Sunday, 27 November 2016

EXCLUSIVE! Top studio producer Rici Martins tells us more about his solo project SEVVEN

Credit: Zander Opperman

Though relatively unknown to the mass market, Rici Martins is no stranger to the South African music industry. Yes, he spends most of his time behind the mixing desk, recording for other artists, but he is also a multi-instrumentalist and has performed with numerous acts including Chiano Sky, Howie Combrink and Matthew Gold, to name a few.

Rici is currently on an European tour with international rock legends The Awakening, witnessing some spectacular locations on the way, but this hasn’t stopped him from launching his solo career project – titled SEVVEN - back home. A force to be reckoned with, SEVVEN’s debut single Forget Who We Are is a melodic pop ballad with an combination of both old school and new age sounds. It shares the story of two people that got together at a time in their lives when they were both in bad places. No matter how hard they tried to stay apart, being together is what saved them in the end.

When did you came up with the idea for the SEVVEN concept?
It all started end 2013. I was in-between projects and had some free time. I wrote and recorded two songs that ended up initiating the whole thing.

What is SEVVEN exactly?
For me, it's a space to be creative on my own terms. Initially there was no timeline or deadline pressures which was great. I've been involved with so many artists, and I felt it was time to have something I could feel proud of on my own. My hope is to create something that is larger than myself and that someone in the world can experience, and hopefully be inspired by.

With SEVVEN, does it mean you won't be working with artists behind the mixing decks?
Credit: Johan Combrink
Not at all. I love being able to work with other artists and have that exchange of creativity. I'll continue working with other artists both in studio and live.

Which artists are on your roster still to work with?
Currently I am working with Chiano Sky, Howie Combrink and The Awakening in a live capacity. In studio I'm having a great time with Ashlinn Gray, working on Howie's new album and some other "secret'ish" projects. In terms of the future, there's lots of people I'd love to work with, but to me it's more important to find the right ones.

What has touring with The Awakening taught you the most?
I always love the perspective I get from touring. It removes you from you usual environment, and really helps you get closer to the things you actually want to do. It's so easy to get distracted, so I treasure experiences that helps me focus.

What is your music interest & taste like?
I just love music. The power in the feeling it can give you. I find that the more I just listen to music for the emotion, the less I'm aware, or critical about genres. I am however in a space where I enjoy a blend of synthetic and organic sounds, when done in a way where you're not exactly sure which is which.

When did you start in the music industry, and can you remember who the first artist was you worked with?
I started playing my first real shows early High School. My drum teacher at the time had an acoustic duo and they wanted to add a drummer to the line-up.

Tell us a bit more about your musician dad?
My dad is a guitar player. He always played in bands while I was growing up and I used to love sitting in while they rehearsed. He's living in Saudi Arabia at the moment recording music in a nice home setup there!

What is the first ever CD/Album you bought?
Linkin Park Hybrid Theory. I still remember the first time I listen to it quite clearly. It was such an exciting sound!

And what CD is your guilty pleasure, the one you maybe hide from friends, or they don't know about?
It would have to be Taylor Swift last album. The songs are just so good. If you haven't yet, check out Ryan Adam's cover version of the album.

So where at the end of 2016, what are your plans for 2017?
I'll be releasing a bunch of new singles and videos all through next year with SEVVEN, and then I'm currently busy working on an exciting live show to hopefully start touring in Feb. It's been such a rewarding process of discovery.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Die Heuwels Fantasties is back with a brand new single: LED Liefde

Die Heuwels Fantasties is back with a brand new single to bid farewell to 2016.

Hunter Kennedy (bassist, co-lyricist and backing vocalist for Die Heuwels Fantasties) says that LED Liefde is about longing.  “During the festive season there are many people who can’t be with their loved ones. Modern technology offers bitter-sweet contact.  Even though you can connect with them and see them on your LED screens, it doesn’t do much to curb your homesickness.”

Hiram Koopman joins Die Heuwels Fantasties on this song.  “He brings some bounce with his unique saxophone playing,” says Hunter.  Hiram will feature on a few of the tracks on the new album that will be released in 2017.

A lyric music video for LED Liefde will be released on 5 of December 2016. Hunter says that this will be Die Heuwels Fantasties’ first lyric video.  “We feel that the concept ties in with the technological theme.  We are excited to see what bewilder.tv comes up with.”

