one small seed issue 23

Page 1

SA R48.50 / UK £3.99 / US $7.99 / CA $7.99 / AUS $7.50 printed in south africa

cult of self

James Lavelle of UNKLE Skoonheid director Oliver Hermanus Lauren Beukes, author of sci-fi novel Zoo City The Smiths’record producer Stephen Street Markus Wormstorm / Melvin vAn Peebles David Chislett on The Changing Face of Music afro-hop artist Blitz The Ambassador NNEKA music with a message




issue 23 founder / editor-in-chief


graphic designer / art director

giuseppe russo

sarah claire picton

ernst lass

copy editor

advertising & sales


gustav swart

michael littlefield

Carol howell, David Ward, Nadine Arendse

south african distribution

distribution assistant (durban)

ezweni magazine distribution

rachel basckin

international distribution

pineapple media

cover 'Desolation' by Natalie Shau editorial contributors Sarah Claire Picton, Gustav Swart, Ryan Eyden, Sandra Pfeifer, Guthrie Cooper, Shawn Greyling, Eftihia Stefanidi, Adam Alexander, Adam Lifshitz, Daniel Jake Sher, David Chislett, Rob Cockcroft, Rikus Ferreira, Nolan Stevens, Roger Young, David Ward, Batandwa Alperstein, Stephan Viollier, Sarah Jayne Fell, headline payoff, Ashlee Valdes, Mica Jenkins, Katleho Makhale photographers Gregory Chris, Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton-Jones, Sam Norval, Bruce Boyd, Steven Proudfoot, Gary van Wyk, Jakub Fulin (assistant), Stone Elephant Photography guest illustrators Rikus Ferreira, , Simon Maclennan special thanks Ryan Eyden, Jaco Lambrechts @ one small seed productions, Pietro Russo, Howard Simms @ Hammer Live, Bruce Wright @ mnemonic, Rikus Ferreira @ RSVP, James Bartlett, Jannis @ Jakarta Records, Julie @ ONE LOUDER, Gail @ Gailforce, Ginny Suss, Markus Wormstorm, Ashlee Valdes, Guthrie Cooper, Andy Betts, Katleho Makhale, The Book Lounge, Nathan Daniel Heller, Dene Botha editorial address: 22 Lawley Road, Woodstock, Cape Town, 7925, South Africa tel: +27 (0) 21 4477 096 / fax: +27 (0) 86 545 0371/ web: email: advertising sales subscription / back issue enquiries

The small print: No responsibility can be taken for the quality and accuracy of the reproductions, as this is dependent on the quality of the material supplied. No responsibility can be taken for typographical errors. The publishers reserve the right to refuse and edit material. All prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. No responsibility will be taken for any decision made by the reader as a result of such opinions. Copyright one small seed South Africa. All rights reserved. Both the name ‘one small seed’ and are copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written consent from the publisher. one small seed does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. This is a quarterly publication. ISSN 977 181 6896 033.

editor's letter Welcome to our 23rd issue! I discovered one small seed magazine four years ago. I was just back from abroad and feeling lost in translation, a stranger in my own land. one small seed introduced me to people who were realising their passion in art, fashion, music, photography and design. And to my own country. So I decided to find a way to be a part of ‘the bigger picture’ at one small seed. To be a part of helping artists realise their dreams, and maybe even chase some of my own. I couldn’t afford the magazine, so I gave the Gods of Copyright the finger and photostatted a few issues to get a feel for it. As David Byrne of Talking Heads warns: ‘Watch out... you might get what you’re after.’ It seems that the Gods of Copyright are not mocked as I joined the one small seed team in May 2010 and learnt that chasing dreams can be damned hard work. My initial duties were mainly restricted to editing the online content and it is truly an honour to be offered this position as editor of the magazine. This responsibility has taught me a lot, but most importantly it has made me understand the power of the self... that the dreamers of dreams have to believe in themselves while treading a fine line between crippling self-doubt and overweening pride.

This is our six year anniversary issue and our twenty third overall. The revamp of our online platform has started to pay dividends with more hits on our website every day, but the magazine has a special place in my heart. We were sad to lose longtime editor Sarah Jayne Fell, but Sarah Claire Picton has filled some very big shoes. Well, some dainty shoes with killer heels. Giuseppe Russo / founder / editor-in-chief

This idea has driven the sixth anniversary issue – titled ‘Cult of Self’. It’s about selfrecognition, not vanity. It’s about confidence, not arrogance - and that confidence comes from dedication and desire. This issue celebrate two things: the sixth year of one small seed as an independent international magazine and those who make their corner of the planet a little better... and have realised their own selves. This issue has a few more interviews than we normally use because we wanted the artists to express themselves in their own words. We sit down with international names like Nneka, James Lavelle and Melvin van Peebles... and local stars like Markus Wormstorm, Oliver Hermanus and Lauren Beukes. On the visual side, we were delighted to chat to Supakitch and Koralie, two dynamic graffiti artists who paint whatever town they’re in red... and every other colour under the sun. Illustrator/Photographer Natalie Shau’s arresting work demanded pride of place on the cover, and Sam Norval shot our fashion spread at FLASH studios in Cape Town. We also explore the controversy surrounding music piracy and present legendary record producer Stephen Street’s caustic take on the very technology that upstarts like Blitz The Ambassador and Dan Mendez laud, while local writer David Chislett stakes out the middle ground. Throw in some trend-watching as we sent a hapless contributor into the underbelly of Joburg to find some punks, while those higher up the editorial food-chain spent a more urbane evening soaking up the zeitgeist and folly of the ’20s at one of culturetalent’s swing events. So it turns out that photostatting this magazine was a lot easier than editing it. I found a bit more of myself in the process, and I hope you do too while you read it. Sarah Claire Picton / editor


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26 / Dark Art

40 / Old school Hollywood

54 / S.A. Music

63 / Competition Results

tales from the Underground

Ain’t not Bothered

The Worm has Turned

Melvin van Peebles - the man behind ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song’ - explains his unusual career

We spent a day with musician Markus Wormstorm and put him to the question

southern comfort Creative Exchange

34 / Global Music

46 / 64th Cannes Film Festival

58 / S.A. sub-culture

When the Lights go out / we own the night

South African Beauty

Anarchy in the RSA

Immigrant’s Song

Director Oliver Hermanus reflects on the impulse behind Skoonheid

A night out with some of the Jozi Punx

Blitz ‘The Ambassador’ pays tribute to his Ghanaian roots with his ‘Afrohop’ sound

38 / Award-winning author

50 / Generation ‘Blogger’

60 / A SoundCloud Success

70 / New York street artists

2011: An S.A. Oddity

Dream a little dream of Me

Beyond Labels

Arthur C. Clarke winner Lauren Beukes, the author of Zoo City and Moxyland, talks about South African fiction and her place in it

Roger Young explores the role of online personae and identifies some archetypes

Dan Mendez talks about producing music from his home in Paraguay

Breaking down Wall Street

We’re proud to exhibit the haunting work of graphic artist Natalie Shau

UNKLE’s James Lavelle talks about his two decades in the industry

The results of Southern Comfort’s Creative Exchange design competition

66 / Global Music

Graffiti artists Supakitch and Koralie explain the method to their madness

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departments 74 / Legendary British Producer

88 / Industry Analysis

100 / S.A. Music


Paying the Piper

The Art of Noise

Hustle and Bustle


The Smiths’ record producer Stephen Street opens up

One, Two, One, Two author David Chislett contemplates the future of music

Federico Fernandez explains that making music is not money for nothing, and neither are his cheques for free


78 / Global Movement

92 / New Animation

102 / advertorial


And the Swing goes on

Splitting Seconds

undftd x puma - the clyde


We put on our dancing shoes and fueled up the Delorean for a trip back to the future

Animation collective Polynoid takes us behind the scenes of their short film Loom

The Clyde gets a new lease on life


82 / fashion shoot

97 / global music



in the present

one small seed's fashion shoot

Nneka met us in New York to discuss her musical odyssey


in store Words: David Ward

ShelfLife X Puma Two icons melt together into the Train Runner collection from Shelflife and Puma, providing personal locomotive transport of the fashion kind. Taking inspiration from South Africa’s vibrant metro system, the train runners will keep your tracks straight.

Beastie Boys Toys The Spike Jonze-directed ‘Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win’ video for the Beastie Boys' latest single featured these 11.5inch doppelgangers... and now you too can own them. They’re not cheap at $750 but all proceeds will go to two prestigious organisations fighting childhood cancer.

GIVE IT BAG Behind each of these bags is a desire, a sharing… long hours of washing, burning, varnishing and stitching. 98% of each GIVE IT BAG is recycled, leaving a functional, beautiful, sexy cover that will be resistant and easy to carry. The laptop bags are 13 inches or 15 inches wide.

RZA – Headphones The powerhouse that is hip-hop DJ RZA has teamed up with the ultra-alluring Swedish style brand We Are Superlative Conspiracy to bring you ‘Chambers’. These powerful headphones not only sound great but look gorgeous too. When you’re dealing with two prolific high quality brands, you can be sure to get something solid and timeless. 14

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TwoBop – RadBot TwoBop is a clothing brand started in 2004 as an expression of love for old arcade and 8-bit classics. This radbot hoodie celebrates an age where technology exposed itself for the simple admission fee of 20 cents or a 2bop. Electronic nostalgia has never looked so awesome.

Wooden Flashstick The gentle collision of nature and technology has never produced anything as slick as these amazing USB drives. All uniquely handcrafted and fully guaranteed, these sticks let your personal data be… personal. With the option to engrave your name into the wood, your ownership will never be obscured by any amount of Tippex. Now available in South Africa.

Space Invaders Multi-tool

When aliens invade, who knows what their weakness will be (this time)? But with the super Space Invaders design providing a bottle opener, flat-head screwdriver and Phillips head screwdriver, you’ll be sure to have the tools needed to defeat them.

TWITTER PORTRAIT Fill in your account name to see your portrait created from your Tweets and avatar. Try a friend’s name. Download as an avatar. Wouldn’t a poster/canvas print be cool (as a gift)? Your printer would need a big, high-resolution image. No problem. Order their designers to turn a portrait into a huge .jpg image and send you the download link by e-mail. one small seed


in store feiyue delta sneakers Available at A Store, Dokter and Misses, Mooks, The Street and selected outlets nationwide. |

Chick-a-Dee Smoke Detector This smoke detector is based on the idea that ‘a little birdie told me that the roof is on fire.’ You can never be too careful. With the highest safety standards and modern technology, I’d be proud to say my bacon was saved by this bird.

nooka Zub 40 Watch Ever look at your watch and wish it could always match your shoes? The ultra-customisable Nooka Zub 40 comes in four colours: white, black, red/grey and green. This encourages you to mix and match the adjustable straps to suit any outfit.

GLIF Ever taken your iPhone out to get that perfect shot only to have your shaking hands blur what could have been a classic shot? Well the GLIF is an attachment for your phone that allows it to clip onto most tripods on the market. Now you’ll never need a steady hand to get that steady shot.


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pull-in fa beverley underwear Popobe is a craze (from China, where else?) that’s starting to take over some of the more neon-coloured corners of Jozi’s art life. They come in a range of sizes and in endless design variations – you can even buy a blank one and decorate your own if you’re so inclined! They’re perfect as gifts... or to make sure you never lose your keys again. available at Ke Ai |

Status Update Sticky No matter your notation needs, ensure that even the smallest stuff gets noticed with Keep It Simple Stickies — just as colorful and witty as all your brilliant (or mundane) thoughts.

Paez Shoes When you think ‘Argentina’, you’re may think… ‘llamas’. These ain’t llamas. Combining bohemian cool with chilled countryside vibes, Paez shoes promise the comfort of wandering through grassy hills but won’t make you look like a shepherd. Launched last year in South Africa, Paez enforces a strict policy of 100% Argentinean product so you can be sure they are the genuine article.

Psychoplates Sometimes you got too much on your plate and other times not enough. Get a psyche test after every meal with these awesome Rorschach test designs. A great conversation piece at dinner parties… if your guests are clinically insane.

