Jason Oosthuizen Interview

We had a conversation with Oooth Entertainment Owner Jason Oosthuizen! Although he owns Oooth Entertainment, he also Owns Oooth Wine, Oooth Coffee and he’s been a drummer for a vast variety of well-known bands in South Africa.

Jason Oosthuizen has been/ is the drummer at City on Fire, Punk n Roll, Bob Marley & Lenny Kravits Tribute SA, Speed Wagon, ACDC vs Deep Purple Tribute – SA and so much more!

Jason Oosthuizen, Oooth Band, Music Interview
Image Provided -Jason Oosthuizen

Take a look at the conversation we had with this busy, but successful member of our society.

What would You be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

To be honest, I don’t even know. I have been playing music as a career since I was 15. I tried a day job once, stayed for a few hours and then left.

What is your creative process like when writing your songs?

Oooth band is not one of my main focusses, however I have setup a full studio next to my office so at random times of the day while working I’ll get inspired and pop in there and lay down some stuff.


Who would you most like to collaborate with? If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?

” I would love to collaborate with Arno Carstens. Opening for Foo fighters, Queens of the Stone Age or Biffy Clyro would be pretty epic.”

You have performed in so many places? What are your favorite and least favorite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?

”Favourite shoutouts go to The Music Kitchen, News Café Rivonia and Grid & Grill Benoni. They have showed so much support and loyalty during this COVID time and it’s just amazing to work with them.
You can catch my 2 cover bands, ‘City on Fire – Stripped Down’ every Friday at Grid & Grill and ‘Speed Wagon’ every Sunday at News Café Rivonia. I have a country-wide December tour with 3 of my bands doing the full circle.
Least favorite I won’t mention, but would like to put it out there that there are a few venues not paying musicians for their performances.”


Image Provided -Jason Oosthuizen
Image Provided -Jason Oosthuizen

In July 2018, You launched your own signature snare drum range, entitled J.O Drums. What inspired this?

”I really just wanted my own custom snare as I am an avid collector of snare drums. It came out so great, I thought I had to share it and so JO Drums was born.”




You have played for and done session and live work for Jack Parow, Fokofpolisiekar, Die Heuwels Fantasties, The Narrow and many more. What life experiences/lessons have you learnt while playing alongside such big names?

”I definitely learned a lot about my music and playing style, being able to adapt to these various bands and genres. I also learned a lot from a business point of view, good and bad.”

What advice would you have for someone wanting to follow in your footsteps?

”First of all, I am more than happy for the growing musician to follow in my footsteps and I hope I have put out enough out there for someone to learn from. Biggest advice though is to be yourself, find your own path and make those mistakes, you learn from them. Also, only you can make it in this world and industry, don’t rely on others. Then, most full-time musicians don’t have medical aid, gear insurance, disability insurance or pension fund – get saving or planning for this as young as possible.”

Image Provided -Jason Oosthuizen
Image Provided -Jason Oosthuizen

What would you change about the South African music industry & why?

”I wish there were more loyalty and care amongst musicians, promoters, labels, fans and government. There are no support systems in place, and everyone looks out for themselves. You are almost guaranteed to be disappointed by someone on a regular basis. I have worked in UAE and America and it’s completely different there. Also support in terms of education & options pertaining to retirement.”

Coffee, Drums, Bands, Merch… What is Next for Jason?

Image Provided -Jason Oosthuizen
Image Provided -Jason Oosthuizen

”Next is focussing on my Oooth Wine with the 2019 Pinotage being the first to have gone on sale last week. This combined with Oooth Entertainment (comprising of 9 of my bands), Oooth Coffee, Oooth Clothing, Oooth Music and JO Drums is pretty much where I will be drawing the line for now.”


We would like to personally thank Jason Oosthuizen for chatting with us & you can find his social media links below:





Oooth Music – www.ooothmusic,com
Oooth Band – https://www.facebook.com/OoothOosthuizen
Oooth Entertainment – https://www.facebook.com/OoothEntertain/
Oooth Wine – https://www.facebook.com/OoothWine/
Oooth Coffee – https://www.facebook.com/OoothCoffee/
City On Fire Band – https://www.facebook.com/CityOnFireBand/
Punk N Roll Band – https://www.facebook.com/PunkNRollBand/
Bob Marley & Lenny Kravitz Tribute SA – https://www.facebook.com/BobandLennySA/
Speed Wagon Band – https://www.facebook.com/SpeedWagonSA/
ACDC vs Deep Purple Tribute – SA – https://www.facebook.com/ACDCvsDeepPurpleTributeSA/
J.O. Drums – https://www.facebook.com/JODrumsSA/


Fourth Son South Interview

We had the privilege of speaking to Peter from the band Fourth Son South. Fourth Son South describes their music style as ”being put together with love and care”. Peter explains, ”On our upcoming album we have funk, blues, reggae and ballads but mostly it is rock. And then inspired by the golden age of rock, the 70’s and 80’s when songs were written and not slapped together”.

