Chain D.L.K.: When I read that you are both from Johannesburg, I found it interesting that a black man from South Africa and a white man from South Africa were playing together in a band. How did you guys meet and how was Playdoe born?
Playdoe: Simon: Spoek and I met in school, he was my little brother’s age. Spoek started a magazine and did a feature on me as a graffiti artist… we became friends. It was only until years later that we made a formal commitment to forming an official band.
Spoek: Ehm… yeah, it would seem like what you said about “black and white” is stupid… and naive… but I haven’t seen much of this rainbow surfing and handholding since Juluka… We met because we went to the same school… Sibot was the cool senior and I was the silly junior.
Chain D.L.K.: What was the South African scene when you started to play in your previous projects and how is it now? I see from Spoek’s blog that things are moving over there…
Playdoe: Simon: When I started playing, the scene was so young… you couldn’t find turntables in any clubs or fetivals, the idea of a DJ at a festival was foreign. It was predominantly hip hop for me. We pushed our own scene in Cape Town into a glitch hop sound with the project ‘The Real Estate Agents’. Music is a lot more disposable nowadays and scenes change… however house music is without a doubt the biggest music in our country.
Spoek: The scene has grown hugely… well South Africa has always had a strong scene in kwaito and house, which is only getting stronger, but Hip-Hop has picked up hugely, especially commercial hip-hop. I mostly am trying to follow the house, ghetto-house and kwaito scenes now, but I know that other “alternative” electronic music forms are growing.
Chain D.L.K.: What band would you recommend our readers to check out and why?
Playdoe: Spoek: I dig the South African acts Bujo Mujo, DJ What What, Big Nuz, Tira, DJ Ninja… a lot of ghetto house guys are really reshaping my ideas around Afrikan music and what we can do. Blk Jks… I think they are a great band band… as in real band of musicians.
Chain D.L.K.: Spoek, I watched your “Ghost of Bones” video where you mix electro break-beat with elements of your heritage. What kind of influence do your origins have on your music?
Playdoe: Spoek: Just living in Africa and travelling around the world… and also all the music and art I have always consumed. I mean we live in Africa, but are subject to so much foreign media that this mix is implicit in our every action.
Chain D.L.K.: Thinking of Johannesburg I imagine the same kind of atmosphere of New York in the early 80s, where Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa created a new musical style. Can you elaborate on how things really are?
Playdoe: Spoek: I have no idea what the early 80s were like in New York… I DOUBT IT IS ANYTHING LIKE JOHANNESBURG TODAY!! The dynamics… race, politics and economics are so dynamic and in many ways complex… but all in all it’s exciting… new bus lines, new transport systems, new buildings… the city is doubling it’s infrastructure in preparation for the World Cup next year…
Chain D.L.K.: When thinking of the social and political situation of your country, I would expect social inspired lyrics, but on the Rec Mag interview you said that you don’t want to have any kind of message linked to your music. What brought you to this choice and what are your preferred themes when you write your lyrics?
Playdoe: Simon: I just feel that we were born in a messed up country and we are dealing with the mistakes of the past all day long, so I want people to forget about that and have fun instead!!
Spoek: I write lyrics about roller skating through fields of dead slaves.
Chain D.L.K.: I really like your debut Mini LP. I found it fresh, energetic and inspired. What have your main influences been for those tracks?
Playdoe: Simon: Each other. We often make each other laugh acting like fools and I think that inspires freshness.
Spoek: Rollerskating and UK Grime… and Ultramagnetic MCS.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you already working on new tracks or new releases? Will they be out on Jarring Effects again?
Playdoe: Simon: We have a bunch of fresh tracks. Jarring has quite a back log of releases waiting, so we’ll probably have to find someone else who will release them soon. But we owe a lot to Jarring and we’ll always do stuff with them.
Spoek: We have new music… we are looking for someone to release it.
Chain D.L.K.: Are you collaborating or would you like to collaborate with any other artists?
Playdoe: Simon: Yeah, I’m writing a beat for msyyid from Anti Pop… would love to work with Chris Clark.
Spoek: Yeah… I am working with Richard the third from South Africa and Djedjotronic, Riot Kid and Marvy Da Pimp, Stereoheroes from France, Urchins and Xrabit from London and Schlachthofbronx from Germany. I really dig collaborating… I would like to work with Animal Collective, Seun Kuti, Prince and Stevie Wonder.
Chain D.L.K.: Anything else I might want to ask you that I might have forgotten about?
Playdoe: Spoek: Yes. I do love you.
Visit Playdoe on the web at:
[interviewed by Maurizio Pustianaz] [proofreading by Marc Urselli]