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book reviews Reviewers: Gustav Swart (GS), Sarah Fell (SF), Sarah Claire Picton (SP)

Rebel Youth Edited by Martynka Wawrzyniak with Patrik Schedler and Bruce Hackney Rizzoli (2011)

A posthumous collection of famed Swiss Karlheinz Weinberger photographer’s shots of disaffected young people. Taken mostly in and around Zurich in the sixties, these photographs capture the fragile exuberance and casual artlessness of youth. Weinberger lived with the ‘Lice-infested Ones’ and captured their transient beauty on film, still visible in these pages 50 years later. He faced accusations of indecency, fueled by the perceived homo-eroticism of his work, but used his lens to look beyond the flesh and skin of his subjects and glimpse something profound beneath. (GS)

Cult-ure: Ideas can be Dangerous by Rian Hughes Fiell (2011)

Divine inspiration contained in a holy aesthetic, Cult-ure (aka ‘Gideon’s Bible for the Boutique Hotel’) is a machine gun of ideas firing at us. As if perhaps reading you, Rian Hughes busts us with ideas designed for their response, challenging the reader to a Socratic game of comprehension and questioning. Sowing the seed, a single immaculately designed image paired with a strong body of text is enough to have you reading the book long after you’ve put it down. Minimalist design does not mean a light read, but indeed a single idea injected into the subconscious might be fulfilling enough for a few nights’ reading. (SP)

Sagmeister: Another Book about Promotion and Sales Material Edited by Stefan Sagmeister, Chantal Prod’Hom and Martin Woodtli Hermann Schmidt (2011)

Legendary graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister is somewhat eccentric, and so is this book. Made up mostly of examples of his work, it is punctuated by odd little anecdotes and vignettes from Sagmeister’s travels. Some interviews add heft, if not too much clarity, but the protagonist remains the maestro’s products - not his process. This book would fascinate those engaged in the visual arts, and its design is… well, what you’d expect it to be. (GS)


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Fire Walker: William Kentridge, Gerhard Marx Edited by Oliver Barstow and Bronwyn-Law Viljoen Fourthwall Books (2011)

'Fire Walker' (2010), the public sculpture by South Africa artists William Kentridge and Gerhard Marx, has been called Johannesburg’s Statue of Liberty. But it’s more of an anti-statue: constructed from layered metal plates, its subject is only discernable from one vantage point. And it immortalises a character traditionally unworthy of such veneration: a black woman as marginalised in her landscape as she is at its fiery core. The 11-metre-high street vendor wears her burning brazier like a crown. And while she is at the heart of the book of the same name, she is by no means the end of its scope. Scrutinising public art and the politics it inhabits (particularly within the complicated South African milieu), some of this country’s finest editors, writers, curators and artists deftly argue that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts. (SF)

Mags! Independent magazine design Selected by Eva Minguet Monsa (2011)

In the early ’60s, Ed Sanders cranked out copies of Fuck You: A magazine of the Arts on a mimeograph machine, and featured luminaries like Allen Ginsberg, Norman Mailer, William Burroughs and Andy Warhol. Smaller, leaner, edgier… independent magazines still play a vibrant role in global culture and this collection showcases 21 of the best of ‘em. Each example includes samples of work, an interview and contact details. This collection would benefit anyone involved or keen to become involved in independent magazines, but is more than just an industry-specific resource. (GS)

Tretchikoff: The People’s Painter Edited by Andrew Lamprecht Jonathan Ball Publishers (2011)

Calling Vladimir Tretchikoff ‘The People’s Painter’ may be an attempt to soften the jibe under the South African artist’s better known designation as ‘The King of Kitsch’. This endeavour partly inspires this publication and accompanying exhibition, the first major retrospective of his work, held at the Iziko South African National Gallery earlier this year. Despite – or because of – his worldwide popular success, Tretchikoff’s work was actively rejected by the art establishment during his lifetime; he exhibited far more in the world’s biggest department stores (including Harrod’s) than he did in art galleries. This stigma has finally begun to fade as a younger generation of art lovers and critics hang his paintings with pride, and books like this (which features reproductions of Tretchikoff’s best and lesser known works and several supplementary essays) are testament to that. I’d even dare suggest this book is critical to any serious art history collection today. (SF) one small seed


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Welcome to the fifth instalment of our online creative talent search. Creativity: noun 1. the state or quality of being creative. Definitions are dangerous. Like assumptions, they garrison boundaries and ride with a host of clauses. ‘Creativity’ is particularly difficult to define. What makes something creative? What makes someone creative? And what makes someone a ‘creative’? More than a job title, less than an identity…. Somewhere in between perhaps. Richard Wollheim deems the nature of art to be ‘one of the most elusive of the traditional problems of human culture’, so we leave it up to you to decide. But whether you’re looking for art or just something likable, the one small seed network ( is a global platform of over 5000 members that showcases innovation and ingenuity across media. Selected Creatives was initiated in May 2010 to give our one small seed network members the rare opportunity to see their work featured in print. With the exciting changes we’ve implemented to and earlier this year, there’s no shortage talent and passion to be found on Your votes are in and photographer Ilse Moore takes first place with her breathtaking, ethereal underwater shots, while first runner-up is Cape Town photographer Janine Kuschke-van der Tuin and second runner-up is photographer Ashleigh Tasker. one small seed


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Ilse Moore Female / Free State, South Africa / Visual Artist & Photographer ‘My work is concerned with a loss of conscious control. The search for a visual solution has guided me towards photography - mainly because of its ambiguity. Photography became a metaphor for psychological transformation and water the perfect environment for me to investigate self-awareness… due to its associations with death and rebirth. I can spend hours looking through contemporary art books and photography magazines. I was so excited to find one small seed because it had everything!’


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Janine Kuschke-van der Tuin Female / Cape Town, South Africa / Photographer ‘I am a photographer based in Cape Town. Simply put: I love what I do. A lot of my work is personal, each photograph a little piece of my soul. For me, photography is about seeing the world like a wide-eyed child - experiencing things for the first time with curiosity and no preconceived ideas of how things are ‘supposed’ to be. You just see more this way. My love affair with pictures and photography grows deeper and more intense daily… this is a part of my life I am viciously addicted to.’ 24

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Ashleigh Tasker Female / Cape Town, South Africa / Learner ‘I encountered one small seed a few years ago through a friend. I love seeing so many talented young people getting featured and feel privileged to join them. I’m still in my senior year but started taking photographs around five years ago. I am inspired by everything around me: books, music or people… and photography enables me to share the way I see things. I wouldn’t be the same person without it.’ 26

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Natalie Shau:

Flowers in a garden of unearthly delights, Natalie Shau’s work unleashes an eerie wail over a deadly silence. Surreal juxtapositions of historical, mythological and literary elements form uncomfortable hybrids that stare across broken landscapes… or at you. Shau lives in Greece but grew up in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, and her work has a pagan feel befitting the nation that held on to its old gods long after the rest of Europe had abandoned theirs. Her illustration 'Desolation', featured on the cover of this issue, speaks to a past before the Teutonic Knights came with piety and blood. Mixing photography, digital painting and 3D media, Shau’s work is often personal or destined for a gallery exhibition but she also has wide commercial interests. She does illustrations for writers, musicians, advertisers, and fashion designers (some of which were published in French Vogue), and has an impressive client list that includes the likes of Sony BMG, Ogilvy and Mather, Island Def Jam, Century Media and Nuclear Blast. Whether she works for love or money, Shau’s style is as distinctive as it is evocative. Pictures of beautiful grotesques and melancholic figures, dappled with the weird and laced with esoteric erudition… this selection represents the tip of some very dark ice.

Swan Lake



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Hunter's Dream

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Letting Go


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Solitude one small seed


Scan the QR code to view the video or visit

Photography: Warren Du Preez & Nick Thornton-Jones

When THe Lights Go Out We Own THe Night an interview with James Lavelle

UNKLE was formed in the mid-nineties by two British school friends, Tim Goldsworthy and James Lavelle. They were joined by DJ Shadow, Money Mark (the Beastie Boys), the Scratch Perverts and Japanese hip-hop crew Major Force. Goldsworthy left after a year because of artistic differences with Lavelle, and UNKLE has since seen many changes in personnel.

more prominent contributors like Ian Brown and Gary Mounfield (Stone Roses), Robert Del Naja (Massive Attack), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), Gavin Clark (Clayhill) and Ian Astbury (The Cult).

UNKLE’s 1998 debut album Psyence Fiction drew critical acclaim and featured the talents of musician like Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Mike D (Beastie Boys), Richard Ashcroft (The Verve), Badly Drawn Boy and Jason Newsted (Metallica).

File left in 2008 and UNKLE took to the road... taking along Badly Drawn Boy, Liela Moss (The Duke Spirit), Gavin Clark and Joel Cadbury (South) for the ride. The rigours of touring were soon replaced by the demands of the studio as UNKLE produced material with the likes of Chris Goss, Black Mountain, James Griffith (Lake Trout), Sleepy Sun, The Black Angels, Katrina Ford and Elle J.

DJ Shadow was replaced by Richard File as the last century died and many tracks acquired an ambient style. Then came

All these names and faces... but one constant remains: James Lavelle. Ernst Lass speaks to the maestro. one small seed


Where does the name UNKLE come from? It came from this idea of a production company that Tim and I set up, and it started as The Man from U.N.K.L.E. Productions and then later became UNKLE. How would you describe the sound of UNKLE and of James Lavelle to someone who hasn’t heard it before? It’s very hard to describe your own music. Takes you on a lot of different tangents. I think the direction is quite beat-driven, journeylike, melancholy and rooted in electronic music history. The music is actually quite rich and emotionally driven. Do you write songs with specific vocalists in mind or is it more of a collaborative process? It really depends on the people we work with (like Gavin Clark). Our process seems to be more traditional in the sense that we write the songs together. Usually we start with a soundclip and give to the artists. Regular contributors work with us more interactively in a studio. Sometimes we record with singers and sometimes we record bands, so the songs depend on the amount of work they puts in. Location also counts. Many of our newer records have been done over the internet, which is different from when we first started because that didn’t exist then. It just depends on the artist… how much they contribute and how creatively involved they get.

How does the UNKLE’s live persona differ from James Lavelle’s? When I DJ, I work on my own. I'm working with Tom Foster on a new show called ‘UNKLE Sounds’ that is more beat-driven. It takes a more clubby direction. Working with a band has a very different dynamic... more organic, more ‘Rock’. How involved are you in selection of cover art? Completely. I work closely with the artist and am also heavily involved with videos and the like. You have recently been involved in an art exhibit called Daydreaming? I’ve worked with a wide variety of artists that have very different styles, so I wanted to put their work together and make music for a different environment. This lets us view their work in a different way. It’s not like a very static gallery.


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Find new ideas and get back to basics basics

How do you see the face of music changing with regards to music labels and the role they play as the use of programs like SoundCloud and MySpace increase? It’s a different environment now so you just try to adapt. It has changed drastically from when it all started, and each change has its pros and its cons. Music still gives you the power to interact with your audience. The internet helps to get your music out there. How do you see the music industry moving forward with piracy being so rife? I do my own thing and so I’m not really that involved in the industry. The music industry is a bit stale in many ways. I think it’s a dramatic shake up that’s happening. Interesting times for artists. You started your own record label Mo’Wax. How does that influence you? I have a business to grow, and so I have to deal with things in a practical way. It’s not something I am particularly upset about. I have a really good group of people that I work with. It’s a business like any other, so you have to respect that and build logistics. It’s not just my passion, it's what I do. You need to have professional people who let you do what you do. I want a platform to keep doing what I do. What prompted you to start your own label? It was a combination of many things at the time. There were many records that weren’t being released. There were many artists who weren’t getting their music out, so I created my own label. I couldn’t get a job in the record industry either, so I went and did it myself. Each of the UNKLE albums is very different. What inspires you to move forward with each album? It’s a combination of everything: what you’re listening to, the emotion and the environment all come together when you make a record. What you want to do at that time and the music around you... that’s what it reflects. What’s next? We’ve recorded a lot of records in a lot of studios, so we’re really going to try to take a bit of time to find ourselves and some new ideas. Just have some time to get back to basics and try to push what we’re doing. So we need some time to think about that, instead of trying to rush to the next record. I’m busy doing UNKLE Sounds and then I’ll tour with it. And, as always, there are a few projects that we’ll talk about and a few soundtracks. We may be working on a new computer game, so there are various projects which could potentially happen. I’m not sure when the next UNKLE record is going to be released. We’re not rushing into it, and want to rather try and really take some time before the next UNKLE launch. Find new ideas and get back to basics.

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What’s your take on the world’s new-found fascination with the dark candy that South Africans like you are producing lately? Would you include South African crime thrillers in that? Because those have been doing very well lately – and internationally. It’s interesting because Sarah Lotz (aka one half of Lily Herne and SL Grey) and I actually worked together for four years at Clockwork Zoo animation, making decidedly un-dark kids shows (and pitching darker ones for kids and adults). I think it’s a space to play that’s opened up in South African publishing wherein publishers aren’t afraid to experiment… and readers are responding to that.

press and some foreign rights deals and talk of movies... and a lot of added pressure for the new book that has to live up to all of this. It’s been really humbling and a little bit crazy, but I’m trying to concentrate on writing.

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Zoo City has just won the 2011 Arthur C. Clarke Award at the Sci-Fi London Film Festival. What exactly does this mean in the broader context of things and how does this award differ from the others you’ve gotten? You make it sound like I’ve racked up four million in royalties and three awards. I’ve won Best Columnist Western Cape in the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards twice for The Big Issue, and been listed as a Top Young South African by the Mail & Guardian in 2009, but it’s only with Zoo City that I’ve got any serious literary attention. It won the 2010 Kitschies Red Tentacle and was short-listed for the 2011 M-Net Literary Awards and the 2010/2011 University of Johannesburg Prize. The Clarke win has been overwhelming. It’s a major international award and it’s drawn a lot of attention to the book. It’s gone into reprint in the UK and South Africa (twice), and there’s been a ton of

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fixer (guide/bodyguard) to get a real sense of it. Apart from the magical animals and some liberties taken with underground tunnel systems, Zoo City is pretty much Joburg verbatim. I always say journalism is the best possible training ground for fiction. Transcribing hours of interviews gives you an ear for dialogue and how people speak. It gives you a backstage pass to the world, from hanging with electricity cable thieves in desperate slums to interviewing fashionistas in million rand apartments.

