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Tale of the Son: Ushering in the Evolution of Instrumentalism

May 10, 2009 – 19:23 by rachelle


The South African music industry is in for a twist of faith: Tale of the Son is the new band causing this astonishing revelation. With their music impossible to find by whoring on the internet and their debut album soon to be released, they are set to reinvent the concept of instrumentalism by using visuals instead of vocals to compliment their approach to their version of an unique resonance. Rachelle Crous spoke to Gregoire Pinard and Ray Orton about projectors, tap dancing and the beauty of instrumentalism.

Playing a non-stop set of about 50 minutes while a dedicated projector reflects continuous visuals creating a sound track to their music, they create melodies that are harder listening as oppose to easy listening. Their music can be described as soundscapey in nature with no specific structure, causing each listener to go on a different journey whilst listening to it. The core of their sound contains the essence of what music once was and transports the listener to the personal instrumentalised landscape of their minds.


Tale of the Son started in 2001 while both Pinard and Orton were still studying advertising. Pinard convinced Orton to come over for a jam and after a couple of months they had a few songs ready in their simplest form, namely guitars and drums. “Seeing that we weren’t playing with a bassist, I changed my tuning on my guitar to include more of a drone on the strings. We continued like that for a couple of years until Martin Thomas (One Night Stands) presented the foreign concept of ‘a gig’ to us”, says Pinard.

Orton (drummer) realised his passion for music at the age of 12 after listening to his dad’s old records and hanging around in a record store named “Grammaphone” – run by two old men who listened to nothing but jazz and smoked nothing but cigars. By 15 he made his own drum kit at home, built out of old milk buckets, coke bottles and lids. His parents later gave in and bought him one. Pinard (guitarist and self-proclaimed tap dancer) began living his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle at the young age of 3. His mother bought his sister a classical guitar and him a Ukulele as a token of fairness. After about 10 minutes he realised the he is unable to play the wooden contraption and smashed it in true rock ‘n’ roll style against his cupboard with splinters of wood flying everywhere – an experience he today describes as “awesome”. Later, at 13, he picked up his sister’s classical guitar and strummed a few strings; the beginning of his passion for music.

Orton, who comes from a creative but non-musical family, describes his musical influences as everything ranging from electronica (the likes of Plaid and Boards of Canada), jazz (the likes of Cannonball Aderley and Bobby Timmons) and rock (the likes of DMB, Pearl Jam and Gomez). His rolemodels are Carter Beauford of DMB, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and the comedian Dylan Moran.

Pinard’s family is more intellectually and artistically proned. His musical influences range from Godspeed You Black Emperor, Sonic Youth, Placebo and Pearl Jam to Eagles of Death Metal and Nintendo. He admires Placebo for their magical song writing skills and names Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth as his role models.

Pinard, driven by old cars and fake nails and who describes his biggest weakness as his early morning coffee, is a freelance animator / video editor. Orton sees music as the ultimate release which does more than anything visual ever can and believes character creates reputation. His passions besides music includes design and photography and he works at a company called Birthmark, which specialises in motion design.


Orton compares the sound of Tale of the Son to everything from DJ Krush to Matt Cameron, while Pinard describes it as Daydream Nation meets Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada meets Siamese Dream. Pinard mostly writes the songs and then they both work on it till it becomes a masterpiece: “I write my guitar parts and then play them to Ray, who in turn writes a drum section. The guitar would change to fit a specific thing that Ray wants to try on drums and visa versa. There is always a start and an end point with anything new we write”, says Pinard. In their opnion a band without vocals’ backbone can twist more without a voice, but also claims that the establishment of this musical style took place unconsciously. “When we ‘started the band’, we never really thought about it; it always seemed to be one of those things we would ‘eventually get to’. However, when we tried a number of vocalists they never seemed to fit. My guitar style always seemed to be too intrusive on the vocal melody”, proclaims Pinard.

While Orton wants to solidify his career as a designer in the near future and Pinard sets his sights on a petting zoo with Kuala and Panda bears, these boys might just have to put these plans on hold as a promising music career and revolution of South African music by Tale of the Son awaits.


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