I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of overnight, one-hit acts. Yes, it’s awesome when someone releases a catchy song, but nowadays the performers and their contributions are forgotten in the blink of an eye.
True greatness lies in the ability to adapt and continue to excite with your creative output. That’s what makes Bittereinder so amazing – their unique ability to stay ahead of trends and express something that is at once insightful and groovy as hell.
We chatted to them about their newest release and patting an invisible camel, and of course their new album, which you can get right here: [iTunes].
Photo by Louis Minnaar
Hartseer Gangster was hilarious and very true of a lot of people trapped in their own myth. How did the narrative for the track come about?
It’s a chorus that Peach has been messing around with for a while, that’s made us laugh a lot over the past few months, and the whole song just kind of wrote itself when Louis came up with that beat and the chorus just worked. It’s a song about being lonely and wondering if you’re worth anything, glad you picked up on the trapped in a myth vibe too...
Skerm was released just the other day. Was it always your intention to release 2 albums in a year?
Haha actually not true, we released SKERM exactly a year ago, late in 2014. We’ve been notoriously slow with this in the past – it took us two years to write and produce ‘n Ware Verhaal, then two more years to do DIE DINKDANSMASJIEN, then two more years to do SKERM. So this is the first time we’ve been a “normal band” releasing an album a year after the previous one.
The fuzzy bass hook on Hartseer Gangster is pure sex – who is to blame?
Louis gets the full blame, with a little added blame in Peach’s direction for the mix and co-production.
The new album is entitled Dans Tot Die Dood. Are you encouraging people just to get down and enjoy it or is there a deeper artistic statement being made?
We’re almost always about the “dans”, but we’re also almost always about the “dink”. Dans Tot Die Dood’s sound and lyrics explore what it means to be an individual in a globalized but specifically South African society, and how dance is a counterargument to mortality.
What would happen if Donald Trump became president of the US?
Perhaps a scarier thought is how that really isn’t even a scary thought, in 2015.
You have reached unrivalled heights in a relatively short amount of time. Have you found yourselves guiding younger artists?
Not really intentionally, but quite regularly people we’ve never met send us their music and recordings and lyrics for input and feedback, which is cool. Also, those heights you’re describing aren’t really that unrivalled :)
Desmond and the Tutus unleashed a “signature” dance move at Oppikoppi a few weeks back. Have you guys got a trademarked dance move or do you just do what feels good?
Jaco often does something resembling a Madiba jive, Peach jumps pretty high on climactic choruses (he was a Springbok high-jumper in primary school, for real) and of course the collective-gangster-arm-bons move (which a friend of ours described as “patting an invisible camel”)…
Photo by Louis Minnaar
I’ve often heard you labelled as “avant garde dance”. To borrow from Dr Phil, how does that make you feel?
Haha that produces a relatively chilled feeling. Avant-garde originally meant people who were interested in experimenting with the techniques and formats of art they were engaged with, and we like to experiment and make new stuff, and we’re happiest when people dance with us at live shows, so yip, we’ll take that.
Lastly, what’s the most bizarre thing you’ve ever seen at a show?
In Witbank a guy climbed onto the stage in the middle of our set and started chatting to Peach and taking selfies with him. In the middle of a song. At that same show we saw a guy stealing one of our CD’s right in front of us at the merch table. We looked at the guy, looked at each other, and decided to let him have it. The CD, that is.