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Both your sci-fi novels are set in South Africa, Moxyland in a futuristic Cape Town and Zoo City in a pseudo-apocalyptic Johannesburg. How much reality goes into the worlds you create? A lot. I was a freelance journalist for about 12 years and I’ve mined those experiences for my fiction. The fantastical is only interesting for me if it says something about where we are right now and who we are right now… so I anchor my strangeness to reality. Moxyland was based on journalism I’d done previously, but with Zoo City I did a special research trip to Hillbrow with a

Where did this fascination with the dark and strange come from? I’m going to blame my parents. My mother got me into fairytales and myths and legends and comics and fantasy. And encouraged me to write. My dad introduced me to science fiction and twisty ideas about twisted worlds. I found horror on my own.

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Lastly: what’s the best way to end off an interview? With a present. I’ll take a good bottle of Scotch.

onto the page. The Arthur C. Clarke Award, alas, doesn’t make the process any easier. But I’ve just directed a documentary called Glitterboys & Ganglands that made its debut at the Encounters Festival, and written a comic for Vertigo’s Strange Adventures with hopefully more to come. As long as I can keep telling stories across different media… I’m happy.

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Where to from here for you? World domination maybe? I am prepping my zombie army as we speak. Realistically, more of the same: sitting behind a keyboard trying to get the words out of my head and

Do you think sci-fi is still seen as just a geeky interest? There are so many preconceptions about what science fiction is and isn’t. It’s a broad church that encompasses everything from alien invaders to taut detective stories spanning parallel cities. It includes writers like Michael Chabon, Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, T.C. Boyle and even Cormac McCarthy. People have tried to invent new terms to deal with this, from ‘New Weird’ to ‘Speculative Fiction’, but I think we shouldn’t worry about labels so much. Read what you want to read: surprising, imaginative stories that engage with what it means to be human.

Melvin van Peebles

Ain’t not BoTHered Melvin van Peebles’ life story can’t be traced along a single trajectory: He tried his hand as a cable car driver in San Francisco, traded some stocks, wrote a few novels - and is best known for his classic film Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song. His first feature film raised the eyebrows of the conservative 1960s Hollywood establishment that invited him to work as a director. But he had more on his mind than fame. By directing the politically loaded Watermelon Man and making Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song practically single-handedly, he played a major role in paving the way for the next generation of black American filmmakers. Despite criticism for opening up the blaxploitation genre with his film, he prefers to see the bigger picture. He is still going strong at 78 and performing with his new band Melvin van Peebles WID Laxatives (‘because they make shit happen’).

Photography: Gregory Chris

Sandra Pfeifer meets van Peebles for an interview in his New York apartment on 56th Street. It is decorated with a giant hotdog and the backside of a skyblue 1979 VW van that seems to have crashed through the wall. Fumes chug from its exhaust pipe. ‘You see?’ He laughs, ‘It’s still trying to escape...’

Did things just happen to you? I have a great advantage: I am a piece of shit. And so I don’t have to live up to anything. Your first feature, The Story of a Three-Day Pass, was shot in Paris in 1967? I got inspired by some French writer and wrote a flattering script for the French. With that I was able to get my director’s card to make a film out of it. Then something hilarious happened: I was at a party where I met this very well dressed black American guy who turned out to be the curator for the San Francisco film festival. I came back to the US with my film as a French delegate to the festival. No one knew I was American. It was very embarrassing politically. And here I was: an embarrassment. The film, which won the film festival, was made by an American (in


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France) because he couldn’t have done it here. After that the Hollywood studios got interested in working with me because all these big established companies were told to take in minorities. You turned down the initial offers from Hollywood. Why? If I had taken the job, no other minority would have gotten a shot. I would have been the excuse that they didn’t need to hire anybody else. So with no money to go back to Paris, I was back on the streets of New York. Begging… as usual. It didn’t bother me. What made you agree to do Watermelon Man? I made the film under the provision that we shoot it in Hollywood to break the unions and to make it possible for everyone else. There were a couple of other members of

I hAVe A grEAt AdVANTAge: I AM A piece of shit. And so I don’t hAVe to liVe up to AnyTHing.

minorities that were hired to do movies - but those movies weren’t shot there. It was like sneaking a lady off to a different place so her parents won’t know. When I was a kid, I would pick a fight with the toughest guy in school. I got beaten up but nobody would bother me after that. The toughest guy in the film world was Hollywood. That was strategic planning for the future. I knew what I was doing. Has your strategy worked out that way? It was okay. At times the minorities would be angry at me because they thought that a revolution has to happen step after step in a certain way. But someone has to make the first step. It was like getting mad with the man who went to war in Kentucky instead of Buffalo although he made the win happen.

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How did you keep going? Something came along that I never dreamt of and that was Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song. I own everything on that film. Not because I am a genius but because nobody wanted to come in with me on that. They asked me to change the title at first. My distributor said, ‘I don’t understand what that means,’ and I replied, ‘My audience will’. How have your efforts been recognised? In France they have given me the Legion of Honour, which is nice. But nobody ever called me up and asked, ‘Can I help you, Mel?’ or covered a song of mine. No problem... There are only two ways to be rich: Have everything or don’t need shit. How did you get Earth, Wind and Fire to perform your song for the film? My secretary was fucking the bandleader. They were great guys. They just didn’t have their shot yet. That was their very first album. Coincidence is accident meeting up with practice, you know what I mean?


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My DISTribUTor sAid, ‘I doN’t unDErSTAnd WhAt THAt MEAns,’ And I replied, ‘My AuDIenCe WiLL’.

Is it true that you were shooting with the Hells Angels? Well they were a gang hoping to be the Hells Angels. At one point they wanted to get tough... The main guy, while discussing with me, took out his knife to clean his fingernails. To make a statement. I snapped my finger. ‘You got knifes and guns, we got rifles. Shut up’. We understood each other. Ain’t very complicated. How did you manage to pull off Sweetback, from producing to acting, by yourself? Let me explain something: I hate getting up in the morning. But I am out there… running. I don’t like it but I prefer that to eating shit. You do what you gotta do. Yeah it’s gonna hurt, but after you get over the pain you cruise along. Did you ever fear failure? That’s called life. You were the first black trader at the American Stock Exchange because you lost a bet? I was discussing a business deal with a friend and we were arguing over the percentage point. My friend said it’s gonna make X and

I said it’s gonna make Y. If I lost, well… then I had to go and be a trader. Do you worry about things? I never worry. That doesn’t mean that things are going to come out alright. I think I exemplify the goofy guy who used to be on the cover of MAD magazine (which I was translating into French when I lived in Paris), saying ‘What? Me worry?’... Get outta here. What is your life philosophy? Seriously? There are so many songs. They categorized the songs ‘blues’ but they’re not. There are whole blues philosophies about life... (sings): ‘Walking down the street, seems everyone I meet, greets me with a friendly “Hello,” I guess, I am just a lucky so-and-so... and all the birds and bees are also neighbourly, they twitter where ever I go, I guess, I am just a lucky so-and-so... in my bank account, I have to confess, I am slippin’, but that don’t bother me... I kinda dream, night and day is sweet, I guess I am just a lucky so-and-so...’ If you can go with that…

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SoUThAfrICAnBEaUTy Oliver Hermanus’ debut film Shirley Adams was acclaimed internationally in 2009 and the 28-year-old director was invited to the 64th Cannes Film Festival in May 2011 with Skoonheid (Beauty). This uncomfortable exploration of identity is the first Afrikaans film to be selected in the festival within the Un Certain Regard sidebar. Eftihia Stefanidi met Hermanus in Cannes.

In Skoonheid, the main character (Francois) is a suppressed homosexual and an Afrikaner - both qualities carry associations of guilt. Which one came first as an idea? The initial idea for Skoonheid was based on an ideology rather than a character. I wanted to tell a story about Beauty – the kind that feels exclusive and inaccessible. I wanted to construct a narrative about a man who feels excluded from that and I wanted to explore how he tries to obtain something beautiful. That person became Francois: a secret homosexual whose attraction to a younger man is not just lust: it also entails anger against the world. Francois is not like this other person: comfortable in his skin and effortlessly magnetising. Once I decided to talk about a repressed man, I made him a white South African living in Bloemfontein. Then the rest of the story fell into place.

In Skoonheid, we watch Francois spying on people’s intimate behaviour. What immediately comes to mind is that we are doing exactly the same thing he does: voyeurism. Yes, I was hoping to make the audience aware of what they are doing. I was hoping to make them realise that this is something that one does all the time. Francois is not that different to you or I, because we all sit in airports and stare at people. We do it because we enjoy it and whatever we are thinking stays in our head. This is a great privilege that we own as there is no fear of being discovered. I wanted to make sure that the audience was aware that this is normal so that it makes Francois appear more human and accessible. Take for example the film’s opening scene: the first thing you want to do is look around. You are watching people at a wedding, everyone might Does being a white South African today come with the sense be looking at something else, but then your attention starts of being discriminated against? slowly to narrow onto something more specific. You feel very Since the Affirmative Action campaign for equal representation in comfortable staring at these people, because you are in a employment, white South Africans have definitely movie theatre and no one is going to think experienced discrimination. However, this system you are immoral. But then, when you realise is not going to change easily. If you think of Cape that this is the point of view of someone in “I wantEd to put Town, you think of a very white city, although 50% the story, suddenly it’s like ‘oh that’s creepy’. on scrEEn those of the population is of mixed race. But you won’t But you are doing exactly the same. things that wE see that unless you go to the parts where the talk about but wE majority of the people live, and that is not Long For Shirley Adams, you drew your Street. The segregation in the city irritates me a inspiration from the work of Danish painter nEvEr sEE” little bit because I am from Cape Town myself. Vilhelm Hammershoi. What was the visual stimulation for Skoonheid? Is the contentious issue of the Afrikaner identity openly Roger Ballen. His photographs have essentially inspired me. addressed within contemporary South African art? They were the perfect example that could encapsulate this idea I think that the new generation of young Afrikaans-speaking of Beauty. I find his images beautiful, but the content is always people working within the cultural sector have addressed this. I disturbing… appreciate the fact that many works of art I admire come from Afrikaans-speaking white South Africans who are doing everything You’re right. Ballen’s pictures are very powerful - not just to embrace diversity. They talk about conservatism and they are technically but also in their ability to catch (and hold) one’s determined to shake off that image of their heritage, which has attention. They force you to think. Though that does not been stereotyped as racist. In the context of Skoonheid, I wanted make them less disturbing. I tend to wonder: ‘who are to put on screen those things that we talk about but we never see. those people depicted and in which circumstances’? That is probably the most controversial aspect of the film: in the Yes, one questions whether they have been exploited. Is this end, we might discuss this issue when lying next to each other theft? Are we poking fun at them? Do we like them because in bed but do we actually see it or expose it? These issues get it is derangement? That said, I still find it a brilliant space for discussed in the bedroom but, when you put that pillow talk on a someone to be working in. I don’t know what it is about Ballen’s big screen, everyone may suddenly refuse to acknowledge that photographs that I really love. Perhaps the fact that he has they too have heard stories, wondered about or had an interest in worked a lot within South Africa to capture the spirit of the seeing something like Skoonheid. Afrikaner people has contributed to my inclination towards them. But most importantly, I love how in a single image he creates a Where you inspired by other films when making Skoonheid? tone – which was similar to the one I wanted for this film. During production, I was watching a lot of Alfred Hitchcock. Still, I was very nervous when I realised I was going to make this film I saw Francois as a tragic hero, his story lacking the way I did as I had never shot coverage before. I was actually redemption. The end of the film confirms that there is no convinced that I would find coverage boring. hope for change. Why is it so pessimistic? For me it has always been about the authenticity of the The dolly zoom is also an influence from Hitchcock… character. I wondered ‘does someone like Francois have the Yes! In fact the opening scene in Skoonheid is extremely capacity to have a conversation with himself’? I don’t see his Hitchcockian. The camera starts doing a whole bunch of movements ever being able to confront his thoughts and entertain change. and suddenly it shifts straight to the point. And that is what I love In the end, nothing stops him from becoming who he wants to from the opening of a Hitchcock film: if the movie is about psychotic be apart from himself. And that is the tragedy: if anything, he birds, you know about it from the first minute. realises that it is just not in him to be able to change. one small seed


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DrEAM A liTTle drEAM of Me Words: Roger Young Illustration: Rikus Ferreira

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what , we pretend to be.


