Hearing a name like Ben Dey and the Concrete Lions is sure to make you go mmm... Interesting. And as soon as these awesome lads opened their mouths and sang, I was hooked. They are unique, brilliant and very chilled. I had to chance to speak to the guys from Ben Dey and the Concrete Lions.
The first time I saw you guys was at a recording of JOU SHOW in Bellville earlier this year. You guys blew me away. For those who don't know, how would you describe your sound? Our music is a fusion of African rhythm and an international sound that may be classified as Afro pop-rock.
Please introduce the members of the band. Ben Dey - Lead singer and writer/composer of all songs. Ongama Mona - Lead guitarist and co-founder of the band from Khayaletisha. Alex Birns - Percussion. Dillon Birns - bass
Where are you guys from and where/how did you meet? We are all from Cape Town. Ben, Alex and Dillon are from Noordehook. Ben and Alex were in the a band together during high school. Naturally, Alex accepted Ben's invitation to join the Concrete Lions. Alex's brother, Dillon, followed suit. Ben and Ongama met at the Noordehook village in 2013 and founded the CONCRETE LIONS.
The band has a very unique and cool name, please tell us the story behind it. During the recording of one of Ben's earliest songs, Ongama added a line "Conquering Lion". The other band members asked if he had said "Concrete Lion" - it then stuck from there. The "Concrete Lions" is reference to Ongama and the struggles of growing-up in a township.
Any change you may have had to the line-up and why? Set musicians have come and go (Ben does not want to mention old members), however the structure of the music has remained much the same as the foundation and driving force of the band is Ongama and Ben. The current members share the same ambition, ideology and commitment which has been crucial to our recent success.
Have you always been a fan of music, how did it start? Yes. Ben started violin at the age of 5 all they way through his highschool years. His problem with the violin however, was that he couldn't sing whilst playing. Ben's dad bought him a "NOW 00s" CD in 2010 for Christmas. After listening to Coldplay's Viva La Vida, Ben received his first guitar the next day where he learnt how to play the song by himself. He hasn't looked back on guitar since.
How did your recent trip to the UK went? Any interest from record labels that side? Unfortunately our VISAS have been rejected 3 times. Only recently did our applications come back successful and thus, we will be delaying the tour to December.
What is life on the road like? Guitar picks and guitar strings. (Ben's strumming normally results in a broken string).
The first CD you bought was... NOW 00s - Ben's dad bought him this CD on Christmas Day in 2010 and was instantly drawn to Coldplay's Viva La Vida. The next day Ben received his first guitar and self-taught himself the song. He hasn't looked back on music since.