Going to the Mattresses and Taking over the Airwaves – An Interview with Gangs of Ballet

GOB 1 - Credit Ravi Panchia

On the scene since 2011, Gangs of Ballet are starting to make their presence felt around the country, most recently with the launch of their debut album yes/no/grey.

In a cruel twist of fate I was unable to attend the launch, which upset me very much because I’m extremely excited about this band. Hailing from Durban (automatically making them super awesome in my books) the band is comprised of Brad Klynsmith (vocals and electric guitar), Jonathan Rich (keyboard and synth), Hardus de Beer (bass guitar) and Josh Klynsmith (drums and vocals). There is, of course, the not-so-little matter of their music, at times a blend of fresh and dynamic rhythms, at others filled with soulful vocals and haunting melodies. Naturally this warranted an interview, so I scratched around my brain for some questions, spent a bit of time on YouTube and put forward the below. Here’s what lead singer and guitarist Brad had to say:

GOB 2 - Credit Ravi Panchia

What do you think is music’s role in South Africa today?
It’s always been a voice and a unifying element in history. Look at Mango Groove, a multicultural band in the heat of political controversy – they were the soundtrack to change. SA still has a mile to walk and many musicians to keep her company on the road.

Name one thing you think SA musicians should be doing? Have you done that one thing?
Work hard and master a craft, commit full[y] to it. Our theory has been if you want to play with the big boys you’ve got to be at that standard. Not [that] we’re there yet but we’ve put in many hours and we’re prepared to put in many more.

How has the album launch been going? What has the standout moment been so far?
We were completely blown away by the response, every launch show was packed and all the media were very positive. The stand out on this tour so far was finding out the album went to #1 on iTunes in 12hrs of pre-order.

What has surprised you the most about the industry? And the fans?
It really is an industry with many working parts, each one essential! Every publication, every radio interview or play is essential. You are now a part of the entertainment industry in which you play music. It’s been so fun and part of the adventure has been meeting the most incredible people!

What is the best song on the radio right now?
If I say South African I got to say MONARK have a brilliantly written track Smiling and Matt Mole has a cracker on at the moment.

What drives your music?
Building a bridge between us and the audience. We try to write and play so that people feel a part of what’s happening.

In a previous interview you speak about “anthemic songs that people can remember”? What is your ultimate anthemic song?
We are the Champions by Queen springs to mind immediately, genius song writing.

What’s up next for Gangs of Ballet? And what do you hope to achieve next?
We’ll be trying to get around the country and into as many towns as we can. We’ve had little exposure to much of South Africa and we’re hoping to change that.

Like Gangs of Ballet on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Ravi Panchia
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