Website: www.dieheuwels.co.za

Facebook: www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Die-Heuwels-Fantasties/14155030297

Twitter: @DieHeuwels

Instagram: @DieHeuwels

SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/dieheuwels

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The Parlotones to release orchestrated DVD

The Parlotones is giving fans a special Christmas present - The Parlotones Orchestrated DVD, which will be out on 1 December.

Off the back of The Parlotones Orchestrated ‘SOLD OUT’ South African tour, the band will be releasing The Parlotones Orchestrated DVD at The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City on the 1 December 2016. The launch will see the band perform many of their hits with the chamber ensemble that was successfully arranged and conducted by composer and acclaimed musician, Brendan Jury.

The DVD, filmed over two ‘SOLD OUT’ evenings at The Teatro at Montecasino, is a must have that fans both locally and internationally will want to get their hands on. Displaying contemporary yet classical versions of their acclaimed discography whilst still treating their fans to everything they have grown to love about the Parlotones, The Parlotones Orchestrated DVD Launch is something you do not want to miss.

“Orchestrated has been an incredible journey for us as a band" says Kahn Morbee, lead vocalist, The Parlotones. "Our main objective was to re-work many of our songs by incorporating a chamber ensemble led by Brendan Jury. The process was very meticulous as we wanted to create alternate versions of the tracks and not just add strings to a song thereby giving our fans a whole new experience of songs they have been listening to over the years.”

Watch the following teaser clip for a taste of what to expect from the DVD and launch show on 1 December: https://www.facebook.com/theparlotones/videos/10154276818394753/

The Parlotones Orchestrated will be released on DVD and CD, and the DVD will also include bonus music videos and interview footage.

The Parlotones Orchestrated DVD and CD track listing is a collection of some of The Parlotones biggest hits and fan favourites.

Dropkick Murphys' new album 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory due out 6 January

The Dropkick Murphys announced that their ninth studio album 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory will be released on January 6th through their label Born & Bred Records. The album is available for pre-order now and the band has shared an incredible lyric video for the song from the album "Blood". Ted Hutt, who has previously worked with the band (and Gaslight Anthem and Old Crow Medicine Show), produced the new album.

The Dropkick Murphys have been synonymous with the city of Boston, and it's almost startling to learn that 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory was not recorded there, but in El Paso, Texas. "To me, the whole journey starts with the fact we actually agreed to go - and then went - to Texas. Because we've never left home to make a record," says bassist and founder Ken Casey. "As everyone's lives have become crazier and busier with kids and families, it's gotten harder to buckle down at home. We decided to leave Boston, go down to literally the middle of nowhere and lock ourselves in a room."

Besides the location, the album was influenced by the band's work with The Claddagh Fund, a charity the band established in 2009 to help support addiction recovery as well as children's and veterans' organizations. The band is hands-on in raising funds, mentoring, and lending a helping hand in the fight. Many of the songs reflect these experiences, and the band's sadness, anger and dismay at the opiate epidemic ravaging the country - in particular, Boston and New England. The song "Rebels With A Cause" was written about kids who are given up on, and left behind by a system that has written them off as hopeless. "Paying My Way" is about the way up and out of addiction and the dream of bigger and better things in life.

"4-15-13" stands out as one of the most emotional pieces in the group's catalogue. The track pays homage to the victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing, most of whom the band grew to know personally after visits to their hospital rooms in the aftermath. "Since that day, we felt like not taking the challenge to write a song about what we all went through would be taking the coward's way out," Casey reflects. "We put more importance on writing that piece of music than anything we've ever done, because if you're going to touch that day, it has to be done right. We went through so many emotions with that whole experience, as did everyone in Boston. It changed the city forever."

On the album, the band carries on the tradition of rough and tumble storytelling - the kind of writing that never leaves fans wondering whether the band have lived what they're singing about. A look back at childhood life, a snapshot of a clueless Masshole, a stop-you-in-your tracks reflection on a terrorist tragedy...it's all there across the record's 11 tracks. There are moments of ass-kicking Celtic punk attitude, ball-busting wisecracks, tear-jerking confessions, and the kind of upbeat words of wisdom that can be chanted loud and proud across arenas and stadiums worldwide.

