Larkin’ Aroundby Mahala High Five Brigade / Images by Laura McCullagh / 25.04.2013
LARK’s sound has always been difficult to describe; glitch opera? Dirty electronic beats? Souring angelic vocals? Tomorrow night Sean and Inge will be taking LARK (Electro) to the Puma Social Club in Braamfontein. We catch up with them for a Q&A before the performance.
Mahala: You are playing at the Puma Social Club this Friday, how are you feeling about that? What can the crowd expect?
Sean ou Tim: Looking forward to PSC. I’ve seen the gallery shots and it looks like a cool party. The crowd can expect lot of the songs from “Gong is Struck”, mixed in with a few LARK classics. It’s the 2-man version as LARK (Electro), so Paul and Fuzzy won’t be joining us.
Do you think what you do is unique at the moment?
S: Special is a better word which comes to mind.
How did you first get involved in music?
Inge Beckmann: I started as a jazz singer then a rapper then I started LARK with Paul.
S: I have a musical family. Piano at age 9.
Inge, what’s going on with Beast today?
I: We just released our debut album SMOKE SWIG SWEAR. We are playing a couple of Cape Town gigs in May then I head for the states for a few months to explore the possibility of a US tour.
S: I love what Beast is doing. What a great band.
Who are your main influences in South Africa and internationally?
S: On my side, I think mainly local influences i.e. artists and bands that I’ve played with throughout my musical career. There are a lot.
Where do your songs come from? Are they mostly based on experiences or on some sort of message you have?
I: I like to keep the songs open ended. They usually gradually gain meaning as the years pass by. Auto writing of sorts I guess.
Inge, how much time do you spend in London these days?
I: Since Paul moved there a few years back I have visited him twice.
What is the best thing about performing to an SA crowd?
S: Home ground advantage I suppose, but I also like the idea of completely new audiences, who have no idea about us at all.
Where do you think of as home?
I: Cape Town.
Where is the best place you have performed?
S: To be honest, it’s tough to say.
How different do you think it is for fans to see you live or just to listen to your cds?
I: Live is first prize. Hands down. You can only capture a fraction through recording.
Is your performance style important to your sound?
I: It IS the sound.
You are quite provocative on stage, do you ever get stalkers? Have you ever hooked up with a fan?
I: Ha. I recently broke that rule. I am often seen as more of a conquest than anything. I learnt from it though.
What else are you involved in? Or is music your bread and butter?
I: I juggle between acting and music and the creative and commercial sides of both. I am busy with a german movie at the moment and just shot a short film with Giant films. Other than that I pitch on jingles for commercials with various producer friends.
What do you listen to when you’re at home?
I: I like listening to the radio.
How do you function as a team as LARK and LARK (Electro)? How do you decide which version of Lark performs?
S: Paul lives in the UK, so we are only able to perform as LARK when he is back in the country from time to time. LARK (Electro) functions while he is away. The full band is always 1st prize for us.
How tricky is it to be in different bands? How do you decide which band gets what?
S: For some people it can just work out, for others not so much. There are no hard and fast rules about it. I suppose, for starters, try work with cool people who understand the situation.
You are one of only a few bands with a woman front man. Frontwoman. Do you that is a bad reflection on the South African music industry? Why aren’t there more women lead the scene?
I: I don’t know, dude.
A while back you had a rant on facebook about music journalists… Do you think you need to develop a thicker skin? Or do you think the industry needs to change to become more respectful of musicians and their art?
I: A thick skin helps a lot. You can’t change people. I have recently discovered the art of insouciance. It’s wonderful.
How is electro evolving?
I: I don’t follow the electro scene.
How is your sound evolving? You’ve received some flack for not changing your sound much since 2007, how do you respond to that? You’ve played some big gigs – how do you keep your fans excited?
I: Listen to the new album Gong is Struck. That is my response. It is a long distance project and we treat it as a love project when the opportunity arises to perform as a full band. We are all busy with other shit in between. LARK fans are LARK fans.
* All images © Laura McCullagh