With Peter Toussaint on lead guitar and vocals, Franco Jamneck on bass and vocal harmonies, Dale McHardy on guitar and Carel “Rumkat” Viljoen on drums and vocal harmonies, Fourth Son South got their band name from Peter. He is from the Netherlands and has thee older brothers.
Peter Describes his song writing process as follows: ”I normally first make the music of a song. There I then have the verses, chorus and things like pre-chorus of bridge where I think vocals must come. Writing lyrics is then the final step”. Peter explains that he usually tries to stay away from really personal topics, ”although of course your experiences determine your look on things. I have a few songs with social topics but generally I try to have uplifting, positive lyrics”.

Fourth Son South
Fourth Son South

Take a look at the questions we asked Fourth Son South:
– What would each member of Fourth Son South be doing, if it were not for music? Career wise?
Peter: I have worked for a while in IT. I found it was eating my soul but yeah, it’s something I have done.
Franco: Biokinetics. Sports injuries and human body wellness. Strange but true.
Carel has had a career as a chef.
– Do you have any bands who inspire the sound of Fourth Son South?
Lots, many! Starting from the Beatles, via Pink Floyd to Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters. And that was the shortest route because in between we have been soaking up the sounds of probably another 40 different bands. 

Fourth Son South
Fourth Son South // Facebook

– If you could change anything about the South African music scene, what would it be and why?
Oh I’d like it to be bigger. And a prohibition of backtracks. I like karaoke just as much as anyone else but please don’t call it live music.
– None of you are new to the industry and combined you have decades of experience, what made you decided to get together and start a new project?
Even though the name Fourth Son South only appeared at the beginning of 2020, the band has been alive for quite a while be it with quite some changes. The band started out as a trio, the Peter T band. I know, that name is not so original but I quickly had to supply a name. With Franco on bass because we’ve been playing together forever en Jason Venter on drums we played quite a bit. Last year we decide that an extra guitarist would open more horizons musically and we recruited Carel Viljoen on guitar. Carel is actually a drummer but that makes him tight as a guitarist. And it gives a different approach to playing guitar than I always have.
When the EP was more than a thought, I had to finally come up with a name and behold, Fourth Son South was born.
– During lock down you released a bunch of new material, how did you go about recording with all the restrictions in place?
Quite easy, when lockdown started I think every musician first went into shock. I mean, we were no longer allowed to play. Heck, we weren’t allowed to rehearse.
I first maintained my sanity with hosting a music quiz. I had to do something and that was my first idea. It went well but after 3 months with 12 new songs a week I had done it enough. I wanted to do something that would benefit the band!
We had just released our EP but there were still quite a few songs that had not been recorded. I started with the equipment I have at home and recorded songs on my iPad.
Later I borrowed a bass guitar, a proper condenser mic, implemented my mixing desk and started from scratch. So I did it all by myself at home. No restrictions there and all the time in the world.

Fourth Son South // Facebook
Fourth Son South // Facebook

– You (Peter) are in numerous bands, how is this different from your other projects?
This is my baby, all the originals are written by me. Yes, I love all the other bands and projects I participate in and they all make me play and or sing in the different genres but Fourth Son South is the music that suits me best.
– Is there a possibility of another album any time soon?
Hehehe yes! So far I’ve recorded 10 songs and I’ve said to myself that when there’s 12 they are going to come out as an album. So that’s not long to go
– Are you planning on hitting the road after lock down is over?
Most certainly! We have just changed our personnel. Unfortunately Jason has left the band. Carel asked if he please could take over the drum seat. The vacant place on guitar is being filled by Dale McHardy. We are now getting our act together, rehearsing and practicing the new material so we can get out there.

We simply love Fourth Son South & their tunes, you can check them out here:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FourthSonSouth

Youtube: bit.ly/FourthSonSouth

Email: fourthsonsouth@gmail.com

Contact No: 073 307 5683

Pedro Barbosa Interview

Whether you’re in Nelspruit, Pretoria, or Mozambique; chances are… You’ve heard of Pedro Barbosa & have had his track ”Crazy Love Is” playing in your car on full volume.

Pedro was born in Maputo, Mozambique in 1979 and discovered his love for Music at an early age. He started writing his own songs and learnt to play the guitar at aged 15 but didn’t know that music would turn out to be his career until he was 20 years old. Pedro has also recently been nominated for best Pop Performance at the IPMA awards, and has been selected for the people’s voice awards.

