Here at Rock Tot, we enjoy the finer things in life… Wine and vinyls, good old CD’s, sunsets, Fender Telecasters, and Ryno Velvet.
We got the opportunity to have a chat with well-known singer, drummer and guitarist, Ryno Velvet. Ryno is a South-African musician born in Belville, Cape Town, and is known for his amazingly rusty voice in songs such as “Ai My Lam” and “Berge”. Most commonly known for his contribution to indigenous South African rock music, Ryno Velvet is noted as a proverbial performer with a slightly unhinged style, familiar to audiences for playing a right handed guitar left handed and up side down.
Ryno has released four studio albums since 2006, namely Karma, Harp, Bulletin and Alfabet.
When we asked Ryno how him as an artist came about he mentioned that it all started with alternative Afrikaans music getting a second wind back in Circa 05. “I remember being inspired by musicians and bands doing the independent thing in the Bellville area and found myself gravitating towards the same ideals. I was fortunate enough too get a project of the ground and touring, the debut Ryno Velvet album Karma was received far above expectations and the ride’s been pretty sweet since”.
Processes vary when Ryno writes his songs, but he usually starts by writing any and all of his ideas down. “If a lyric, riff or idea sticks and I find myself going back to it constantly, making a demo is commonly the next step. I’ll tweak a few things before presenting the idea to our producers and hope for the best response and criticism.
Ryno said that he’s worked with other songwriters before and enjoyed it immensely, ”but I write bulk Ryno Velvet material exception for two tracks thus far witch I co-wrote”.
“Alfabet” is Rynos most recent album and He mentioned that he recalls wanting to something completely different to what He had done up to that point. “The musical climate was changing and I remember scouting for a producer when we found Coffee Stained Vinyl studio in Bellville and TeeJay Terblanché. He bought into the idea of the album and brought the whole thing together. He understood the gravitas of the concept and the soundscapes I wanted and executed to my regard each tune superbly. The plan from day one was to release an album above and below the norm, with a new Ryno Velvet sound if you will. Online releases where gaining more and more notoriety and we decided to launch the back catalog with a new album on all digital platforms”.
Velvet said that They’ve been close to bringing out a new album, but says He feels no rush, and that He’s more “protective” about the approach and what He’s trying to say. “I’ve learned that writing a fifth album has it’s challenges and I’m lucky enough to not completely commit to anything just yet. Since setting up a home studio I’m a bit spoiled for choice in which direction to go, but we’re closer than ever to bringing something new to the table”.
As all artists, Ryno has had to overcome some difficulties, one being a balanced schedule.”At times we’ve had our fair share of adversaries dealt to us by the music business but seem to prevail. Now a days I maintain a more balanced schedule with way less touring and more time for working on side projects, recording at home with mates, braai or whatever”. Where can Rock Tot find the invite to those Braai’s?
Being a well-known artist can have it’s ups and downs, but Ryno has that covered. ”Personally I feel being known in your artistry is sign of hard work and more to come and unfortunately I’ve seen complacency creep in occasionally. Myself and the cats whom work with me stay grounded by being transparent and to constantly remind one another that making music is a blessing”.
Blue Moon in Nelspruit is a personal favorite of alot of the South African artists and that includes Ryno, ” I have fond memories of the Blue Moon in Nelspruit, the venue has a good reputation, is set in a beautiful location and I had a some memorable performances there. The people of Nelspruit have always supported us well even when not playing their home town”.
Other venues that Ryno enjoys are the Skelm stage at Oppikoppi, ”not a venue per say, but if you played at the Skelm stage and it went off, you’ll know what I’m talking about – the real Koppi vibes, none of that flashy shit”, and Cape Town Grand West, Grand Arena, ”pulled a big one of with Jan Blohm and had a great experience. Furthermore I can testify that our country is filled with great venues, we’ve been to most and love them all”.
What’s next for Ryno Velvet? “Myself and the camp had an unexpected busy year touring, working out the kinks in the live show and setting the wheels in motion for a new album. We’ll be doing a few shows and pre production over Christmas and hopefully go into studio early 2020. Ryno Velvet irrefutably owes the good people of South Africa a visit and a nation wide tour is beckoning, dates haven’t been confirmed but we plan to hit every major location”, explained Ryno.
One question we ALWAYS ask the artists that we interview, is if they could change one thing about the South African music industry, what would it be?
”At this very moment things aren’t that good in all respect. I’d change the fact that hard working musicians are owed royalty compensation and the suits are not doing their part. I take my hat off the the few rising up and conversing about the scandal, it’s a k@k one and things have to change.”
We would like to thank Ryno for chatting with us and we hope to see him at another live show soon!