In case you have been living under a rock the last few years, Gangs of Ballet is a Durban band comprising of three musicians and friends – all of which have undertaken studying Music at University level. Their music, which combines their fresh energy with their musically intriguing melodies and arrangements, has a hauntingly anthemic sound which appeals both to the musically-minded as well as to those merely seeking a fun musical experience.
Their sound cannot be pinned down to one specific genre but rather experiments with an eclectic mix of alternative, melodic, anthemic, electronic and dance. That’s one thing that I think makes them one of the most interesting acts in the SA Music Scene. I’ve seen them live tons of times over the last few years and there’s no doubt in my mind that they are definitely one of the best live acts in country.
Gangs of Ballet were founded in 2011 and it’s amazing what they’ve accomplished over the last few years. They’ve played every major South African music festival there is and also picked 1 MTV MAMA and 1 SAMA along the way.
Great news is that the band recently released a new EP entitled Form & Function a while ago and that their first single off it, “Always”, has hit the number 11 spot on the 5FM Hyundai Top 40. Pretty amazing if you ask me. Check out the music video for the song below:
I recently had a chat to Brad Klynsmith from Gangs of Ballet. We chatted about the new EP and a few other things. This is what he had to say…
What do you think makes this EP different than your debut album?
Well, it’s been a long time coming and hopefully we’ve matured over that time. Working with Denholm Harding has also played a major role, but the biggest thing is us writing as a three piece because of loosing our bass player and starting to lean more electronic in our sound.
What is currently playing on your CD Player / iPod / Car Radio and what are your thoughts about it?
Loving Jack Garret, 21 Pilots, James Blake. Great song writers and they pushing all our newly found electronic buttons.
Which South African city is your favorite to perform in and why?
It’s all about the people, so it would be a tie between Pretoria, Port Elizabeth and of course our home town Durban.
If you could colab with a South African artist, which 5 would be on your top list and why?
Jack Parow, Van Coke Cartel, Black Coffee, Mafiki Zolo and an all time greats Mango Groove. Got massive respect for all of them and it would be an honour.
What are your thoughts on the current state of SA Music?
The industry as a whole is in a flux and isn’t really sure of what it’s doing so there’s a lot of confusion about it feels like. Having said that the guys that are producing music are producing it on an international level and we can really be proud of our SA musicians!
What can we expect from Gangs of Ballet in the future?
Keep your eye on the skies, we’re heading overseas.
What inspired the new songs?
It was more about finding a new sound for us, lyrically content is pretty honest but not too sure there is a thread.
Tell us a bit more about the recording process? How long did it take? Any rituals? Anything you did different than your debut album?
We recorded with in Johannesburg at Universal over two weeks. We worked with the genius of Brendyn Russouw and Denholm Harding and it was a really creative and chilled atmosphere for most of it. Really enjoyed every moment!
When can fans expect F&F Part 2?
Well the first part was a transitional work from what we were to where we are going and the next one will start to land in that new sounds be for us. The new stuff already feeling strong and fresh and good fun to play.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Brad and Gangs of Ballet for taking time off to answer my questions. I wish them all of them best with their future musical endeavors.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Interviews categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.
PS: The first two photos on this post were taken by Craig Scott. The last two were taken by me at Rise & Shine Festival (earlier in 2015).