Bye Beneco throws ‘Ghetto Disko’ in the bush

                                                                                                                      PHOTO: Christelle Duvenage/ OppiKoppi

(Note: Article first published in Wapad on 20 October 2017, p.6.)


“I love getting dirty and making like fat dirty beats. I love this electronic sound.” –  Lenny-Dee Doucha (vocalist and keyboardist)


You can’t put your finger on Bye Beneco’s collective sound. The euphoric auditory experience makes it difficult to know if it comes from underwater or outer space.

With the latest addition to their releases, the Ghetto Disko EP combines dreamy and groovy sounds. Lenny-Dee Doucha (vocalist and keyboardist) said she has recently developed a strong taste for disco music.

“I love getting dirty and making like fat dirty beats. I love this electronic sound.” Their sound however, continues to take new directions throughout their career. This isn’t their new sound, it’s their new sound for now, for the EP, Doucha said.

Comparing their first album to Ghetto Disko, Matthew Watson (guitarist) said it was a lot more experimental in the beginning of their career as they were still trying to find their sound. “With this album I would say it was a bit more dancy in it’s own way,” Watson said.


Doucha describes the music as “sensual”, “romantic” and “playful” and wrote about love passion and sex.


Doucha describes the music as “sensual”, “romantic” and “playful” and wrote about love passion and sex. “If you listen to the lyrics –  it’s fun and playful in a lighthearted way but it’s also pretty dark and pretty dirty,” Doucha said.

“You Need Me” and “See You Fully” are some of the band’s favourite songs from Ghetto Disko.

Their live performances are highly entertaining and it testifies of the above mentioned playfulness as they immerse themselves in the music – like Doucha always moving to the beat and making short-lasting screams during songs.

Ghetto Disko is proving to be enjoyed widely, with the band saying “the response has been really positive so far” and that “people are really loving it”.

This five-track album took about three weeks to record. They were pressured for time because they were about leave on an European tour. “We literally got the physical copies of our EP two hours before we got on the plane to go to Europe,” Doucha said.

Bergen Nielson (drummer) said they were very focused in studio and had to use their time wisely. “If things were kind of feeling weird or we didn’t know what to do in one of the parts, there was no time to kind of think about it.”

When asked how the European audience compares to the South African one, Dan Knight (bassist), who joined the band earlier this year, said the European audience is more receiving of new music and different styles.

“I think in South Africa a lot of people are set in the genres that they like and everything outside of it is either too experimental or too strange.”



Intergalactic Lovers’ SA debut at Oppi

                                                                                                                                        PHOTO: Dominique Baxewanos

(Note: This article was first published in Wapad on 20 October 2017, p.7.)

An exotic location, similar to a festival on an island in Holland, and in the wild.

Some thoughts bassist for Intergalactic Lovers, Raphaël De Mey, has about OppiKoppi.

The Belgian indie-rock band began their international tour on the final evening (7 October) of OppiKoppi on the Bruilof Stage.

The tour comes after their third full-length album, Exhale, was released in September. During this they are performing in “many, many, many” more countries like Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Spain and Italy.


 “It’s the first time playing on a hill like this, with different stages of so much variation in the line-up.” – Raphaël De Mey (bassist)


They are part of the artist exchange program between the Belgian music festival, Pukkelpop, and OppiKoppi.

“It’s the first time playing on a hill like this, with different stages of so much variation in the line-up,” De Mey said.

It was the band’s debut in South Africa and they were “very excited to be here”. “Everybody, especially at the festival, is very kind and the hospitality is very nice,” Brendan Corbey (drummer) said.


After our interview at OppiKoppi23. From left: Dennis Van Poucke (manager), me, Lara Chedraoui (vocalist), Raphaël De Mey (bassist), Brendan Corbey (drummer) and Maarten Huygens (guitarist).


De Mey noted OppiKoppi noted the OppiKoppi-hype. “In South Africa it’s quite an exciting festival. I feel like everybody comes from far away to visit it.”

“But we come from a little bit farther,” De Mey said jokingly. It took them about two and a half days to arrive at OppiKoppi.

“It’s all about the stress people have, not only about the politics in the world but also in private life,” De Mey. Exhale is about “calming down” and “not stressing too much” about the latter.

Vocalist, Lara Chedraoui said they are pleased with the response they are receiving for Exhale.


“I think the sound changed in the way that we all got older and we got more confident in what we do. So we experiment a bit more than we did in the beginning.” – Lara Chedraoui (vocalist)


Chedraoui said the biggest thing that has changed since their first release, Greetings & Salutations, is their confidence levels. She said the sound didn’t change a lot.

“I think the sound changed in the way that we all got older and we got more confident in what we do. So we experiment a bit more than we did in the beginning.”

The writing process is a group-effort, said Maarten Huygens (guitarist).

“Someone throws in an idea and everybody starts working on it and add new ideas on top of that idea. Sometimes we end up with a piece of music we all like and you don’t recognize the first idea anymore,” Huygens said.

Chedraoui dreams of playing “everywhere until (we’re) very, very old – to be sixty, seventy years old and still be playing with these guys.”

