We had a cup of coffee with local band Southern Wild and this is what they revealed

2017-08-24 15:46

Cape Town – It’s a cold and rainy day when I get in an Uber to meet up with Southern Wild frontman Dave van Vuuren and bassist Alex Smillie.

We’re meeting for coffee at a beautiful studio in Woodstock where Alex works during the day. I first get a tour of the different rooms before Dave makes some coffee and we settle down in one of the offices for a chat.

Having released their debut album just two months ago, Southern Wild – who also include Julian van Rensburg on guitar and Dylan Hunt on drums – has already reached over 100 000 streams on Deezer. 

Having received rave reviews so far for their raw and honest approach to music, they have also been endorsed by Deezer as one of their 2017 Deezer Next artists. 

Just had an awesome chat with the guys from @southernwildsa! Interview up on Channel24 soon...

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This is what the guys revealed over a cup of coffee:

1) Reaching 100 000 streams on Deezer is just mind boggling for them.

Dave: A highlight since we’ve released the album is that we’ve just reached over 100 000 streams on Deezer, which is epic! It’s obviously not tangible because it’s digital, so you can’t hold it. But it’s quite crazy to try and grasp the fact that our album’s been played a 100 000 times, you know?

Alex: It’s unreal actually. 

Dave: Obviously we got some online backing from Deezer. We’re part of Deezer Next, which is an initiative to promote like up and coming local artists in South Africa and we’re one of four artists that were picked as part of the Deezer Next initiative. And you know with that came a little bit, well not a little bit, quite a decent amount of online promotion that Deezer sponsored us. So I think that basically what that does, I mean that obviously doesn’t solidify or guarantee plays, but it puts it out, obviously your reach is much bigger. But the fact that people actually went and clicked on the album and actually listened, that’s where those figures come in, so it’s really exciting! 

2) Their band name came from a dream that Dave had.

Dave: Well, actually one of the first questions I ever asked Alex was, it was actually his first proper rehearsal besides the audition type of thing, ‘what are we gonna pick between Dakota and Southern Wild?’ Those were the two names that I sort of had in mind. I had a dream. I was making solo sort of folk music at the time, before I moved to Cape Town, and I had this dream where we were at this massive muddy festival, and someone came up to me and said, aren’t you from Southern Wild? And it was quite a weird dream to have, and I thought, that’s a cool name, and then I also liked the name Nokota.

Alex: We liked both names. But Southern Wild had a better sound.

3) Explaining the concept of their album title, Lead Role In A Classic Horror, is quite, uhm, difficult.

But here goes, in Dave’s words: It’s got so much to the concept that you can explain it in so many different ways and give different examples. But basically you know, one of my friends are into classic horror films and like slasher films, and I’ve always just loved the term classic horror. It just sounds nice, it rolls off the tongue. It’s got a lot of imagery to it. And I was kind of like thinking of the ambiguity to it in terms of applying it to natural life and kind of thinking like, okay well, Lead Role In A  Classic Horror, it’s kind of like all this sort of mundane sort of pressures of life, you know. How we all have the lead role in a classic horror, applied to that sort of sentiment. So living life, trying to achieve what you need to achieve you know, being there for the people that you love, it’s not always easy, a lot of the times it’s not easy, it’s seldomly actually easy. It’s more difficult than it is easy, so this is this whole thing.

4) They were stressed out about one song on the album which they wrote the day before recording it.

Alex: There were one or two songs that we were kind of stressed about, because we felt it wasn’t going to be strong enough. And there was like one song, In A Classic Horror, which we literally did the day before we went in to track. We had a band practice, we wrote the song and then went in to record. And we were worried, because we thought, like this isn’t a mature song, it’s quite out there with like three or four verses and then one long chorus all the way to the end. And we thought, well, it’s gonna be quite different.

Dave: It’s quite a unique format, and as Alex said it’s very fresh and sometimes a song, you need to give it time to breath in order to come back and be like, ‘okay cool maybe we mustn’t do that anymore or we mustn’t do this anymore. And we kinda of just went for it. 

5) They describe their music as emotive soul rock n roll.

Dave: Our friend Stian gave us a cool sort of name to call our music like genre wise. Because he’s quite close to the music, he’s been there as part of the journey, like he saw us when we were still a very young band, and now he’s here when the album is out. And he kind of said its emotive soul rock n roll. Because it’s like very emotional music, it is, I mean all the songs are very emotive. I mean there are part of it that’s kind of easy-listening, but all the lyrics are pretty intense and the overall theme of the album and the band is pretty intense. 

Alex: Everything has meaning, like there’s nothing on the album that’s there to sound good, it’s there to tell you something. 

Dave: And all the songs that we play, we play with a lot of soul. And our live performance is like, we give it absolutely everything. Like by the time we leave the stage we’re like exhausted. 

Alex: After the album launch my whole back was sore for like three days. 

Dave: So I mean it’s definitely got a lot of rock, and rock n roll in it, but then it’s also got some folk in it, it can be gentle at times but it’s definitely soulful and emotional.

BONUS FACT: They hug and kiss before they go on stage.

Alex: Before a show we make sure we’re all backstage together. Like that we see each other and that we’re with each other before we go on. And then it’s hugs and kisses, and hugs and kisses!

Dave: Exactly!

5 Quick Questions:

What’s the one thing that no one knows about you?
Dave: I suppose I could say I’m an extremely experienced Fifa player. I play Fifa the football game on Xbox. I’ve got every copy since 1996, so I’ve been playing my whole life. I don’t play any other game on Xbox, maybe Grand Theft Auto, but Fifa, it’s just Fifa for life. 
Alex: I’m a big fan of gin. Gin and tonic. We do gin tastings. But I don’t want to sound like an alcoholic, I just love gin! Haha!

What’s the last album you streamed?
Dave: It’s Do The Resistor by Runaway Nuns. 
Alex: The last album I streamed was actually The Black Angels, Death Song. 

What’s the last TV series you binged?
Alex: Rick And Morty. I love it!
Dave: Mine is The Walking Dead. Fell asleep to Walking Dead last night. It gives me interesting dreams. 

Who’s the last person you spoke to on the phone?
Alex: My mom, ahhhhh…
Dave: Mine would be my wife.

Which song do you wish you had written?
Alex: What Went Down by Foals. 
Dave: There is one song in mind that I wish I could’ve written. It’s Lover You Should’ve Come Over by Jeff Buckley. 
Dave: For me if it had to apply to the band it would be I Appear Missing by Queens of the Stone age. 
Alex: Oe! That! That is the best one. I Appear Missing by Queens of the Stone Age. 

Where you can catch them next:

1 September – Aces n Spades, Cape Town, Free Entry
16 September – Arcade Empire, Pretoria, R50
Every Friday in November the band will be playing a residency at The House of Machines in Cape Town. Entry is free.

For everything Southern Wild like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

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