Catching Up With: Bittereinder

Photo Credit - Louis Minnaar

Photo Credit – Louis Minnaar

Renowned, local rap and electro trio, Bittereinder released their latest album ‘Dans Tot Die Dood‘, in early October, I caught up with them to talk influences, what went down in studio and what you can next expect from them.

How would you say the band’s sound has progressed with the various releases over the years?

Similar to the lyrical themes, our approach to making the music has also developed and widened over the last 6 and a half years. On this newest album we played a lot more analog gear, real synthesizers and drums. We’ve always been interested in the “human quality” that can be achieved in making electronic music.

Who were the main influences for the new album?

That is always such a tricky question. In a postmodern sense the level of intertextuality in our music and lyrics has almost become impossible to pin down or define. We’ve grown up listening actively to so much music and reading so many authors, all of which become reference points in the creation of our own texts, and naming a few specific influences is really almost pointless…

How many songs did you have to write before you came up with the ones that are on the album?

This album (thankfully) didn’t work like that, we chipped away quite early in the process on songs or ideas that we wanted to develop, and only carried on working on those we believed in collectively from the start. One song was added as a late inclusion as a hybrid of two earlier lyrical and beat ideas that weren’t working on their own but merged magically to make a new song…

Do you have a favourite track off the album? If so, why is it your favourite?

It changes all the time for the three of us, but we’re very excited about all the tracks in terms of what they’re going to add to the Bittereinder live set, there’s a lot of energy in these songs. “Berge Brand”, “Die Mes” and “The Flood” are getting a lot of love from people we’re playing the album to at this stage…

You are known for working with a wide range of artists on each album, has it been the same for this one?

This is the first Bittereinder album which features zero collabs. It’s mostly because Jaco has been letting his almost obsessive love of collaboration out in other projects like Walkie Talkie and Wêreld Records, so the three Bittereinder boys can finally work in peace on their own projects.

Did you do anything off the wall whilst in studio?

What happens in the mountains of Mpumalanga stays in the mountains of Mpumalanga. Suffice it to say that it was a really magical week in which we all managed to break away from the daily grind, society, and even the internet, and just focus on making music together in almost every waking hour…

What would you like to achieve in the music industry?

Again, quite a complex question. The way in which we measure “success” is probably variable, depending on what stage of your career you’re in. But we’re very excited about all the doors that are opening in Europe for our music and our live show, there’s an awesome horde of open-minded listeners there that we’d love to connect with more and more.

Last but not least, what is next for the band? We’ll make new videos for more singles off the album, play more album launch shows all over SA, and then hit Europe again in 2016. Exciting times!

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