Native Young: The Road To Daisies

Possibly one of the most exciting up-and-comers in the local music scene right now is Native Young, a Cape Town hailing African psychedelic pop band whose intriguing melodic fusions have seen them take on a remarkable number of stages since their relatively recent inception. Recently returned from a European tour and fresh off the plane from Malawi, the band caught up with us ahead of their upcoming Rocking the Daisies performance this Friday.

I think an apt place to start would be on the topic of your newest release, the “Crystal Lion” video. It’s an incredibly poignant offering. Can you tell us a little about the process of creating it and the message it intends to convey?

The song itself is about unrequited love and lust – we really wanted the video to reflect the struggle and beauty of these emotions. The concept was put together by Yannick and director Jasyn Howes after seeing some of the devastating discrimination of lesbian women in disadvantaged communities in South Africa. We were inspired to subtly explore the innocence of a ‘forbidden’ love as opposed to a sensationalist focus on the injustices being suffered – hoping that this kind of focus would send a message of love being pure and natural in all forms – existing on a level above any cultural or societal discrimination.

You also recently released your debut full-length album, ‘Kings’ – an equally striking musical project. How long was the journey in creating it and what was it like?

Recording the album was an adventure rich with life lessons – it’s filled with so many stories and the fingerprints of every incredible person who has touched the project since it’s inception. ‘Kings’ took about 6 months to record at Rootspring studios in Muizenberg – however, the album was written over 2 years in Noordhoek, Khayelitsha, Philippi and Muizenberg. It was a difficult yet profoundly rewarding journey to complete it.

The album is broken up by a number of interludes and many of the tracks feature dialogue and conversations – incredibly interesting and striking additions to it. Were any of these scripted or were they simply off the cuff material you recorded to add in?

None of the interludes is scripted. Alejandro and I spent a year meeting and jamming with musicians from Philippi to Muizenberg while putting the live band together. We made a point of recording these encounters with cameras and mics – often forgetting to switch them off. It’s these moments in between rehearsals and jams, riding in cars, sitting on mountain tops, busking on the beach, conversing about life, love and music – that make up the interludes.

You recently returned from a European tour and are headed off to Malawi in a couple of days. How was the experience in bringing your music to another audience and country entirely?

Europe was an amazing experience from start to finish. We played the biggest music festival in Germany, Fusion, which was a huge milestone for us. We went on to spend time busking and collaborating with local artists in Berlin, playing a range of incredibly special shows in Spain and performing for a 10 000 person strong crowd in France – our biggest festival audience yet. We were totally blown away by how positive the reception to our music was and will be returning for a much bigger tour in 2017. We definitely came back feeling inspired and ready to take on new ideas. Our intention has always been to do something meaningful with the Native Young project both culturally and musically – we now feel even more motivated to fulfil this wish.

The music Native Young creates is starkly African and yet wholly original within our scene. Where do you draw influence from?

We draw influence mainly from our natural surroundings -living in Africa provides an abundance of inspiration.  Of course, we’re also inspired to write about personal experiences and we often derive inspiration through our collaborations with Other African artists.

Since Native Young’s inception, you have all been very involved in a number of musical initiatives in several townships throughout Cape Town. Can you tell us a little about these projects?

There are two main initiatives – one being Philippi Music Project – a project run by local musicians who set up container studios in Philippi to record young artists. They joined forces with us for our album launch and a few of their artists have performed with us on stage at the last two events we hosted in Philippi. The other is Isikhokelo school choir in Khayelitsha. They featured on our album and also performed the opening track at our album launch. Yannick will also be including them in a new project for 2017.

We hugely enjoyed your set at Rocking the Daisies last year. But with a new album under your belt and a swiftly growing audience this year, what can we expect from your upcoming Daisies performance?

You can expect the fire of African hearts! That’s all we’re saying 😉

Catch Native Young on the Main Stage, Friday, 5pm

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