Interview: Hunter Kennedy

2010-09-09 17:38
"You can't leave Fokof. Unless you're dead." For one of the most interesting guys in South African rock, Hunter Kennedy’s a hard guy to make sound interesting. He’s a writer not a talker, I guess… Still, I always get the impression that he’s all over the place.

During our interview, it feels like he’s band practising, on Twitter, handling Jack Parow business with record label Supra Familias, comparing schedules with the rest of Fokofpolisiekar and checking out the new Adidas range. All on his trusty Blackberry.

Unperturbed, I chat to Hunter about leaving aKING, new Fokof, the rise of Jack Parow and Supra Familas’ recent European adventure.

This interview was sent via Blackberry from Vodacom.

So what's new with Hunter Kennedy?
Nothing's really new with me.

Okay, what are you working on at the moment?
Basically, Heuwels, Fokof and Supra. We (Heuwels) went to Ray-Ban. Sponsorship deal. They like us, we like them. Now we’re sat here jamming at (Heuwels guitarist) Fred’s flat.

And where’s Supra Familias HQ?
Our offices are in (Heuwels singer) Pierre's house. He's renting a nice little pad in Tamboerskloof. Quiet street. There's an office and production space.

Any vices you're trying to kick?
Binge drinking during the week. Ha ha… Constantly fighting the ego.

Fighting the ego? Who usually wins?
I mean it's a constant battle trying to make peace with myself. That doesn’t make any sense…

No, it doesn’t.
I mean in, like, a Buddhist way. War and peace.

Okay… How was Heuwels’ recent European tour?
Great. We went with (Jack) Parow. He's fucking huge there, in Holland. The customs officer at Schipol Airport asked for his signature. I saw “Cooler As Ekke” on MTV Europe. It was weird. Thought it was MK!

Shit, how many shows did Heuwels play?
Two: opened for Parow and once on our own. The shows were great. Most of the shows were packed. People gave him presents.

Yeah, they were all wearing hats like his.

And were they all ex-South Africans or locals?
Locals in Netherlands, expats in London.

Did you cruise around with Parow as his "label guys?"
I played bass for him, Fred (den Hartog) played guitar and Philip (Erasmus) played drums. We were his band. We played to 5000 people at the Metropolis Festival in Rotterdam.

And you got toasted in Amsterdam?
Yes, but no more than usual. Ha ha…

How has Jack Parow changed your life?
He gave me a job. This is the first time I felt like I do anything remotely close to working. Organising shit. Meetings. But Pierre handles the bulk. Parow’s quite big, so there's always stuff happening

And the album’s still selling?
Yeah, it’s on 35 000, I think.

So Parow was a good investment?
Good investment for Supra, definitely, but more than that it’s actually a massive journey we share with him. He’s got a team of people. Here and in Holland. We licensed him to Top-Notch over there.

Has he been approached by any other labels? Any poaching going on?
Hopefully, he’ll do his second album with us. I think we have a good relationship. No poaching vibes, or not that I know of. We (Supra) also released the Bakgat 2 soundtrack recently. We've (Heuwels) got a new song on there, “Doodgewone Aand.”

Yeah, they approached us. The Film Factory (the production company) is doing something similar to us, in another sphere.

Were you a fan of the first movie?
Haha… The second one’s better. It’s a South-African college film. It's not Inception. Good fun.

Okay, what about aKING, why did you decide to leave?
It was mutual. The schedules just weren’t working out. No ultimatum. It happened pretty quickly.

Just too busy with other stuff?
They were voicing concerns and when we starting talking it just seemed like the logical thing to do to avoid sour grapes.

Was it a hard decision to make?

Yeah, it was tough.

Have you seen the band without you?
Yes! It was weird. But Andrew (Davenport) is also a good friend. He's skinnier than I am and sings well. So I think they're better off

Where's that ego now?
Killed it.

And as far as Fokof goes, what's new?
We started writing some riffs. I'm very excited working with those mofos again. We want to give the album away for free.

Like a free download?
Something like that.

Okay, do you ever wonder what life would have been like if you'd just stuck with Fokof and not diluted your efforts? Taken that one band as far as you could?
Nope. I don't really dwell on that shit

No elaboration?
I don't know what to say. I don't really think about it like that. We did what we needed to do.

Well, would it have been harder to leave Fokof than aKING?
I'll never leave Fokof, man! It's not possible. You can't leave Fokof. Unless you're dead. Rule no 135. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.