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Who the F**k is Haezer?

2010-06-22 11:18

What the f**k is Haezer? I attempted to extract a detailed description of the idea behind the Mother City's hardcor electro mash-up maetsro from the man himself. I wanted anything but "It's me! Haezer is me!”" Ebenhaezer Smal spread both his hands over his chest. What about giving the people out there a better idea of what it is? "It's rock 'n roll!" Okay, but Who the F**k is Haezer? "Who the F**k is Haezer? Is the name of the track. And Haezer is rock 'n roll".

Haezer's manager emerges from one of the cubicles in the ladies toilets and see's us standing between the sink and the mirror. "Oh hi," she smiles quizzically. "I found him!" I beam. How did I find Haezer in the ladies room? The tale is rhetroically similar to "Where's Wally?" and goes a little like this....

I lost Haezer. It was my own fault because I should've considered the fact that he was playing after Stellenbosch local sweetheart Jack Parow, whose name really should've been Jack Stellenbosch. My interview was supposed to start around 21:30, so late because the man was "having dinner with his family" first. And now it was 21:45, and I was being carried to the outskirts of Aandklas by the sea of foaming Jack Parow fans. How did I ever think I'll find one normal looking young guy, probably wearing a normal hoody and normal jeans amongst what seemed a thousand but was probably just 400 other normal young guys. After bobbing around in the fansea for half-an-hour or so, straining my eyes and neck to catch a glimpse of a guy who would look more chilled out and in control than your average Jack Parow fan, I make my way to the door lady, actually just to catch my breath in the breezy entrance. Yes, she confirms, he must've arrived because his whole family is here. A clue! I should then only be on the lookout for family-types, a group of conservatively dressed people peacefully enjoying their own company outside, furthest from the stage. By that time, Parow had stepped up to his minions and a sea it was no more. It was a wall. A throbbing wall of obstinate students who have been given the excuse to pretend to be kommin for seven songs. The only way through was headfirst and then limb-by-limb until the entire body has moved two persons further.

At the back bar, I needed a drink and space to breathe again, while scouting the area for his family. The couple next to me look like they're not even hearing Parow. The woman has blonde hair and is dressed like she's just come from a nice restaurant. Family type? Excuse me, are you by any chance family of Eben? "Yes that's his sister," the man smiles. I explain my sorry interview tale ending with...and now I will probably only find him when he's on stage. Eben's sister is very friendly and helpful, he got here around 21:30 but then Die Matie mense whisked him away. "Let me quickly call him." She presses her Blackberry to her ear, before I could tell her that I don't think he's gonna hear his phone or remember that he has one if he's in there. "Eben, dis sussa, Nadine is hier om jou te interview.." on voicemail. "He's behind the stage, setting up his gear I think," she offers. Getting past the stage was hard enough, getting behind it? Behind it just below the steps leading to the toilets is a prime lookout point of the whole of Aandklas. I'm pretty sure that I saw no-one behind the stage the last time I passed the disaster zone. But I limb my way through the audience once again.

Jack is angry now, his fans stole his hat and others jumped on stage to take a facebook-shot with him while he's performing. For a minute, I wonder how Haezer ended up playing with the Parow. And how many of the brandied little Parows will stay behind to dance to volksvreemde hard-core electro. It is a sure sign that his music is no longer exclusive to Cape Town's trendies and Pretoria's non-trendies. Haezer is getting big. Globally big. The reason for the interview is the release of his first track for download: WTFIH? (Who the Fuck is Haezer?) on international online electro-dance shop, Beatport is what the iTunes would be if it grew up and took some pills. And, following his first European tour, Haezer is putting himself out there next to David Guetta. In the past few days since it has been released on the 11th of June, seven of Haezer's remixes have moved through Beatport's top 100.

Parow has sung almost all the audience's favourite songs, as I limp onto the steps behind the stage. As I reach the top, a familiar face pops around entrance of the ladies toilets. Eben! I've been looking for you! "Hey! Hoe gaan dit!" He smiles obvliviously, clearly not aware of my quest. The interview... where are we gonna find some place that's quiet? "Let's just do it in here?" he suggests. So we find a spot next to the sink and the mirror in the girls toilets at Aandklas.

 So, What the F**k is Haezer?

"The track has a lot of old songs in it that I just had to get out there. It's, I think, the third track I had done with Circe and I just had to get it all out because I have new stuff that I have release. I have to release my old stuff first before I can bring new stuff out. It's a track which, it's a lot like a foundation of what my music is. Which is a lot of punk and rock 'n roll.. influences I listened to when I was a kid."

"Whereas the new stuff is more of a party, dance stuff. That is the best opening single for me. Beatport is the biggest place for my type of music, people who listen to my type of music will go to Beatport and find me there."

His mission is to dominate and destroy dancefloors worldwide. The single is released through indie electro label Freakz me out Records, in Germany. His two EP's will be released through Tuff 'Em Up Records in Australia.

"My first EP comes out end of July and then we're gonna wait a few months before we bring out the second but this single is the original and if the online sales do well, we're also gonna bring out a vinyl version. I'm not gonna sell CD's, it's a waste of money. I'm only gonna release online and then internationally, vinyl as well."

The European tour he's just returned from included gigs in Amsterdam, Zurich, Italy, Hamburg, Munich.

"The overseas tour was fucking awesome, I loved it. I was blown away by the people's response. The people knew the songs and they were singing along, which was a bit weird. It was perfect, I couldn't have asked for more. At five of the six venues, I headlined which I didn't expect at all! The posters said HAEZER in such big letters."

His next tour will follow the same route but include Spain and France.

"To tackle the States though you'd have to wait a bit, it's a bit hard and you have to be quite famous to get in there. But next will be South America. In December.

What are his thoughts on the local scene?

"I'll never play in small towns in South Africa. I don't think the scene is big enough that it stretches to small towns. That's why it's so nice to go overseas. Because here there are a limited amount of places to play it, you end up playing there too often and people get bored with it because they get used to it. That's why it's cool to tour the whole time and then coming back and playing again. South Africa is just so fucking small, there just aren't enough clubs to play at so you just end up playing the same places".

But South Africa is awesome, the people here can party!?

"Overseas, the people are much more in tune with their music, so everyone at the gigs know the music. They know exactly who is playing and what type of music it is, how the tunes sound and when the same music plays they won't dance. Here people just get fucked up that's all."

For most of the kids in the audience, Haezer's name became familiar through his remix of the Oorlog Frankenstein (the collaboration of Francois van Coke and Peach from Yesterday's Pupil) track "Dans Dans Dans". The very same track which Jack Parow has covered so famously and shot the most expensive music video in the history of South Africa for.

"In South Africa I haven't really seen anyone I'd like to collaborate with soon, that's why I do more international stuff. I was gonna do a collaboration with The Sleepers, like a hard-core-metal-electronica thing but maybe that will realize in the future. But the best electro act in South Africa is definitely Yesterday's Pupil."

Haezer is grabbed away from me by his manager, "Jack's finished his set!" and disappears behind the stage.

What follows is the usual Haezer-induced madness. The dancefloor is cleared of the Parow-phernalia and only those willing to get fucked up remain. Shirts are removed, bodies tumble out of control on stage, arms are raised in the air in exaltation and Haezer gets on top of his station as the beats reach a climax, throwing his head back to the roof, his arms outstretched as if to embrace the frequency.

Photographs: Jana Hattingh

If the South African sound that's being broadcast overseas has Die Antwoord on the highest frequency, transmitting at a pitch that some people can't even hear, and The Parlotones on the midi-wave and the bassline, then the one which rattles your windows and makes your car vibrate, the lowest frequency which travels the furthest, would be Haezer.
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