Interview: Locnville

Locnville recently released their album Taste The Weekend so we decided to catch up with them to talk about the new album, working in the United States of America and their move to Warner Music SA.

Your new album, Taste The Weekend, sees you guys embracing a rather different yet still familiar sound. What made you guys decide that it was time to explore new musical horizons?

Andrew: We constantly seem to be finding inspiration from different angles, and that obviously influences our music. I feel like this new album is an upgraded version of that unique Locnville sound.

Brian: I wouldn’t say that we were specifically looking to try out new sounds, it is just something that tends to happen when recording new material. However, tracks like “Better” and “Taste The Weekend” were intentionally made with a spice of House influence, which we haven’t done before.

You worked with several local EDM heavyweights and a few well-known international names to create the superb production work that features on Taste The Weekend. Was it difficult working with so many creative forces or did it allow you to focus more on other elements of your music as opposed to worrying about the production work?

Andrew: We’ve always written and produced our own music, so we wanted to get some fresh influence on this new stuff. There’re about 4 or 5 tracks that we have co-producers and/or co-writers on which is great to bring a different perspective into the material.

Brian: We were still 100% involved in the production of every song, but to have co-producers definitely helped bring a sound or style that we may not necessarily have thought of. Moving forward, I think we’ll definitely be doing more collaborations.

You recently made the decision to move to the US – a move that has been made by several local artists in the past and each artist adapted differently. What has the move been like for you guys?

Andrew: I wouldn’t even necessarily say it was a permanent move, we bounce all over the place wherever we feel we need to be. For me, it’s great to really experience and see how the industry works over there, there’s a lot more avenues to make revenue purely because the market is so much bigger. For instance, one thing you don’t really get in SA is professional songwriters that literally make a living off of writing songs.

Brian: It was a great move in terms of building our US team and making sure that the ground work is set to release our music there. However, South Africa will always be home for me.

 I see a few people have asked in the past whether or not it was an easy decision to make, but what I want to know is why did you make this decision? Is it partially linked to the negative reception your music often received from industry insiders?

Andrew: I’ve never had a negative reception on the music, the only thing I’ve experienced is an ignorance to what we’re actually doing. When we first popped up, people had a tendency to view us as a boy band because we were young and came out in the whole Bieber era. That had nothing to do with the decision to head to the States, I more see it as putting in the steps to eventually reach our end goal which obviously includes our music being played on a more global scale.

Brian: It was an easy decision to make because it wasn’t so much a life move as it was a move to set up a foundation for ourselves that side. Negative reception to what I do has never swayed my mind in any direction.

Taste The Weekend is your first release on a major label as you were initially signed to your own label and then later to Just Music – how did the deal with Warner Music South Africa and subsequently the overall Warner Music Group come about?

Andrew: It’s a story I’d prefer not to go too much into detail about, but the team that was running our previous label inevitably changed people over the years and became a foreign environment to us. It’s important for us that people work our material, not because it’s an obligation or just part of the repertoire, but because they get it and have the same vision we do. Warner Music has that vision.

Brian: It came because of a woman who works in promotion who we’d worked with at Just Music. She moved to Warner Music, and we wanted to continue working with her.

What has it been like working with Warner over the past couple of months? They put a lot of money into A&R so I imagine they have been treating you quite well.

Andrew: It’s been a great experience, it’s a high energy team who knows what their role is and pursues it every day. With regards to A&R, that’s all done through our company ContraBanned which is then licensed to labels.

Brian: They’ve been absolutely amazing. Working with a major label takes a lot of unnecessary workload off our shoulders and they have the resources to really get the music into the right places. So it is a decision I’m extremely happy about.

South Africa has this habit of demonising any artists that begin to become remotely successful as popular musicians. It happened to The Paralatones, Prime Circle and I suppose even Die Antwoord – but South Africans seems to hate them for different reasons. What are your thoughts on this as a duo that has been on the receiving end of a fair bit of flack for your music?

Andrew: I feel like anything that gets enough attention will bring negative attention as well. The more people that know about you makes a bigger probability of getting some people who don’t like what you do. The other thing is, of course, a sense of jealousy as everyone is looking to do well, but there’s not an awful lot of people who are willing to really put themselves out there like that.

You have the unique position of being able to comment on the South African music industry in comparison to the American industry. Is there anything that South African can learn from the US?

Andrew: First off, the SA music industry has come a hell of a long way even since we started. It’s incredible to see and I’m proud of it, but of course there’re things we can learn. If anything, I think we as South Africans need to see it for the business that it is. It seems negligible, but I think on a large scale it’s something that could really benefit the economy.

Brian: The only thing I could say on that is I would love to see South Africa see itself as the music powerhouse that it is. The artistry coming out of this country exceeds most of the international material out there, and yet I find South African artists strive to leave the country because there isn’t enough of an industry.

Furthermore, what are your thoughts on the current state of the South African music industry and more importantly – the recent introduction of the 90% quota?

Andrew: As I mentioned previously, I think the SA scene has made leaps and bounds. With regards to the 90%, from an economic standpoint, it’s one of the greatest things to have happened. My only concern is that with a quota so high, it can create an influx of sub-par quality just because it is South African. If we want to be taken seriously, we need to be competing on an international level. My personal opinion is something like 70/30 or 60/40 would be a more reasonable ratio.

Brian: The South African industry itself needs work, but it is getting better. The music coming out of South Africa is on such a high right now that I think the country and the world is starting to listen. The 90% quota is a good step in the right direction, but I personally think its too high. The ideal quota would be at 60/40 because it wouldn’t do anything beneficial to the industry if we’re no longer competing with the international stuff

One of the things that people still seem to be asking is what was “Sun In My Pocket” really about? I have my suspicions but I would rather not put my foot in my mouth.

Andrew: To be quite honest with you, it was inspired by an older song that we had written called “Sitting On Top Of A Mountain” which had a real visual element to it. If you listen to the lyrical content in the verses, it’s also pretty obvious that it’s a track saying that your life is all about how you see it, because how you see it is how you deal with it.

Finally, how often do people confuse Andrew with Brian?

Andrew: It happens more often than it should. I get that we are twins, there’s not much we can do about that, so we do try to make differences. For instance, Brian bleaches his hair to make it as obvious as possible.

Brian: Very often. Most people can tell the difference very easily once they get to know us, but one of the things of being a twin is  often to  be confused with the other one.

 

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