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You’re playing Homelanz festival this week, are you looking forward to it?

We can’t wait, we’ve been putting songs together for a new album for the last six weeks and are going to showcase some there. We’re hoping to bring a few surprises as well, and we will film our set there, like last year, and are going to then turn that into a music video. 

You’re the drummer and singer, how did this unusual dynamic come about?

[Munkinpure bassist] Daryl [Chad du Plooy] and myself have been playing together since we were teenagers. With your first band you think you’re going to play the world and dominate the charts and you have all these ambitions, which are good but not really very realistic. Our guitarist and singer wrote all the songs then and we just played [them].

One day Daryl brought a cool Rage Against The Machine-type song to band practice, but the singer refused to sing it, so I did. I had never sung before in my life. I still don’t regard myself as a singer – I am a drummer who happens to sing and people seem to put up with it. According to our management we should think about getting a new drummer in, though.

How do you feel about that?

We’ve auditioned other drummers, maybe 15 over the years, but it’s never worked out. I have achieved a lot as a drummer – I’ve played on quite a few people’s albums, I have some great endorsements [drum kit companies Zildjian, Cympad and Baskey] and I have toured the world.

Sometimes drummers who haven’t done that feel intimidated and don’t do themselves justice. We were thinking of doing it in time for Homelanz but decided it was too short notice. It is a big stage and a nice fest so we don’t want to make any big, short notice changes.

And you’re used to playing as a trio…

We have been playing as a trio for years and we are so tight and well-rehearsed – you can always tell the difference between bands that have done 500 shows together and those that have done five because a chemistry develops. 

Tell us about the new album…

We don’t have too many confirmed details, but we know who we want to work with. We did the last EP [A Different Kind Of Beat] ourselves, and we are going to do the recording ourselves again. I’ll go to Darby Todd’s [studio] – he is the drummer for The Darkness and Hot Leg – and record the drums there. Then we’ll take it all to Chris Brink [ex-South African band Tweak] and see what we come up with. 

 

You relocated to London in 2010 – what prompted the move?

Daryl and I used to play in another band in 2004/ 05 and we got a contract in South Africa, then a showcase for Mercury Records over here at the end of 2005. The long and short of it is the band fell apart, but I fell in love with this place – not the weather so much but everything else. So when the band went home I stayed and started working on more songs and playing lots of gigs.

When did you form Munkinpure?

Those songs became Munkinpure songs. I played everything on the first demos then went back to South Africa and put a band together with Daryl again. We automatically had more of a British indie sound and fitted in far more with what was going on here than back home, so when the time was right we moved to the UK. But only Daryl and I came so we got this British guitarist, Jim, in. I have known him for 10 years and he’s one of the best guitarists I’ve seen. 

The UK has been a big influence then…

People think we are a South African band, which we are, but we started here. We are big rugby supporters, go to South African bars all the time. You can’t help run into South Africans here – there are so many.

What has been your favourite on-stage moment with Munkinpure?

It is always cool when people know the words to your songs. Sometimes when I am on stage with Munkinpure, who I consider my band although I play in loads of others, I never have to worry about anything as we are so well rehearsed. As hippy as this sounds, it is good to step outside of yourself and take in what is going on – making music with two of your best friends. 

Did you used to worry about on-stage mistakes more?

When I was younger I’d come off stage and go ‘dude, we messed up the harmonies on that bit’ or ‘the chords there’. But life is too short. Now, if bits go wrong they go wrong. It’s about being real in the moment. Music has become so mass produced that no one appreciates the real bits of it anymore.

Munkinpure play Homelanz. Aug 10. £30.  
Boston Manor Park, Brentford, TW8 9JX  
Tube | Boston Manor  
homelanz.co.uk


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Interview - Travis Marc: Singer and drummer of South Africa's alt-rockers Munkinpure, on loving London, the band's album and Homelanz
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