Rarely does one get to interview a living legend as young as this. Albert Frost, one of the most versatile musicians in this country has been performing for more than 20 years and has collaborated with almost every top artist in this country as well as played with various international acts like REM, the Rolling Stones and Simple Minds. He started playing when he was 12 but it was a last minute crisis that saw him missing a few days from school to fill in for the guitarist in his father’s band, the Blues Broers when he was only 17. He is variously known as the best all round musicians in this country and the master blues guitarist, amongst others. And one of the most mind-blowing facts about him is that he is completely self-taught. He was and is determined. He works hard. And it shows. He brings his all to every performance and lays it bare. And we love it.
Few artists get the level of exposure and experience that you have had. What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
There are a few moments that stand out for me. Having worked with Arno Carstens and The Blues Broers tops my list. Other highlights include playing shows with Ali Farka Toure, Tim Robbins and The Blood Brothers.
What was it like to collaborate with nine other handpicked musicians on Blood Brothers and will this be repeated?
It was incredible for me, a true career highlight! The most fun I've had on any production to date. And yes, there's talk of more shows this year, can't wait.
Having done so much collaboration and played at most of the festivals in this country, what keeps it fresh for you?
It's the thought that there is an infinite amount of musical combinations out there to collaborate on. That is what keeps me going.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished my first full-length studio album, which will be available in April. Otherwise, I'm busy working on various productions happening this year.
Blues is not primarily the music that South Africa is known for, and yet we have produced two excellent blues musicians, you and Dan Patlansky. Does that surprise you?
Not really considering blues is the first thing most guitarists learn to play on.
Who or what inspires you at the moment?
There is a surge of good quality music coming out of South Africa, and I find that inspiring.
Is there anything that you are dying to express at interviews - but no one ever asks you?
Most interviews are actually very similar, and stick to what is relevant.
Which musical instruments do you own and which one of them are you proudest to own?
I have a healthy cache of guitars as you can imagine! My favourite would be my red American Fender Stratocaster I bought in 2000, my first Fender endorsee acquisition.
Will you be at the Splashy Fen as Albert Frost, Blues Boers, Albert Frost trio, or collaborating with any number of the first class musicians performing there?
I am doing a solo set as well as collaborating with Arno Carstens.
What does it take to be true to the music?
You must draw yourself into the present when you play music. This way whatever you're playing will be true!
You have collaborated and performed with the many of the finest and greatest artists South Africa has produced, is there anyone that you would still like to work with locally?
Yes, and I plan to work with many more, starting with Loki Rohman being in the near future. The collaborations seem to present themselves, so I will probably just wait and see who approaches me!
More recently, some of the most electrifying performances have been when you have collaborated with Dan Patlansky. What makes this so and are you and Dan planning to do more together?
Dan and I share a passion for playing music and when we play together, the music goes to a sacred place, better than we could ever be apart.
Despite some forecasts about the decline in attendance of music festivals, companies like Nu-Ticket have reported a massive 300% increase in ticket sales. Is this evident at festivals?
There are so many new festivals popping up everywhere, meaning that people have more of a variety to choose from, but I have not really noticed a big difference at the big and established festivals.
In addition, does this translate in sales that benefit musicians?
I guess so; more festivals mean more opportunities.
MARRIOTT BALLITO BEATS: GANGS OF BALLET & ALBERT FROST
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in InterviewsBy Emma Kelly