- Kurt Vonnegut

I once fell in love with a girl because of her Tumblr posts. She veered from vintage porn to Pre-Raphaelite painting, femme fatales to Lolcats, light bondage to The Nietzsche Family Circus. Her visual choices made her witty, smart and mature. I flirted with her through her Ask Me as an ‘anonz’. She responded and after months of banter asked me to ‘friend’ her. We swapped real names, the masks came off and our story changed. I was an ageing writer in South Africa and she was an 18-year-old art student from an American Midwest town. Through her Facebook page, I discovered most of her sources were her textbooks. Through my FB pictures, she discovered that I wasn’t some local young hot romantic boy. Neither of us were what the other had dreamt of. Masks are nothing new, but sometimes they reveal more than they conceal. In this case, my little Tumblr blogger was projecting an image of whom she’d like to become and I an echo of who I once was. Blogging or Tumblring allows us to project images of our hoped-for selves into the present. There’s this lad about town. He runs a blog that focuses on... being a lad about town. He tweets a lot about drinking with celeb mates and hanging out at expensive places. His girlfriend tweets about his getting home late and being comically drunk. His blog focuses on things he’s done in the name of blogging, stuff he’s found on the internet and cool shit to buy: digital pinboarding. It’s also heavily sponsored. A few years ago he was just another guy working in advertising, now he makes a living off being a blog star. When he started blogging, it was just a way to post some stuff to his mates, to express a ‘better’ version of himself. But the projected self proved to be so compelling (and profitable) that the dream has replaced reality.

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The same goes for independent Music bloggers, some of whom started their blogs as reactions to the puff pieces used by the mainstream media. Some of them are now paid to advertise music on their blogs... and to keep having opinions. The most successful bloggers are those that don’t want to date every rockstar and write from that golden ‘I don’t give a fuck’ zone. This type of blogger is one of us but just slightly more so, an alpha to our beta, someone who finds and shares material we like for us. Tavi Gevinson’s started her fashion blog Style Rookie when she was just 11 and it remained the musings of a young girl until US clothing giant Rodarte noticed her. By 13, Tavi was living her dream: attending New York Fashion Week and being flown to Tokyo for her opinion. But for every Tavi, there are a million bloggers who go unnoticed: girls with bad fashion sense who shamelessly steal a sense of humour from Hipster Runoff and beg for gifts from accessories stores through over-gushy posts. Tavi’s age and suburban reality made it possible for us to believe in the dream: she was the ultimate outsider who became an insider. Most fashion bloggers are not glamorous or social or anything that their blogs represent… and neither are their readers.

BloggingorTumblring allows us to project images of our hoped for selves , into the present.



These bloggers would once never have been authorities on anything, but now we mistrust corporate media or any voice of authority and crave the layman’s angle. The person who speaks our language, who ‘likes’ what we like, an individual and a contemporary… someone who seems to be on the inside. And when the advertisers and corporates notice that this outsider has attracted outsider followers with their angle, the blogger is taken inside. Notice that I used the word ‘angle’ and not ‘opinion’. These assumed personas are not critical voices. They are pointers, prophets of a lifestyle more than a way of thinking, and speak of consumption, images, music, clothes… stuff. Blogs that interrogate these things are seldom popular, and the critical voice is replaced by an ‘I’m okay, you’re okay’ culture. In the fragmented flood of information that crowds our day, we want to create Claude Shannon’s ‘Islands of Meaning’... even if that meaning is just ‘You like Cake, I like cake... phew’.


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By merely pinboarding ‘likes’ and not venturing an opinion, the blogger sidesteps critical errors. This is crucial in the digital age where every mistake is instantly amplified and archived. The Scene blog is postmodern, a solipsistic little fortress. It addresses cultural aesthetics rather than actual substance and this nonthreatening stance appeals to its followers. The blogger is us, but an insider us, one who sees but does not rock the boat, one that is grateful to be inside. Nick Carraway with an internet connection. Ironically, Scene bloggers are not insiders at all... at least not in the beginning. The blogger creates a Dream Self, which latches onto others with similar dreams. The blogger is never fully the blog persona until the aspirant followers empower them to become more than just the Dream Self but an actualisation of the Blog Self. It’s like a million fractured tiny scene-based versions of Pop Idols. The voting is tallied in page views and the prizes are a plus one to the VIP party that is then blogged about. The fantasy is made flesh. We recognize honesty of intention, and thus follow certain blogs and avoid others. Authenticity attracts us to a blog, Twitter stream, Tumblr or Facebook personality.

now we mistrust corporate media or any voice of authority and crave , the , layman's angle.


If we think that the personality is ‘trying too hard’, we realise that they are too much like us. We want to check in daily on a possible way of life beyond the clutter of ours, but we don’t want to feel desperate about it. We are the sum of our dreams, including the small ones, and want to know that some of them might be realised. Even if not by us. I recently went back to that art student’s Tumblr and posted the comment: ‘I miss being anonz for you.’ We were once allowed to be different people. It was a dream of something just out of reach but still possible - since made unattainable by brutal reality. If only we had held on to our online personalities a little longer... maybe we might have been able to become who we hoped to be.

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The Worm has Turned "Anything is a waste of time unless you are fucking well or creating well or getting well or looming toward a kind of phantom-love-happiness." — Charles Bukowski


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A man of memes, music, words, life… Markus Wormstorm is a solipsist still smiling. Wormstorm was signed at 19 to the New York based record label Sound-Ink – which triggered a sequence of other events and collaborations that would influence the next ten years of his life. He created projects with Felix La Band, Waddy Jones, Sibot and Spoek Mhatambo. He’s published a book with the animation collaboration The Blackheart Gang and held art exhibitions in the United States and Europe. He toured the world, eloped in Mexico City, wrecked hotel rooms in the Ukraine, met many people - mostly girls – and got caught up in the dark underworld that lurks below the scene. Remarkably, he survived... and his tastes have begun to change. Sarah Claire Picton found Wormstorm surrounded by wooden statues of his own devising, drinking red wine from a steel goblet, hovering somewhere between reality and fiction.

“I think capitalism will save the world.” Tell me a bit about your latest tracks: ‘street/kid/glue/spell’ and ‘Beautiful Malema’. With ‘street/kid/glue/spell’, I mixed with sounds recorded in Cape Town with a classical ensemble. The song tells the story of a street kid’s glue-fuelled fantasies. With ‘Beautiful Malema’, I find it interesting to observe Julius Malema’s political theatre as it seems to play on white South Africans’ worst nightmares. Although perhaps well-founded, these fears should not blind them to the issues that are being addressed, such as the fact that land reform is vital but sadly in a complete shambles. Where’s your head now? I’ve reached a point in my career where I have decided to explore more serious themes in my music... for now at least. Like working in notation and with classical ensembles, though I’m still really into electronica and modular syntheses. Errr... what is modular synthesis? The idea of modular synthesis is like staring at a blank page. Anything is possible. You can create anything you can imagine if you know how. It's like playing with Lego. I like it because, by starting from the basics, you can build a machine that is unlike anything else. There is something very organic about the process. Does the Cape Town music scene still excite you after ten years? I would never presume to underestimate Cape Town. I’m always surprised at how sophisticated the city’s tastes are and the little sub-genres and ‘cliques’ of things that are going on that you have no idea about. All around you... all the time. What do you think Cape Town’s reaction will be to your new musical direction into classical ensembles? Although the style of music and performance hasn’t been around, I hope that I’ll have an audience to play to. The plan is to use our New Evenings nights to introduce people to this music. I think of my music as being sophisticated without being pretentious. It doesn’t need to be performed in a concert hall. What is New Evenings? It’s a non-profit organization of which I am a partner. We perform pieces of modern classical music from the ‘50s onwards that have never been performed in the country.


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What else keeps you busy? I'm acting as executive producer on an iPad game/book called Mole/Bear, which is a group effort between The Blackheart gang and a new company called Sea Monster. Apart from that: my book, my cat Molly and my wife Ali. You’ve been working on a sci-fi novel for the last few years. What do you think the future holds for us earthlings? I’m all for natural capitalism. Nature isn’t a minor factor in production but rather an envelope that sustains the entire economy. This concept will eventually make many people very rich. In the end, I believe that capitalism will save the world.

What is your novel about? It’s a story set far in the future where the divide between economic classes is so vast that the rich seem divine to the poor. I explore the metaphysical nature of forces like time and gravity and the effects they have on this society. Some final words? I read this book by Daniel Read years ago wherein he describes these monks who spend their entire lives in caves, focusing on the moment of their death. That’s their meditation – and that’s all they do for their entire lives. I can’t think of a bigger blasphemy. There’s so much wonder all around us. We’re surrounded by these quasi-stellar events and we’re too blinded by primitive ideas to see that.

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“We’re surrounded by these quasi-stellar events, and we’re too blinded by primitive ideas to see that.”


Words: Shawn Grey ling

Photography: Stev en Proudfoot

Illustration: Rikus Fe rreira

Spike* hands me the joint, the two-litre bottle filled with cane and lemonade is passed around the circle in the opposite direction. They call themselves the ‘Jozi Punx’. Their signature leather jackets, encrusted with studs and pins and homemade patches, are more symbols of strange anarchic unity than simple items of clothing. Johnny stands across from me with a broken cigarette and busted lip. ‘Last night a bouncer at one of the shows dragged me into the kitchen and just fucked me up for no reason... these meatheads don’t like our kind. We’re nothing to them.’ Doormen at dingy night clubs and pool halls around town have been known to be aggressive toward members of the punk community. ‘They’re a bunch of ignorant little shits, I can tell you that much,’ a doorman slurs one drunken night. ‘We rough ‘em up a bit. Some guys don’t even let them into the pub, but I let them in and fuck ‘em up a bit later. It’s quite entertaining.’ The joint and the booze cross paths for the first time. Spike points to one of the punks standing in the circle. ‘Head plays in a band... ’ and can be seen sitting in corners at shows selling old clothes and homemade band patches: Sham69, Combat84, Touched by Nausea, Madlocks, Marching Orders... He sells these things to ‘harbour money for the band’s tour to France’.

type of fire burns within them, but it’s unlikely to light any Molotov cocktails. Some come from solid families and some don’t have any idea where they come from, but all are madly woven into the binding fibres of their own sub-culture and come together like the teeth of a zipper. Just before the pack heads across the street to the pub, a long-haired figure comes pedalling toward us on a bicycle fighting fatigue with the tread of his tyres. ‘That’s HippyKris,’ says Spike. ‘He’s not one of the Punx... he’s a Crusty. He doesn’t use any animal products. Crusties are like vegans, except they’re a bit more... annoying.’ He laughs. The sound of loud guitar and snare drums drown us as we step through the door. The tall, skinny vocalist hangs from the microphone-stand like a benevolent Joey Ramone yelling revolution into the crowd. In return the crowd skank to the scatting of the rhythm guitar espousing the three-chord theory. Slam dancing is mandatory. Raw and intense, the music pounds through your skull and into your brain. A dreadlocked girl with deep blue eyes and ‘lips like stereo’ grabs me by the shoulder. ‘I have this hash pipe and nobody to share it with.’ Ten minutes later I find myself in the restroom. The eyes in the mirror, now heavy and red, catch me off guard and throw me into hazy childhood nostalgia: afternoons of sprinklers and peach trees, a time when my best friend was my red and black BMX. All that goddamn sweet simplicity. But that life has been replaced with aspirin, Bloody Marys and deadlines long gone. Anthony Kiedis of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers says that a soul chooses its own destiny before entering a body. If Kiedis’ statement is true then the souls of the Jozi Punx chose their strange route through the heart of life – to roam where the wild things are, sleep little and never let the fun slip. Like James Dean, each one wants to live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse.

There’s panic on the streets of London, panic on the streets of Birmingham. Half a world away, Britain is taking the Eighties Revival a tad far. But while their riot footage may resemble the anti-Thatcher uprisings of thirty years ago, there’s something missing: a soundtrack. Punk once had a powerful cultural and political voice, however discordant, and roared working class rage and aspirations between the ‘Oi!’s. South African Punk also has a rich history of political activism and pushed the boundaries of racial segregation for almost two defiant decades (explored in the 2011 documentary Punk in Africa).

I find HippyKris at the bar and ask him about his bicycle. ‘I hate cars, man... won’t get into one, not even if you paid me.’ Kris once owned a car but a guy paid him R250 to push it down a 400-foot cliff. ‘I explained to the guy that I am an environmental anarchist. I was going to leave the piece of shit there anyway...’

These Jozi Punx are anti-establishment, to a point, but are less earnest about it than their predecessors. They live for beer and self-destruction and personal anarchism. A certain

Outside the pub, broken beer bottles crack under my feet as I try to make it to the other end of the street and back into the faceless city.

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*Names changed to prevent the author’s testicles being kicked in.

Johannesburg. Ten PM. Smog still hangs low above the streets. Bodies covered in torn tees, leather and badly patched-up jeans crawl out of parking lots, single bedroom flats and allnight burger joints. Alberton, Edenvale, Roodepoort and Melville... the machine is running wild. Fuelled up with cane and greased down with nicotine and marijuana, the Joburg punk scene rolls on to a venue hidden between the slums of Old Melville and the Parktown financial district.


beyond labels

from Paraguay, with Dan Mendez

Dan Méndez, also known as ’Oopart’, is a 26-year-old music producer from the rejuvenated Paraguayan capital of Asunción. Working part-time in the ad industry to subsidise his music career, he has a strong global following that listened to one of his tracks 20 000 times within 19 hours of its upload onto the online audio sharing platform SoundCloud. Rather impressive. Ryan Eyden asks him what he does, why he does it and how he makes it look so easy.

people enter these sites daily to listen, share and, if they like the song, buy the tracks composed by their favourite artists without the need, for a label to get involved. This could of course benefit the labels too. They could use these applications for large-scale promotion without old school large-scale marketing campaigns. This has caused a revolution, giving artists massive exposure without massive budgets.

