”Written byChristian Staines
“Collaboration seems like the most logical plan, especially because venues are closing down so fast.”
Living in Cape Town, it’s easy to just focus on our own bustling creative community. We often forget to look out beyond the CT bubble and see what our fellow Saffa’s are doing in the far east. Introducing, South Wolves, four long-time mates from Durban’s south coast. Having stumbled across them on @indiemusicza, I was beyond stoked to hear that they were keen to chat about their band and about the current live music scene in Durban.
First up, allow me to introduce the Dad of the group – Eric Scott (27). Eric and his younger brother, Joel (23), grew up in a household scattered with musical instruments and were encouraged to pick up anything and just play it. Joel went straight for smashing drums, while Eric initially chose bass guitar before switching to your standard six-string. In 2017, Joel managed to recruit two of his friends into the band: Ricky Annandale (23) on the bass and Jason Hogan (24) on rhythm guitar. Eric actually taught Ricky bass guitar specifically so that he could join the band. When it comes to band dynamic, Ricky had this to say:
“Eric is quite laid back and introverted, which is quite weird for a lead singer, and we are a bit more wild and crazy, so it’s a good dynamic we have set up. Us three could be going mad on stage and he would just be making sure everyone is on time and the songs are going smoothly.”
As far as band origin stories go, this one is definitely a favourite of mine. Eric discovered Youtube in its early days, and while messing around on a keyboard, decided to get the cat involved. He made a masterpiece mini-series of the cat playing keyboard solos and would show it to his brother and his friends (now the rest of the band). Fast forward a few years and those same kids are now lighting up the stage together. The others reckon “that’s where Eric’s musical genius stemmed from.”
When it comes to inspiration, South Wolves liken themselves to that of Bombay Bicycle Club and Foals, but often get told that they sound like Coldplay or The Smiths. Since the band began, they’ve undergone a number of stylistic changes: like switching from acoustic to electric and from bedroom indie to something a bit more RocknRoll. If by now you’re wondering what I mean, then hit this link to listen to their progression over the years. Ultimately, South Wolves feels as if they are heading more and more towards the sound that they want to be playing.
South Wolves feel as if they are heading more and more towards the sound that they want to be playing.
With their latest release in July, ‘Be the One’ has proven to be a band and fan favourite. It’s definitely the opening guitar riff that does it for me. The band had this to say about their single:
“I think to date that’s probably been our best release. It’s like that indie rock n roll vibe but it’s also quite simple. Basically, the song is about struggling through life and feeling like you’re not good enough. We wrote it during that initial lockdown when we were feeling demotivated and uncertain about what life was throwing our way. And I think that a lot of artists sell sad music talking about their problems but with no solutions. So we tried to make a happy-melancholy vibe where we sing about the problems and then drop a solution in there as well.”
Pre-Covid, things were looking good for South Wolves. They had played a couple gigs with Shortstraw and Desmond and the Tutu’s, but by mid-2020 they felt as if they had been pushed back to the starting blocks. “We were really getting somewhere and all the years of hard work were starting to pay off, and then Covid hit and it stumped things for us. It’s been really demotivating to look back and be like “well we were at that stage but now we are back at square one.”
What we don’t realize about Cape Town, is that post-covid, we still have a number of venues that can accommodate for bands to play. Capetonian bands haven’t had it easy per se, but based on what South Wolves had to say, their live music scene has been slowly crumbling. “In Cape Town, there are still quite a few established venues for bands to play at, whereas in Durban those venues have all pretty much closed down. So up here, you’re not really going to get a proper venue unless you’re someone super established.”
Along Durban’s south coast, South Wolves had managed to amass a pretty solid cult following at their local spots but now that those spots have had to close down, things have taken a turn for the worse. However, they’ve come up with a plan which we at The CCC couldn’t be happier about – Mass Collaboration.
“In Durban, it can be very clique-y. Artists often don’t want to help out each other – we have even been guilty of that in the past. But, now that we’re a bit more mature, we’ve kind of realised that we have to help each other out. And by working together we are going to grow the scene, we are going to pick up on each other’s fans, and we can get live shows to be a thing again.
Collaboration seems like the most logical plan, especially because venues are closing down so fast. We can team up and organize events together that can help these places out. And not just in Durban. If we can arrange for a band from Cape Town or Joburg to come play here in Durban then maybe they can do the same for us back in their home town.”
“In Durban, it can be very clique-y. Artists often don’t want to help out each other – we have even been guilty of that in the past. But, now that we’re a bit more mature, we’ve kind of realised that we have to help each other out.”
Not only is it eye-opening to see that Durbanites also experience the sourness of a clique-y creative scene, but also that there are creatives there who want to change this. And like they said, most of the time this is something you’ll only realize as you mature in the industry. Collaboration and creative teamwork aren’t the only way to get ahead, but they sure are the best. This is a value we believe in so firmly that it stands as our CCC ethos – Stronger Together.
Basically, if you’re in Durban and looking to work on some fun musical stuff together with South Wolves then hit them up. And if you’re in Cape Town and looking to exchange some gigs and increase your band’s SA exposure, then hit them up. The doors are open and South Wolves are waiting.
Keep your eyes on the South Wolves Instagram page for updates about their next releases!
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