If you are in South Africa and haven’t heard the hit single “Pluto – Remember You” by Beatenberg, you must be living under a rock. The DJ Clock-featuring ubiquitous single broke the pop trio into the South African mainstream music scene. I had a quick chat with the guys prior to their Cape Town World Music Festival performance at the City Hall in Cape Town this past Saturday.
LIVE: How did the collaboration with DJ Clock come about?
Robin: To put it concisely and concretely, we’ve been playing since high school. In 2010, Matt got a scholarship to study music overseas. In that year, Ross and I started studying production and we deejayed a lot. It was around this time that we started listening to house and SA house like Clock, Professor, Fisherman, and whatever. So, we were huge fans. We were playing tracks off Third Tick [DJ Clock’s third album] in our sets all the time. Then one day we had a meeting with our record label, Universal in 2012, and they said, “We saw in an interview that you guys said you like house. Would you be down to work with the house producer?” And we were like, “Yeah, f*** word!” And then they said “What about so and so or DJ Clock?” We were like if we meet him, it would be cool, let alone go in the studio or anything. Anyway, we found ourselves in the studio one day and then the whole song. Matt, take it from here.
Matt: Yeah, we went to the studio and just did it in one day at his studio in Jo’burg. It was one of those things that just happened really quickly and easily. So it was really cool.
LIVE: Do you guys prefer performing live or recording in the studio?
Matt: For me, I probably get the most enjoyment out of writing. But it’s obviously a balance – all the parts interact with each other. You do the stuff by yourself, you get excited about it, you work on it, stress out about it, record it, and then you get to play it for people when they know it, and that’s really satisfying. Maybe a bit of an obvious answer, but really each part is enjoyable for us.
Ross: They’re all really important and mean a lot to us. So it’s nice to go through the flow of the whole process. We record a lot and then we all love getting up on stage. I love performing more than most things.
Matt: Production. Production is a really creative place. It’s like you have a piece of paper and you can cut it out to any shape you want it to be. It’s really cool. But performing is probably my favorite thing because it’s really a deep thing and I like that.
LIVE: What are your guys’ musical influences?
Matt: I’ve always been influenced by jazz a lot. When I was a kid, I used to listen to The Police and Sting a lot. And then, it varies. South African music, really anything my parents would play as a kid. What you hear when you are a kid is obviously a huge influence.
Ross: We listen to a lot of electronic dance music, not to say EDM, but house. From Chicago house to South African house, that kind of thing for sure. I grew up listening to a lot of jazz. For me specifically quite a lot of classical music. I studied composition at UCT, so that’s a big part of my life as well.
Robin: Jazz. I mean I can say all the s*** I like and it comes from everywhere. There are only a few things that I don’t like. But, what is important is Jazz. Jazz, world music, whatever. And then like house and techno also.
LIVE: Which city do you guys like performing in the most?
Ross: It’s hard to say, but Joburg is definitely it.
Robin: People are ready
Matt: But let’s see tonight.
Robin: Yeah, tonight is cool. Last time we played in Cape Town, it was really good. But, I mean people in Cape Town are all like hipsters. They’re talking while you are playing, they’re not there for it.
LIVE: What do you guys think of the Cape Town music scene at the moment?
Robin: It’s good, it’s healthy.
Ross: There’s a lot of different stuff going on.
Matt: It’s a good place for music.
Beatenberg went on to give a stellar performance. Be sure to peep their new single Rafael.