breeze, tilting her head back in nervous laughter. She’s talking about the band’s tour to promote Little Heart, their first album in ten years.

But fall apart it didn’t, and as Fetish finish the Pretoria leg of their tour at Arcade Empire, a fan comes backstage to proclaim his adoration for the band. He wants a photograph with them and a signed CD, of course.

“On the cover or on the disc?” asks guitarist Dominic Forrest.

“Wherever. Just sign it. Please,” he says emphatically, as if the question is frivolous. He’s probably been waiting for this moment for years, much like everyone else who worshipped Fetish at their peak in the 90s and who genuinely mourned when the band crumbled in 2002.

Before the internet democratised music, before Belville spawned artists like Fokofpolisiekar and before Jack Parow made kommin cool, there was another band with a cult-like following: Fetish.

The band burst onto the local music scene at the same time that alternative rock erupted in South Africa. There was a music revolution in the pop-dominated market and Fetish was at the forefront of it. They offered something different, a sound that was dark, edgy and contemplative.

Along with that came unmatched live performances with the gamine-like Breeze intoning the most undisguised lyrics. You would find yourself just standing at a Fetish gig and listening. Listening, and watching. No dancing. Breeze’s commanding presence wouldn’t allow it.

The band’s success snowballed after the release of Fetish in 1997, So Many Prophets in 1999 and the Shade of A Ghost EP in the same year. They opened for bands like The Smashing Pumpkins, Lenny Kravitz, Goo Goo Dolls, Skunk Anansie and The Cure. It seemed as if they were destined to go far or, at least, as far as a local band can go, and that was exactly the problem.

Fed up with the tiny South African market that saw their music career plateau, Fetish decided to give the overseas one a go. Breeze and Forrest made London their home and, with band members scattered all around the world, that was the supposed end of Fetish.

Now, years later, after getting an offer from Cape Town’s Digital Forest Studio to record again, Fetish have made a much anticipated comeback. “We hadn’t written together in about five years, but it took on a life of its own, really. There was nothing forced about it, which was nice,” says Forrest about the band’s reunion.

All the tracks for Little Heart were written in London in the two-month period before the band started recording in Cape Town. The recording process was also quick, with the entire album taking just two weeks to record. This brought about a more stripped-down, gritty, guitar-driven sound that still sounds like Fetish, just minus the electronic sound that underpinned their sound in the 90s. “It’s rawer than the earlier ones because it was done in such a compressed space. You also get a bit more of a live feel to it. I know everyone says that,” says Forrest looking at Michelle and laughing, “but it’s true.”

That’s not the only thing that has evolved about Fetish’s music, though. Breeze’s songwriting has, inevitably, also taken a slightly different direction. “I think my perspective is more outward-looking instead of that much inward-looking. There’s more of a consideration of the world that is going on around me,” she says. And this shows, especially in “Paper Skies”, a collaboration with Shadowclub frontman Jacques Moolman about the London riots that Breeze experienced in her adopted hometown.

Johan Smith from Muse magazine once argued that Fetish were never able to reach their full songwriting and musical potential. He said that glimmers of their promise could be heard on 2006’s Remains, an album of unreleased songs and demos.

Do Fetish think that they have lived up to their potential? “I think it’s a continuous thing,” says Forrest. “We always think we can write newer, better songs. Every song we write just evolves naturally.” Breeze adds, “We’ve already been talking about the new album and how we’re going to approach it and we want to express different things this time and probably take the music direction slightly differently. You want to keep changing things, otherwise it becomes boring.”

Does that mean there’s a future for Fetish? “We definitely want to continue making music and I think the chemistry is really good for us as a band. That’s not really easy to find just anywhere,” says Breeze. “As long as we’re writing, there will be Fetish,” adds Forrest.

Perhaps the best way to understand Fetish’s journey is by listening to “Merry Go Round”, the second single off Little Heart. “Merry go round / merry go round / everything changes / pity we got off so soon,” sings Breeze in the song’s chorus.

Everything has changed, yes, but one thing that has undoubtedly remained the same is Fetish’s ability to create more than music. They create art and Little Heart is a perfect example of just that.

Watch Fetish covering Rihanna's "Diamonds" below. It's so much better than the original, you guys.

Fetish - Diamonds (Rihanna) from Ross Campbell on Vimeo.

New music: Al Bairre release "Solid Gold"

My favourites, Al Bairre, have released a brand new song, "Solid Gold". Can't wait till they come visit us in Pretoria. I'm told it's going to be soon, very soon.