By BRUCE DENNILL
“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?
It was definitely Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill. I was 13 when the album came out. After school, I always used to go to the hi-fi, plugged in the headphones and microphone and I used to listen to her sing and then imitate what she was doing. I knew every single word. Eventually I started doing this with every song, and eventually I found my own voice through various influences.
Has that changed over the years? If so, how and why, and what are you currently exploring?
I literally listen to everything. Melody and chord structure is a big thing for me. I’m sure I still get influenced by new music as well. Sometimes I’ll hear a song in a movie and that song will immediately spark an idea for me to draw from. “Steal like an artist”!
Name one song you wish you’d written. What makes that song so important?
There have been so so many in different genres, but the most recent one is definitely Miley Cyrus’ Slide Away. Others would be Wherever I Go by John Mayer and Could You Be Mine by Billy Raffoul.
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?
Definitely my vocals. Playing live has always been my favourite, but when I perform, it is super important to me that my delivery conveys or carries the correct feeling I want to portray and hopefully make others feel.
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) and any other creative channels you’ve explored.
This is very tough. For me, sharing my music on Instagram or Facebook have proved to be most successful. I feel shares from other people on their stories on Instagram is also important. Of course performing live helps, but people don’t really buy physical albums anymore. We need to send them to the streaming link.
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?
I think time will tell at the moment. The industry is in a strange place, so we have to keep writing and putting out good songs for people to listen to. It’s all we can do and hope for right now.
What is the story behind Amper Daar – the genesis of the song, the people involved, the muse behind its creation?
The song is about being in a relationship. It almost means the opposite of the title, because in a relationship, you never really arrive, so you are forever “almost there”, because you always work on the relationship. Myself and Hunter Kennedy (Fokofpolisiekar, Die Heuwels Fantasties) wrote it together and Fred den Hartog and myself produced it.