Tell us a bit about yourself. I produce music because I love to. It is something that I have always had a passion for. I make electronic music because, although I have always wanted to be in a band, it’s hard to find the necessary band mates, time and money. So I decided to make music with programs from the safe confines of my own home. My main influences are bands like Daft Punk and Justice, and producers like Deadmau5 and Skrillex. My biggest influence though, and the main reason why I started to make electronic music at all, is without a doubt Radiohead. Albums like Kid A and Amnesiac gave me the drive to enter this world of synthesizers and samplers.

You do collaborations with artists from all over the globe. Do you think that this would have been possible without the use of platforms such as SoundCloud, MySpace etc? Yes, I do think so. Musicians have always looked for ways to establish partnerships. But what has changed today is the communication speed and the accessibility provided by tools like SoundCloud, MySpace, Skype and Facebook - the latter leading to the formation of groups and forums where producers can share ideas, tips and information… and establish relationships with other producers around the world. Collaboration is now an everyday occurrence.

‘I don’t need a label to do anything.’

Yes I am. It’s a list of songs available on SoundCloud where the tracks with the most comments and ‘likes’ get displayed, whether the track has 10 000 or 300 000 plays. That comes once you are placed on the ‘Hot List’. There are other ways to generate plays. For instance, you have to get popular first via Facebook groups, Twitter or YouTube. These sites’ motto is: ‘Follow to be followed’. Once people follow you, others might listen to your track, mark it as one of their favourites or leave comments. The faster this is done, the better for you. It is also good to place ‘tags’ on the tracks in order to help people find them. Once you become a known artist, big labels can see your potential and might sign you up. How do you see the face of music changing with regards to labels and the role they play against a backdrop of programs like SoundCloud and MySpace? The world of music has changed completely thanks to SoundCloud and MySpace. A producer/artist may now be listened to on a global stage without a label. Many labels already have a SoundCloud and MySpace account because millions of

What do you see as the future of music? Where do you see the industry going? Many believe that the major labels are being phased out. Do you agree? I don’t think the major labels will disappear, but I do believe that the smaller ones will grow and look into associating with their more established counterparts. The key word is ‘adaptation’. Labels will need to adapt to stay alive in the new era. It will be interesting to see what comes out of it all. I’m happy with the way things are going: I don’t need a label to do anything. The industry is becoming a massive playground with the use of samples increasing all the time to create more and more songs. Now a person can create tracks with songs from other artists and make a mashup or remix, as Girl Talk have done. But now we dive into copyright issues and the ethics of such a method. That is another story. Paraguay. Tell us about the scene there? The electronic music scene in Paraguay does not compare with the USA’s or Europe’s or even Africa’s. Nor does it compete with Brazil’s or Argentina’s. But people are slowly beginning to accept the genre and parties are growing in popularity. There are only a handful of DJs and producers trying to show the world what we are all about and I am proud to be one of those bearing the Paraguayan flag. Thanks so much for taking some time out to talk to us. We are really impressed with what you are doing. Keep it coming and never give up the fight. Hopefully we will see you here in South Africa soon. Yes. Thank you for the opportunity to let me explain what I do and how I think. I am also thankful to my friends, my family and all who have contributed to my quest. Special thanks go to the people who listen to my work. The only thing I can say is: grab your headphones, listen to music… and it will choose you to render it tribute.

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There are so many producers trying to get their music out there. What is the magic ingredient that gets your tracks listened to 20 000 times in 19 hours while others only manage two or three thousand? I do not believe there is a magic formula per se, but there are a few recommendations I could offer. SoundCloud itself helped me generate a bit of popularity. I had that number of plays in such a short period of time because SoundCloud gave me three days to integrate my track into what is known as the ‘Hot List’. And now you’re going to ask, ‘What is the Hot List?’



Benedikt Sebastian Don’t turn your back on a good thing

Tsepo Makate - Boogie Woogie

The result: over 100 entries of quality work received during the six week entry phase. Southern Comfort marketing manager Gwen Ridsdale called on industry experts Craig Native, Jordan Metcalf, Suzette BellRoberts, Johann Schwella, Porky Hefer and Mike Epps along with one small seed’s founder and editorin-chief Guiseppe Russo to make up the judging

Drawing from the success of a similar campaign held in Germany last year, participants were required to design a piece of artwork that included an element of the Southern Comfort brand and an expression of its birthplace – New Orleans.

Southern Comfort’s Creative Exchange is an innovative design contest introduced to South African artists in June 2011. They were invited to tap into the modern spirit of the brand and design a striking interpretation of its origin. With its roots firmly established in New Orleans culture and lifestyle, Southern Comfort aimed to bring this inspiration to local designers. As they say in New Orleans: ‘Come one, come all.’

Byron Graper - The Spirit of Mardi Gras

Benedikt Sebastian, a young designer from Joburg, claimed first prize for his design. The graphic designer is involved in music, photography and illustration and often collaborates with different people in different genres. Titled Don’t turn your back on a good thing, Benedikt’s winning design is inspired by three major concepts: a

It was then up to the fans to decide who walked away with the winning design and grand prize of R12 000, plus exposure in one small seed and the opportunity to showcase their work on a promotional range of branded Southern Comfort merchandise. The top five pieces were an eclectic mix of styles and design work – from expressionist and abstract artwork to graphic geometric shapes and reduced colour palettes. Each piece reflected its own personality and a fresh take on the Southern Comfort brand and its birthplace.

panel of local design fundis. A couple of gruelling hours later and the panel narrowed it down to their top five pieces, which were uploaded to the Southern Comfort SA Facebook page.

Over 800 votes were cast in total and 100 of those Southern Comfort fans received a limited edition hoodie showcasing the winning design by Benedikt Sebastian Creative Exchange will return in 2012 with a new brief and an exciting opportunity to showcase your work. Visit for further details or log on to to learn more about the winners and the South African Southern Comfort Creative Exchange competition.

Second prize of R6 000 went to Tsepo Makate, a graphic designer and passionate illustrator also based in South Africa’s City of Gold, with his design called Boogie Woogie. Coming in tie for third place was Byron Graper with The Spirit of Mardi Gras and Clinton Campbell with Let the good times roll!

Good Thing (the abstract), Mardi Gras (the party) and the heritage of New Orleans – which all merge to create a holistic representation of the Southern Comfort brand.

Clinton Campbell - Let the good times roll!

Hip-hop artist Blitz ‘The Ambassador’s’ musical journey led him under the shadow of Lady Liberty to New York a decade ago. He was imbued with the sounds of afrobeat and the highlife music indigenous to his native Ghana, and inspired by the brazen voices of ’90s afrocentric rap. He has since garnered respect with his blend

of African music and hip-hop that he calls ‘afrohop’, and has worked with artists like The Roots, Mos Def and Talib Kweli, even getting a shoutout from legendary rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy on his latest album Native Sun. Rob Cockcroft chats to the 28-year-old Ambassador between soundchecks at the Tempo Rives Festival in France.

You’re based in Brooklyn, yet your music sounds closer to home than ever. Tell us what it means to be The Ambassador and how that influences what you create? For a long time, I was away from home and, like most immigrants, my main goal was to try to fit into the new circle I was in: the culture and the environment. So it wasn’t really about having elements that stand out as an individual. However, as years went by, I realised that I was missing a piece of me and that piece was back home. My attempts to bridge the worlds that I’m thoroughly invested in helped inspire the birth of Native Sun. A part of me has a lot of nostalgia.

anything that is ambiguous. My hope is that African artists find a way to, number one, collaborate more. Number two, form movements, of whatever name. If you give birth to a child, man, you’re not just gonna let this child walk the earth with no name. That’s how I feel about the styles that African artists are creating. We have to start figuring out ways to define our own sound, brand our own sound and promote our own sound as our sound. You think about sub-genres like afrobeat, neo-soul, dubstep, hipster rap... these are all things you may look at and say ‘Man, why box it in?’, but it creates identity. I have no issue with branding the definition as long as it’s coming from the right place. Artists are

You have a six-piece band, Embassy Ensemble, which is uncommon in today’s hip-hop scene. Can you tell us a bit about that partnership? My goal has always been to find ways of expanding hip-hop culture and I felt the best and easiest way to do so is to have musical flexibility. Hip-hop comes from a very sampled background and I realised quickly that that always restricts your ability to evolve the culture. You’re pretty much stuck in the 8-bar loop. The second thing was being able to perform live to multiple audiences who may not be up on either hip-hop, jazz or African music. Just a large audience. Having a band really helps me be able to communicate across musical lines. My goal is to try to put together the best live show possible and that’s just not possible without the Embassy.

free to call whatever they do whatever they feel because it’s coming from a place of integrity and I support that. It’s always dangerous when corporations, major labels, indie labels and magazines start to create an idea that doesn’t come from a partnership with the artists. It’s doomed to fail because it’s not coming from the right place.

With the plethora of emerging African hip-hop artists, do you think Africans will begin to forge their own definitive style of hip-hop? Or is it not even about being in a welldefined box? We live in a world full of definitions and it’s very difficult to create 70

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Some tracks on Native Sun don’t sound like hip-hop at all, but when you come in it all fits together. Is that intentional? It definitely is planned. The primary goal of my career is to find a real, great intersection point where hip-hop music meets African music... and I choose to call that ‘afrohop’, a sound that is neither straight African music nor hip-hop. Songs like ‘Wahala’, ‘Accra City Blues’, ‘Akwaaba’ are as Pete Rock and DJ Premier as they are Fela (Kuti), Ebo Taylor, Miriam Makeba or Hugh Masekela. What comes first: the music or the message? Would you still be doing what you’re doing if you could still make the same type of sound but your lyrical content was restricted?

How do you see the face of music changing with regards to music labels and the role they play in the era of programs like SoundCloud or MySpace? Oh man. I mean that label structure has dissolved to where it should have been a long time ago. I think art suffers when lawyers and label execs are making decisions for musicians. The art suffered for a very long time. I think what we’re getting back to is a kind of meritocracy that I can respect... where the artist’s

You’ve recently released a short film, also called Native Sun. How did that project come about and what was the concept behind it? Well it was simple, man. After I was done with the album I had a longing to add a visual component to it because Africa is often misperceived by westerners. I came up with the concept for the short film and co-directed it with Terence Nance. The basic concept behind it is this journey that we are all on, searching for something that may sometimes elude us - even if our destinies never do. That’s what the story of most immigrants is: you may travel looking for one thing but your fate and destiny always leads you somewhere that you may not even understand. I’m living proof of that, you know. I went there for college and ended up contributing to the culture of hip-hop in ways I had never even dreamt of. It was also our opportunity to show Ghana in all its complexity, it’s beauty, it’s ugliness... all the things that make it what it is. It’s not the one-dimensional viewpoint you usually get from attempts to document Africa. To have my music play

ability determines their audience. There was a time when your chance to score a hit was based on your label, your attorney and how much money they paid the radio. Those things are still happening from time to time. It’s getting less and less dependable, less and less believable... and I think that’s positive because it creates a democracy where the best artist wins. And I’m living proof of that opportunity. I performed over 30 live shows in two months in Europe. And this is with no major label support, no hit on the radio. This is out of just sheer grind, sheer energy to perform and record music and I think that’s very positive for the culture and the industry. Of course the flip side is the financial hardship that comes along with music being downloaded for free, but I feel it has also helped return us to the performing arts element of music, which most people started to forget because they were selling five million copies of an album and didn’t even need to tour. Now it’s impossible to do that without a real touring machine that gets you in front of your audience. No more smoke and mirrors to hide behind.

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a role in my visual element was also dope... so overall I’m really proud of that project.

There is no message without the music and there’s no music without the message. I don’t think every song should have a moral story but I feel that it is very necessary to the hip-hop culture, and specifically the kind of artist I am. The day I have nothing to talk about or try to pass onto the world... that’s the day I find a desk job, because that’s pretty much what that is. So to answer your question: ‘No’. I’m very cognisant of that and I’ve made tough decisions in my career to make sure that I’m always in a position to speak what I feel... because without that I have nothing.


Two things people do not want to see being made: laws and sausages. You might add ‘art’ to that list, but first watch the video of street artists Supakitch and Koralie painting a wall of the Museum of World Culture in Göteborg, Sweden. It offers a behindthe-scenes glimpse of the process of creation... it all its messy splendour. Watch the video on Photography: Elroy

Supakitch and Koralie are husband and wife, each the other’s muse, and on a technicolour voyage filled with their anthropomorphic ‘Supanimals’, renaissance headgear, African braids and Asian pop-romance. Hands-on and eyes wide open, Supa and Koralie are in perpetual movement and punch-drunk on pure delight. Rikus Ferreira puts the week behind him and logs onto Skype to chat to the two New Yorkers.

