CTMS interview: 3rd World Spectator

SA Music Scene Interview : 3rd World Spectator

Interview by : Ezelle Louw (@lupaphotography)

We feel we owe it to our fans and ourselves to push ourselves across genres and musical styles. 3rd World Spectator –

I’m not sure what the date was, all I recall is the insistence with which my good friend, Bronson Vos, bombarded me with. He“dragged and begged” me to come to watch this band called 3rd World Spectator. I agreed immediatley for two reasons. One he doesn’t have terrible music taste, he’s one of the selected few I will trust with leading me blindly to the discovery of new music, number two, I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting at home.


3rd World Spectator by Paul Lee Lotter

There’s nothing you can do in preparation for a 3rd World Spectator show, in fact, nothing prepares you for the talent playing out before you on stage. Peter, Louis, André and Justin combine into the ultimate package of a gifted band. They  wrap their eclectic music style, professionalism, passion for their art and  powerhouse live performance in a present for you to unwrap and discover.

Since that faithful night, I have supported them whenever I’m near a venue they play at and will always do so. I’m impressed that the passion I first saw them perform with in front of a very small crowd, still remains constant today. If you’ve been sleeping under a rock of illusion, wake up and go out to see these guys in action. Just trust my word on this statement.

They took out some time to talk to us about life, music and what we don’t know about them.


For those of us not informed yet, how did you decide on the name “3rdWorld Spectator”?

3rd World Spectator was the name of a clothing shop that existed in Johannesburg during the 80’s. When I was 16 my mom told me a story about how the owner of the shop complimented her and told her she looked like a rock chick. When I heard the name of the shop, it stuck. I just knew I had to start a band called 3rd World Spectator.


Your debut album “The Theory of Everything” showcases your versatility as a band in more ways than one.It must be a great feeling to offer your fans an album with so many different facets to it?

We wanted to create an album that we would like to listen to. We enjoy albums by bands who don’t function on one sound and who consistently evolve and explore different sounds. If you stagnate you become stale and redundant, and we feel we owe it to our fans and ourselves to push ourselves across genres and musical styles.


Some musicians say that when they are on the road on tour, they kind of wish they were in studio and when in studio they wish they could be travelling on the road. Do you ever feel like that?

That happens regularly. You play around with ideas in the rehearsal room or during sound checks and then you wish you could record them at that moment. It also happens when you are in the shower or kitchen.


Tell us one thing about each of you we wouldn’t normally know?

Peter – I’m an avid collector of comic books and action figures, I own more than a thousand figures by now. I’m a graphic designer for a major corporation by day and I also have a desire to direct a film one day.

Andre –I’ve been in the music industry for about 7 years now. It has been such a great couple of years! Studied music for 3 years at a ministry in Stellenbosch. It picked up a notch when I started playing for 3rd World Spectator. Finally found a band where there is no hectic politics, and there is actually decent musicians involved. Things you don’t know… Hmm.. Aside from music I would love to one day have a airplane, house and sexy Russian bride. I’m a big nature fan, and also big fan of trout fishing.

Justin – I love pop music… Like Taylor Swift and Roxette…

Louis – I believe I am the son of Paul McCartney, but when I am not his son, I like to wake board and surf.

3rd World Spectator’s Justin, Peter and Louis by Lupa Photography

“Ambulance” was your debut music video, which received high acclaim from the public. Now “Sparks” is out, how has the response been?

We are really overwhelmed by the response the video has received thus far. We debuted the video before submitting it to MK and we’ve had tremendous feedback, so we’ll see what happens once it hits television screens.


Peter you directed “Sparks” alongside Kevin Schnider, how did it feel to be a part of the creative process?

With Ambulance I came up with the concept of the video, but I’ve always wanted to be part of the creative synergy behind the camera. So once the opportunity arose to do the video for Sparks I was really excited to be able to work with my cousins Kevin and Elan. We took a very DIY approach because of our limited budget and we wanted to create something that was different from the vibe of Ambulance,I think we achieved it.


Any upcoming tours we should know about?

We’ll  be touring along the coast during December, so people can check out our Facebook page to get more info regarding this.


What’s the first album each of you remember buying that had a huge impact on you musically?

I think we all love Michael Learns To Rock. But seriously there were quite a few albums that fired up our creative juices at different stages in our lives. I think between Radiohead and Muse we kind of found each other.


It must be an incredible feeling when a crowd responds to something you create on stage, a mutual energy flow from your performance, to the crowd and back to you. How does it feel to feed off that energy?