Photo: Keshli Lindemann

He studied Marine Biology for a year before realizing that Music
was his calling. We asked him what his turning point was and what made him decide to start a career in music, ”Funny you ask this my mom asked me that question yesterday. At first I didn’t think that Music could be a career. I knew how hard it could be and in Mozambique there wasn’t much prospect in that”. Pedro Explains that while studying Marine
Biology he realized that his focus was more on the shows than in the studies, ”and at some point I had to choose between a exam and a massive show for 6000 people. And then I realized my heart was in the music”.

Pedro did a 3 year National Diploma course in Jazz, Performance and
Sound Technology. When asked how has this helped him come where he is today, he explains that it helped him a lot in understanding the technical part of music, especially in the writing and arranging of Music, as well as his guitar playing improved, ”Jazz is the most complex style of music and to go through that process adds so much vocabulary to your playing and enriches your musical language. With the sound part I never really worked in sound but I do my own productions at home so it helped me a lot in a personal level recording wise”.

Photo: Keshli Lindemann

When asked how he would, in detail, describe his music style and sound, He explains that he doesn’t have a sound per say, ”I think I started in a Rock background and I have released songs that go from African to Dance music”. He goes on to explain that he doesn’t like to be associated with one specific sound and that he appreciated music from a deep emotional aspect, ”luckily I have always been open to many styles of music, for example my new thing is I want to rap, so I have been practicing writing rap tunes, and I love it. So there might some rap tunes coming out sometime, you never know”. Pedro explains that it all depends on the mood or phase of his life which in he’s going through, ”SO to describe my sound is kinda hard. Maybe the best way is to say, SUIT MY MOOD MUSIC”.

In January 2017, Pedro decided he wanted to record a few songs with a more international flavor and with higher standards than his previous recordings so he approached Mark Beling, a well known Producer in South Africa and who is also a SAMA (South African Music Association) winner.

We asked Pedro what it was like working with Mark Beling and how this helped him career wise. He described their relationship as ”now inseparable”. Pedro explained that Mark wanted to work with him since
the Mrs. B days, ”I had no idea, but working with him changed everything,
that was the tipping point of my career, working with an international sounding producer just elevated my Music to a new dimension, and it was the first time I felt ok this sounds great! I owe him a lot in that respect”.

Photo: Keshli Lindemann

There are a lot of crazy things that can happen on tour or during a gig, and Pedro describes two of his craziest; ” I once had to stop a gig cause I started crying on stage, and I had to stop the show walk out and come back. Just randomly, I still don’t know what happened but I couldn’t stop crying” and the other being when opening for Brian McFadden from West life and him inviting Pedro on stage during one of their songs, ”I didn’t want to go and realized I didn’t know the lyrics so I rapped in Portuguese when we came out of stage he was saying that was probably the best version of the song, I think it was called world of our own or something like that”.

A few other questions were asked such as his favorite venue to play, his being Platteland, and our signature question which we ask in every interview we do: If you could change one thing about the South African Music Scene/Industry, what would it be and why?

”I would try make musos realize the importance of a quality recording. And a good producer. Reason being is I don’t think musos realize that, they just want to release music, but we don’t see the importance of quality and international standard. And I saw that with me how it changed everything, yes its expensive but save up and record properly”.

We asked Pedro how he has been able to get through the Lockdown and how he has ensured that he stays on top of his music game, ”I am not sure I have been able to get thorough it yet” he says with a laugh, ”I have been exercising and studying online and I have been writing quite a bit, I haven’t
been playing much though but a break is good when u were coming from 5
shows a week”.

Photo: Keshli Lindemann

We asked Pedro where his fans could donate to him during this difficult time, a time where musicians can’t play to earn money, and he said ”if you
would like to donate I would say please rather give to a fund that really helps those who are in need”.

You can follow Pedro Barbosa on facebook by clicking HERE, and inquire more with him through fatgrooveproductions@gmail.com. Take a look at his brand new Music Video “Lock Me Down” HERE,

We thank Pedro for sitting down and chatting with us!


Ultra Natives Interview

The Ultra Natives, who formed in early 2014, play catchy energetic tunes that tell entertaining stories with total disregard for genre.

“The Formation of the band was as a result of a number of factors”, says Greg Hadjiyorki Georgiades( nylon string acoustic guitar, ukelele, oud, vocals). He continued by explaining that the main motive for the band formation was to kick against the status quo with regards to the industrial classification of music into genres.

“One could describe our main objective as being genre free creative and entertaining music that transcends the industrial restrictions of genre and transports audiences to new areas of experience and enjoyment. We do this using instruments such as acoustic and electric soprano ukuleles, acoustic and electric guitars, North African fretless lute (oud), bass, drums, percussion and vocals”.