11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory represents a high-water mark for Dropkick Murphys as they invite listeners everywhere to once again take an active part in their story. "We've stayed true to what the band is and has always been. And we're still expanding on our sound and lyrical content," offers Brennan.

Music with a purpose: RADA Unearthed Volume One available now for digital download

RADA, in all their endeavours, strive to effect change. An acronym for rape, alcohol, drug and abuse, RADA aims to combat addiction and life’s cruellest atrocities by building comprehensive renewal centres worldwide. While involved in various CSI projects, the non-profit company also contributes to the arts.

RADA Unearthed has launched a compilation album featuring a bevy of South African talent. The contemporary pop album features new hit singles from both unknown and established artists, including the likes of Prime Circle, Howie Combrink, Ashlinn Gray and more.

Music is so integral to human life and has the power to change lives, which is why the upliftment of the musical arts is so important in RADA’s overall vision.

Nobrega says, “I believe everybody can identify with a good song. The passion that has gone into this CD is phenomenal and the talent equally so. It’s something to be really proud of. As far as South African talent goes, I believe we are up there with the best of them and I’m hoping that when you pick up the album and listen to the songs, you will feel the passion and love.”

Staying true to their vision, they continually strive to assist all artists from all genres of music, giving those with little or no means the opportunity to realise their dreams. The aim is to fundamentally change the face of South African music in the way it is perceived, packaged and delivered to South Africa and to the rest of the world.

* Based on statistics, South Africa is seen as the world’s rape capital. In February 2013, J-P Nobrega was sitting in traffic on his way to work. It was an ordinary day, the same old queue of cars steadily pacing the highway. Listening to his daily dose of the Breakfast Show with Darren Simpson on what was then known as 94.7 Highveld Stereo, J-P noticed something unusual, something was different today.

Every few minutes - four to be exact - a beep would echo over the air, interrupting their daily broadcast. He soon learnt that the beep symbolised every time someone was raped in the country, a rape campaign which was being broadcast in conjunction with LEAD SA. It was a hard hitting realisation. For many it was frightening, but would remain just a momentary realisation.

For J-P, it was the planting of a very important seed that would grow and be nurtured into something far greater. He had had enough. Switching off the radio, J-P went to bed that night with a black cloud hanging over his head. He knew something had to be done. After much deliberation and research - which led to the discovery of issues far broader than the uncontrollable rise in rape statistics - he decided to leave his cushy job as an accountant, sold all of his valuable possessions and started RADA, a non-profit company, together with Jacqueline Gilbert the Managing Director of RADA. J-P now eats and breathes RADA alongside his personal tax practice.

RADA adopts a holistic approach to renewal – using proactive education programmes to develop skills, behaviours and attitudes which shall lead to improved self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making, including reactive healing processes in caring for people who face adversity.

For more information, visit www.rada.co.za

Friday, 11 November 2016

EXCLUSIVE! We talk to Toya Delazy about her new sound, her tour and what's next for her

You've been touring a lot the last couple of months across Africa and even Europe. What has this tour meant to you?
It's been inspirational to finally fulfill my dream and tour Africa and Europe. I met my band, The Warriors, in London and we’ve been working so hard to create the show, that finally bringing them with me to Africa, and having the show so well received, has truly inspired me.

You talk on your Facebook page of your new international level. Can you tell us what you mean by that?
My show is of a global standard sporting musical maestros from different parts of Europe. My lead guitarist, Mirko Piconese, is from Italy along with Ivan Panella, my drummer. Daniel Bowery, my head bassist, is an Englishman and Trevino Issacs, my pianist, is Capetonian. So, we are a diverse, international team and the standard of the show is second to none.  The sound is a mix of Jazz, Electro, Hip-hop and Punk, with heavy bass.                                      

What's it been like performing with a live band (appose to no backtrack and backup) and what does this bring to your sound and energy in the shows?
The show is bigger and I can take the music wherever I want. I'm not restricted to follow a backtrack and try imitate a CD. When performing live, the energy is insane. It's powerful and you can feel it and move with it. The energy is different for each show and it’s constantly moving and changing. The sincerity is felt in every note, the team is united bringing you one hell of show. People often say that when I record in studio, each and every one of my takes are different and unique and it's the same live. I’ve learned a lot as I’ve performed, and I’ve adapted my show as I’ve developed. I’ve continued to work on my show and improve.

