Gazelle will be dropping some beats and good vibes on Sunday at Park Acoustics. The Pretorian had a chat with them about being famous in Indonesia, memories of a more integrated Pretoria and bass at around 33hz.

So, where are you guys based these days?

I have been based in New York this past years establishing a new career there and Nick Matthews aka DJ Invizable has been based in Cape Town.

Tell us a bit about staying in a city oppose to visiting a city.

Visiting a city gives you a glimpse of a city all depending on who opens which window for you to look through. Living in a city gives you the opportunity to look at a place through multiple perspectives and create a more balanced overall experience through unlocking secrets of the city over time through multiple people.

You’ve been touring all over. Do you have any cool stories you want to share with us?

Yes, it has always been a whirlwind ride, performing in a a taxi rank in Khayelitsha to a Nuclear Bunker in Kiev, a three day Scandinavian marathon playing Oslo, Stockholm and Copenhagen in a row in the midst of a very white winter. If I Had to say one of our funnest experiences was arriving in Warsaw with no luggage and canceling the show in the car from the airport. Whilst driving into Warsaw I saw this one massive building in the center peaking out so I asked what it was. Our host said it was one of Stalin’s most famous buildings The Palace of Culture and Science and that the club was actually inside the building. So immediately we said OK the show must go on and I ended up using a hotel towel as a turban to bring the vibes. It was one of the most intense vibes that kept going till we left.

I remember one of your gigs at Hotbox, way back. What do you guys remember from that night?

Yup, that was a fun one. What a legendary place. We need more people that truly work hard to create places for culture to happen in South Africa. Only problem is that with the big festivals all the millions that get made never reach the artists fees. I believe artists still get paid the same fees they did about 10 years ago. With that cycle there’s bound to be a limit on growth of artists.

What’s the difference between neon rainbows and normal rainbows?

More Intensity!

There’s a guitar sound on “Try” that’s very South African. What’s that sound or feeling called?

Inspiration came from music that I heard growing up, Maskandi and Mbaqanga. The same styles that inspired international artists like Talking Heads and Paul Simon.

What’s the story behind “Die Verlore Seun”?

Its my life story. Coming from a farm and moving to the city. A modern day take on the biblical story of the prodigal son. I wanted to make a satire out of it and just create something that so many other Afrikaans kids could relate to in a time of massive identity crisis. Coming from a conservative, Calvinistic, isolated setting and finding oneself in a multitude of inspirations and experiences. The coming of age of finding and becoming oneself by shedding the shackles of enforced identity of past through the acceptance of a new unlimited perspective. Growth through experience of the unknown.

What do you think gives your songs such an appealing drive?

No idea, if it has an appealing drive then I’m happy to hear so. It is just things that come out of me that I try to capture and share.

Music, an art or a science.

I believe it is all interrelated since music, art and science is actually all one thing. It is the exploration of existence through the sensory world. Everything exists in the same way. Art and Science is a documentation and study of how everything works where music is a tool to connect with the source of our being or core of existence through the creation of frequency. The reason why music touches people is because it is an age old tool for the transcendence of the human experience. You can look back in time and realize what the ritual of music had always been used for before this recent period of distraction, entertainment.

What would you say if I said “bass that pounces”?

BOOOM at 33Hz.

If you had to genre your music. What would you call it?

With Gazelle I would have always said Limpop.

Where can you find the best disco lights?

The northern lights in Lapland in the Arctic circle. I was fortunate to travel to the northern tip of Finland once.

Your lyrics often compliment the sounds. Like “supersonic laser-beams”. Was that planned or did it happen organically?

Just kind of happened. I was really into the idea of Afro Futurism when I started the music of Gazelle. Inspired by artists such as Sun Ra and Africa Bambaataa.

What concerns you out there?

Overpopulation of the earth. The dissolution of progress through certain advancements in technology. Greed and Jealousy.

What’s the best way to battle negativity?

Overcoming ones obstacles through realizing that they are opportunities for growth.

Does Gazelle ever find itself in an existential crisis?

Who doesn’t… Each person in the pursuit of happiness battles with parts of themselves holding them back. Overcoming them and growing.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to the band?

Some members being held hostage in the backstage by police in Maputo for having a Lil spliffy and us having to raise funds from the audience to settle the bribed bounty for the show to go on.

Can you name three things that no one knows about Gazelle?

Gazelle was born from a conceptual visual art project that I created and published name The Status of Greatness. A satirical study of sociopolitical behavior.

The song Hosh Tokolosh that everyone believes is a Jack Parow song was actually written and produced by myself, DJ Invizable and Jeremy Loops for our new album The Rise & The Fall of an Empire. Since it came out earlier on his album and was wrongly credited as Jack Parow feat. Gazelle I guess everyone thinks its his song. But never hard feelings he is a good friend and I have so much respect for him.

The country in the world where the second most Gazelle fans are from is Indonesia. No idea how that happened, never been there.

What do you think of Pretoria?

Pretorijajaja ! I think it is a beautiful place with all its amazing architectural gems and Jacaranda trees. However I wish it could have been much more progressive in terms of people mingling out of their comfort zones and cultural boundaries. I think back in the day around 2000 it was much more integrated with events that truly brought people together from all walks. I remember places like Zekwala lounge on a Sunday in Sunnyside that everyone and anyone would dance the afternoon away to mid-tempo.

Can you tell us a Pretoria story?

Ill never forget the day having a few beers in Cafe Riche on Church Square with Van Coke Kartel, Aking, Arno Carstens and The Inoue Brothers, it was like a small slice in history for me in terms of Afrikaans Rock & Roll culture. Pretoria gave me a couple of stories I can’t share since I lived there between the ages of 18 and 20 so it was pretty wild.

Why do think music is so important to people?

It is a tool for us to connect with our spirit and momentarily disengage from our minds experience.

Get the album right here

QUESTIONS|Ivan Serfontein
PHOTOS|Xander Ferreira

Brothers: The Van Coke Kartel Interview