Where are you originally from? We’re originally from France. Koralie was born in Montpellier and I was born in the ghettos of Paris. We'd been travelling for a while around Europe, Asia and the US when we decided three years ago to move to Brooklyn, NY. Why do you like to paint on walls? It’s about feeling free. There’s no commercial obligation. The contact with the city, the people, the wall and its texture... it's exciting. Its ephemeral quality is also seductive. There’s poetry to the act. It’s interesting how walls have history, layers and layers of paint applied over the years. So why is your work so detailed? Our paintings on canvas are more detailed than the walls on the street. And on a wall, even if we know that our work is likely to be short-lived, we expect every time that it will last as long as possible. It's amazing how one can get a sense of a city just by looking at the street art. Which city in the world would you say is the most inspiring? New York is so far our favourite city in the world. The way things move so fast, the energy in the streets and the amazing views. Architecture, fashion, signs on the street, people, culture, music… the movement doesn't stop. In New York you can take random pictures and the result will almost always be beautiful!


one small seed

You travel a lot too. Yes! We are conscious that we live on a planet and NYC is a concentrate of the world. It's great to be based here but that is not enough, so we need to travel as much as possible. We love Asia so much but all our travels around the world are necessary for our inspiration. The best part of our ‘artist life’ is an invitation to paint in a country we've never been to. We'll meet a new culture, new people and live a new experience. We take and we give. We feed ourselves with this. How does this relate to your work? I guess our paintings are getting bigger and bigger after each trip. The countries we visit inspire us... so we take. And we leave a part of us there... so we give. It's all about love How do you feel about your paintings being open to the public? Every situation is possible on the street. Most people are respectful but there are still people with a bad attitude that get jealous or just want to destroy something beautiful and paint over your work. For us, it doesn't make sense to spend time even talking about these people. How do you feel about taking your street art into a traditional gallery? Okay, let's use the wall in the video as an example. The museum commissioned us to paint that wall to recreate the streets of

Tokyo by night for an exhibition of the fusion of traditional and contemporary Japanese art. So we did that wall inside the museum. The show lasted for eight months and then they took apart the wall to archive it. We feel lucky about that obviously. It's great to have a piece of art in this form kept in a museum... and it's the Museum of World Culture. That sounds good, doesn’t it? Your last wall painting was in an antique toy museum in Mexico? The thing that we like in Mexico is the ambition of its people. Art and popular art in Mexico is everywhere, but the cartels make people pay for everything. And this makes it no longer accessible to the people. We were asked to paint for the people. Now the wall is going to move to different places in Mexico to spread and share art for free. We love that. The video almost becomes a performance. Do you prefer to work without anyone watching you? Good question. It’s not easy to work with someone looking over your shoulder, but the director Damien Vignaux (aka Elroy) was just great. He’s a good friend and the entire process was so natural. We never played it out like a scene, Damien was simply a witness. I’m not sure we were even aware of his presence. I guess that's when magic happens. We didn’t expect millions of hits. Unbelievable. And once it was completed? Throughout the four days we spent painting, Damien filmed during

the day and edited at night. Then we Skyped images to our friend DLiD and asked him to lay some tracks over them. He sent us four songs, we chose one (‘Leonizer’) and the video was done the following day. It was so fast. Where’s the craziest place you still want to paint? Koralie would love to do the wall on Houston Street, NY (where the Guggenheim Museum is located), and I want to paint a giant piece on the Grand Canyon. And your next wall? Our next wall will be in Paris in the office of a famous website. They want to make their office life more cool and asked us to do a big mural. Are there any other projects or interests that you guys are into at the moment? I'm finishing my book and Koralie just received new samples of our new collection with Metroplastique. I start work on a solo show at Galerie LJ in Paris in October and have a few collaborations in the pipeline. Sorry, we can't tell you more now. And in a few days we’re going to France for a well-deserved holiday! One more question: what are you drinking this morning? Bloody Marys.

one small seed


STephen STreet

PAying THe Piper Blur, The SMiTHs, KAizer Chiefs, The CrAnberries… nAmes THAt hAVe shAped THe fACe of Music. One THrEAd ties THese grEAt bAnds togeTHer: A reCOrd PRoduCer CALLed STephen STreet. He gave Ryan Eyden an exclusive interview from his home studio in London and discussed the mortal effect of the internet on the music industry and how to counter it. When I first learnt of my upcoming interview with Stephen, I literally ran around the office shouting silly words that no one could understand. I was delighted at the prospect of sharing words with someone whose effect on today’s music industry has been so profound. He has produced some of the world’s top acts and brought them countless sales... and at 51 he isn’t finished yet. He has the distinction of having co-written with Morrissey, produced five albums with britpop giants Blur, recorded The Zutons, Babyshambles, Pete Doherty and Graham Coxon... and he has just finished working on The Cranberries’ new album Roses. Well, if they get a record or distribution deal. Yes, you read correctly: The Cranberries cannot get signed. This is why I contacted Stephen. A band like The Cranberries with millions of record sales spanning two decades cannot get a label to sign them? The Cranberries were overplayed at my 14th birthday braai, but we are through the Looking Glass: the music industry as we know it is on the brink of collapse and no one knows what the future will hold for the stalwarts of the past. Music is free and all around you, if you’re willing to brave the shoals at Piratebay. 76

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one small seed


Stephen Street's selected work:

1985 The Smiths Meat is Murder

1987 The Smiths Strangeways Here We Come

1986 The Smiths The Queen is Dead

1990 Morrissey Bona Drag

1988 Morrissey Viva Hate

Has the arrival of the internet benefited or hindered the industry? Well the downloading of illegal music is a major, major problem. Yes, there is loads of free music on the internet, but it could be Bob the builder and plumber making music at night. And it’s crap... you know what I mean? Yet it still has equal billing with something that is good. I don't think the internet has been great for music. It has just made a huge haystack that you have to pick your way through. Are major labels a thing of the past? And if so, what’s next? The people making lots of money over the last few years are the internet service providers. They sell their broadband on how fast it is to download this and download that, but they are handling stolen goods and they have not really conducted themselves in the right way. Imagine how much money the internet service providers are getting now by putting broadband in millions of homes, but do they invest a penny back into the talent whose goods they are helping to hand off? No, not a penny. People think that the record labels are the baddies but they aren’t. Record companies invest in acts, one or two out of ten of which make any money. But at least when they made money , they 78

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1993 Blur Modern Life is Rubbish

1991 Blur Leisure

1994 Blur Parklife

1993 The Cranberries Everybody Else is Doing It So Why Can’t We?

Sure THey MigHT MAke A liTTle bit of Money, bUT MusICiAns CAn’t liVe on brEAd And WATer

1994 The Cranberries No Need To Argue

2001 The Cranberries Wake Up and Smell The Coffee

1998 Shed Seven Let it Ride

2006 The Zutons Tired of Hanging Around

2005 Kaiser Chiefs Employment

then went out and found and developed new acts. The internet service providers don’t do that - they just fill their coffers. We need governments to come out and say: ‘Enough! Copyright means something, the goods of artists mean something... and have got to be protected’. When they know a pirate site is being set up, be it Limewire or whatever, they should get off their arses and close these sites down straight away. And sue the guys that run them. They do close them down, but the sites just change their URL and carry on going. So what can actually be done? How do you control something like this? I know it is very difficult, but they don't close them down quickly enough. We have to educate the youngsters. Most youngsters believe that bands have a fantastic lifestyle and make a lot of money off touring. Sure they might make a little bit of money, but musicians can’t live on bread and water. And what about the people that work in the recording industry? Bands are now using their records as calling cards. They’re giving them away, and that's great, but how are they going to pay the recording studios? How you going to pay the engineer and the producer? I mean, I make my money off album sales and if I do all that work,

2009 Babyshambles Shotters Nation

2007 Kaiser Chiefs Yours Truly, Angry Mob

2009 Peter Doherty Grace / Wastelands

and then bands just give it away just to promote their tour... that doesn’t help me. With your trade becoming less sustainable, the quality of recording is going to get worse and worse? Well everyone thinks they’re a producer now. You have a garage band at home and you start putting a few loops together and all of a sudden you think you’re a producer. The whole thing about making records has been demystified. I mean Cenzo Townsend used to be my engineer and he used to work alongside me. He went off and made a name for himself mixing for the likes of Snow Patrol, but he despairs. You should see the stuff that's brought in now for him to mix. You can tell it hasn’t been produced properly. No decisions have been made along the line about what should go where. He just gets handed this huge protools file by the artist or the label with a ‘Hey, sort this out’. For the full audio conversation between one small seed’s Ryan Eyden and Stephen, log on to where you can get a chance to hear a bit more about the state of the music industry, which new bands to watch out for, Morrisey, the Oasis/ Blur rivalry and Pete Doherty’s infamous problems. one small seed

1995 Blur Great Escape


... A N D TH E S W I N G GOES O N ... Wo r d s : D a n i e l J a k e S h e r Photography: Bruce Boyd

He leans awkwardly against the bar, his bland t-shirt and jeans as out of place as a nun’s habit in a sex shop. His eyes meet those of a girl whose eyelash extensions are longer than those of Gatsby’s Daisy. In one swift motion, she grabs his hand and jerks him onto the shuddering dancefloor. They perform an explosive erratic-erotic rendition of the Charleston, her flimsy dress fluttering in the air-conditioning. The club is crammed with ‘flappers’, stylish ladies sporting bobs and sleeveless dresses. Men sport zoot-suits, fedoras, braces and two-tone shoes. Patrons swing enthusiastically as the band performs numbers from the ’20s and ’30s. The atmosphere is not merely that of another night out in Cape Town. There’s a tangible fervour in the air: the perception of a retro-revolution that’s about to take place both locally and internationally. It’s is a tribute to the Roaring Twenties and a revival of the glamour, style and decadence that characterised the Golden Age of Swing.

Back in 1924, driven by the energy of the Harlem Renaissance, an edgy experimental trumpeter by the name of Louis Armstrong exerted his unique influence on Fletcher Henderson’s more traditional Dixieland jazz band. A wave of innovation swept across the jazz landscape and kickstarted what our grandparents bopped and jived to... and still nod their heads and tap their feet to from their armchairs today. Swing music is based on distinct African-derived rhythmic structures that reached antebellum America in slave ships. The virulent energy in the smoothly syncopated rhythms brought about signature fast-paced steps such as the Lindy-hop and Jitterbug.

in London, but entry to The Book Club or the Voodoo Rooms during one of their electro-swing nights means immersion in an exhilarating party mood, saturated with the sounds and sights of the 1920s.

Rumours of renaissance can also be sensed in Cape Town, where the swing revival is paying tribute to its African roots. The revival is spearheaded by a collective called culturetalent, established by Nathan Daniel Heller in 2008 under the slogan ‘creative collaboration towards social innovation’. Drawing on Cape Town’s atmosphere of multicultural élan and ingenuity, culturetalent has established a social platform But swing is more than just a style of dance or a musical genre: for the swing revival and introduced a kaleidoscope of retroit’s a social metaphor for the mood of the moment – a spirit and glamour and High Society to our nightlife. These events lifestyle that emerged from a very specific ethos. Swing took root have celebrated the talent of some of the country’s foremost in America against Swing enthusiasts, a backdrop of the including Haydn Great Depression Gardner, Jason and Prohibition: Reolon, Dan Shout, these were tough Jackie Kwenda and ... times and people Jamie Faull, and T h e s e w e r e t h e n i g h tc lub s needed emotional created a space o f t h e 1 9 20 s a n d s w i n g wa s outlets for their for electronic anxiety. And so innovation by DJs the Prozac of the age the ‘speakeasies’ like Fletcher and ... appeared – places Honey B. Although where people the movement is could drink illegal in its early days, ‘hooch’ or ‘giggle the incredible buzz water’. It was in of anticipation these joints, amidst the down-and-outers, bootleggers and accompanying culturetalent’s recent events is clear mobsters that a subversive culture of drinking, dance, music evidence of Cape Town’s potential to usher in the ultimate and pleasure blossomed. These were the nightclubs of the global swing revolution. 1920s and swing was the Prozac of the age. Trends and musical movements may come and go, but the The US subprime debacle of 2008 precipitated a global swing revival is bigger than that. They’re not just resuscitating economic downturn and experts still intone gloomy the music and fashion of the fabled era: they’re reviving a premonitions of impending financial disaster. Apparently philosophy and an attitude, providing a new way to exist in the hemlines rise during troubled times, and the Great Depression 21st century. In a playful gesture of hedonistic defiance, they’re of the 21st century ushered in the contemporary swing revival. turning a blind eye to the economic insecurity, ennui and social Is it so surprising that today’s youth, driven by an air of fey monotony of our age and embracing the glamour, thrills and fatalism, seems to be instinctively attracted to the spirit of the raw passion that characterised pop culture during the swing last swing era? We don’t know if we’re going to have roofs over era. So if you’re disenchanted with the humdrum of everyday our heads in a year – so we may as well have some fun tonight. life, why not don some two-tone spectator dancing shoes and escape to the 1920s for a night? The revival is gaining momentum all around the globe, with swing parties becoming commonplace in cities like Berlin, Paris, In the words of the legendary Duke Ellington: ‘It don’t mean a Stockholm and New York. Swing is still very much a sub-culture thing if it ain’t got that swing.’