Another future goal of Intergalactic Lovers is to headline OppiKoppi.


Check out my favourite Intergalactic Lovers song!



‘Treading the fine line between calm and chaos’ with Medicine Boy

                                                                                                                                                   PHOTO: Calvin Siderfin

(Note: This article was first published in Wapad on 14 September 2017, p.8.)

Lucy Kruger and André Leo will be festival hopping between OppiKoppi and Rocking The Daisies, as well as bands, this year.

The duo from Medicine Boy, who is also band members in Lucy & The Lost Boys, will have to leave Northam Thursday after their 20:00 set to play at Daisies Friday afternoon.

In 2016 both groups gigged in Northam. This year however, Medicine Boy is amped to play during the evening as they played “on a smaller stage just before sunset” the previous year.

The violinist Hezron Chetty will accompany them to Oppi again this year.

They have recently been in spending a lot of time in studio. “We have finished tracking about 85% of the new album. (We) still need to do a few extras here and there but the heart of it is in place.”

With this album they have crammed in a lot more work in a shorter period of time than with their previous full-length album, Kinda Like Electricity (KLE).

 “It got pretty intense towards the end (of recording KLE) so with this one we decided to book two weeks in the studio & get it all done. We did a lot more preparation & preproduction this time around so the flow in studio was great.”

They describe their musical journey as “organic” – “every album is a document of where we were at that point”. Although they do not constrain their albums with certain themes and sounds, they have excluded some songs from the new album when they felt have touched on it with KLE.

“There’s an almost naive quality to More Knives, with its simple drum loops & drones that we really love. KLE has an introverted quality about it. It is a very personal album & deals with a lot of things I (we) think people can relate to,” Medicine Boy elaborated on how their sound has changed and developed.

They have had two European tours and are currently working on relocating there “for a few years”. And how does the South African audience compare to the one overseas? “Over there the first band does not have to wait until 22:00 to play.”

Medicine Boy says they “wanted to have some fun with this whole genre thing” and “love treading that fine line between calm and chaos”, so they called their mysterious and haunting sound “dream noise”.

These jugglers of calm and chaos associate OppiKoppi with dust, borat costumes, Willy Mason’s set a few years back and impressive sound. “Don’t panic,” is their advice for first-time festival-goers of OppiKoppi.

Give them a listen!




Indie-spice, ‘vet jol’ on the James Phillips

                                                                                                                                     PHOTO: Christelle Duvenage

(Note: This article was first published in Wapad on 14 September 2017, p.7.)

It tastes like soft caramel toffee, it feels like worn-in leather and smells like good coffee first thing in the morning. This is how the lively trio, Jerard Quaintmere, Kirstin Walters and Jason Chadinha of Jerry and The Bandits describe their sound. They are currently working towards recording their first full-length album.

Last year they played at OppiKoppi 22: For the lovely young taken to THE UNSEA! on the Skellum Stage and at this year’s Oppi we’ll be dancing to their happy vibrations at the James Phillips Stage.

I hear you’ve coined the tagline “indie with a bit of spice”. If you were spices, who would be what and why? Jerry – oregano because he loves pizza; Kirstin – coriander because she’s unique, yet still very familiar; Jason – thyme because he’s always on time ;). And all together they make the perfect spice to almost anything!

You’ve been in studio recording your new song “Hearts Run Wild”. Elaborate on the song –  the inspiration/story behind it, what your favourite line is and describe its sound. Oh yes! Super excited about this one! The song has two meanings to it: our “hearts run wild” because they have a tendency to do their own thing and the second meaning is that the way we run our hearts is reckless. People will always try and bring you down and those people are metaphors for the ‘wolves’ in the song. The song starts with a warning that the ‘wolves’ are coming, but no one is listening because they’re all following their hearts that have a mind of their own. Chaos erupts. “Lie about how the stars don’t fall” – you can make up stories and lies but at the end of the day it was your heart’s choice and you will accept its fate.

What are the things you want people to think of when they hear the name “Jerry and the Bandits” (What associations do you want them to have with the band)? We want people to think of feel-good music, music that makes them feel something real and meaningful. Our latest EP, Fiction In Folktale, has a photo of our three pairs of shoes on it, we want people to walk with us in our shoes and to create their own meaning through our songs.

What is the biggest lesson about the music industry you have learned in your time as a band? To be patient and to never ever EVER give up (even in the beginning stages when you’re   literally playing to just four people in the audience, all four being your family members who drove with you to the show), the hard work eventually starts paying off and all the crappy times become so worth it.

What is the most memorable OppiKoppi you have attended and why? Definitely last year, we had the most amazing crowd that made us play even harder. We had a big campsite with some of our best friends and Kirstin decorated it with lanterns, banners and fairy lights. Jerry went around Oppi with a bottle of cheap Tequila and handed out sips to anyone he walked past. There was a guy snoring so loudly in the campsite next to us that it felt like he was in our tent. The dust cough and dust tan post-Oppi definitely makes it even more memorable. Aaah good times!


Catch them at the place of “great music”, “dust”, “drunk people” and a “vet jol”, four things they associate with OppiKoppi, next to you in the crowd while the likes of Bongeziwe Mabandla, Nomadic Orchestra, Medicine Boy and Josh Kempen perform.

