Last week Friday we got the opportunity to sit down with the guys from Taxi Violence and chat to them about rump steak, shitty Joburg traffic and being adopted by Angelia Jolie…
Taxi Violence are: George van der Spuy
Louis Nel AKA Dragon
Our conversation went roughly like this…
ETM: Right, usually right at the end of the interview people always ask “what’s next for you guys?” but anyone with a Facebook can go and see where you guys are going to be next, so let’s do this:
If this was your last night on earth, what would you like to happen? Anything you guys want.
George: Well, firstly I’d like to open for Led Zeppelin and Queens Of The Stone Age, and then have a fucking big orgy, huh!
ETM: With the band?
Rian: Ja well, when it comes to, sort of like, sex time, then I’d like to sort of stand aside from the band, unless that’s what’s going around then fuck.
Dragon: I’d like to play a good show with a cool band, and get drunk and have rump steak – medium rare, then have sex with two lesbians.
ETM: Are you watching the sex or having it or trying to get in?
Dragon: No, having the sex! They not really lesbians but, you know, they’re into it.
ETM: So then they are tri-sexual?
Dragon: Then I’ll be Bi-Winning.
ETM: Getting into the new album, it’s something different. You don’t often get to see a band that drops a hard rocking album, and then go the acoustic vibe like you guys. Risky not risky? What was the thought process for you guys, and were you scared?
I think that’s kind of the allure to Taxi Violence shows. You know you gonna pay money and you know you gonna have a kick-ass show.
Rian: The thing is, we have always believed in the songs that we write, and we thought that doing an acoustic album which covers, basically the best of the two previous albums gives us and people, the opportunity to hear the song writing coming more to the fore as opposed to just bashing the shit out of your instruments playing the songs. It is risky, you might alienate one to two hard-core fans, but at the end of the day I think we will gain a lot without having ‘sold’ out.
If you hadn’t heard of us before and you put that album on, I don’t think that you’d necessarily say “oh this is an unplugged album”. It’s still rocking in my books, and we’re very proud of it.
ETM: You say “Sold Out” – Do you think that there are a lot of bands that are selling themselves out a bit – because a lot of bands have changed their sound, but do you blame radio for that? Could radio be the cause of bands sounding too commercial to get some airplay?
Dragon: I think radio and the scene – well, not necessarily the scene, but mostly, what’s in at the moment, what’s fashionable and what’s cool – for example bands will go to clubs and see what people like these days and go back to the rehearsal studio and change their sound completely to fit in with what’s cool at the moment. I think personally, that’s selling out.
George: Like The Dirty Skirts for example… we won’t name any names.
Dragon: The Dirty Skirts didn’t sell out… pffft… I’m talking about… you know who I’m talking about…
George: That being said, radio sort of does push you in a way to write hooks, you know. Something people can sing along to, something that is memorable… something that you know, whatever you want to call it.
ETM: Something too deep? Like superficial music…
George: Yeah, exactly! Like Foo Fighters for instance – They have really heavy riffs, but the vocals are very melodic and people can relate to that. They have a very catchy chorus but its heavy riffs, and that still get played on 5 or whatever station. So in a way, it forces you to think more in a more ‘catchy’ way. You can be hard-core but catchy.
ETM: You guys have been playlisted on 5 – so what do you guys think you have as a band that make people want to come see you at shows, and get your songs playlisted on stations like 5fm?
Dragon: From the start we’ve always had a philosophy that we still follow seven years down the line and that’s: It doesn’t matter if you play for 3 or 30 or 300 or 30 000 people, they all paid good money to come and see you, and you put a show on for them. I think that’s kind of the allure to Taxi Violence shows. You know you gonna pay money and you know you gonna have a kick-ass show. You are going to be entertained. Otherwise you can just sit at home and listen to the CD.
