Interview w/ Johannesburg, South Africa's Go Barefoot
Bringing along to you today an interview w/ South Africa's own up and coming collective called Go Barefoot. The group have a tribal eclectic feel to them with spritzes of indie rock and laid back tribal beats that measure and balance the sounds all out, and allows the band members to bask in each other's company and warm glow. The guys were awesome enough to devote some time out of their busy schedules to do an interview to introduce themselves as we get to know them a little better, what the music scene in South Africa is like, and how the musical magic comes together in the studio. Here is the transcript from our lovely chat:
Introduce yourselves and your roles in the band?
Hey we're Go Barefoot. We are a Johannesburg based South African band consisting of 5 members.
We got Clive on bass, Noah on keys, Jonny on lead vox and guitar, Mike on lead vox and guitar and Saul on drums.
How did you guys meet and when did the group form?
The band came together between mutual friends, Noah and Saul grew up together and Mike, Jonny and Clive were at school together. The band was originally a Jazz trio of Mike, Jonny and Noah performing on weekends at restaurants. Saul came to listen to a sweet and wanted to get involved and this lead to adding Clive on bass and us getting our first gig before we even had a proper set. So we jumped into the deep end! This all happened around August 2013 and we have just been riding the wave and doing what we love since.
What are some of your earliest memories you can recall listening to music at a young age?
So we each have our own musical foundations, Noah's rooted in classical, Jonny was brought up on blues, Mike was taught by a Maskande (Zulu traditional music) guitarist, Clive has always had a n affinity for folk rock and Saul coming from a rock background but now he is studying Jazz. But when you brought up this question our immediate thought for all of us was the first gigs we used to sneak into. The bands don't even exist anymore but we were all going to the same gigs as 15 year olds sneaking into bars to watch some underground band that lasted a year or too. We just wanted to see live music and jump around.
How did you come up with the name Go Barefoot and do you guys enjoy performing/recording barefoot?
Naming our band took many nights of drinking beer and writing down hundreds of names. We chose Go Barefoot because we wanted to write music the express where we come from (JHB, South Africa) and has a down to earth and genuine feel and we figure that Go Barefoot describes that quite aptly because of its connotations and imagery. We really do! haha but its no novelty or anything, just so happened that our friends started pointing out that we should perform barefoot when they noticed crowds in bars and at parties taking off their shows and throwing them in the air (which happens form time to time at shows). We think that almost every band can agree they record barefoot at some point in the process...gotta get comfortable in studio!
How would you describe your sound to those who aren't familiar with your music?
Jonny's words to this question are "bee do ba bada ba da da doo".
And we feel that's a decent description.
But it's totally up to whoever wants to to go and listen themselves and figure it out. We don't know how best to describe our own music but we have decided to call it Afro-Indie because of they way we have mixed traditional African styles of music and Western styles.
Describe the music scene of South Africa and what types/genres of music are most popular?
The music scene in South Africa is seriously picking up! The standard of musicianship and quality of songwriting is improving all the time and bands are pushing the envelope right now. There is a really strong sense of community, all the bands are supporting each other in Johannesburg and working really hard together to improve the industry here because we lack some basic infrastructure and financial support to have consistently well run clubs and venues. Slowly but surely there are promoters, event managers and well established bands supporting the new up and coming bands and in the last 10 years the established acts have still stayed close to home and supportive of all local endeavours. The most popular genres right now are Rock n Roll, Indie, Psych Rock, and Electronic music like drum n bass, house and kwatio (South African Dance).
What would you say is your most memorable moment together as a band that you look back fondly on?
A memorable time for us is going to play at a festival in Mozambique at the end of 2014. It was a really small festival on a beach in the middle of no where and there were very few people but the thing is that it was like a weekend away for the band where we just got to go crazy and have fun. A lot of ridiculous things happened considering it was us, the beach, some booze and nothing to stop us from going wild and just being together.
Besides music, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time for fun and leisure?
Besides music what else do we enjoy?? NOTHING.
Um yeah well I think music is our lives and then what we do outside of that is kinda secondary BUT everyone is studying and hustling to have careers and earn decent money to live a nice life. Mike is doing is Masters in Architecture, Jonny is finishing of his degree in Graphic Design, Noah is a nerd, studying Applied Computer Science, Clive is finishing off his soccer coaching degree and starting up a soccer training business and Saul is a full time musician and doing his honours in composition. No one has time for hobbies these days, we hustle through the important stuff and then get straight o watching, listening to and making music.
What's coming up next for you guys this year, can we expect a performance in the U.S. sometime soon?
This year we are working on the 1st part of our full length album, while doing a few small tours around South Africa when we have time and otherwise sticking it to Johannesburg and Pretoria for our usual crowds and epic parties. This year has so far been great for us because we have started playing on the festival circuit. Unfortunately because we are all finishing our degrees and studies touring and extensive gigging is a bit tricky this year so we are staying close to home for now while we write music and have fun playing great shows nearby.
Lastly, what is your favorite thing about being in this band together?
Our favourite thing about this band is how it has brought us together and made us closer. We have grown together and proven a lot to ourselves as a team. The fact that we can express our feelings and that others want to listen to us and we can make anyone dance is an incredible act that we are grateful we can achieve through music.
Thanks once again to Saul, Clive, Jonny, Noah, and Mike for being so gracious in their time to do this interview! It's not too often you encounter a band who is so bonded together due to their shared love of music, and you can clearly tell how much these guys truly love one another as bandmates and people, whom have common goals instilled within them to play the music that they know and love to a growing and electric audience. For more on Go Barefoot, please head on over to their Facebook page located here and give them a 'Like', and check out their music on their Bandcamp site conveniently located over here.