Their album ‘Ultra Natives’ is also a collection of strong vocal tunes mixed with hot acoustic instrument work on steel string and nylon string guitars, ukelele, oud, bass and drums. Their new material introduces electric soprano ukelele and electric guitars with surprising and exciting emerging sounds. The sound is unique with a variation of distinct African flavors that seem to transcend the borders of the continent thus creating the concept of ‘Ultra Natives’.

The album can be downloaded from various sites and is in the process of being re-pressed into hard copy to coincide with our new album release early in 2020. “We have a few single releases planned that will precede the album and eventually be part of the collection on the new album” Greg Explained.

Almost all of the artists and bands that Rock Tot has interviewed have mentioned that the main issue that they have had to face is lack to music venues; ”the lack of venues and the genre based bottle neck crush in getting to play festivals, is one of the biggest problems our band has had. An additional problem is the almost impossible task of successfully obtaining airplay on radio stations with strictly defined genre requirements”, Greg continued by mentioning that they overcome this by playing wherever they can and whenever there is an opportunity to open ears, hearts and minds of the many keen audiences ‘out there’.

When asking Greg what the best and worst parts are of being a musician, he explained that the best part is simply the fact that one is busy with being who one is as a creative that talks the beautiful language of music, ”This goes together with the pleasure of sharing music with all who are able to hear it and watching the happiness as people experience it”.

”The worst part of being a musician is the part where industrialization has created a cover mentality where audiences are cultivated to demand that musicians play covers. This is a big downer for an artist who is attempting to be creative in offering a fresh unique story, especially when it doesn’t fit in with the industrial genre status quo”, Greg believes that music is the most ‘captured’ art form and really needs to be set free for the benefit of the artists, audiences and the growth of the language of the music itself.

The time has come… We ask everyone we interview one simple question:

If you could change anything about the music industry in South Africa, what would it be?

”Music and industry are two words that should not be used in the same sentence,.. except for the sentence that I just wrote. It is a Frankenstein stitched together with money staples….and it walks funny. I’d like to see a relaxing of by laws that restrict the opening of music venues where the public can get up close and experience more than what they are ‘allowed’ to in the few available venues” says Greg.

The Ultra Natives have played many ”wonderful” venues around South Africa including some beautiful festivals, ”We have enjoyed every one and each has a special place in our hearts. Great times were had at African Beer Emporium, Market at the Sheds, STRAB, Oppikoppi, FORR, Rock Music Bistro, Good Luck Bar, Tings an Times, Rocky Ridge, Wolmer Rock Lounge, Up The Creek Fest, Solstice Beer Fest, Park Acoustics, Dullstroom Winter Fest and many more”.

Photo: Henry Engelbrecht

What’s next for Ultra Natives?

”..onwards to more fun, happiness and the liberation of peoples ears, hearts, minds and feet with lots of live shows and tours planned to promote our new album in the 2020 new year. VIVA MFF! (Music Freedom Fighters) Be on the look out for the MFF as it is something that we jokingly started but which seems to now show some promise as a grouping or gathering of like minded adventurous souls”.

Follow The Ultra Natives: HERE

Contact Them: Greg Georgiades – 083 7336849

White River Swamp Rats Interview

Us here at Rock Tot are passionate about the local bands in Mpumalanga; and The White River Swamp Rats are no exception. The Band is known to play swampy, rock, old school music, and as Michael explains, some ‘Latiny’ style grooves, too.

We asked the band how they came about and Michael (Vocals & Guitar) explained that it actually kind of started years ago. Justin (Percussion) met Michael’s mom when he worked at Uplands and she suggested that he jam with Michael and his brother Jimmy, after which, a lot of time passed with nothing happening.

Michael explained that in 2017, they both played in the band, Face Jackson, for just over a year, however at the beginning of 2017 year Jim, Joss and Ric (the other members of Face Jackson) left for Bangkok to try their luck over there. “They’re doing pretty well! Anyways, Michael needed to finish off his degree at Wits and Justin had other commitments in White River.”

After graduating in May, Michael returned to White River and Justin and him just decided to jam together and see what happens. And so, The White River Swamp Rats were born!

The band have 3 originals. Two written by Michael and his friend Joao Machado, and the other by Justin. “The rest are more unconventional covers by the likes of Tony Joe White, Mark Knopfler, JJ Cale, Delta Moon and Chuck Berry” explained Michael. He continued by saying that the band is not really interested in releasing an album any time soon, and that they are more focused on live shows and entertainment.

When we asked what the biggest issue is/was that the band has had to overcome, and we’re not sure if the answer is comical, or serious, but we think a bit of both: “Money, we don’t talk about it…”

“As I’m sure everyone will agree, this is a beautiful part of the world. It’s also lekker being close to family and friends,” explained Michael, after we asked them what the best and worst parts are of being a local musician. The Worst part? ”There is little room for niche markets, which includes certain kinds of music. It’s therefore hard to make a living for many musicians.”

