The end of 2011 saw Van Coke Kartel release their much anticipated fourth full-length album, “Wie’s Bang” and embark on a nationwide tour which involved them playing in several different parts of the country in just one day (J –Bay, Stillbaai, Pretoria, Johannesburg, Cape Town). Could other bands maintain that kind of pace and still deliver a world-class rock ‘n roll performance? Yeah, we think not. There’s no denying that Van Coke Kartel are one of a kind, and “Wie’s Bang” solidifies this original status. LW Mag chatted to Wynand about the new album, band members’ recent nuptials and who is the last man standing in the band after a proper jol!
Band: Van Coke Kartel
Members: Francois van Coke, Jedd Kossew, Wynand Myburgh, Jason Oosthuizen
Years performing: The Kartel has been going since Dec 2007
Record Label: Supra Familia
Hometown: Cape Town
Congrats on your new album, “Wies Bang”! What can VCK fans expect from the album?
It is by far our best work to date and the first time we wrote a complete album as a four piece band (drums, bass, lead guitar and vocals all working together). It is a rock album packed with melody, riffs, solos, big drum sounds and brilliant production work from Theo Crous. It is our best effort from over the past year to create something that fans and audience can enjoy. We love it. Get a copy!
What’s your guys’ process in studio? Do you have a set way of recording?
We had all the songs written when we striked Bellville studios. We spend some time with Theo on rearranging some of the tracks and from there Jason started tracking the drums as we finalised the structures. We had to keep holding back not to go too over the top. Theo was a big help in this. After [that] the drums, bass and guitars were added and more layers of stuff and finally the vocals and some synth. It was very mellow and the songs just came to life over the month we spend in the studio.
Which song are you most proud of on the album and why?
We are happy with all the songs. One of my personal favourites is ”Dankie, Ek is Veilig Hier”. It just works and has a great flow. It also sounds quite different from your average balls to the wall VCK songs. That for me is great. Something different that works. Everyone that hears the song responds the same: ”That is a great track!”. The ballad ”Tot Die Son Uitkom” is just as great and our first real ballad. It is a song that you cannot not be proud of.
If you could’ve been in the studio during the recording of any album in history – which would it be?
We like rock music. It would have been amazing to have been there when the Beatles recorded their earlier stuff. To see how they captured a full band with four tracks. It would also have been great to be in studio with a monster rock band like [Led] Zeplin and not to mention to have been around for the recording of AC/DC’s Back In Black. There is something magical that happens in any recording of a great album. To be there and be part of that energy is amazing. Oh yes, let’s not forget about the recording of Nirvana’s Nevermind.
What’s been the craziest part of your latest tour thus far?
All tours are crazy and just completely out there. To leave normal life and spend every night in a different town with people ready to party is just amazing and completely insane. During the last leg of the “Wie’s Bang” tour we played in J-Bay on the evening of 30 Dec. We had to get up at 04h00 the next morning and drive to Stilbaai to be in time for our slot on the Avontoer’s NYE party at 11h00 the morning of 31 Dec. After the gig we drove to Cape Town International and made our flight to OR Tambo in time. From there we rushed to Hatfield Square in Pretoria for a 21h00 slot at the TUKS FM New Year’s event. Straight after that event we picked up Fokofpolisiekar drummer Snake and drove to Fourways for a Fokof gig for NYE. The next day we flew home and played another FPK show at Rock the River. It was a crazy mission covering half of South Africa within one day.
Who is generally the last man standing between you all at an after-party?
We all have off nights and need help to get home. Generally it is Jedd or myself (Wynand) that will go home earlier. Jason seems to be the one most likely to go and make other turns. Only to regret it the next day….
When you guys aren’t touring or making an album, what do you do on your down-time?
Playing in a band is a 24 hour job, but we have learned over the years to scale down. I try and stay away from events and parties. I get enough of that. Spending time at home with my wife and dogs is relaxing and important. We also make missions to hang with our friends and families. Most of the time [is spent] reading and watching movies and just taking it really easy. It’s all we have time for before a new week begins with rehearsals, meetings, shoots, interviews, writing new material, gigging, etc. It is a lifestyle and it takes a lot to keep it going.
What’s one type of music or a trend you wish would become extinct soon?
Tie dye shirts and skirts……no need to bring that back!!
Your best song to perform still has to be…?
”Einde van die Wereld” from “Wie’s Bang”. There’s a lot of great songs on the new album that we have not performed live.
Congrats Wynand and Francois on your recent nuptials! Does this mean the VCK hooligan days are officially over?
I do not see marriage changing us or myself, but I have been trying to scale down on the party vibes for a few years already. That is just for practical reasons. If I had to keep going at the rate I did six years ago there would not have been a “Wie’s Bang” or any future albums, videos or anything. Our wives are very supportive and give us the strength to look after ourselves and try and reach our potential as musicians and not just ”party animals”.
What’s a goal or ultimate dream as VCK that you all hope to achieve?
I have started this year with a hunger to tour the world. It would be great to achieve reasonable success within other countries so that we can tour there more often. We have been to Taiwan (and will be returning this year), Amsterdam and London, but now it is time to break through and the internet is the tool……
What have been some of the biggest changes in the last 10 years on the SA music scene – good and bad?
MK, social networks and blogging has changed it all and all for the better, just different. Stuff changes every day and we get challenged to move with these changes on a daily basis. It has become easier to be a band and create a hype and following, but it has also become more difficult. In the past you could just master your instrument. Today if you can play but don’t have a smartphone or if you’re not into computers then you will be left behind. That is if you cannot afford to pay people to help you with this and what upcoming band can do that? The main thing is that it is still all about the music and creating something special, new and something that an audience will enjoy. This concept can easily get lost in between all the new tasks at hand.
Describe your VCK fans.
The best people to walk on the face of the planet!
Which festival are you guys most amped to play at this year?
RAMfest and Oppikoppi have been our favourites for years. It would be nice to get invited to Rocking the Daisies for a change.
Who is the most badass female rocker out there?
There have been plenty over the years. First one that comes to mind is Courtney Love……BAD!
Lastly, if you could do it all over again what would you and what wouldn’t you change?
It would have been great to kick off FPK in 2003 with the knowledge that we have now, but then again it might have taken away some of the spontaneous elements that made us start playing Afrikaans rock originally. I am happy as it is and tomorrow I start all over with a new year and new ideas….this is like starting all over again or maybe even the beginning?
Photos by Juan Voges