You released your latest album Serpente Masjien last year. What has the reception to it been like?
The reception has been positive. Upon release, the album was selected to be featured on the iTunes New Artist Page in the UK as well as the US. Locally, Serpente Masjien received two Sama nominations for Best Alternative Album and Best Produced Album. It is enjoyable to play the live shows and be able to get signed copies to fans afterwards so they can take something away. I receive messages frequently from fans, to radio presenters to producers expressing interest in use of the material for film or television or personal enjoyment.
You were nominated for two Samas this year. What did it mean to you to have your work acknowledged in this way?
It is always a good feeling when the work you have done is acknowledged. I was happy also for everyone who contributed to the making of the album like Rob Nel who recorded the bass guitar, Werner von Waltsleben who recorded the drums, and Matthew Fink who produced the album.
You’ve spent a good part of the year playing live both locally and abroad. What is your ideal live performance?
I think for me, besides a great sound engineer, I have come to find that atmosphere is a big part of what determines an ideal performance. Whether the venue is tiny or very big, the defining effect of the show is the ambience and energy of the venue and audience, as well as the energy between you as players on stage.
Performance is a two-way action: you feed off the audience and the audience feeds off you. As a professional you rehearse so you can put on the same show to any audience, but for the show to really take off to another stratosphere as a performer you benefit from playing to an audience who enjoys the music, appreciates the experience, and energetically encourages the show.
You’re set to perform at Oppikoppi this year. What are you doing to prepare for your set?
For starters, I am still choosing the set list, which is enjoyable and
also tricky because the festival slot is 45 minutes and we have [over] 40 songs to choose from, old and new. So it is the task of deciding which ones are in and which ones are out!
What can fans expect from your set at Oppikoppi?
Fans can expect songs from Serpente Masjien and also new material they wouldn’t have heard before. Better come and see for yourself.
What are you looking forward to most about this year’s Oppikoppi festival?
Most of all I am looking forward to playing the show. I am also looking forward to enjoying the other acts. Oppi is a diverse and gratifying music festival. I can’t wait to have dust all over my lighter and my face and my cigarettes and my socks and my guitar too, of course.
What is the one item you won’t forget to pack into your festival bag?