Photographer Stylist Models


Photographic Stylist Shot



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– Bianca FLASH

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Makeup at

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Jakub Van

Infidels Barak Base

Models Fulín Rensburg studios

Katarina wears: Biker Jacket - The Lot, Bracelet - Stylist's Own, Necklace - Journey, Vintage Coco Chanel Belt - Meanwhile, Rings - Journey, Stockings - Stylist's Own

Katarina wears: Oversized Vest - Wings, Panties- Ruby, Boots - Stylist's Own

Daniella wears: Oversized Shirt - Traffic, Rings - Journey, Denim Shorts - Wings, Shoes- Traffic

Daniella wears: Turbin - A list, Denim Jeans - The Lot, Necklace - Journey, Shoes - Aldo Katarina wears: Blazer - A list, Ruffled Bodysuit - Blue Bay, Wedges - Aldo

Daniella wears: Fur Gilet - KLUK/CGDT, Necklace - Traffic, Panties - Ruby Katarina wears: Lace Bra - Ruby, Stockings - Stylist's own, Necklace - Traffic

THe Art of noise David Chislett on the changing face of music.

For a solo artist to earn a US monthly minimum wage of $1 160 they must sell

Self-pressed CD: 143 CD Album: 155

“The Absolute transforMAtion of eVerything thAt We eVer thought About Music Will tAke place Within ten years And nothing is going to be Able to STop it. I see Absolutely no point in PRetending thAt it’s not going to hAPPen. I’m fully confident thAt copyright, for inSTAnce, will no longer exiST in ten years, And Authorship And intellectuAl PRoperty is in for such A bAshing. Music itself is going to become like running WAter or electricity. [ … ] So it’s like: juST tAke AdVAntAge of these laST feW years because none of this is eVer going to hAPPen Again. You’d better be PRepAred for doing A lot of touring because thAt’s really the only unique situAtion thAt’s going to be left. It’s terribly exciting. But, on the other hAnd, it doesn’t MAtter if you think it’s exciting or not… it’s WhAt’s going to hAPPen…” David Bowie, New York Times, 2002


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Only the least observant will have missed the massive changes in the music industry of the last ten years. In January 2011, American low-fi band Cake earned the dubious distinction of reaching Billboard Number One with the lowest number of record sales ever: 44 000 copies. This prompted lead singer John McCrea to comment, ‘I see music as a really great hobby for most people in five or ten years. Radiohead released 2007’s In Rainbows exclusively over the

Spotify anywhere in these territories for free, you can begin to see why. This means that music is rapidly moving from being a product that is sold to being a commodity that people want access to. We can expect to see the emergence of more online radio stations and streaming audio options that allow users access to music without their ever owning it, like 8track and LastFM. It is becoming less and less about what you own and more and more about what you have access to via your friendly internet service provider.

Retail Album: 1,161

MP3 Download: 1,562 Album Download: 1,129

internet, telling fans they could “pay what they wanted”.’ But what does this really mean? The value chain that kept the music industry ticking along merrily in the past has been broken. Fans no longer see the value in buying music that they once did and are looking for alternatives. Keen to hang on to their profit margins, major record labels have tried to criminalise file sharing and download portals whilst seeking ways to make money off the digital music revolution – with about as much success as King Canute’s soldiers trying to drive back the sea with their swords. In the meantime, technology companies like Apple and Nokia have been left to find ways to cater for the new demand for music in ways that have mainly excluded or marginalised the labels’ financial interests. Artists can also now record, master, distribute and market their work from their own bedrooms using programs like Cubase, SoundCloud and MySpace. According to a research study in the USA and Europe, the youth market no longer feels obliged to pay for music. When you consider that you can easily listen to live, legal streaming audio like that on

The Apple store App technology and the hand-held multimedia device market have made it easier to cater for people that want music where they are, be it on smartphone or iPod. Artists and labels are under pressure to deliver music in these new formats, thus expanding the role of content aggregators like iTunes and Valleyarm who can serve content to many platforms at the click of a button. Former Head of Talent and Music for MTV Networks Africa and digital music entrepreneur Charlie Beuthin thinks that, ‘the music business will change radically. There will be a content business and an entertainment business. I think music will be viewed as a free commodity. Music itself will be a free commodity that is used to up-sell live performance, merchandise and premium products such as video. The traditional album will not exist anymore. Anything that is released will all be to promote the artists’ brand and their commercial partners.’ This notion of applications as vehicles for music is one that has been adopted to conspicuous effect by two bigger

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names in Bjork and Flying Lotus. Bjork released a second version of her album Biophillia complete with ten new apps, all hosted within a kind of Mother App that was aimed directly at the Apple store and iPod market. The idea behind the project is to give listeners the opportunity to interact with the songs and visual elements form the album in a completely new way in a new environment. This adds impetus to the album and represents a unique piece of content that attracts attention from a new market of listeners.

Retail Album CD: 3,871 iTunes MP3 Download: 2,044

Flying Lotus used the idea of premium value-added content to help drive physical sales. Steven Ellison – the man behind FlyLo – released an incredible augmented reality app called Fieldlines with the release of his 2011 album Cosmogramma. Free to download and tracked by the computer’s webcam, the app detects unique patterns visible on the album cover giving fans who bought the album access to exclusive tracks and remixes. But those who don’t have the CD can still enjoy a trippy interactive experience with the cover art. This kind of activity by major artists is crucial to the future of music because many of the fundamentals of the industry are changing. Up until very recently, live touring was touted as the saviour of artists as big names like Prince, Madonna and Michael Jackson committed to massive tour schedules and gave albums away with newspapers to boost ticket sales. But the recent financial returns of Live Nation, the biggest 360 record label and touring agency, suggest that this trend has run its course. Now artists and the labels have to turn to increasingly inventive ways to make a living from an industry that once seemed to print money.


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Amazon Track Download: 12,39

ArtiSTs And labelS hAVe to turn to increasingly inVentiVe WAys toMAKe A liVing FRoM An induSTry thAT once seeMed to PRint Money

This is why the most popular idea is premium content. Why buy something from the artists? Well because it’s a limited edition, or there is a value-add in the form of online content only available once you’ve bought the original album. The offering gives a notion of exclusivity and collectability... and therefore desirability. It could be said that the music itself almost doesn’t matter anymore. The saturation hypermarket model of music may well have damaged the value perception of music as a product forever.

innovators with no certainty that they can easily make a living. For consumers, it’s a smorgasbord of choices, platforms and toys. And perhaps the clue to the future lies in the fact that now the power is with the consumer and it is their preferences that will dictate shifts in the market. The current trend is towards music being a free commodity. Perhaps, when the major label flood of over-marketed, sub-standard music has subsided, a more natural balance will be found between supply and demand and a new model will emerge. For now… we’re in the thick of it!

Stream: 849,817


Spotify Stream: 4,549,020 Stream: 1,546,667

The success of various platforms and services like Myspace, SoundCloud and Spotify indicate radical shifts in people’s perceptions of music. But to think that these technical innovations represent the new status quo is also a mistake. The initial issues of piracy that haunted file sharing are being replaced with the admission that a new business model is required. While it’s true that much music is still pirated digitally over the internet, many in the industry concede that no effective alternative that caters for the audience’s new attitude has been found. If artists and labels are being ripped off by file sharing, they may have lost touch with their marketplace. Society and its attitude to music has evolved beyond yesterday’s stark absolutes and has moved into a more open access paradigm akin to the open source software movement’s.

This issue is becoming so pronounced that many academics, economists and even artists are beginning to predict that copyright law as we know it should and will be rewritten soon. Most accept that artists’ rights do still need to be protected, but these are often translated into corporate rights. The actions of the music-buying public and even of the musicmaking community would seem to indicate an openness to change. The emergence of creative commons licensing and the entire Copyleft movement provide clear evidence that artists themselves are not happy with how copyright works and want to moderate it to make it easier for their work to take advantage of the complex and interlinked platforms offered by the internet and the global market. Where to from here? That's anybody’s guess.

The reality is that the game has changed. But just as the mp3 came from nowhere to change the rules, technology is changing so fast that another development could take the game elsewhere just as easily. This leaves musicians in the role of cultural

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id. What is Polynoid and Tell us a little about Polyno ? er animation companies what sets it apart from oth tion ora lab col a as 7 200 Polynoid was initiated in share a similar taste of digital filmmakers who ge. We started out of in stories and visual langua is a pretty fertile ground Filmakademie BW, which

nted worms, and the team ‘Polynoid’ refers to segme inter connected nature the was so named to reflect to Giuseppe Russo speaks of each member’s work. of t ten con the ut Bitzer, abo one of the directors, Jan … ond sec a split

nymated short from Germa Loom is a five minute ani the s tell It id. yno o Pol based collab oration/studi of Fang and Claw. Very rule the all: of ry sto est old this case, belonging to a small fangs and claws in in its web. More than a spider and a moth caught a dispatch from Darwin’s simple tale of predation, ns up a hidden world of ‘War of Nature’, Loom ope re. epic proportion in miniatu

son for choosing the Was there a specific rea ng a moth? subject of a spider catchi m to naturally just see gs thin se The Not really. even tried on several We happen the way they do. avoid nature, biology and occasions to consciously tend towards this stuff all that. But, in the end, we ting. There are so many since it’s so damn interes rth exploring. great stories in nature wo

n ed short films. The questio for independently produc r. we ans to y is not so eas about what sets us apart ynoid has grown into a Pol rs, yea few t las Over the it studio. At the beginning, production company and ed duc body of work we pro was easy to identify the cific style and mood. spe y ver a because it had commercial production but Nowadays, we implement palette and vision of what we still want to keep our Polynoid as a studio that we think is cool. Think of cific director that has a represents, let’s say, a spe unique look and feel.

microscopic detail, so I can see that you went into shows the effect of the much so that the camera th’s nervous system. This spider’s venom on the mo extent were you able to is truly incredible. To what research the subject? actually had a terrarium Some people asked if we eens. We didn’t go that far. with spiders next to our scr is generally when you get Although the best research gs and go out to explore thin away from your computers ed her gat and one on this yourself, we were kinda lazy s books, nature documentarie of out tion rma info the all just lity interwebs. But rea and of course the good ol’ ed in Loom since we stretch ine del gui ic served as a bas in plot. it quite a bit to tell our ma

ny people did it take to How long and how ma realise this project? the it took us one year to finish Including story development, chmu had we r people and piece. The core group was fou demie students. There aka Film w fello from needed help lved at crunch time. invo ple were about eight or nine peo

s movement research Apart from the meticulou also impressed me and light rendering, what Something so organic, were the sound effects. most realistic rendering presented in 3D with the ctronic sound effects. ele possible, supported by crucial element of sound Tell me more about the design in Loom? for a sound design that’s To us it just felt natural to go culture. It goes very well sic mu based on the electronic n sound design and score with our style. We like it whe other and this creates a melt together. One feeds the m of sounds. Our sound very tight, well-fitted spectru veplant did an amazing Wa designer Joel Corelitz of closely with him from the job on this. We worked very to so we had the opportunity beginning of the production Joel . ges ima our for io aud t get a very snappy, on the spo into the characteristics of the was also able to really get in the film and give them a different elements we have strong personality.

use? What programs did you 3D part and Digital Fusion the for age We used Softim ed in Premiere and we for composition. It was edit during production... like used several other programs dbox for sculpting. Mu and g Photoshop for texturin

ned a new era of Do you think you have ope would you call what you animation movie? What a uld you describe Loom to wo have produced? How e? tag seen the foo person who has not yet it a new era since there call ld wou I if w I don’t kno there producing amazing are a lot of good people out is add another aspect... a animation. What we try to do ld of animated films. But different approach to the wor in this. It is difficult for us to we are definitely not alone for ause we have dealt with it describe Loom, maybe bec job our did ple story that, if we such a long time. It is a sim ger big The er. act on the view right, has an emotional imp ter. bet the , that impact Watch the video on one

nck, Csaba Letay Directors: Jan Bitzer, Ilija Bru ss Pro ian Fab Technical Director: elitz Cor Sound: Joel

uld watch out for? Any future projects we sho Always!