When talking about music venues, Blue moon came up as first on the list of favorite venues for the WRSR, followed by Summerfields; ”We would, however, love to go island hopping playing at beach bars. Somewhere like the Caribbean”.

One question that we ask every musician/band that we interview is: If you could change anything about the South African music scene, what would it be? ”Perhaps work out and a agree to a set rate for hiring a live musical act. According to a certain caliber. It would be great for professionals in the industry to be recognized and be able to expect a certain amount for a job. In the same way you except to pay certain amounts for hiring a plumber or lawyer”.

We are very excited to see this AWESOME local band at Blue Moon on the 23rd of November for the Blue Moon Rising: The Narrow Fired Up Tour.

See The White River Swamp Rats near you soon:

24 November – Picasso’s White River
7 December – BFM@ Casterbridge (morning)
Christmas Market @ Rock Fig Centre in Hoedspruit (evening)
8 December – Bohemian Groove Café in Kaapschehoop

Contact The Band:

Email them HERE
Call Them: 083 777 5981
Like them on Facebook HERE

Beeskraal Interview

Beeskraal is a South African Rock Music Group, and were the first South African Group to perform at the Ukkasie festival in London. Beeskraal also played at Aardvark in London during the 2007 Rugby World Cup.

A lot has changed musically since the Beeskraal album “Plaasdorp”, and the band has entered a broader market. Charlie mentioned that they did not dramatically change anything, but instead moved towards a more Southern Rock Style, rather than their usual Afrikaans Boerepunk roots; ”We love Cajun and Zydico music from the Southern Biblebelt of Southern States of America. Those are our influences.”

Beeskraal’s approach to the country genre stands out from the rest and has a very distinctive sound. Charlie mentioned that they all grew up with Country music especially the Outlaw guys like Johnny Cash, Kris
Kristofferson , Willie Nelson and Wyalon Jennings and we love Appalachian Mountain and Bluegrass Moonshine music as well. ”In 2014 we made an acoustic Country album and we called it “Magaliesberg”, music referring to the Appalachian Mountains. But our country wasn’t open for that. A bit to unfamiliar.

The band has been nominated for countless awards over the years and Charlie said that all of the nominations and awards were special to them, but the one that stood out the most was the bands first KANNA award at the KKNK in 2001. That is, according to Charlie, when the band realized that the public is open to their mix of Boeremusiek with serious punk and Rock ‘n Roll; ”Awards don’t always portray the true talent and value of an artist especially in South Africa, although it is nice to be recognized. And it doesn’t put food on the table.”

It is not everyday that a bands music gets used by a psychologist to rehabilitate trauma patients, Rock Tot wondered if Beeskraal ever expected that their music would be used by medical personal.

“That was one of the highlights of our career and we couldn’t imagine anything like that in ages, African doctors using our music to rehabilitate trauma victims from the 911 attacks on America. It was an honor. Because we also have slight African Kwaito influence as well the doctors told they gave the people jembes to play along with our music. Although they didn’t understand the language the rhythm and melodies were very comforting for them.”

Beeskraal being legends in Afrikaans music themselves, we asked Charlie how it felt to work alongside other Afrikaans music legends such as Dozi, Anton Goosen and Piet Botha on their 10 year album. Charlie explained that it was such an honor working with those artist, ”especially Anton Goosen whom is our Godfather. We still tour and play together. We must admit not all bands can say they have these guys featuring on their albums.”

With the 20 year album a lot of the songs were re-recorded with a modernized sound, we asked Charlie if they recorded it with the original musicians or if they had all new musicians. He explained that the songs were sent all over the world to all the guys who were part of any recording throughout the years from Ireland to Germany. “Each brought their own unique sound to table again. We all have grown tremendously as musicians and you’ll hear the tracks are a bit more grungy Soundgarden, Collective Soul vibe but still Afrikana punk.”

With the music video of “Duisend Ure”, it was shot in an old age home, the band is involved in a lot of charity work, we asked Charlie what made them decide to film the music video in an old age home. “We’ve been involved in a couple of community projects and charities over the years doing our social responsibility which I think every artist must do. We got the idea of the old age home music video from a video the Foo Fighters did in an old age home too. They enjoyed it so much. We would love to to it again.”

Afrikaans as a medium in music has seen its challenges throughout the years, what is the “Beeskraal” secret to remaining relevant in the music scene and making use of Afrikaans for over 20 years? ”I think we have a niche market and a very unique sound . We don’t sound like anybody else except for a lot of other people copying us which we respect. We don’t follow trends at all to sell ourselves or records. Stick to our roots and our guns like AC/DC. We are also proper music graduates and true artists. We don’t chase money or fame. Music and originality first. We would rather be respected by a small crowd of musicians than chase commercial public fame. We’re a well oiled machine. Each guy in the band is on top of their game and engineers on their instruments and together we build bridges like that for the generations to follow.”

