Van Diens Af Interview

Afrikaans rockers Van Diens Af have exploded onto the local music scene. MusicReview chatted to lead singer/guitarist Anton Van Wyk about his band’s debut album, Rise Against, and crossing over into the English market.

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Van Diens Af cite a lot of punk rock bands as their main influences. Is there any band that you’d give your left nut to tour with?

Locally, Fokofpolisiekar is our favourite. An international band we would sacrifice both nuts to jam with is Rise Against!

The Afrikaans Rock scene is booming in South Africa. Why do you think its bands are doing so well in comparison to the “English” bands?

Afrikaans rock is still new and it is being more widely accepted, compared to a few years ago when Steve Hofmeyr was leading the scene with his hit single ‘Pampoen’!

Haha, Pampoen! Have you ever thought about crossing over to the English market?

We are talking about it, but we’re not too sure on what to do. Maybe just a single or two and see how things go from there.

International bands usually perform 20-30 shows a month, while many local bands are lucky if they get that number of shows a year. Do you feel there are enough venues/festivals around or are bands/booking agents just too lazy to find shows?

Well, in our experience, there are not enough venues and gigs happening. Venues are closing all over and the popular venues are being booked over and over and over.

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That is true. So many venues feature the same bands every week – almost like the weekly pub band model. VDA’s debut album Dit Wat Was is out now. Was there a specific sound you were going for when you initially went into the studio?

No, not really. We were all new to the studio [process], so we left it mostly up to fate. We had a rough idea on how we wanted the songs to sound.

The band recently released their first music video for the single ‘Hou My Vas (Die Einde Van ‘n Hartbreek)’. What was the experience like recording the video?

It was insane! It took just over 10 hours to shoot and was exhausting work keeping up the energy.

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What’s the funniest thing that has happened to the band onstage?

We where just rocking out and William did this awesome jump and fell on his ass!

When you conceptualise a song, how do you go about it? Does everyone work on a piece individually or do you just have a jam session and see what comes out from there?

Most of the time, I put together a melody and record it, and William will start to work on it. Then we as a band get together and polish it.

VDA are renowned for being hard working and it shows as you were signed to a record deal so early in your career. What advice would you give other young bands?

Well, just work as hard as you can and spend time together as a band. Have goals and dreams for the future and just go from there.

- Sergio Pereira
sergio@musicreview.co.za
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Written by Sergio Pereira