Their first full length album's beginning to sell, they're getting some radio play, they're gigging a lot (in Holland and Belgium as well as all over SA) and hey! They're starting to think they might have a serious future as a band.Their swearing and their questioning of mainstream Afrikaans culture has offended a few people (they nearly called themselves F***ffamiliekar). But despite this controversy (or maybe partly because of it) their music is actually paying the rent. So I asked Wynand (bass) and Francois (Vocals) about their music, their rude boy image, Steve Hofmeyr, and their plans for the future. (And, of course, I HAD to ask them about their name.)
MWEB: Do you think your choice of name has damaged your chances of success, or helped you get attention? I mean why not just call the band Highly Unwelcome Law Enforcement Vehicle?Francois: We came up with the name first. It was the reason we started the band.Wynand: I think it's definitely worked in a positive way for us. Even when we were in Belgium now, when we were playing the tent was packed. I remember thinking to myself it's obviously because of the name. Because nobody there knew about us.
MWEB: So do you find it ironic that the radio stations call you "Polisiekar?"Wynand: (laughing) Ya Well we don't really get mainstream radio play. We can't really expect people to use it in the press. We think people with know that it's F****polisiekar by the time radio stations start calling it Polisiekar.
MWEB: Are music radio DJs really pushing the envelope (Mark Gillman for example) or just pretending to?Wynand: Well there's really nothing new. We always say it's just history repeating itself. What we're going has been done before like being Afrikaans and being rebellious against white things. There will be people like us again, in a different society.
MWEB: Now that you've got this far... Is this something you're serious about? So many SA bands end up splitting up and getting day jobs... will that be you?Wynand: Well once we had the thing together we were like jies you know we are in the band we always wanted to be in, we have this one opportunity to play music. So obviously we took it seriously.
MWEB: Why don't bands ever start on time? Why's there this competition between the band and the audience to see who can arrive later? Don't bands realise it's people with day jobs who can afford to pay for entrance and drinks?Wynand: Are you talking about us? (Laughs) I think Cape Town in general's got a vibe where people don't leave their houses before 10. Francois: Ja and if people are drunk the vibe is always better.Wynand: Ja we always start late.
MWEB: Do you get people wanting to beat you up because you piss them off?Wynand: In Jo'burg was a real special case. We played at RAU University, at the res. And uh after the show I was selling CDs from the backstage area. And this guy came up to me and he was like "Ja..." - speaking in Afrikaans but he tuned like - "Ja I told you not to play "Hemel Op Die Platteland", all of us are F***ing Christians here." And shit like that. We were m**red once in Nelspruit before too, but that wasn't really band-related...
MWEB: Ha ha. He said really said "F**king Christians"?Wynand: Ja, "Ons is almal f*kken Christiene hier"
MWEB: Do you think you'd be doing so well if you were ugly?Wynand: I don't think people would ever dig our band for our looks, hey. We came from the underground punk scene, you know.
MWEB: Whatever. Does good music need to have something to say? The stuff I go for always seems to be protesting something?Francois: I think that's important. For me, lyrical content is important. Maybe it's just because I'm a singer or whatever.Wynand: Ja, but I don't think ACDC has anything to say besides "party really hard" and I still like that, so... Music's about fun, you know. People should dig it. To boogie or to party or to cry with.
MWEB: Do you feel any kinship at all with the people who're making the "treffers" - you know, all that lekker sentimental schmaltzy stuff. Like Sunette etc.?Wynand: Who's Sunette? Francois: Sometimes we check these people at the Kunstefees. Wynand: We met Steve Hofmeyr, actually.Francois: I think that guy, he's like lank clever, he's a good businessman. He said he couldn't really say anything against us.Wynand: But we don't really feel like... a connection.
MWEB: Do you remember Voelvry (an Afrikaans Anti-Apartheid tour that shook up the scene)? What do the previous generation of Afrikaans music stars - those who went against the grain at least - mean to you? (Most of the band members are in their early 20s)Wynand: We were too young to experience that.Francois: My sister had the record.Wynand: I had the record. We didn't know what the hell was going on, I think. I was fascinated by that scene when I was younger. But then obviously Valiant en Koos - I've been listening to them all the years. And I'm a very groot Johannes Kerkorrel fan.
What's next?A coastal tour to Margate (near Durban) and another EP. And the Tuks New Year's Party. Holland again in March, too, probably.- Jean Barker
* a quote from a David Kramer song, satirising SA suburbia in the '80s.
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