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Perceptions of Pacha

2008-03-19 06:06
photo: Ross Hillier
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Back to the full interview Goldfish Bowl

What’s the Pacha connection?
Dom: the reason it’s called Perceptions of Pacha is because the album has been signed to a record label called Pacha which is also part of the massive overseas nightclub group, Pacha.
David: the lifestyle brand.
Dom (smiles): ja, the "lifestyle" brand. They own 28 clubs, hotels, restaurants, a record label…
David: a massive clothing line.
Dom: we went to Ibiza last year and we went and did some gigs. We were recording the album and kind of hit a brick wall – it was cold and wintry here – and we thought "let’s got to Ibiza" (laughs). Actually, we had a gig in France already, so we were basically a couple of hours away and just hopped over to Ibiza. And we somehow blagged our way into a couple of gigs. We were actually lucky enough to open for Pete Tong at Café Mambo…
David: twice on the same day.
Dom: they were so stoked with us from that gig that they said ‘hey why don’t you come and play at Pacha later that night. i.e. 4am -
David: 4.30am!
Dom: so we had a little doo-doo, a little sleep first and then went to the club (chuckles) - very rock star - and had a great gig there. And subsequently when we came back to Cape Town they got in contact with us and said they would like to do an album with us. So that’s why we called it Perceptions because they have a series they do with different artists each year. We’re lucky enough it’s our turn this year.

David: We’re actually not great clubbers as it were, but it is a really good club with beautiful décor, lighting, amazing sound – they really take it to the next level. It’s about real angles for the future, you know? The music industry is in such flux that you need to be on the edge of what’s going on. They’re well-positioned to operate effectively in this new environment. Part of the international release – unfortunately not the local release - is a double disc CD with a second disc containing remixes by different DJs of all our songs. By having these different remixes our songs can spread to all the DJs around Europe and really access the underground dance music scene. It’s worked for them in the past, so let’s hope it works for us.
Does this deal mean you're emigrating to Europe?
Dom: I don’t think so. Cape Town and South Africa is where we’re from and that’s what’s given us our sound. We’re working with musicians, singers, and guitarists who come from Southern Africa. That’s what gives us the sound that we have. Never mind the fact that we love living here.
David: it gives us an edge over the guys in Europe because we’re not just sounding exactly like everyone else there. The French house guys and the English guys have got their vibe…
Dom: exactly. We’re not just another band. We’ve got so many palettes to draw from in South Africa. The new album’s got Shona (which is a Zim language), it’s got Shangaan, English…so if you moved overseas you’re just going to generic-ify (chuckles) – I don’t even know if that’s a word! – your sound, you now what I mean? So I don’t think that’s even a consideration for us.

Yeah, you guys love a good genre-surf, don't you?
Dom: the really cool thing for us is that we play everywhere. We play the Armchair one night and then go play Ignite to the Camps Bay crowd. Then we’ll go play Resonance or Vortex. We’ve even done that on the same night.
David: Or the Mystic Boer in Stellenbosch, you know?
Dom: we get a lot of confirmed rock die hard guys coming up to us and going "like wow! I never listened to dance music, but I dig what you guys do." And that’s the thing – we’re playing dance music, but it’s in a musical way. We’re using instruments. People can relate to us. They see us playing a saxophone, the double bass, they keyboard or singing the vocal…and it’s very interesting. No one freaks out - no one goes, "this is the devil’s music". Our fans range from 6 year olds to 60 year olds.

Indeed. Everyone seems to adore Goldfish. Surely you’ve had some criticism?
David: someone once said that the lyrics on the first album were a little bit too repetitive (laughs)…I was like, "what is this? Come on pal, its dance music. Have you ever heard "Call on Me" by Eric Prydz?"
Dom: or "Right Here, Right Now" by Fatboy Slim, you know? It’s got a lot of lyrics that one. But it’s one of the raddest songs out there.

The fact that you guys improvise live on stage is the joker in your dance pack isn’t it?
Dom: No one wants to go and just watch a DJ any more. A lot of people say to us "wow I love the album, but in your live show you take the songs to a new level." That’s because we can. Some of our songs are 15 minutes long when we play them live. Dave will start playing some saxophone riff and I’ll go "wow, that’s cool" and go off in that direction. People then come on that journey with us. I don’t think we’ll ever just replicate the song from the CD because for us that’d just be the most boring thing on the planet….
David: you might as well just listen to the CD then.

Speaking of which, what inspired you while making Pacha?
David: We’ve always had an ear for the old jazz stuff. We studied that. And I’ve always loved old school funk, the real stuff from the 70s - like Parliament, Funkadelic…that sound that just gets you. Recently a great album was Grand Slam by Richard Dorfmeister. Jazzanova was another one that just rocks. And then of course my favourite band in the whole world – Fat Freddy's Drop.
Dom: you must hear dance remixes of Fat Freddy. It’s like acoustic dance. It’s awesome! But then we’ll listen to rock, a lot of South African bands as well. I love the New Academics, Dirty Skirts even…
David: "I even like the Dirty Skirts"? I’m going to tell them.
Dom: what? No ways man....(laughs) There’s a lot of polarization with SA rock bands with fans only listening to this or that band. I don’t think it should be like that. There are only two kinds of music, we always say: good and bad.

- Miles Keylock

Electro-jazzy hipsters Goldfish have finally released a follow-up to 2005's cult dancefloor classic Caught in the Loop. We caught up with the duo in studio and found David Poole (sax, synths, fx) and Dominic Peters (bass, keys, toys) understandably amped about the prospect of taking their genre-surfing grooves global with Perceptions of Pacha.

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