ETM: Just stay home and watch the DVD…
George: We’ve always, um.. like pride.. prouded… pride ourselves haha <Afrikaans accent> prided ourselves on a lekker live show hey </Afrikaans accent> Haha. We give a very energetic live show, when you say the name Taxi Violence that’s what you associate us with. A really energetic, entertaining live show, and we still stick by that. We still do that. When you pay money to come see us, you get your money’s worth. If we having a kak day, we still give you what you paid for, we not going to fucking put our bullshit on you. This is your time, you have it.
Someone: Let us entertain you! <can’t remember who said this>
ETM: It’s true though. With the acoustic set, we watch you guys at Tanz Café the last time you were here, and you just rocked out just as hard as your normal live show. So clearly you guys are doing something right…
Rian: I actually think that, the fact that we are sitting down hasn’t detracted from the energy that we give out. <It goes back to the music> We’ve played some shows with bands, when they go unplugged all they do is play the same songs but they just play them with acoustic guitars, you know, and that’s not on. I don’t think that’s on. The energy is lost doing that, because they don’t rehearse properly and stuff, and we made a concenshus effort… <hahaha conscientious hahaha> there is such a word! And, like, I think that has paid off for us, and that is why 90% of people that have listened to us in the past will enjoy the show and the new album, and it will also draw in new people. Well, I think.
ETM: There has been some chatter on the internet with Kings of Leon coming here, are you guys opening, you not opening. Can you comment?
Jason: Let’s start a rumour!
George: We can’t deny or confirm the speculations!
ETM: That is well said… Hahaha
George: Yes, um.. Kings Of Leon have the CD’s at the moment and they will decide… but I think we’re a good choice, we’d suit their vibe.
ETM: If it’s not you guys who would you like it to see?
George: Nobody else! Fuck them!
Someone: Anyone but The Parlotones!
George: I’m going to be sour but no fuck…you know that’s how things roll out in this country…
ETM: But festivals in this country, like Oppikoppi this year, what do you guys think of the line-up so far with the international acts like Sum41 and The Used… and are you playing Oppi this year?
Taxi Voilence: We can’t confirm or deny! Haha…
George: Well, let me put it this way… it’s sort of a trend that’s going on in South Africa. All the sort of bands, that have been popular 5 years ago, they seem to come to South Africa… they are cheaper now than when they were famous. That’s true you know all the bands like Sum41..
Dragon: Except Vanilla Ice and Roxette!
George: Muse is current.. Who else? Korn was sort of current…
Rian: Coldplay will be current… But those aren’t classic South African rock festivals that they play at. These are events for them, but in terms of rock festivals like OppiKoppi and stuff, it seems that it’s mostly has-beens that grace the stage.
ETM: In terms of specific events put on, Kylie Mingoue is coming, Coldplay and obviously Kings Of Leon. Who would you most like to see and why?
Taxi Violence: Kylie!
George: Kylie because she has a great ass!
Dragon: She looks a bit like a horse though, just the jaw line. But that’s fine.
ETM: In the past few couple of weeks you guys have been to JHB a few times. Why do you like JHB? What keeps you coming back?
Rian: ‘Cos it’s cold! Haha.
George: Um.. Like, for us, you can’t play in Cape Town too much. There are only so many venues you can play at. Only so many times in a month you can play. Otherwise people don’t come to your shows anymore. So you have to make it sort of a thing that they want to go to.
ETM: Like a treat?
George: Hahaha, ja exactly. That’s kind of what we do when we come to JHB. We don’t come here that often. Maybe once every month or every two months. Then it’s something that they look forward to. So, you know, that’s kind of why we do it that way. We don’t play in Cape Town that often, actually.
ETM: Where do you prefer? JHB or Cape Town?
(Someone screamed Potch. Unfortunately we don’t have voice recognition on our recorders:)
George: Well, the last time we played Town Hall, it was the best fucken show we had in ages. Like, it was. Well, we had good shows, but this was insane. The people were going mental. The whole crowd was doing fucken waves and moshing and screaming! It was just… That’s what a show should be like.
