The Christian Tiger Schoolby Themba Kriger / 14.03.2012
Christian Tiger School burst onto the Cape Town electronic music scene with a soundtrack of deep bass and glitchy beats. Gaining attention thanks to the release of the smooth-as-butter track ‘Carlton Banks’, which they produced at Red Bull Studio Cape Town, the duo have since become a popular feature in the local party circuit. With remixes, releases and the promise of a live show in the near future, we asked them a few questions to find out, who, or what is Christian Tiger School?
Mahala: How did you come up with the name and what does it mean?
Luc Vermeer: We were chilling with the Dalai Llama, and as he took down his shot of bourbon, he shouted “Christian Tiger Schooooool!”
How did you get into making music individually? Are you classically trained?
Luc: My mom saw me fucking around with the piano as a kid and made me do lessons at school. I was classically trained and stopped at about grade 4 level. I did guitar after but nothing classical.
Sebastiano Zanasi: I floated towards playing instruments as my family is pretty musical. I’m studying music next year.
How long have you been making beats together and where did you meet?
Luc: I started making beats around grade 10, and met Seb around 2 years ago.
Sebastiano: We met at the Vredehoek Night Watch’s Annual Ball. I was in bands and shit, before beat making. But we have been seriously making beats for CTS for about 5 months
What’s the process for making a track? Does one of you program the drums, while the other does the bass? Or do you work together on all elements?
Sebastiano: Luc normally does the drums. I do the keys…from there it’s anyone’s game in terms of who comes up with bass, leads and samples.
When describing your sound, references are often made to Los Angeles instrumental hip hop. Is that a conscious influence? What are some of your other inspirations?
Luc: There’s definitely a good scene coming from LA that influences us, but it’s just got to do with who’s making good music. Regardless of where they are from. Because, nowadays, the Internet has allowed people all over the world to get in touch with these movements within the genre. You get Dilla reincarnations coming out of Russia. We definitely got worldwide influences for sure. I guess the majority are from America though. I think Radiohead is one of my “other” influences. Their whole attitude towards music is amazing.
Sebastiano: It’s natural that the LA beat scene would come up when describing our music, it’s where this sort of music blew up. Other influences range from the more hip hop side, like J Dilla and Premo, to the more chillwave side, like Baths and Tycho.
Which local artists do you look up to and do they have an influence on your sound?
Sebastiano: Oxblood for the way he flips his samples, Dank for the swag in his tracks, White Nite for the utter dopeness and Bateleur for the progressions and creativity.
Luc: I think Sibot is a big one, more in terms of his performances and stage presence. Nobody here comes close to him with that. White Nite is one of the most underrated hip-hop producers in SA. Remy Gold is also one I always admired. Oxblood is amazing too, he does his own thing completely.
What do you think of the local electronic music scene?
Luc: I don’t know if it’s because I’ve never paid attention to the scene in detail, but it seems lately that there’s a very positive growth in the electronic scene. More and more producers and DJs are emerging ,which is nice to see. I think there will be a good portrayal of that at the upcoming Cape Town Electronic Music Festival.
Sebastiano: I like it. It’s good
How have you found translating your productions into a live show?
Sebastiano: Weird. At the moment we don’t have enough of our own beats for a full set, so playing live over other cats’ work is always going to be a bit odd. We are new to performing so with time our sets will become more live, and hopefully bring on some other instruments on stage with us.
Luc: For now we just gotta play beats that we feel fit our vibe until we can have a set full of our own beats. The DJing has happened really fast and we still don’t really know what we’re doing, hehe. But we’re learning more and more at every gig.
When you’re not making music, you’re…?
Luc: Organising rap battles at the Renaissance Fair, and running for president of the “Forrest Whitaker Appreciation Society”.
Sebastiano: Still waiting for Gold Panda and Andre Benjamin to accept my friend request on Facebook and collecting music.
What’s coming up in the world of Christian Tiger School? Any releases in the near future?
Luc: We are currently finishing up a Bateleur remix as we speak. We are also working towards releasing an EP soon, within the next month or so.
Finally, anything you’d like to share with the readers?
Sebastiano: I can eat 3 provitas in under a minute.
Luc: I listened to Mary J. Blige as a child.