What have you learned from the USA country scene during the filming of “Country Hart met Juanita du Plesis” in 2013? ”South Africa has a lot to learn about the music industry, true artistry, musicianship and songwriting. Here, especially in South Africa we create “take away” music in a overcrowded market full of cheap tricks to sell records. People also seem to follow trends more in South Africa rather than true talent. If the media is biased towards someone due to ties connected with monopoly record companies…if they say this guy or that guy is good everybody follows doesn’t matter if the guy hasn’t got an inch of talent in him. The South African market are spoon-fed with garbage without any knowledge of the bad quality they are exposed to. South Africans don’t appreciate proper good music. Because you are famous doesn’t make your music good or makes you a good musician. Proper talented musicians usually takes the back seat in our industry. In America people support each other through writing circles and other sessions as well. They respect one anothers talents. Here nobody wants to see the sun shine on another.”

The last question that we asked Charlie, was a question that we like to ask every artists that we interview; If you could change anything about the South African Music Industry, what would it be?

”Be original, learn to play your instrument well and respect the song. It’s not about you it’s about the song. You must decide do you want to be a “singer -entertainer” or a real artist and musician because there is a huge difference. One thing we’ve realized is that a big audience and big stage doesn’t necessarily make you a better musician than the guy playing a little theater or bistro. Don’t forget where you come from. We’ve known musicians that actually begged us to open for us years back know that they have their fifteen minutes of fame they don’t even greet you anymore. Fame without talent is a very dangerous thing. Shame on them!”.

We would like to thank Charlie and the Beeskraal team for taking the time to chat with us and answer our burning questions!

Ryno Velvet Interview

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.

Photo: Gillian Coetzee

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”.

Photo: Gillian Coetzee

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!

Bookings: rynovelvetband@gmail.com
WATCH: Watch and Listen to his latest here!

LIKE: Like Ryno’s Facebook Page to keep updated here!

Zionruts Family Interview

We had the amazing chance of sitting down and talking to the Zionruts Family, who are a well-known South African Reggae Band formed by Rutsman Spice and Ziondawta. The band do original songs and spread the amazing message of love and peace.

Zionruts mentioned that they never expected to have the large following that they do now at the beginning but that they wanted to give each performance their ultimate best, regardless of whether there was a really large venue with a roaring audience, or if they were playing to empty chairs. One thing that Rock Tot has picked up, whilst our time getting to know the Zionruts Family over the years, is that they are the most humble artists that we have met in the musical industry as of yet.

Zionruts can not really specify which venue they like the most; ”because every move we make and every stage we embrace becomes our favorite memory”.

When asking them what one of their burdens are as a band, Rutsman mentioned that the lack of transport to venues, and venues sometimes underpaying, has a toll; ” When we are travelling to a couple of shows and we don’t have transport and the venues along with the organizers were paying us less than we were paying for transport to their venues so we had to make it happen by using funds which we owed only to expand our name as a band”.

We asked the band one of the questions that we always like to ask during our interviews, and that is that if the band could change anything about the music industry, what would it be. Zionruts mentioned that some radio stations not playing local, new found band music and reggae music, does take its toll. ” Well if we had the power, we could have all genres on radio not just a few established genres along with introducing new music and new artists and bands etc. The reason being, currently our music is not being played on radio stations due to radio protocol, which we hear dj’s and even station managers saying reggae is not allowed on our radio stations but they always come to our shows supporting us and buying our merchandise, though if the protocol is revisited it could actually improve our music scene indeed.”

With a band such as Zionruts Family, it takes a lot to walk in their amazing footsteps, but the bands’ mantra to whoever would look up to them is, ”Perseverance, dedication, along with self motivation is required a lot in this journey and patience with humbleness is a virtue. Music is like an accountant working for FNB, a administrator for UN actually it’s like any other job so it needs seriousness and researching everyday.”

If there was a vote, we know that we would we would be voting with the band on the Best Music Venue Award! “All of the venues have been great but it goes without saying that Blue Moon down in the Lowveld has been way too nice, great hospitality the breeze, sweet people we can’t even explain about the nature and sunset view” ,Rutsman explains.

Every song is special to us but it’s clear that us and the Zionruts Family have the same favorite song that they play! “Tell Her” is a love song which talks to you that if you love someone best to let them know than living in a regretting world wondering crowded with what if’s.

The band is full of near-future plans which include a couple of singles that are coming out in collaboration with the American band “Tudo Mundo”, Working with another Japanese Rasta from New York, and two albums, one that’s being produced in Belgium, and one in South Africa.