It’s strange how dependent a show could be on that energy. If we do our unplugged/acoustic shows the atmosphere does not require that kind of crowd participation energy, but when we do our full band set it takes your performance up to 11.


What stage/ venue feels like home to you guys?

Definitely Aandklas in Stellenbosch. Funny enough, Arcade Empire in Pretoria is also slowly becoming a second home.


When you aren’t making music, what other interests / passions do you have?

Peter likes designing, watching movies and reading, Andre is passionate about flying and gaming, Justin travels around the country and co-ordinates crews for music festivals and Louis is studying to be an engineer (and is perfecting the fine art of being a ladies man).


Is there one specific theme /point you feel strongly about, that you try and highlight in your music?


Salvation is a pretty persistent theme throughout our songs. Not necessarily from a religious point of view, because we have been tagged as a clandestine Christian rock band in the past, but salvation is something so transcendental that it just stays fascinating. I also think the fact that we all love superheroes and comic books has something to do with it.


Describe your dream tour?

Doing a 6 month tour through America or Europe where you play every day. Tour must be in a double decker black bus( it must be pimped up with beds and XBox lounge) and where we are able to record demo’s on the bus.


The greatest compliment you’ve received from a fan?

One of our fans, Judy Albertyn, actually broke her ankle because she was so amped to see our show. I won’t divulge the details, but a broken ankle for a band is a rather big compliment.


2012 has been a good year for you guys, tell us a bit about the highlights so far?

We have done 3 tours this year in support of the albums and it’s subsequent singles and videos with 2 more tours in the next two months. We have released 2 music videos, charted on the National Top 40, got really good reviews about our debut album The Theory of Everything and we have appeared on MK Studio 1,Hectic Nine 9 and Frenzy on ETV. We have also started working on the deluxe edition of the debut album and we have started writing the second album.

3rd World Spectator by Lupa Photography

What’s next for 3rd World Spectator?

We will be releasing 2 more videos before the end of the year, and we are gearing up to release both our deluxe edition of The Theory of Everything and the sophomore album which will have a totally different sound. And without fail we’ll keep playing shows and be on the road touring.


Being in a band, to me seems like having extended family. Is that how you guys feel?

It actually feels like you are married to 3 other guys to quite honest. It can sometimes be exhausting to cater to each other’s personalities, but we have known each other for so many years now that we are able to gauge when someone isn’t feeling awesome or when the vibe is just right.


Can each of you think of one particular show that made your nerves shoot through the roof?

Collectively we’d say the Virgin Fest show we did at the Coca-Cola Dome with OneRepublic and Maroon 5. Everything leading up to the performance was stress-inducing, but it worked out beautifully.


How does studio time feel, where you get to refine your work?

To be in studio evokes an atmosphere of creativity and it’s the most productive and stressful time for any band.


The most random incident that has happened to you guys at a gig?

On our last tour to the Eastern Cape, we had a problem with our windscreen wipers and that region had the worst weather since 1968. Justin drove with his head out the window, Ace Ventura style, and Louis, Peter and Andre navigated. We decided that if we had to die, Muse’s Origin of Symmetry album would be the soundtrack. Luckily we made it to the venue and had one or two drinks before our show, because we had the craziest adrenaline rush.


If you had to describe 3rd World Spectator in one word, what would it be?



The writing process, who does most of it and where do you draw inspiration from?

Peter does the majority of the writing and he is strongly influenced by films, books and comics. There are a lot of pop culture references in our songs and song titles, so it’s always cool to have somebody spot the reference.


Putting an album together is a long process of hours of work and input. In short tell us a bit about the process?

It’s really a bit of a collage process. You take bits and pieces from new ideas, see if you can’t match them up with old ideas, then if they don’t you try and write something new to match it again. The way we wrote the first album was with the mindset that we wanted to make an album that was mature, even though we ran the risk of coming across as ambitious or naive. We just wanted to create a piece of art that we could be proud of 10 years down the line and it really is a documentation of a certain period in our lives. It’s been almost 3 years since we wrote the debut and so many things have changed in our personal and professional lives so our mindset is already in another space concerning the next album. With the first one we created something we would be proud of and get our foot in the door of the industry. The second one will be a bold gamble from our side.


Where on the social networks can we stay updated with gigs and latest news?

You can follow us on Twitter, our handle is @the3rdworld and on Facebook by visiting www.facebook.com/3rdworldspectator


A shout out to the supporters?

To every person who has come to a show, bought an album or t-shirt, requested our songs or just gave a few minutes to listen to our songs – thank you!


3rd World Spectator by Paul Lee Lotter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *