It's a sunny winter Monday morning and the Cape Town-based Electronic rap-trio, PHFat, drop by the Rolling Stone office to chat about seriously taking the piss, the non-existence of the music industry and the fact that we're all going to die.
Mike and Disco rap and Narch builds the beats. But how does a local rap group generate so many plays on their Soundcloud tracks? PHFat believe that if you produce listenable content and if you're only going to punt your tracks online and not bother with CDs, they will mushroom.
With their last EP, You Are Going to Die, they went the Radiohead (In Rainbows) route and made the tracks available for free download on their site. Did people actually click on the "Give us money"-link? Mike looks chuffed, "We made more money with this album (EP) than the first one that we sold (laughs)... we made more with this one in the first two weeks than we did of a year selling the other one."
When asked what pisses them off about the South African Music Industry, Mike instantly cuts the question down to size: "There is no such thing like a music industry. I think obsessing about the industry and complaining about the industry is dumbest thing you can do. Cause there's no industry other than the one that you create." According to them there is only a PHFat-industry, the one that they created for themselves.
But where do they plug in? There must be some kind of source. Disco softly hits back in his monotone voice: "It's not so much us plugging into a space, it more like space plugging into us". The hierarchies in the questions gets swapped around or just plainly dismissed. And with an EP title like You are going to die, you wonder if they're existentially taking the piss or being serious.
Catch PHFat live at the 5FM Music Festival in J-Bay on the weekend of 13-15 July.