South African pop rock heavyweights December Streets recently released their new single “Addy (Never Growing Up)”, and were gracious enough to let our South African writer Craig Roxburgh talk to their lead singer, Tristan Coetzee, about the single, a possible new album, and the South African music scene.
Earlier this year, you guys dropped a pretty moving single in the form of “Addy (Never Growing Up)”. How has the overwhelmingly positive response to the song been for you guys?
It’s unreal. I mean, there are few things in life that come close to the feelings felt when people connect with your music so well, especially because this song has so much meaning to myself & the band.
What was the song-writing and recording process for this song like? Especially since it has such a deep personal connection for you.
It was very similar to the usual process, the only difference was the energy. It all just flowed so effortlessly on this song. From the writing to recording, it just felt right.
With the release of this single and last year’s “Stay By Me”, is there a possibility of a new December Streets album being released this year?
It’s definitely not out of the question, but I can’t give too much away.
If so, what can we expect from this hypothetical album?
One could possibly expect an explosion of the sound we are currently exploring, infused with some interesting collaborations. But I’ve already said too much now.
There is no doubt that December Streets are a bit of a success story in the South African music scene. You guys quickly became one of the most popular indie rock bands, and become a household name in South Africa. How have the past couple of years been for you guys?
It’s honestly been the adventure of our lives. We have seen and experienced things none of us ever dreamed were even possible, let alone the countless interesting and wonderful people that have shaped us as musicians and individuals alike. From top hotels to sharing a single mattress, tiny bars to thousands of screaming fans at festivals, topped with thousands of kilometres traveled. It has built us into the band we are today, and the sound we create. We are very fortunate to have experienced so much.
Being fairly prominent in the local scene, what are your guys’ thoughts on where the local scene stands today?
It’s a tough scene to crack, but undoubtedly easier than some of the major countries abroad. While it may seem impossible to break into, if you apply your mind correctly to every aspect of music (sound, image, business, marketing, networking, relentless passion) it can be done. It is far more accessible today than previously thanks to our interconnected-ness via digital platforms, but in saying that there is so much more competition.
*Biggest tip: Make friends with people influencing the music scene.
If there was anything that you could change about the South African music scene, what would it be?
Some of the people in charge of making the big decisions.
Western influences are pretty prominent in South African music. Would you guys rate this as being a particular bad thing, or as something that could actually be incredibly positive for local music?
I think its brilliant, because what we are starting to see is more of a western influence fused with our natural african flavour. It has firstly risen the standard of music produced in the past few years, as well as a unique sound emerging from our shores that is getting some major international attention.
Finally, what are the plans for the rest of the year?
For the rest of the year we are working on and recording some new music, with some very interesting collaborations happening. Apart from that we will be performing on more of the festival scene, with a possible tour in the year.