In case you did not know, Johannesburg based rock band, Dance You’re On Fire released a new single a month ago. It’s the first new material that they’ve released in a few years and marked their grand re-entry into the SA Music Scene.
I recently had a chat with Adrian Erasmus from Dance You’re On Fire about a few things. This is what he had to say:
You’ve been out of the scene for a while, what prompted you to make your return?
I think each one of us has our own set of reasons. Tom and I had spoken briefly about playing a few shows when we ran into each other in August 2015, but it wasn’t the right time. At that point, we all had a lot going on and I guess I wasn’t really prepared to take on more by getting back into writing and performing with the band. On top of that, when I left in 2012, it wasn’t exactly a harmonious exit and I think neither Tom nor I had quite let go of the negatives associated with DYOF.
But after Tom contacted me again this year, we went for a beer and spoke at length about the way we would want things to be if we were to start up again. For me personally, the biggest reason for returning is that I missed playing and writing my own music. What I mean by that is that in the other bands I have played in over the past few years I wasn’t really involved in the writing process and I really just played what was already written.
DYOF is one of the only bands which I feel is a part of me, not just a band that I’m a part of. It’s really about sitting in a room and writing music with friends and having fun. I’m pretty sure the other guys have similar reasons for returning.
How would you say your sound has changed since your last release?
I’m not really sure there is any substantive change in the sound. If anything, our new single is a little simpler in terms of structure when compared with many of our older tracks. Apart from that, some people have mentioned that the new songs are heavier than our previous releases. That being said, we still write in the same way. The songs we have recorded over the past month or so came together quite quickly and we’re pretty stoked with the direction in which we’ve gone.
What are your thoughts on the current state of SA Music?
This is always a difficult question to answer because on the one hand the scene obviously has some major problems, but on the other, it has so much promise. I believe the SA scene has changed a lot over the past five years without anyone even realising.
What is promising is that everyone, from the bands to the promoters and the fans, has slowly, but substantially stepped up their game. I co-run High Seas Recording Studios in Rosebank, Johannesburg with Jacques du Plessis and we have witnessed first-hand the calibre of bands our little scene has to offer.
Being a part of SA Music is something to be proud of because we have everything, from bands like Shortstraw, Grassy Spark, and Sutherland, to incredible classical artists like Caroline Leisegang. On top of that, we have some really outstanding festivals here in South Africa. Sure, they’re small in comparison to European and US festivals, but anyone who has been to a festival overseas and was at Splashy Fen this year will tell you that it was on par in terms of organisation, entertainment, food, and general vibe. Most of our festivals are that good.
What is sad about the SA scene is that the band club scene seems to be slowly stagnating due to lack of venues and opportunity. There are people who are pumped to go to the more intimate club shows and give their support but there are so few venues and the lack of variety tends to make people decide to rather stay home or go for dinner. The few venues that we do have are doing an amazing job of creating a platform for bands to play and be seen, but because of the lack of alternatives, the venues can come across as boring and overused.
The way I see it is venues need variety in order to stay relevant (they can’t just have bands all the time) but because there are so few venues for bands, they are always booked by bands and this leads to a problem of not getting in as many customers and therefore, support drops, which leads to less opportunity for bands (and venues) to be successful.
That being said, the SA scene is really exciting at the moment, and there is so much potential for deserving bands to be recognised. I could keep you busy for hours (maybe even days) with an answer to this question, but I think it might be good to leave it at that.
If you could colab with an SA Artist / band you’ve not worked with before, who would that be and why?
I think there are a few bands doing some exciting things at the moment. Grassy Spark sticks out in particular. Their new album is unbelievably good. We had the honour of recording them at the studio when they featured on an Adventure Man song, and they are ridiculously good. I think if DYOF were to collaborate with another band in the near future, we’d approach those dudes.
What can we expect from you in the last few months of 2016?
We have a couple of shows lined up in the Western Cape (Mercury Live in Cape Town on the 21st of October and Aandklas Stellenbosch on the 22nd October). Apart from that we are releasing an EP towards the end of October and have a few more shows in the pipeline for December.
I’d like to thank Adrian and Dance You’re On Fire for this interview and I wish them all of the best with their future musical endeavours.
If you haven’t heard their new song yet, have a listen to it below:
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Interviews categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.