This is Zionruts family, a reggae band which plays reggae and also plays around with cover songs of non-reggae in reggae. They have worked with NBC Universal on their series “Bullet Proof” which was dubbed “London’s BadBoys”. They were nominated for a couple of awards among them being for the SAMA awards. They have been featured in big and small festivals shared stages with the greats along with upcoming musicians.

They also have their latest song which is online ” “Let it be” which we worked with Ras Soto from Mozambique. It talks about the violence not only happening in South Africa but Africa as a whole. You can stream it in all online stores.” says Rutsman Spice!

You can reach out to the Zionruts Family through their email address: zionruts@gmail.com

Brixton Moord en Roof Orkes Interview

There is nothing we could have enjoyed more than chatting to Andries Bezuidenhout from Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes; an Afrikaans folk-rock band from South Africa. The band was founded in 1999 by Andries Bezuidenhout (Roof Bezuidenhout) and Ockert Greeff (Moord Greeff)

The Band will be doing a once off reunion gig at Jarr Bar on the 14th of December 2019. When we asked Andries how it feels to prepare for another show after 4 years of not performing, he mentioned that it feels both awkward and wonderful.

“Awkward, because deciding on a set list based on music recorded from 2002 to 2014 is almost like reviewing the music of another band. It feels so distant. Wonderful, because in spite of the distance, we’ve rediscovered what we liked about those old tunes. Some aren’t too bad at all!”

He said that the difficulty of coordinating from different parts of the world is a challenge. Ockert Greeff (Their first drummer) stays in Canada, Andries in the Eastern Cape, while the rest of the “Surviving members” are in Johannesburg & Pretoria.”A bit of a logistical nightmare, but we’re doing a lot of it electronically – WhatsApp, e-mail, etc.”.

Andries continued by telling us that he did not expect to have the following that they still have to this day, ” but the response to the once-off reunion gig has been kind of crazy. So we’re blown away. “

Drikus Brixton Barnard, bass player for the band, sadly passed away in July, 2015. We asked Andries if he ever imagined that the band would ever get back together after Drikus’s passing, where he said “not at all”.

“It felt like a fitting farewell when we sang his songs after the funeral, but for us, that was it. But those of us Drikus had left behind remained in contact – also with Ockert, who moved to Canada to join the love of his life. So when Ockert mentioned a visit, Gerhard Barnard (Drikus’s older brother, known as Kapelaan Pat (Plank in the band) thought it would be a good idea to do a reunion gig, also as a tribute to Drikus and his songs. We all agreed.”

The band has asked Simon Kruger, the bass player of Nul (one of their favorite bands), to fill in for Drikus. Ockert will drum on the songs from the first two albums (“Spergebied” and “Terug in skubbe”) and Louis Graham will drum for the songs from our last album (“Slaaptyd in die suburbs”). Louis was the band’s drummer when they finally disbanded (“ons stokkies opgehang” – to quote Drikus).

Andries really painted a picture for us when he described his personal favorite memory of Brixton Moord En Roof. “Difficult one. Maybe playing Oppikoppi, the crowd chanting: “Brixton, Brixton, Brixton!” Then again, those initial gigs to small, underground audiences in the Abelarde Sanction in Brixton were special in another way.”

Artistic ego is one of the main things mentioned when asked what the main challenges were that BMRO had to overcome. It’s explained that They’ve all contributed in different ways, often clashing over the direction that they wanted to take with specific songs. “The band never had a leader or a single front man. We were a collective of individuals with really strong opinions. But when we did agree, we made some songs we’re still proud of today.” says Andries.

A question that we love to ask all Bands that we interview is that if they could change anything about the South African music industry, what would they change? Andries explained that the crisis in the mainstream print and broadcast media has spilled over into music. “Because of cost cutting, there are so few journalists who specialize in reporting on music and other art forms.”

“There’s less room for left field, independent stuff. But in a way it has always been like that. As Brixton Barnard once wrote: “Hier’s net leë borde in die ondergrond” [Only empty plates in the underground]. Then again, if you choose to write music in Afrikaans, you do that well knowing that you’re writing for a very small linguistic community.” Andries mentioned that being underground in Afrikaans means being doubly underground. He stressed that it’s almost impossible to make a living out of it, but the scene rewards you with hard core fans who are really committed to supporting you.

“That is why, for our last album (“Slaaptyd in die suburbs”), we only printed 100 books containing the CD, lyrics, and reproductions of paintings by the artist Marguerite Visser. We wanted to make something small for ourselves and 100 hard core fans. Maybe we’ll release the entire album online one day, for the record.”

We at Rock Tot have been listening to BMRO for a long time and Rock Tot Co-Founder, Steve, has always looked up to The Band, not only for their absolute love of music, but for the poetry and the stories behind the lyrics. Andries mentioned that they grew up on the protest music of James Phillips (a.k.a. Bernoldus Niemand), Koos Kombuis and Johannes Kerkorrel (More special favorites of Rock Tot).

