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Q&A: George van der Spuy

Q&A: George van der Spuy

Taxi Violence head to Jeffreys Bay this weekend for the 5FM Music Festival at the Billabong Pro Challenge Cape Town rock outfit Taxi Violence has mushroomed from one band to three. Goodnight Wembley! is a lucky packet of Cape Town bands: George van der Spuy (Taxi Violence) on the vocals, Nic Gaud (7th Son) on

Taxi Violence head to Jeffreys Bay this weekend for the 5FM Music Festival at the Billabong Pro Challenge

Cape Town rock outfit Taxi Violence has mushroomed from one band to three. Goodnight Wembley! is a lucky packet of Cape Town bands: George van der Spuy (Taxi Violence) on the vocals, Nic Gaud (7th Son) on the vocals and guitar, Alex Krause (Dead Lucky) on the guitar, Gideon de Kock (Like Knives and Yes Sir! Mr. Machine) on the bass and Jean Midderfinger (Dead Lucky, Machineri and Stepdog) on the drums.

BEAST is the second offering from Taxi Violence members Rian Zietsman and Louis Nel. Zietsman and Nel both play bass guitars, with Lark’s Inge Beckman on vocals and Sasha Righini of The Plastics on the drums.

Rolling Stone met up with Taxi Violence frontman George van der Spuy to discuss their new bands, motives and future plans.

Who was the first band to emerge from Taxi Violence, was it BEAST or Goodnight Wembley!? Or was it a collective decision to expand Taxi Violence’s musical boundaries?

BEAST was first. When Rian and Louis started rehearsing more with BEAST, I kind of thought that it might be a good opportunity to expand my musical boundaries too and so started looking for some talented musicians at Kill City Blues with whom I could form a side project with and do the things that Taxi Violence doesn’t really permit or allow due to the fact that people expect a certain sound. Which is fine, but with the side projects it allows us all to explore other avenues and express ourselves differently. BEAST prefer to have a more underground/edgy sound and attitude with regards to song writing whereas Goodnight Wembley! writes material that although ‘heavy’ has more pop sensibility and we’re trying to bring back the lost art of the chorus, something a lot of bands pay very little attention to in this country. I think if you had to combine the two different approaches and attitudes of the side-projects you will find Taxi Violence in the middle somewhere. The side projects is sort of Taxi Violence dissected in a way.

Tell us more about your new band, Goodnight Wembley!. How does the band’s inner gears and approach differ from Taxi Violence?

Firstly, in Taxi Violence I write all the lyrics myself which is a lot harder and takes much longer to settle on because you don’t have another person to bounce ideas off  – and I prefer it that way as it’s usually very personal lyrics. In GW! I have Nic, another vocalist to bounce ideas and melodies off which is also a lot more fun and so songs are written much faster. The lyrical content is also more ‘out there’ and I can explore subjects that are almost unreal and fantasy based… but nothing about hobbits or anything like that, more like a time travel for example.

Now that Goodnight Wembley! and BEAST have emerged, where does this leave the future of Taxi Violence?

Unless Goodnight Wembley! or BEAST get picked up by some major label overseas and go on world tours, the foundations of Taxi Violence are still pretty much intact and the future still looks pretty bright. Bad time management is the only thing that could disturb the balance but we share the same booking agent so that should never really be a problem, although I’m sure there will come a time when there will be dates that could conflict. Taxi is in the midst of recording 5 songs that will be released in the coming months via digital/online and then we go back into studio just before the end of the year to record another 7 songs or so to release a full length album early next year. We’re in the process of writing those songs as we speak. A busy and creative period for us all, never a bad thing!

Kill City Blues seems to have become a creative hub in the Cape Town rock scene…

Well, yes! It’s a great place for all kinds of musicians from all kinds of genres to rehearse, record, do pre production and network. That’s pretty much how I got to hand pick all the members in Goodnight Wembley!, through being able to hear and see all the talent that comes through our doors. We have Most of the household names in the industry that have come through our doors or do on a regular basis, to name a few: Johnny Clegg, TKZ, Locnville, Sean Morgan (Seether), Fokofpolisiekar, Jack Parrow, Heuwels Fantasties, VCK , 7th Son, The Plastics, Hog Hoggidy Hog, aKing, Horse The Band, BEAST, GW! etc etc etc. If this seems like name dropping, it totally is. I’m proud to say these bands rehearse at Kill City and that we can provide them with a platform to hone their skills that they have to go out and present to the world and the country. Plus, the beer is always cold and very cheap.

Do you consider this new band expansion as a new VanFokKingTasies movement? And when are we going to see the first Good Night Taxi Beast gig?

We don’t really consider it to be a new VFKT movement, it kind of just happened. We have talked about doing something where all the bands are playing together on the same night but we’ve also said that we want our side-projects to develop their own fanbases first before we consider doing that. It will happen though, the tricky part will then be, who plays first or second and in my opinion, nobody’s better than the other and the best way to solve it would be to toss a coin or draw straws….but then you also have so many other options to choose from to put on the line-up: Lark, Plastics, Taxi, 7th Son, Dead Lucky, Yes Sir! Mister Machine. We might as well organise have a mini festival.

When will you be dropping the debut Good Night Wembley! album? What can fans expect?

For now, we will only be dropping singles every 2 to 3 months or so, maybe sooner and do promo/music videos for those songs. The idea is to leave people wanting more (which seems to be working) by not giving them too much. Just a taste… until the next release. By early next year you’ll be able to find an album with the already released tracks on and another 8 songs or so to complete the album. We write pretty fast so it will only be the best possible songs that will make it to the album but we will do demo versions of songs (‘b-sides’) that we didn’t include on the album for people to download for free. For the real fans to collect and share with whom they want. Our gift for supporting the band. We haven’t signed any deals yet as we want to build some momentum but we’re putting our feelers out. We might even consider going old school and bring out a vinyl but that costs quite a lot. Would be so cool to have and is a dream I want realised for any of the bands I play in.

Taxi’s bassist Jason Ling is not involved with any of the new bands, where does this leave him?

Jason is a very busy man and although he is not in any of the side-projects, his main priority has always been Taxi Violence. If it wasn’t for that man, Taxi would have died a slow death. He is the oil that keeps the machine working in the band and we are forever grateful for his dedication and hard work, especially when it comes to the management and admin side of things. That being said, Jason and I have been mailing each other song ideas for another side project that will be more acoustic driven and I will most likely be playing drums on most of the songs (at least in the studio) but I will be singing too. Not going to gooi a Phil Collins or anything. That’s something that will happen much later though when things have calmed down a bit with all the releases and activity surrounding Taxi, BEAST and Goodnight Wembley! Let’s just say it’s in the pipeline.

Taxi Violence his heading to J-Bay this weekend for the 5FM music festival that will be happening in collaboration with the Billabong Pro Challenge, what can fans expect?

Fans that know Taxi can expect some new material from the forthcoming releases, at least about 5 new songs in the set and our usual manic, energetic stage performance. You know, amps cranked up to 11, loud cymbals and drums, epic bass lines and a crazy vocalist jumping up and down. Blood, sweat and tears baby! People that don’t know Taxi… they can expect the same as the above mentioned.


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