See their live performance on BalconyTV Johannesburg here.


The Muffinz: Well-intentioned soul music

                                                                                                                                                         PHOTO: SUPPLIED

(Note: This article was first published in Wapad on 14 September 2017, p.7.)

The Award-winning and frequently SAMA (South African Music Awards)-nominated group, The Muffinz will be soothing nomads at OppiKoppi for the third year with their soulful voices.

They are proudest of their Silver Standard Bank Ovation Award and the ImpACT Award for Music and Singing, both received in 2012.

“Both these are ‘art’ and not ‘commercial’ awards, which means both peers and fans approve and see the greater vision.” However, their star shines brighter than the awards, said the Muffinz who are currently working on content for their third studio album.

According to the Muffinz, mostly high energy material should be expected at their OppiKoppi show this year.  They have also been rehearsing some of Ray Phiri’s material, the jazz veteran who passed away in July this year due to lung cancer.

For them, their greatest achievement is “the ability to be able to bring back a culture of acoustic music amongst our peers, music outside of jazz or gospel – conscious enough, ‘dancy’ enough, well-intentioned  .”

The Muffinz have performed at several international venues like Norway, Mozambique, Swaziland and Algeria – the next leap for them is to triumph in the European festival market.

“As having worked with European partners in Norway and Italy, we have seen possible markets there, in strange and beautiful places filled with lovers of music.”

Together the (now) four of them, Simphiwe Kulla (lead electric guitar, vocals), Mthabisi Sibanda (acoustic guitar, vocals), Gregory Mabusela (drums, vocals), Sifiso Buthelezi (lead electric and vocals) are the mix to a well-risen muffin.

Their first OppiKoppi in 2012, Sweet Thing, was “a beautiful experience”, saying it was aptly titled – “a nostalgia as associated with the initial moment of ecstacy when doing something for the first time.

For them, the best part about this music festival is to discover new favourite artists in other genres but they are especially looking forward to seeing Snakeships, Beatenberg, Albert Frost and The Brother Moves on.

Don’t know them? Enlighten yourself.





Be an ‘oppit’ mango picker: Survival guide



Only 3 days ’till we experience one of South Africa’s biggest music utopias!


We are so close to being stroked by the Northam sun, sitting on the straw among mystical beings, falling in love with music, being abducted from reality and having the time of our lives.



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However, you need to keep a few things in mind when going to the place where pretty much anything goes.

Remember your ticket
Print your online ticket and keep it safe until you have your Oppi-bracelet around your wrist. Under no circumstances should you post your ticket on social media.

Pack appropriate clothes
Even though you are camping, it shouldn’t necessarily look like it. Your look can vary from hobo to Lady Gaga, as long as you own it. Don’t wear clothes of the lightest colour unless you are going for the “I’ve been wearing this for a month” look. Also don’t take your best shoes. They will never be the same again. Closed shoes, because the sand between your toes isn’t the same as at the beach. During the day it will feel like summer but remember to put warmer clothes in your backpack so you don’t have to return to your campsite just to fetch it.


This year’s weather is a bit of a gamble, with forecasts of rain and thunder.


Your look can vary from hobo to Lady Gaga, as long as you own it.


Look clean, even if you aren’t
You might feel like you’ve bathed in dust but you still want to stay fresh, even if you aren’t going to take the option to stand in a cue for a cold shower. This is where wet
wipes and dry shampoo become your secret weapon. A quick wet wipe “bath” a day will create the illusion that you are clean. The shower you take before you leave for the festival must be a good one. One that lasts for three/four days.

Also, brush your teeth. Every. Day


Protect yourself
You’ve probably heard about the dust at Oppi and thought “how bad can it be?”. It’s no exaggeration. You will need something like a buff/bandana/scarf to cover your mouth while roaming these dusty streets and good shades to cover your eyes. The sun can be harsh, so head wear and sunscreen are a must. Sanitizing products to use for your
hands (and toilet seat) could make you more comfortable. A medical bag with some headache remedies, pain  killers and plasters – just in case.


You’ve probably heard about the dust at Oppi and thought “how bad can it be?”.

It’s no exaggeration.


Take a Flashlight
It’s no joke finding your tent at night. Take a flashlight or even make use of your
phone’s video camera for light, which can turn into an interesting documentary of
you struggling to find your tent and going to the portable loos.

Take camping stuff
Even if you don’t think you’ll sleep, take a tent in case you want some shut eye. Remember a camping chair and braai equipment for chilling at your campsite.


Toilet paper – For blowing your nose.


Actually go see some bands!!!
It’s not every day that you have the opportunity to see so many artists perform. Do
research and make a list of people you have to see.


Otherwise you might as well just have had a huge party at home for a lot cheaper.


Squeegee bottle
Glass bottles aren’t allowed on the festival grounds. So you need an alternative way of carrying your beverages. Just make sure it’s big enough. Then you don’t have to go all the way for a refill every five seconds.


See you at a show!


Photos: Marita Herselman
Article first published in Wapad on 21 July 2016, p.9.