Peach and Creamby Mahala High Five Brigade / 16.05.2013
Peach Van Pletzen has produced Van Coke Kartel, Kidofdoom, is one third of Bittereinder and, as Yesterday’s Pupil has the dubious honour of once being banned from MK for using the word cocaine in a song. We chat to him about going to an arty school, dealing with pressure and how much he’ll be improvising at the Puma Social Club tomorrow night.
Mahala: What influenced your foray into music production? Which type of sounds inspired you initially?
Peach: I liked the idea of changing the way things sound, making something which sounds like that sound like this. I like warm tones.
What was the music scene like in those days – firstly in Pretoria, and in South Africa? Who were the big bands? Was there any ‘scene’ to speak of? What were the good hang-out spots?
The scene was good. The venue was the original Nile Crocodile and people were way less preconscious.
If we’re not mistaken, you went to Pro-Arte with the likes of Louis and Jaco, both of whom are now in the band Bittereinder with you. What did you gain from that experience?
Jaco went to Boys High. Louis and I went to Pro Arte. It was a very arty school, with people being openly gay and smoking at the tender age of 14. I liked it there.
You’ve worked extensively with a range of bands across genres. What is you mindset when approaching something like Van Coke Kartel’s project, versus the work you did with the Whole Worlds band? What end-results are you aiming for, if any?
I try to live in the shoes of the band(s) I work with. You have to understand what they want in order to know what you want. If I produce rock I am a rocker through and through and none of this electro kak matters then.
Speaking of Whole Worlds, will we ever see any full-on collaboration beyond the live performance aspect? And what of the work you’ve been doing with Tumi Molekane, are there any plans to release a collaborative project of sorts?
We have some plans.
Bittereinder was initially a side-project for you guys, but it’s picked up momentum since your first album. Has this meant projects such as Yesterday’s New Pupil have had to take a back-seat?
With YP I play the long game. With Bittereinder I take it a day at a time.
Please describe a Bittereinder studio session. Who does what, and how long does it take, roughly, to put a song together?
It varies from song to song. Some fall into place quickly while others take months. With the next album I want to take a different approach though.
Do you ever find difficulty juggling between your many music projects? What is your method for dealing with the pressure?
I am pretty good under pressure as long as I don’t start stressing. Stress and pressure is not the same thing, but it is an awful combo.
Do you still have reservations about mainstream radio? And how does being constantly on the charts (as Bittereinder) impact upon the band? Do you get more bookings? Do you see an increase in album sales?
I don’t believe in making music for the radio. If the radio however recognizes a good song that is a different story. I suppose we get more bookings because of it.
In terms of consistently good output, who would you say is doing it right in South Africa right now?
People consume so fast nowadays I don’t know if anyone can keep up with them.
What’s the status quo with Yesterday’s New Pupil, is there a physical release in the works? Are you playing any festivals or club shows? What’s next for that project?
There will be a physical album. I am playing some clubs and festivals and a couple of shows in Europe which is always fun.
What can people expect from your show at the Puma Social Club this Friday?
I have no idea. Lately I like to improvise my sets. I am not fond if pre-making sets. So it might be awesome but honestly it might also be kak.