What do you think was the biggest misconception people had about you when you started out?
That I was doing pop music. I didn't do pop music, it became pop music. As a result, everyone expected pop music...

Looking back from your beginning to now, what has been the biggest obstacles for you?
Probably not being able to see my family as often as I'd like to, especially with all the travelling...

How would you describe your new sound to fans?
I'd say come to the show and see, because trying to imagine a fusion of jazz, electronic, hip-hop and punk is probably a bit tricky - lol

What can you tell us about your new album dropping next year?
It's been 2 years in the making, and I've produced most of the tracks myself. It’s the most personal album I've done so far. I’m really excited to share it with everyone.

You are going to work with the UK band Example - super cool - how did this came about and what do you think this will bring to your music?
The collab is still in the pipeline, nothing has been formalised as yet. We met at the Nando's Music Exchange, and had a great time there. We both work and travel a lot, so we're just waiting to both be in London to hit it off in the studio.

Back to travel. The five things you always pack when traveling are...
IPhone charger
Bluetooth speaker

What do you miss the most when you're not home?
The food!!! My granny's homemade chips - you can't beat that!!

What was the first record/CD you ever bought?
It actually was a story book of Alice in Wonderland!

And who is your guilty pleasure CD/artist your friends don't know about?
The Requiem, classical music, anything by Bach

See her live tonight! All deeds here - https://web.facebook.com/events/1779400025609505/

EXCLUSIVE! Chris Chameleon give us the low-down on his new English CD, Firmanent

Between touring and recording, singer Chris Chameleon gets personal about his new CD Firmanent and give us a glimpse what is next for him.

Firstly, congratulations with Firmanent charting on iTunes! Must be an amazing feeling?
Yes it is a very pleasant feeling. My job relies on validation & none of it goes to waste.

Why did it take you so long to release a new English CD?
Ja, it is a bit of a long time. I guess my only excuse is that I have been rather busy. Between tours to Europe, the UK, Dubai, Qatar, Australia and West Africa, as well as the 4 Afrikaans albums, three dvd’s and Boo! album I have made in the last 8 years I have battled to make time for a solo English album. I mean to not wait this long before the next one.

From start to finish, how long did it take write and record the album?
A difficult question. ‘Starburst’, the last track, is a song I started writing in 1989; it could never find shape until this album. Other songs, like ‘High', where written in half an hour. A song like 'Don't You Worry' was re-written three times over a period of 3 months & deals with three key events over a period of 40 years. The tracking itself lasted 2 weeks & the mixing about 1 month.

I understand you can speak 4 languages, care to share with my readers which those languages are?
I'm fluent in Afrikaans, English, Dutch & German. I have a reasonable understanding of Zulu but not yet good enough to claim it.

How easy or difficult was it to write the lyrics for the CD? Maybe anyone that inspired you or were your muse?
Songs like ‘Starburst' or 'Don't You Worrry' where very difficult. 'Prickly Pear' was instant. I find I'm becoming ever more particular about accuracy of expression and the value of words, which doesn’t really aid the swift completion of lyric building.

You worked again with Theo Crous. When did the partnership started and why do you think your two gel when it comes to music and recording your music?
We've been working tigether since 2005. ‘Firmament' is our 7th album together. Why? For the same reason that in a world of 7 billion people couples choose each other and stick together: the marriage works. We’re very different people, with different views on life and the world, different interests and pursuits. But when we sit down to make music we understand each other, we communicate much without saying a word. We are a good example of how diverse people unite around the wonder of music.

What the main drive of the theme of the album and why it is titled Firmament?
Thematically the album deals with the awareness I've been feeling regarding my place in the world. ‘Firmament' means 'the universe' which sounds spacious & airy but it also contains the word 'firm' which I rather like.

Tell me the story behind the track Hurt and especially the moving video for the song and what impact you would like the video to have on its viewers?
I was a professional actor before I managed to perform music professionally. Acting has always been an important part of my expression and music videos are an ideal vehicle for my thespian aspirations. I liked the idea of showing a person developing through personages and some personal suffering towards a new sense of self. That’s what the video is about. After I had made the video the Orlando massacre happened. I dedicated the video to the victims of that horrible piece of modern history.

What is next for Chris Chameleon?
I am in studio at the moment, recording my next Afrikaans album, in between touring ‘Firmament’. I will tour Europe again in February and March.