How long has Bobbejaan been going?
We got together in August 2014 and started scheming [for] ways to get more of the underground music scene going in Pretoria. We threw our first party on Halloween a few months later. It was sweaty, stinky and beautiful, [and] we haven’t looked back since.
What was the idea behind starting a community like Bobbejaan?
We’re all invested fans of the underground music scene, especially the local one. We were fed up with the lack of opportunities to watch and play live music in Pretoria. Having seen the lack of opportunities we realized that someone had to start making a change and we felt like we possessed the skills and knowledge to make it happen by simply doing it – DIY. The idea behind the community is to bring like-minded artists and people together to share in the passionate waves that Bobbejaan is putting out, give the fans artists to be fans of and give the artists fans to be bands for.
Earlier this year, you brought Cape Town based psych-band Changeling to Gauteng. Are there specific bands that you would prefer to work with or does any band go?
Yeah, that was a huge success! It acted as part of our plan to start linking the scene across the country so [that] out of town bands see Pretoria as a place to come to and build ties so we have somewhere to send our bands to. We have since worked with many other touring bands – Black Math, Medicine Boy, Retro Dizzy, Bacchus Nel, Sakawa Boys and Mr. Cat and the Jackal to name a few. In terms of the bands we choose to work with, we have to feel that they preach the same ideologies as us,namely pushing the scene for its own growth and doing everything possible to make it happen. There is little to no money involved in the scene so none of us are chasing a fortune, meaning that we all do what we do for the love of it. This means we do everything [ourselves], from booking and hosting bands to DJ-ing and playing in bands to bar-tending and manning the door. We are currently working on a full-length documentary about resource sharing and DIY within the underground scene, [which] is centered on the Changeling tour and how many different parties came together to make it happen. It is going to be out early next year, so watch this space!
You guys were involved in the opening of Red Right Hand in Pretoria earlier this year. Is this where people can expect to find something more alternative?
Red Right Hand is our exhibition space. We needed somewhere that we could use regularly and make our noisy home. It certainly is alternative, it sits in the bowels of the Belgrave Hotel and boasts the fullest live sound in the city. Everything is [geared] toward creating the best possible live music experience. For the time being it acts as Bobbejaan’s main face and connection to the public in addition to other events we host around the greater city area. One of our biggest aims is aiding in the rejuvenation of the CBD by bringing in art and those who want to experience it – the first step in rejuvenating any city space. With this in mind we focus on giving a stage to bands that are pushing boundaries in their respective genres, thereby creating unique and powerful line-ups guaranteed to blow your socks back to last week.