Karma is not short of opinions - on life, SA music, and what it means to be the top SA rock chick, the survivor of many music industry booms and bombs.
She's currently promoting Henry Ate's latest release, "The Singles 96-02" with a tour of SA. (Gig details at the end of this interview), as well as producing the next Henry Ate album, and promoting the band in the USA.
Also, and perhaps irreverently, she has incredibly beautiful brown eyes.
MWEB: Do you have more female fans than most boy-only bands, or are all my friends just gay?KARMA: Karma reckons it's more to do with emotional identification than a gay following. "But," she adds, "Every band always raves about the fact that we have such a good looking audience!" (An audience that brings the girls in faster than a shooter special at the bar, if the last time we saw her live is anything to go by.)
MWEB: I annoyed a couple of boy only bands recently, by asking them "How come there are always bands in girls, but hardly ever girls in bands?" Both of them mentioned you, indignantly. Does it get complicated being a girl in live music industry?KARMA: "It's always been 'but what about Karma?', and I've always been that precious little girl to all the other bands". Because she's been on the scene so long and strong, Karma's often held up as proof that live music isn't just a boys' club. To stay where she is, she's fought against the "just shut up, look pretty and sing" attitude, and won. "I look at the fact that out of the Big Five South African bands that began this invasion of the SA music scene - Sugardrive, Amersham, Henry Ate, Just Jinger, and the Springbok Nude Girls - who is the last man standing? So um... sorry boys but... Henry Ate survived it all."
MWEB: What's the weirdest moment or experience you've ever had onstage? KARMA: In America recently: "There was a bachelor party. During 'Hey Mister' obviously one of these guys at the bachelor party had been challenged by his friends to strip... and off came the shirt, and I think I was singing on autopilot at this stage. He was standing completely stark naked by the time I got to the last chorus of the song. I couldn't finish it. I was laughing, SO much."
MWEB: And how many inches, would you say?KARMA: "He was well hung. A moment I'll remember forever. A nude video to 'Hey Mister'."
MWEB: Is the SA Rock industry going through a bit of a revival at the moment?KARMA: "People have been saying that for the last two years. But the fact that every musician is aspiring towards [what was achieved in 95/96 by bands like SNG] now is shocking, because I was there, and it wasn't that great."
MWEB: Is there any band you'll never work with again? Now I'm not asking for a name...KARMA: "Watershed." The story is this: Early in her career, Karma had to cut her set for headline act Just Jinger's sake - that's what professionals do. But Watershed, when supporting Henry Ate, delayed her set until she had time for only two songs before the venue cut power. "When I got off the stage they jokingly said to me 'oh, *snaps fingers*, sorry about that." And I said: "You know what, I got not time for you, because one day this is going to happen to you. Then you're going to understand." Karma immediately begins to worry that her crit will seem like "badmouthing" to Watershed. I'd say it's just the kind of honest approach that South African music needs to grow.
MWEB: You get to ask your personal musical hero one question, which they'll answer truthfully...KARMA: "I would like to ask Cole Porter if he really believed every word that he wrote. And if when he listened to his songs, did he cry?"MWEB: What would a groupie have to say to persuade you to sleep with them?KARMA: "There is absolutely nothing that could be said to me. I have too much respect for my audience, and too much self respect to ever cross that line. To me, engaging in sexual relationships with audience members is no different to having relationships within the office."- Jean Barker
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