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Taxi Violence come full circle at OppiKoppi

2015-08-19 15:46

Cape Town - It is the second day of Oppikoppi 21: THE FANTASTIC MR VOSVOS near Northam, and while the sun has been beating down all day, at the Windhoek bar atop the hill, all is calm and cool.

"This vibe, I love this vibe. I said to them earlier, 'I'm almost glad we are not on one of the big stages'," Loedi van Renen of Taxi Violence says to Channel24, with the dusty Limpopo interior visible for kilometres in most directions from the bar.

"I don't want people to think 'Oh, Taxi Violence again'. This however, you know it's going to be people that want to see us, it's going to be a few of them, and we are going to play our hearts out. This is way cooler to be here this year."

Van Renen, and fellow band members George van der Spuy, Jason Ling, Louis Nel, and Rian Zietsman had travelled to the festival in style in a large, black Windhoek bus, and are to play an intimate show at the bar later this afternoon.

Ling says looking back, the band has been fortunate to get to where they are today.

"I think when you start out as a band, you want to always be more than just a garage band but you can't make it the only thing. You take every day as it comes," he says.

Van Renen says they knew after the first night the band jammed together in 2004, where three songs were written, "something was happening".

"We played together as teenagers and then played together in lots of different outfits and we've all been part of the Cape Town scene one way or another and it's not been like that," he says.

"You don't just pop up songs like that in the first jam."

Zietsman notes that what has helped Taxi Violence become one of South Africa's leading rock bands over the last 10 years was that they were all friends.

"Obviously, the other fortunate thing is that we are all friends first and foremost. When you are going to be spending a lot of time together in a band, it's friends first then the band," he says.

In 2008, Van Renen left the band as he had to relocate to Johannesburg, but upon his return six years later, it was almost as if nothing had changed.

"I think it was just life. Loedi had to relocate to Joburg, now he's back. That's all it is. It's the only member change we've ever had. At the moment, everybody that has ever been in Taxi Violence are playing," Van Renen says.

Asked how a band deals with a change like that, with the suggestion put forward that a band needs to be democratic to function, Van Renen says everybody in the band works to their different strengths.

For example, and with a smile, he says Ling's mind works in a way completely different "to any musician I know. He does admin and understands admin".

When the band started out, social media was barely in its infancy, though the band do note they at least had a MySpace page back in the day. As the relationship between social media and the music industry evolved, the band evolved along with it.

As the online world has changed the music business, Zietsman suggests the focus has drifted from releasing whole albums to singles, one at a time.

"These days not so many young bands are necessarily interested in putting out albums. They are probably going to be releasing a song at a time which I think is going to happen to bigger bands as well," he says.

However, Ling says while it's easier to release music than ever before, it makes it harder to get noticed.

"It's easier to get your stuff out there now. It just means there is so much more bullshit out there as well, so it's actually harder to find good stuff."

True to their word, the show Taxi Violence put on later in the afternoon, with the sun setting all around them, was a throwback to the days of smaller venues and greater intimacy.

They rocked out, hard, with fans so close perspiration was likely being exchanged, though it is fair to say no one minded at all, as both the band and their audience were enjoying the show so much.

Looking forward, Taxi Violence can be seen in Pretoria at the beginning of October at Arcade Empire, where they will be part of the charity event Rocking for Rhinos, also featuring other bands.

Afterwards, the band will be playing further shows in Johannesburg, Nelspruit, and Pretoria.

(Photos: Supplied)

Read more on:    taxi violence  |  music  |  local music
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