Rian: Actually, I became concerned for people standing in the front because they were being bashed so hard from behind. (That’s what she said!) Between songs I knelt down and there was a tiny little girl there, um.. of age, and..
ETM: And you picked her up and took her home?
Rian: A tiny little girl OF AGE! OF AGE! Hahaha. I asked her if she was alright and she said “Yeah!”, and so I said “Let’s go baby!”
There are only so many venues you can play at. Only so many times in a month you can play.
(A lot of laughter here! Hahaha)
ETM: That’s awesome! One thing that has been evident over the last few years is that Cape Town seems to have produced bands of sublime quality. Let’s put it that way. What is it about Cape Town? Do you think that it is the chilled out environment and the beauty of it all that encourages and inspires artists (like yourselves) more than anywhere else in the country?
Rian: Um ja, perhaps.
Dragon: I think that that whole movement happened just after, like, the 90’s, because during the 90’s, well this is just my opinion, I think everybody (all the cool bands in the 90’s), came from JHB. And everyone knew that. JHB is much bigger, the scene’s much bigger, the bands are better and there were venues. Cape Town bands kind of knew that they had to work a little bit harder. So we started to work harder. And now we’re better than JHB bands! Hahaha
Rian: It’s got a bit to do with the fact that in Cape Town people seem to have more time. Like here (JHB) everything seems so rushed. Like if you don’t spend two hours in traffic everyday then you’re lucky. And that takes it out of you. And most musicians start off out as working people that get together in the evenings and jam, you know. And, um, certainly that’s our case – and most bands I know. If you had to sit in traffic for two or three hours a day, just to get to work and back, that would suck all the creative energy out of me. And I think that’s got a lot to do with it. I mean, the traffic here in JHB is shit!
ETM: Yeah, it is! It just leads to frustrated energy, right?
Jason: Yeah, to add to that, and to punt George’s business (haha), the rehearsal spaces have got much better in Cape Town, as well. And like, we rehearse at Kill City Blues (George’s business), which is really cool. I mean you rock up there and there are beers, everything is set up and you literally plug in and play. The time you are at rehearsals you’re working on your songs. And it’s a productive three or four hours of rehearsal, you know. This goes back to Rian’s thing of “it’s not driving four hours in traffic just to get to rehearsal.”
ETM: Ja, JHB is shit for that hey. Okay, quick question. Angelina Jolie, or Megan Fox?
Taxi Violence: Fuck! Both!
ETM: Hahahaha! There’s that “bi-winning” thing!
Rian: That would be “bi-winning” bro. Hahaha! That is serious “bi-winning”!
ETM: I guess everyone is going with “ditto” then?
George: I’d like to have Angelina for myself, actually. You know, it’s not like an hour thing, you know. You can do the whole night, you know.
ETM: Maybe she will adopt you!
George: I’m okay with that. Hahaha
Rian: He’s not poor enough, though… Haha..
ETM: And you Dragon?
Dragon: On this one I’d have to go with Angelina, all night, because I think Megan Fox is a skank! Please tell her that!
ETM: Hahahaha! We’ll tell her!
Dragon: Tell her to actually come and disprove that to us. Ja ja!
ETM: Or not! Don’t disprove it – prove it! Hahaha
Okay, another thing. This is something that we have always felt strongly about, for some reason, have you guys ever thought of doing a cover of Wolfmother’s “Joker & The Thief”? Because when we watch you guys, we can’t help but thing “damn, that would be cool!”
George: It would be sweet, but the thing is, it’s too close to what we do already, you know. And if we had to do a cover, it would probably be some obscure fucking genre less song, you know. (insert ETM laughter here! Hahaha!). It’s also too recent . If we chosen a cover to do it would be something that’s quite old school and obscure, and something that’s not as popular, maybe – but a really good song, still, you know.
Rian: Ja, like “Eye Of The Tiger” or something!
ETM: Hahaha! The other Rocky theme, maybe? You know when he’s running down the street..
HARD WORK! AND MORE HARD WORK! And time. And don’t expect lots of money soon, or ever! Haha We would say, stick to your guns.
