By BRUCE DENNILL
The Tide is the new single taken from Parts X Fiction‘s forthcoming debut album and follows the band’s successful debut single Mad World. The Tide is an infectious earworm that not only shows off the group’s songwriting prowess but also their proficiency for high-level melody and cinematic tone. With their name pronounced ‘Parts and Fiction’ the band draw inspiration from acts from Anberlin to Iron Maiden and everything in between. Parts X Fiction comprises Mignon van Jaarsveld (lead vocals), Reinecke van der Merwe (vocals, guitar), PD du Plessis (guitar), Sarel Reynolds (bass) and Nelis Du Plessis (drums). The band met each other through performing as session musicians in various Barnyard Theatre productions before joining forces to create an original project of their own. The band were recently handpicked by internationally acclaimed quartet, KONGOS to open the latter’s Johannesburg 2020 show (now postponed due to COVID-19 concerns). Van Jaarsveld gives some insight into the band and its art.
“Influence” is a loaded, often misunderstood concept. An artist may sound similar to another but have no knowledge of them, or be a super-fan of someone whose output is completely different to their own. Who or what was the artist, album, song, era or scene that initially mapped out the road to you becoming a musician?
Our band consists of five members and we are therefore influenced by many different artists and genres. But it was our love for melodic rock music with a strong message that drew us together and inspired us to come up with a sound completely unique to our band.
Has that changed over the years? If so, how and why, and what are you currently exploring?
Definitely – as musicians it is important to stay current and in tune with what your fans enjoy listening to. We have always had a softer side and enjoy doing the odd ballad now and then. But just as important it is to stay current, it is vital to us that we stay true to what we want to say as musicians and what Parts X Fiction stands for. Like any other art form, we learn and grow, bettering ourselves with each new project. Because we have such a varied sound, it is hard to define it as one singular concept.
Name one song you wish you’d written (or, if you’re not a writer, one you’d like to be known as the definitive interpreter of). What makes that song so important?
Quite a profound question really! I have to ask myself what makes a brilliant song brilliant… what marks the success of one particular song? If there was one recipe that defined what made a good song good, we would all be following it diligently. But there isn’t. What’s more, how does one compare music of today to the resonating brilliance of the music that served as the building blocks of all today’s music, such as Mozart or Tchaikovsky? For example, to one particular person a song such as Bohemian Rhapsody would be a good contender because of its potential to get an entire stadium singing along without the band even being present to appreciate it. I have always been a great admirer of movie score writers such as James Horner and Thomas Newman – the way they speak to the soul and convey such complex emotions effortlessly. I suppose a song that stands the test of time would be my final answer – but music is subjective and all music should stand the chance to be appreciated eternally.
Which aspects of your music do you prioritise? For you, would you rather have that your lyrics, your melodies, or your vocals or instrumental work are the are the most memorable parts of your songs?
All these components work together to create beauty. No one thing is more important than the other. It took five of us to get to where we are today and we cherish each part of the band as a whole. As delicate as the different parts of a orchestra – each element gets its own moment to shine. But when all of them are working together harmoniously, the real magic happens!
The music industry is no longer a single-narrative operation. For you, what is the best way to get your music from your head to potential listeners? Please comment on digital means (from social media to full streaming and download distribution), playing live (how often; where; to whom), being a cottage industry (selling CDs from a box in your car or similar) and any other creative channels you’ve explored.
Anything and everything! When you are passionate about your music and you feel like you have something important to say, you do whatever you can to get that message out to the world. None of us are strangers to busking on a street corner, or selling CDs for half their worth out the trunk of our cars. Spamming Facebook friends until your fingers are blue and surfing the bar scene until you have built up enough experience to play bigger, more important shows – in a sense, this acts as a right of passage for musicians. Only the ones who put in the work get to reap the fruits of success.
In terms of the above, is there a gap between what you envisioned and what you are experiencing now? Does it matter, and if so, how do you close that gap?
We have definitely noticed that there are a few tricks of the trade. The longer you spend in the industry, the wiser you become. Because we live in a digital age music has, over time become a bit impersonal. Fans would rather download and listen to music in the comfort of their own homes than go to a bar in support of an act they don’t know. This proposes a challenge for musicians to find new ways to with their audience. We find that these challenges serve as motivators and drive us more towards our goals and success. As the saying goes: if the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.
What is the story behind The Tide – the genesis of the song, the people involved, the muse behind its creation?
The story is quite simple – but still powerful! It serves as a reminder to us that material things are only temporary and that we should cherish ‘time’. Time here on Earth, time with our family and loved ones, time for ourselves and humanity as a whole. We are given a precious gift every day and should not waste it on the tangible. Life is like a wave and we ride it through the rough and calm. Hopefully this inspires and fills our listeners with hope – because that is what we where called to do.