“As a Joburg band, our musical don was Paul Riekert from Battery 9. Paul recorded our first two albums and assisted Drikus in setting up his own studio to record the third. The Western Cape bands are into blues (maybe because they’re either descendants of slave owners or slaves, which links them to the South in the US). Joburg has a different sensibility – mine dumps, pylons, factories, banks. In Joburg our roots are closer to punk, rather than blues. Elsewhere quite varied, but maybe we can mention Lou Reed, Nick Cave, Neko Case, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, etc.”

It’s no secret that music scenes around the world are extremely different, but how different is the music Scene in Canada from South Africa?

“Ockert lives in Montreal, the city of Leonard Cohen. If you think Canada, you think of both Martha and Rufus Wainwright, of the Cowboy Junkies, of Neil Young, and of Arcade Fire – to name but a few.” Ockert currently plays for a band called “Death Drive”. He says about his experience in Canada that there is more of everything – more bands, more venues, more subgenres. “The audience for live, underground music has also been dwindling though. As far as the rock/alternative/punk scene goes, bands play simply louder (even in small, tiny venues, which makes ear plugs standard fare for many in the crowd).”

Andries mentioned that production-wise, most rock and punk bands prefer to record live off the floor when they go to the studio, opting for unison of sound instead of a production where you can hear the detail of every instrument individually. “It has been his {Ockert’s} perception that the lyrics take a bit of a back seat to the din of the guitars and rumble of the drums.”

As our last question, we asked Andries what advice he has for any aspiring rocker that is looking to follow in their footsteps, and he comically but simply replied: “Don’t. For your own sake, look for other role models.”

We want to thank Andries Bezuidenhout for taking the time to talk with us. We are going to be at Jarr Bar on the 14th of December to cover the much anticipated reunion, and we hope to see you all there!

WATCH: Brixton Moord & Roof Orkes – Vis

LISTEN: Slaaptyd in die suburbs Album – Einde Van Dae

LISTEN: Slaaptyd in die Suburbs Album – Word Wakker Mariaan

LISTEN: Slaaptyd in die Suburbs Album – C-Maximus

Interview with Voodoo Kudu

Voodoo Kudu is a Rock ‘n Roll, Nelspruit based band with the love for old-school music.
They play original songs and covers and describe themselves as “a group having fun playing great rock music and sharing this with other like-minded folks.”

After many suggestions and disagreements, Alan Wicks (Bass) compares it to being in the same difficulty league as naming a baby! They wanted something that related to the Lowveld, hence the “Kudu”. “Voodoo just rhymes and has a bit of a Rock n Roll Jimmi Hendrix kinda vibe. So the name doesn’t really mean anything, we just thought it was cool….and of course we give it horns!”.

The band members are all mates who enjoy music and have played in various bands. When they met Mike (Lead Vocalist), who had just moved to Nelspruit, they got together for a jam and Voodoo Kudu was born.

Brett Coates

When asked what they enjoy the most of being in the Local Lowveld music scene, they mentioned that they get a real kick out of seeing people having fun and relating to the music. “The local music scene is like a big family and we’ve met some really special people though being part of it.”

From left to right: Michael Clarke, Alan Wicks, Trevor Thompson

We asked them some quickfire questions: 

Who are the bands biggest influences?

“Many influences ranging from old style blues, classic rock bands like Hendrix, Bad Co etc,  through to more grungy stuff like Collective soul. Also South African gems like Springbok Nude Girls and Seether.”

What is the craziest thing that has happened while playing a gig?

“Besides the technical gremlins and power cuts etc, there was one crazy night when we played Puddle of Muds’s “She F*cking Hates Me” a bunch of old folk jumped up from their table and bounced around the dance floor singing the chorus in full voice…..the benefits of Tequila ha ha!”

What is the song-writing process like?

”We play mainly covers, but the few originals that we have written have started out with Brett coming up with a guitar riff and lyrics. Once we try it out each band member interprets it in his own way and it morphs into something unique.”

How would you uniquely describe your music style?

”Basically old school rock. We like to play the songs that are not generally covered by your typical Pub band, but of course you need to play the familiar favorites as well, It’s what a lot of people want to hear.”

When can we expect an album from Voodoo Kudu and will it have cover songs on it or only originals?

”We are heading to the studio to record a few original numbers next month, not an album as such, but maybe when we have enough tracks down.”

From Left to Right: Brett Coates , Michael Clarke, Alan Wicks, Trevor Thompson

Contact Mike For Bookings:

Mike 071 764 6181 or Brett 082 774 5821

Like their Facebook Page: HERE


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