Sweat X gets us Sweaty-an interview with Markus
Photo Credit: Talya Goldberg
With influences like ‘spear chucking, ass busting, fashion trashing, derier splitting, electric boogaloo breaking, African bass music’ added to some new age electro beats, as well as hot raps that put you a head bopping frenzy all mixed together and you’ll have yourself Sweat X. They live up to their name by pumping out beats that shake the dance floor and get you to breaking into a sweat.
They “mostly went with [the name] SWEAT.X because it seemed like a good idea at the time, it [also] kinda sounds like our music… you know messy dirty and over the top. Apart from that Sweat.X gets abbreviated to S.X … which is the name of another project of ours.
They [Spoekolokoko and Markus] have been friends since [they] were babies, and have had many bands together. Markus reveals “we kinda began to grow distant as we grew older, but then a friend of ours cast us as actors in a movie he was shooting in Namibia. Something quiet traumatic happened to Spoek and I in that desert, something that brought us back together and inspired us to start a new band. We got lost in the desert, for a day and a half! Honestly! Finally we found shelter with some Nama nomads who gave us shelter. And that’s how the band started….”
Their lyrical style, apart from its brilliance can be quite sexual but Markus sets the record straight and says “some of our tracks are dirty but we do sing about lots of other stuff too. And here’s the thing: Deep down Spoek and I are all about girlfriends and finding love and soft fabrics and reading Roald Dahl by a fire place. As far as our lyrics are concerned we kind of get manipulated by our dirty minded audiences to come up with slogans like “I’ve got pussy on my mind”. Watch at our next show it’s all those young girls in front and the cougars in the back who sing those lyrics louder than anyone. So to quote Biggi ” don’t hate the player, hate the game.”
When asked if Sweat X has a certain message lyrically he says “No message. I don’t fuck with messages. Everything I’ve ever done has been some form of escapism. From writing music in which people can disappear into, or to dance and forget or to making fantasy art with the Blackheart Gang. I feel that the purpose of art is to transpose the audience. It might have to do with my own life or perhaps the social political climate of this country…”
Markus grew up in Pretoria moved to Cape Town and has been ground breaking in several projects including The Real Estate Agents and The Black Heart Gang, and it’s been reported that the Real Estate set is all mixed live with no practice beforehand. He admits “its always been tough for me to say that “I’m like this” or “I’m like that”. Music and writing has always come very naturally to me. Both my mom and dad and grandparents are writers and that’s a major passion for me [which he plan’s to continue in but in area’s other than music, such as novels]. He then says “Simon and I have been good friends for almost ten years now, and we have a company together. We really know each other very well both personally and musically, so when we jam we have enough confidence and trust to sort of delve into a squelching bass driven form of free jazz, I guess.( I dont mean like jazz-jazz-wear-a-suit-play-sax-jazz, I mean improvisation) and in Sweat.X I get to explore a more aggressive side in myself, and because I’m the only producer I seem to be getting away with it…”
They toured Berlin last year for 6 months and say of all the publicity that they received from that audience is because “we’ve got the best agent in Berlin. We’re getting quiet established I guess. People know our lyrics in like places you’d never expect like…like Kiev in the Ukraine. (laughs) But I wanna go to other places now, like the East…like Japan….only a matter of time I hope.”
The new things that are on the horizon for Sweat.X is the release of a new album with Citinite in June called “I’m that Alley”, things with the Blackheart Gang is that they have just started a publishing house and The Real Estates are going to start jamming again in October after a much-deserved sabbatical. He says “I am [also] beginning to explore more subtle mediums. I want to design sociological events using Internet 2 as a medium. To explore the dividing line between the real and the virtual, to create a realm of intrigue and mystery. But that’s all I can say at this point….”
The music industry to him “is an outlet” If he can keep doing what he’s doing than he’ll be happy. They would have most liked to work with “Little Anthony and the Imperials” in terms of collaborations but “were born at the wrong time…” Markus’s favourite thing about performing is that “I can go to this place, where there is a raw connection between my medium and I. I can lose time in that place. It’s very fulfilling…”
Spoek takes the longest to get ready before a gig, and as to who talks the most rubbish is a “tough one and depends who we’re talking to….the Dutch seem to always get a earful from Spoek, where as I seem to have quite a lot to say to the Swedes…” As for the craziest/funniest things that has happened at a show Markus says “we played in Paris once, and lots of girls started dancing topless around us, and we’re like trying to kiss me and stuff, that was…kinda…awkward I guess but lots of fun. You know how American art students can get in Paris.
yours in musical madness