JACO JORDAAN

Hatfield Carnival once again lived up to its name with thousands of students dancing and drinking in the cordoned off streets. Street performers on stilts and a brass marching band added to the festive atmosphere. But, as always, the live music acts were the main attraction. Students were spoilt for choice with bands such as Van Coke Kartel, Zebra and Giraffe and Wrestlerish rocking it out in the Square while hip hop artists such as Teargas, JR and ProKid kept the crowd on their feet in front of the main stage in Burnett Street. Perdeby sat down with a couple of artists and asked them a few questions.

JR

You started making music from a young age. Has this always been your passion?

Yes, since I started making music in 1996. My parents have always been my driving force. They have always been behind me.

Did you anticipate the success of the single “Show Dem (Make the circle bigger)”?

I knew it was a good song, a well-written song with a good beat – everything was there. But I didn’t know it was going to be a hit. The public makes a hit.

It’s Valentine’s Day this week. What’s your idea of a perfect date?

At home with a bottle of wine. I like being at home, I have a lot of dates there and most end up there anyway [laughs].

Any big projects to look out for?

There’s a new album coming around September. I also collaborated with Die Heuwels Fantasties and Jack Parow recently, and I’ve got a shoe line coming out.

Do you like collaborating with artists from different musical backgrounds?

I like it; it shows diversity. Rap music will always be rap music , but I’d rather be a musician than be boxed in. I’d rather do a house track today, a hip hop song tomorrow, a kwaito song the next day, a rock song … It keeps me on my toes. You should never get too comfortable, otherwise you get lazy.

ProKid

What issues do you touch on with your music?

I always try to send a positive message. We are like the freedom fighters. Not in a political sense, but in a sense of breaking free and understanding that times have changed. Not being scared to meet people of different races or genders.

What does it take to make it in the hip hop industry?

It takes patience, commitment and discipline.

Tell us more about your line of clothing, Dankie San.

It began with having souvenirs at shows, T-shirts and caps. And then it grew from there into a business in its own right.

If you could play a gig anywhere in the world, where would that be?

Miami. I love the weather, all the colours, the brightness. I’m sure that’s one place you can perform in your flops.

Any big projects to look out for?

There are quite a few. I am showcasing new talent, giving back to the community.

The December Streets

You’re pretty new on the scene. How long have you been playing together and how did you all meet?

The set-up as it is at the moment has been going for six months. We all met at Tuks.

How would you describe the vibe of your music?

Feel-good dance. If pop rock had a baby with reggae …

Any party tips for innocent first years?

Drink lots of water. No, drink lots of beer [laughs]. It’s important to urinate a lot.  The best pick-up line ever: “I play in December Streets”.

If you had to design a float for the procession, what would you put on it?

A zoo, with a big lion and a very prominent gorilla. 

It’s Valentine’s Day this week. What’s your idea of a perfect date?

Fireworks … bungee jumping … guitar shopping … getting into NASA and blasting to the moon.

Any big projects to look out for?

We’re playing OP Beerfest on Wednesday 16 February, people must come watch. We’re also in for Slashy Fen (21-25 April), which is a big one. We are making a music video for “My Name”and then releasing another single with a video as well. We want the singles to follow each other quickly. People can download our EP so long. We encourage copying and sharing. 

Fire Through the Window

Most of you are from Durban. Is the vibe in Pretoria very different?

It’s not actually that much different from Durban, except of course the people speak Afrikaans. And there’s more of you. Durban’s very laid back … it’s hard to break into the regular club-going crowd.

The cover of your new album, All these people are golden, and your website are beautifully designed. Do you put a lot of thought into these things?

Marc (de la Querra, vocals/guitar) did the website, he has a design company. Warwick (Kay, guitar) is a graphic designer as well and Sinead (Dennis, vocals/percussion) is also part of the company and lectures multimedia. It actually saved us a lot of money.

Any party tips for innocent first years?

Sinead: Before you go to bed, have lots of water – a glass of water for every drink.  And have a Wimpy breakfast the next day. And a chocolate milkshake. Everyone has a different thing, mine is Tropika.

Any big projects to look out for?

We just shot our new music video, “Lonely Hearts”, which should be out in the next couple of weeks. We released the album in October, so we’ll be touring that for a while. The second single’s just come out and we’d like to get another four out this year. 

Wrestlerish

You’re very popular in Pretoria and one of the reasons is that your lyrics speak to people. How do you go about writing a song?

Werner Olckers (vocals and guitar): I’ll write a line, and then we’ll find something that rhymes with it. [laughs] I don’t know, I think lyrical content comes almost second to the song. We’ll write the song first and figure out what vibe we get from the song and then Jacques (Du Plessis, production, keys and strings) and I will just knock our heads together for a couple of days and it will happen that way.

You produced a popular viral video for your single “Sleep”. Who came up with the concept?

It’s a Pretoria-based company called Etiket. They ran with the idea that we didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a video that is just like any other video on TV at the moment. So we said we wanted to find a way to get the fans involved.

Since Rag is all about giving back to the community, do you guys have any charities or causes you’re passionate about?

We’re a charity case as a band [laughs] … no, no, no. We decided at the beginning of the year to get involved with a charity, so we’re still checking it out to see which one everyone agrees on, but I think we’ll definitely get involved with the SPCA sooner or later.

If you had to design a float for the procession, what would you put on it?

A big steak with cheese sauce dripping off the sides.

Any big projects to look out for?

We start recording our new album on Monday … We are working on getting it out as soon as possible.

Do you want to move into a different direction with the new album?

It’s more of a natural progression. It’s just us growing up a little bit more. It’s not a conscious decision to do something different, but obviously we’re in a different musical head space.

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