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Interview: Wickhead

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Wickhead are one of the bands that’s managed to cause a bit of a splash elsewhere in the world, as well as a huge big bladdy bombdrop here back home. We have a quick chat with Los Angeles-based South African hard rock outfit Wickhead’s guitarist Mark van Heerden. Hey, it ain’t often you hear about the stuff going on overseas…


We’re rocking it down here. How you doing over there?

LA is a mad party, lots of hard work , we are loving it.

We missed you at Ramfest. What’s the coolest festival/gig you’ve played in the States?

Would have loved to play Ramfest, All our shows have been a different experience here, all cool in their own way. We head to Canada on Tuesday.

What’s your say for SA artists who wanna up and leave?

If you wanna be in a band and tour, why not try and tour the whole world? It’s is a crazy place. Go for it and further your career.

Digital rights management: would you be pissed off if someone ripped your album?

It depends really on what marketing strategy you are going for. Look what Radiohead has just done [gave fans the choice of how much to pay for their tracks online]. I’d probably be pissed though. It’s your hard work.

Who’s the most famous person you’ve met?

We have met quite a lot of musicians. Atreyu, The Used, Mick Thompson, Avenged 7, Travis Barker, Kat von D, Metallica, etc. It’s been awesome!

If you could play an ideal gig (top of Eiffel Tower, underwater, whatever), what would it be?

That’s a hard one! We love playing everywhere. On the moon?!!

How long you been at it as a band?

8 years

What’s been your favourite venue to play so far?

The Whisky in LA. Woodstock in SA.

Who are your influences?

It’s a huge variation within the members. At the moment we are really digging 30 Seconds To Mars [Jared Leto's group, touring SA for MyCokeFest in March].

Sexita Chiquita [debut album] was cool. Are you sticking to that sound?

Ya, it’s similar I suppose. Its just a bigger sound now. The guitar tones are heavier, there are more harmonies and our tempos are slower. It grooves more.

Have you ever shot a gun? What type? At what?

I’ve shot people. I’m only playing, ha ha. In the face.

Band politics: who’s the iron fist, who’s the peacemaker?

[Vocalist] Bronic‘s the iron fist, [drummer] KJ‘s the peacemaker.

How many tattooes have you got?

Only three, on my shins and calf.

What time does the noon-day gun go off?

At noon, What? Time for a beer!

Wickhead is…
Bronic – Vocals
Mark van Heerden – Guitars
Randall Knight – Guitars
Jason Meintjes – Bass
KJ Forde – Drums

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  • Posted in Artist Interviews | No Comments »

    Desmond And The Tutus, SweatX: The End Is Nigh

    Friday, February 22nd, 2008

    Generally, South Africa draws about as many parallels to an American teen flick as Ladysmith Black Mambazo does to a Taxi Violence fan. Usually, one doesn’t see kilometer-long queues outside a club, but Desmond & The Tutus, Sweat X and Sovereign Academy DJs Richard the Third and Data Takashi obviously got some steez crackin. We check out The End is Nigh at Carfax.

    Desmond and the Tutus

    Like a sober 80s rocker, this downtown Jozi queue was an anomaly, a phenomenon that would by far be my standout memory of the night. I finally brushed past the bouncer with new lifelong friends and grey hairs. Once finally inside the place, which, granted, is a great party venue, we were greeted by the sounds and gyrations of Desmond and the Tutus in their skinny fit indie jeans, and the lead singer in his Mickey Mouse T-shirt – which he made himself. Does this make them a Mickey Mouse band? (Check out the killer T-shirt lead singer Shane the band made especially for the show!)

    It was OK. Like when you think a leaf is going to be crunchy but you step on it an its squelchy – I was disappointed. I expected more. The upside is that with Desmonds (or Tutu? or The Tutus? – comments, please), you’ve got a couple of mismatched, image-reckless guys who love making music more than they love being musicians; totally refreshing and inspiring to see the mashup four-piece still going strong since we last saw em.

