Interview with SOUTHERN WILD

By Lindsay Smith-Boam

 

David van Vuurren won South African Idol in 2011 but had slipped away like many other talent show winners into obscurity despite having an excellent voice.  He formed Southern Wild in 2015 and they have made waves with their live performances around their home country of South Africa and the fast developing music scene in and around Cape Town.  “Lead Role in a Classic Horror” is their first album and wasreleased on 15th July.
 

Southern Wild are David van Vuuren, vocals / guitar, Julian van Rensburg, guitar, Alex Smillie, bass and Dylan Hunt on drums.

We recently chatted with the band.....

 

DAVID - HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT FOR YOU TO GO FROM REALITY TV TALENT SHOW TO BEING TAKEN SERIOUSLY WITH YOUR OWN SOUND AND BAND?

 

Not difficult at all. It is tradition for the Idols winner to perform on live television the following year when the new Idol is announced. So what we did was rehearse the song the label wanted us to play at the dress rehearsals so that the the crew could get the camera angels right and the production team could time the track and fit it into their show for live broadcast. Without telling anyone, as soon as we went live, we played a completely different song. A six and a half minute Progressive Hard Rock song that we wrote called "Feels Like The Ocean" on national TV and there was nothing anyone could do about it. That ended up being the closing track of our album "Lead Role in a Classic Horror". A few weeks later I was released from Universal records.

 

DID IT CAUSE PROBLEMS OR OPEN DOORS?

 

A bit of both but that's in the past. What matters is where we are as a band now and especially where we're headed musically.

 

HOW DID YOU ALL GET TOGETHER AS A BAND?

 

Dylan and I are bro-in-laws so we've been playing together for years. He played drums that night on Idols when we did Feels Like The Ocean. Dyl moved to Cape Town and met up with Julian in a band called The Stir. They started jamming and by the time I got there, my wife and Dyl were like "you have to see this kid play". One thing led to the next and we played our first show with Julian on bass. We needed a bassist and Jules new this lovely young man named Alex. Jules then took his natural position as lead guitarist and Alex brought something very special, irreplaceable even. 

 

WHERE DID THE NAME 'SOUTHERN WILD' COME FROM?

 

I had a dream one night where I was walking through a crowd at a festival and some dude stopped me, asking if I was the guy from "Southern Wild". Was pretty random to dream such a thing. We were juggling between "Nokota" or "Southern Wild". We chose the latter obviously. It means a lot now. 

 

FOR ME, I THOUGHT THE ALBUM WAS VERY DIVERSE IN STYLES. IS THERE A DISTINCT DIRECTION YOU ARE BEING PULLED TOWARDS OR CAN WE EXPECT TO HEAR THE SAME VARIETY IN STYLES GOING FORWARD?

 

Awesome man! We get that a lot. The four of us are influenced by a broad variety of sounds and bands so I suppose the element of all these different styles coming out in our music will stick, but we're definitely developing something quite original at the moment. We're getting closer and closer to "our sound" if you will. Excited for the future tunes. 

 

HOW DO YOU WRITE? WHAT ARE YOUR INSPIRATIONS?

 

It all depends on how we're feeling, what we're listening to at the moment and what we want to achieve as artists, musically speaking. It's very natural for us at the moment. We've never been like, oh shit, what next? Or what do we feel like writing now? To be fair this is only our debut but here's to hoping the flow lasts forever! We have lots of "jams". We jam for hours. Jam. Love a jam. We love to jam.

 

WHAT BANDS OR ARTISTS DID YOU LISTEN TO THAT HAVE INFLUENCED YOU?

 

So many man! I suppose at the moment bands like The Districts, Queens Of The Stone Age, Highly Suspect & The Black Angels to name a few. Dyl recently introduced us to Karnivool and we got to see them live at a small club in the city. That was great! They're fucking great!

 

WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO NOW ON THE TOUR BUS? DO YOU ALL HAVE THE SAME MUSICAL TASTES?

 

Gary Clark Jr, Queens, Karnivool, The Districts. We do listen to some of the same bands but we're constantly introducing each other to new stuff.

 

HAVE YOU ANY PLANS TO COME OVER TO THE UK FOR LIVE SHOWS?

 

Definitely! Hopefully sooner than later. Currency is a problem at the moment but We're looking to take our sound to the international stage when we have a sophomore release. Towards the end of 2018 if all goes well!

 

WHAT NEXT FOR YOU ALL?

 

To tour this album and start recording the follow up.

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