Rian: Da dum tum. Da dum taa!
ETM: Yeah, that could be an instrumental track on the set list!
Rian: If I had a hoodie I would put it on right now!
ETM: Okay, tell us. Where is Big Head?
George: Well, he has been lost for a while!
ETM: Last-know whereabouts?
George: Long Street. Apparently someone saw him at The Shack, spiking heroin! Um.ja, I don’t know.
Dragon: Ja, we’re a bit worried about him, actually!
George: We’re a bit worried about him, but hopefully he’ll come to JHB next time. We’re going to try and find him. We’ve put up missing posters, with a reward, you know. Five hundred bucks, or so.
ETM: Okay, well we’re hoping for the best. So where can people contact you if he is found?
Taxi Violence: Well you can contact us on Facebook, or Twitter
ETM: So people can drop you a tweet. Sort of like a “Where’s Fluffy” situation!
Taxi Violence: Yeah yeah, exactly!
ETM: You guys should do that! Sort of like a “Where’s Taxi. Or a where’s violence, thing.” Oh no wait- that might be all over the country.
Taxi Violence: Hahaha yeah. On every corner, of every street!
ETM: Cool dudes. Is there any message that you would like to say to other upcoming bands? Like, we think with radio not supporting local “alternative” bands as much as before. What would you advise them to do? Like, what is the recipe that you guys find that works. That being said; without revealing your trade secrets. What are some of the ingredients that you put into that recipe?
Taxi Violence: HARD WORK! AND MORE HARD WORK! And time. And don’t expect lots of money soon, or ever! Haha We would say, stick to your guns. Don’t try to be somebody that you are not! Ja, just believe in what you do and keep on trying! Haha, keep chunking! It’s also important to put yourself out there, you know. Like, don’t keep it to yourself, because the very purpose of what you’re doing is to share.. The main goal is not to be popular, but, it’s cool if you are!
ETM: So it’s like Kelly says in “The Girl Next Door” It’s a talent. A gift. You can’t control it.
Taxi Violence: Haha yeah. Like put your track out there. Put it on Facebook. Get your friends to go listen to it, you know. Online these days is waaay more effective airwaves, you know.
ETM: Haha, so if we put your tracks up as pirated tracks, we’re not going to get into any trouble? Haha
Taxi Violence: Haha, as long as it’s not downloadable, you know!
ETM: So we’ll make it streaming so that people have to keep coming back!
Taxi Violence: We have no trouble with that. One more thing is that when you get to a certain point, what people don’t know is that a lot of these big bands have a team behind them. They have a publicist that gets them into the papers, and gets them onto TV and stuff. The radios don’t come to you and just ask you for it. You have to time all these things so well. Get a sound guy that knows your sound and your music. Get a booking agent that knows what they are doing and gets the right types of gigs for you so that you’re not playing to empty venues all the time.. There are people behind you that make you successful. They are..um, I forgot the word. Sho, starting to get a bit drunk now hey! Hahaha
Read every contract because everything is negotiable. EVERYTHING!
ETM: Hahaha, that’s a good slogan!
Rian: Yes, it is! “Everything IS negotiable!” What a slogan!
Taxi Violence: AND, the final ingredient is: Get a Chinese guy in your band (hahaha), because they know how to do those negotiations! 25% off here and there!
ETM: And then you get an Indian publicist! Hahaha And then you get a Jewish chap to handle the money and you’re hundreds!
Taxi Violence: Hahaha, then you’re fucking sorted!
ETM: Cool guys, thanks so much for chatting to us! It has been rad! And we’ll hopefully catch you guys soon?
Taxi Violence: Yeah, come and rock out with us tonight!
ETM: Yeah, we’re going to grab some beers and eff around!
Taxi Violence: Hahaha yeah, you don’t have to be “professional” anymore.
ETM: Haha, when we say professional, we mean “professional” Just being clothed right now is us being “professional!”
Cheers with beers, and that’s that!