    From the Tutu’s it was around the corner to another dancefloor, where DJ Richard the Third and Data Takashi played a ‘versus’ set together. This was good, and people were busting all sorts of grooves and cutting many rugs. My only concern was the amount of glo-stix that were being brandished, and the concern peaked when I saw someone with the glo-stick in their mouth and the glo stuff had come out and he had a fluorescent mouth. Something vaguely Roxette about it.

    Next on the main stage was Sweat X, and boy-o-boy has p***y-mad frontman Spoek run out of steam. The once-luminous duo sure knew how to get a crowd going a few months ago, but this, their ‘last gig in Joburg for two months’, was a little less dirty and left most of us even hungrier than at their Cape Town gig a few days ago.

    Much anticipated Glaswegian JD Twitch took to the main stage with an avalanche of bass, and the festival-savvy Franz Ferdinand producer, while not entirely convincing to the SA crowd, still put on a vibe of authority and kept the party alive. Now, let’s hope there’s not a queue to get out of here…

    [Guest post by Moya]

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    “What you find out in South Africa is because it’s such a small community, everything is run by like The Skulls of the South African music industry, and you realize that you either need to make a decision to try and make it happen yourself, but then you won’t get as far, or you’re gonna decide to give yourself to The Skulls. There are hardly any Indie Lables, and the ones that do exist are these little itty bitty labels that only sign one or two bands. If you’re not willing to sign to the big corporations, they just ignore you, which leaves you in a place where you’ve got to start making things happen for yourself. That’s the route that we’re taking right now.”

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    Posted in Event Reviews | No Comments »

    JhbLive: Joburg Event, Band And Venue Reviews

    Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

    While jolling the Internet, it’s not often that you come across a site that not only offers you enough reviews to make you swoon, but smacks you in the face with a stunning visual style and blazing heaps of images and colours. Overtone takes a brief look at JHBLive.com, the premiere portal for nightlife, listings and events in Johannesburg.

    The first and most refreshing theme of JHBLive is the emphasis on local culture, or ‘kultcha’. An informal take on gig searching is the dropdown menu for events in and around JHB with options for ‘come as you are’, ‘make an effort’ and ‘look your best’. Unfortunately, the functionality of the search device is compromised, as very few of the gig listings fulfil any but the most specific of the three categories. In other words, it’s tougher to find what you’re looking for than the standard search bar at the top of the page, and serves as more of a gimmick.

    The site’s main categories are nightlife, galleries, kultcha, art and reviews. Nightlife features the hottest upcoming events, but only one per night. Galleries of the Johannesburg live music scene are abundant, and redirect to the front page with a ‘random image’ widget. Kultcha features some awesome, informative and colourful feature writing about the daily life of a Johannesburg clubber. Art is more of a focus on artists, and a pair of upcoming events is also listed. Finally, reviews takes a look at restaurants, venues, DJs and bands in focus.

    The site also offers the opportunity for journalists to write about Egoli happenings.

    As mentioned, this is a classic place for any Joburger to stop by for a dose of original, homegrown writing. There’s no shortage of album, game, book and film reviews. But the trophy is the event reviews, which are surprisingly recent (up to a mere two days’ lag – smashing turnaround time for an independent South African website), and comments rekindle the spirit of the party.

    Posted in Industry News | No Comments »

    JoeBlog: JHB Music And Events Listings Guide

    Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

    Joeblog.co.za is a heaven-sent for those in Joburg CBD looking for the evening’s events listings. Overtone takes a brief look at this simple, uncluttered listings site.

    Just a few pages make Joeblog, the “Johannesburg Events Weblog”, easy to navigate, and thanks to some niche search engine optimization wizardry, the site ranks highly when searching Google for ‘events listings’, ‘johannesburg’ and the like. Averaging between seven and twenty gigs a day, it’s fair to say that Joeblog is the closest thing South Africa’s most populous city has to a comprehensive gig guide.

    The site contains just a few pages for navigation, offering users the option to add an event, contact, peruse the articles and venues, and find out more about Joeblog. Sporting an 8-bit/pixelated black and white look-and-feel, as well as a prominent search bar, Joeblog is a listings site worth checking out. An RSS feed makes embedding the latest gig listings a really simple matter.

    Keep an eye on Overtone for more South African website and industry reviews.

    Posted in Industry News | No Comments »