Gangs Of Ballet: Form and Function

Photography by Chris Scott.

Gangs of Ballet has been persistently dominated the South African music scene for the past couple of years, so it was high time that we caught up with the band ahead of the release of Form and Function Part Two. We discussed the Form and Function EPs, adapting to being a three-piece and their views on the Durban music scene.

Let’s talk about the Form and Function EP trilogy – what made you decided to approach these releases as a trilogy of EPs as opposed to an entire full-length album?

A key decider was trying to re-invent ourselves without our bass player who had left earlier that year. It made sense to have a go and take it slow. Equally with an industry that runs on radio singles, it was quite rad to produce current singles because we’ve been staggering the parts. 

There is a good mixture of rock and synth elements on these EPs – much more than was featured on your debut EP and debut album. What influenced this increased use of synth? Is it just something that allows you to experiment more with your sound?

Yeah, it’s been a growing interest, a synthetic sound is more on trend now but it’s actually quite fascinating what you can do and we dig progression and tech. Also not having a traditional bass guitar on the tracks, only synth bass, the sound naturally evolved.

Is there any particular lyrical narrative you are trying to follow on these EPs or is very much open to the interpretation of your listeners?

The whole project was very ‘write where we’re at now’ so there wasn’t a master narrative other than what are we doing now. 

It’s more like a collection of moments rather than a walk through.

You recently released your music video for “Something” – an incredibly riveting music video. What was the creative inspiration for filming it in a stop-motion fashion?

Thanks, we love how it’s turned out. Tsvi Karl is the star and he’s this amazing human. The concept revolved around looking at people and not just tolerating them but celebrating them! Tomfoolery are a Durban based film company and we worked really close with them and they worked really hard to make it what it is.

You’ve had a pretty great past year or two with the numerous international bands for which you have opened and your forthcoming main stage performance at Rocking The Daisies? What has all that been like and are you looking forward to Rocking The Daisies?

Yeah playing with an international for us is almost an introspective/inspirational thing outside of our performance. Only a muso will understand the thrill of standing on an international stage, checking out their gear and high level of production and staring at the dream, the hopefully one! 

Daisy’s is one of those shows you ALWAYS look forward to, it’s big sound, big crowd and big energy. 

On the flip side, you were unfortunately reduced to a three-piece recently. Was it initially difficult to adapt your sound to fit into being a three piece and how did you manage to do it?

Yeah, it was actually a bit more tricky than we thought, finding synergy again was the hardest part. It’s one thing to play everything in time but it’s another thing to play it together.

Most bands would have probably recruited a new member but you decided not to do that – why?

Hardus in all honestly was irreplaceable, he is SERIOUSLY good! So with us wanting to push a bit more synth heavy it was a natural move. You’ve also got to remember that I spend more time with these brothers of mine than my wife, so trying to find a bass player that was good AND nice wasn’t a challenge we were willing to take up.

The Durban music scene has always been incredibly underrated but there are some awesome acts currently coming out of there at the moment – what are your thoughts on the Durban music scene?

Yeah, it’s crazy that Durban doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, some of the best acts SA has seen ever have come from DBN. And hopefully, that continues. I meet with a lot of guys that are really talented and could kill it on the scene as well as some guys s like Easy Freak, Josh Wantie and Edisontide that are killing it. 

Let’s take it one further – what are your thoughts on the South African music scene in general?

I’m loving what’s out there, I’m loving that we get to hear more local and more Urban artists at the shows we playing and their production is HOT! Rock bands are finding it tough but still there’s plenty of opportunities out there. 

Finally, what can we expect from the final Form and Function EP?

If you talking about Part 3 then we’ll tell you when we work it out. Part 3 is a feel good, sing along vibe that hopefully gets stuck in your head for days!

Purchase the EP here

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