In THe PReseNT Powerful and uplifting, Nigerian-German singer Nneka’s new album Soul is Heavy carries her hopes and efforts to help shape a collective vision for her country through music. Although the 30-year-old singer describes herself as ‘a troubled soul for life’, her seriousness turns into a mischievous giggle when she asks the studio assistant how to work the aircon. Sandra Pfeifer meets Nneka for an interview in Soho, New York. It’s a sweltering day in July and the office of her record label Decon is melting. Photography: Gregory Chris

Tell us about your music. Most of the songs I write come from the dark side within myself: my challenges, battles or even hatreds. Things I don’t want to change because I am always trying to find excuses for my personal fuckups... this inspires me to write. Making music is soothing. I don’t make music just for the entertainment but to enlighten and educate myself and others in a positive way. I am not too rational about it... I allow it to flow. Some days I hate it, I really do, but I don’t wanna stop. You supported Lenny Kravitz on his French tour in 2009? This man has a positive, strong aura. Although he has been doing music for such a long time, he still feels what he is doing. When you perform for months on end, you get tired of doing the same thing every day. That’s when you start to rearrange your songs. But Kravitz is still so into it... every chord, every note. That’s where I would like to be as a musician. When did you start to make music? I was never really aware that I wanted to make music or take the stage. All I wanted was to be trusted and to be able to speak the truth. I always wrote but never added a melody to it. I moved from Nigeria to Germany when I was 19 and started to make music professionally. Since I was spending more time on my own, away from home, I found a place for music... or it found me. Do your German roots influence your music? I was always aware that I was more Nigerian than German even before I moved to Germany. There are many things I learned when I lived away 100

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from home. When I moved back to Nigeria four years ago, I started to notice solutions to simple things like the need for a fire brigade when a house is on fire. But if you asked people about these things, all they would say is ‘God will help us’. That attitude, which we acquired at an early age, has to change. We cannot blame God for everything. Your songs also address the future. How do you imagine it? It is difficult to imagine a place with perfect balance. There is no perfection as there is no happiness without sadness. But there are things we can change. In Nigeria, we are raised to live in fear. We bow our heads, believing it to be part of our culture and mistaking it for respect. I didn’t look my father in the eye until the age of 23, after I had returned from Germany. You simply don’t face your fear. Challenging tradition makes people think you’re going against their dignity and that you ought to be punished for it. This is true in every aspect of life: politically and personally. That is what I want to change. We need to stand up for our own rights because we can no longer blame the past. We have to work for ourselves... through good leadership and education. This is vital for Africa in general. Are you considered a female musician or a Nigerian (female) musician? I am seen as a political musician. I performed at the Niger Delta Peace Concert. Just before I played the last song ‘VIP’ (Vagabonds in Power), inspired by Fela, I spoke about change and enlightenment and the emancipation of the Niger Delta. I didn’t say much, just pointed out that I was performing to bring peace into the delta. Big international musicians attended but nobody really addressed the issue. So I said

something and had problems immediately. Places like the Niger Delta are always more complicated. I have a greater fanbase in Lagos and many people who live there share the same mindset. Many have left home and returned... wanting to change things. What music inspires you? Rural music, Fuji music, Nigerian artists like Sir Victor Uwaifo. Fela Kuti only inspired me later. When I was a kid, it was almost a taboo to listen to Fela’s music. He was known as the guy who smokes, doesn’t respect women and is just a madman. People considered everything he said as mad. But then I understood: he was considered mad because he was speaking his own truth. That inspired me to remain the way I am. You don’t have to slip into a different personality to be accepted by anybody. What do you think about the fast-living music culture cultivated by the internet and technology? It’s almost like we have gone too far. There is no way I can remove myself from it. The music video for ‘Soul is Heavy’ was called ‘a viral blast’... even the name ‘viral’ is horrible. I think it takes intuition and education to filter things out... not everything you know is right. How do you define truth for yourself? It changes. Today’s questions might have different answers to tomorrow’s. I think truth can only be found in the presence of the moment. If you are talking revolution and peace you need to feel it, not say it because it is fashionable. I am driven by passion. It has to come from within. one small seed


Fredrico Fernandez:

hustle and bustle

Is it viable to maintain three separate projects in South Africa? When I embark on a project that makes me feel complete, I don't speculate if it will be viable or how much money I can make doing it. I get into the project because I love music. For me it’s almost the only means of self-expression that I found to be efficient. To tell you the truth, the three projects complement each other. I was born to make music and music is what I do best. It’s not much of a worry if people get confused about the projects. How would you compare South Africa to Argentine? The only thing that S.A. has similar to Argentina is the weather. Culturally, it's very different. In a way, S.A. is much more ‘Americanised’ than Argentina. I suppose, because of all the hip-hop that South Africa is exposed to and all the American pop bands that radios pump out all day long... but I prefer South Africa. I love the different flavours of this land, I like to become an observer sometimes and mix the immense number of musical styles that this country has to offer.

“I discovered that music because of drugs but I don't think they've made me a better musician”

Fredrico Fernandez was raised on live music in a bar in Buenos Aires, half a planet away from where he now lives in Joburg. But he didn’t leave the music behind and is still exploring his rock and Latin roots through three different projects. Fernandez came to South Africa as a model back in 1999 but was convinced almost instantly that this ‘was home’. It’s been a hustle since then but he survives by giving guitar lessons and playing sessions. His dark and introspective electronic solo project F-Spot has released its debut album free to download, but the project closest to his heart, Son of a Thousand Blues, has also finished recording their album. ‘Son of a Thousand Blues is my heart and Shaun Parsons, Dave Munn and Andre Hurter are my brothers,’ says Fernandez. Proyecto LIBERTAD is his Santana-esque Latin project, which he calls his ‘expensive band’... mostly because of the session musicians he uses when they gig. Fernandez lives with his South African wife and child. They met after his return for his second modelling season back in 2001 and she is, we suspect, the reason he stayed. Roger Young asks him a few questions.

Your bio mentions a flirtation with recreational drugs. What role do drugs play in your music? I suppose drugs opened some creative doors when I was a kid but I don't think that was a period of time that was necessary to my becoming a musician. Or was it? I suppose everything is for a reason and in that state I was more sensible to a certain kind of music. I discovered that music because of drugs but I don't think they've made me a better musician. You become a better musician by practicing with your instruments, listening to an eclectic range of music and being as original as you can be when composing. How do you make music work and pay the bills? I don't make ends meet as a musician. I hustle. I play my heart out and people recognise that so the following gets bigger after every gig. I play for other artists, I do commercials, I teach guitar. That's the life of a musician and I suppose I like it. I wouldn't want to become as hollow and egocentric as some of the biggest bands here. I believe in the feeling that music has, I believe in the rush... I don't believe in formulae. Even with Son of a Thousand Blues. I love that band so much because I never know what is going to happen that night. The songs are rehearsed but they take on a life of their own every gig. They go to places we've never explored before. And that is honesty to the max... no rockstar complex, no pretensions... just honest, spontaneous music from the heart. one small seed



Walt Clyde Frazer

Eddie Cruz

PUMA has been alive as long as Ozzy Osbourne: 63 years… and seems as likely to die.

‘flavour’ to the store, ironically pricing the shoes at prices no one would consider practical. Yet, like Lazarus before them, the dead products got up and walked (ran rather) off the shelves hot and fast… rocking the business of fashion to its core.

Undefeated is Eddie Cruz and James Bond’s prolific urban style clothing brand based in Los Angeles, and has driven new trends from Hollywood to Tokyo for almost a decade. The new partnership of PUMA with Undefeated to produce the PUMA x UNDFTD Collection will revolutionize evergreen classics with a unique contemporary slant while honoring their history. Eddie Cruz was the Tom Sawyer of ultra-suede in the ’80s, adventuring through Bronx flea-markets with hodgepodge handbags to Manhattan and nurturing his inner artist by observing rising stars of fashion, art and music. Cruz struck out in 1989 by contributing to the flagship Union shoe store, the exclusive purveyors of XLarge, Visvim, Fresh Jive and Stussy. He charmed himself into the stolid Japanese business world and debuted the Bathing Ape brand on Western shores. This runaway success led Cruz to focus his efforts on marrying hip-hop with art, culture and high fashion with the rebranded Union x Stussy store. Prophetically, Cruz bought dead stock from Japan to add 104

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Bond’s KBond clothing store joined forces with Cruz’s Union street-wear in a collaboration that was destined for groundbreaking success. It was launched on a consciously chosen day: September 11th 2002, and celebrated the United States of America as unbreakable, steadfast… undefeated. With a perfect mix of business smarts and street savvy, Cruz and Bond were the alchemists sought after by corporate juggernauts wanting to hit the tarmac running, and were given due street rep by underground artists. With a black book of friends comparable in size to your average phone directory and spanning the globe, Undefeated served corporate and artistic interests alike. Writing the rules of the ‘shoe game’, Undefeated catapulted sales sustaining street artists to a tipping point where the most sought-after pair of sneakers would go for upward of


$4000. This marketing prowess saw the brand opening doors for collaborations of the highest calibre. Just as Undefeated consciously chose when to strike out in 2002, so too has PUMA timed their partnership with the legends. Pushing the boundaries as far as possible, the first project tackled by the PUMA x UNDFTD Collection will be an iconic mainstay: the PUMA Clyde. Chosen for its significance to the PUMA brand and relevance to sneaker history and pop culture, the PUMA x UNDFTD remix will combine classic elements to find a contemporary audience. The PUMA Clyde’s history is well documented, and PUMA lives its motto of being fair, honest and positive by putting its brand in the capable hands of PUMA x UNDFTD and treating the action of collaboration as an art. Having already proven its impact in two highly successful launch drops: on 10 April and 10 June 2011. The first drop (corresponding to ‘Clyde's’ #10) featured a leather upper and the second a canvas upper, the first time this has ever been done on a Clyde. PUMA x UNDFTD will be landing in South Africa for its third launch in September - the 9th anniversary month for Undefeated.

The third iteration of the enhanced PUMA Clyde will provide its understated cool and swagger to an African audience that knows what it likes. Proving the collaboration is destined for the long haul, the NRC (Nylon Ripstop Clydes) shoe incorporates 'ripstop' material designed for tear-resistant World War II parachutes. These are expected to drop worldwide in September and should prove to be practically indestructible. The PUMA x UNDFTD collection will make its first appearance in South Africa when they go on display at Street Cred 2011 (STR.CRD), taking place in Johannesburg on the 23rd and 24th of September. The collection, retailing at R999, will be available to purchase from Shelflife thereafter. With the power of PUMA partnered with a proven brand in Undefeated, the result will stand for generations… who will no doubt build upon its success to nurture both corporate interests and artistic integrity. With a 60-year history, steadfast resolve, leadership spanning close to a decade and material designed to withstand the highest velocity, you can be sure that, with PUMA, your kicks are undefeatable. one small seed


music reviews Words by: Adam Alexander (AA), Batandwa Alperstein (BA), Guthrie Cooper (GC), Mica Jenkins (MJ)

Cults Cults (2011)

New York band Cults invaded worldwide music blogs after releasing their five-track EP Cults 7” on their Bandcamp page in 2010. They have recently released their eponymous debut via Columbia Records. While the first song

Shabazz Palaces Black Up (2011)

Shabazz Palaces are as mysterious as their obscure Arabic calligraphy cover art. They’re a Seattle collective headed up by the Palaceer, Ishmael ‘Butterfly’ Butler, of the jazz-hop group Digable Planets. Black Up is their

Battles Gloss Drop (2011)

Gloss Drop is the first LP from post-prog supergroup Battles since they unleashed Mirrored in 2007. The absence of vocalist Tyondai Braxton meant this was always going to be an interesting trip. It takes two tracks to set the

Timber Timbre Creep On Creepin’ On (2011)

The mournful vocals of Taylor Kirk, reminiscent of David Bowie and Elvis Costello, add depth to an album that already pushes the musical envelope. At times we can imagine a waitress in a ’50s diner turning over the ‘closed’ sign and 106

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‘Abducted’ is promising, introducing Madeline Follin’s soft and fragile voice as a keen foil for Brian Oblivion’s raw instrumentals, the rest of the album relaxes into a different genre altogether. The Cults eschew the basic and unpretentious sound that usually comes from twopiece rockers and add some

elements like synths and samples that belie the riffbased headbanging depicted on the cover. Cults is a bittersweet indie-pop listen, best when played on a lazy Sunday afternoon… (AA)

debut release under the Sub Pop record label and is being hailed by critics as a creative breakthrough. The album is a warped sonic whirlwind of futuristic terrains marked by spacey effects and vibrant drumrolls. Butler rides the hypnotic organic beats with his cryptic poetry-rap, turning each track into a mantra of

sorts. The soothing female vocals on ‘Recollections of the Wraith’ and ‘Endeavors for Never’ elevate the album to intoxicating planes. Overall, Black Up is a mouthful that takes a while to digest but provides much nourishment to those hungry for something experimental and thoughtprovoking. (BA)

tracks (including Gary Numan on ‘My Machines’), not so much to fill the gap left by Braxton but more as voiceas-instrument additions to an already potent and unique LP. The instrumental tracks channel Jazz-From-Hell-era Zappa and a type of madness that at times feels almost out of control. Deliciously so. (GC)

tone of the album: ‘Africastle’ and ‘Ice Cream’ introduce a cross section of Gloss Drop’s mammoth sound palette and intensity scale, while still managing to simply do what a Battles album is meant to do: hit you square between the eyes like a swarm of drunk locusts. Guest vocalists have been brought in on some

sweeping away the last of the day’s troubles to the soft tunes of a jukebox, but the lyrics (aided by instrumental dissonance) are grounded in the present. The consistent beat, aided by the metronomic use of piano and electric organ, adds to the old-timey feel of this album, but the lyrics remind you that these

young men are contemporary songwriters. Coming from chilly Canada, the land of moose and timber, the band want us to know that ‘All I need is some sunshine’. (MJ)

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music reviews Words by: Adam Lifshitz (AL), Ashlee Valdes (AV), Batandwa Alperstein (BA), Guthrie Cooper (GC), Katleho Makhale (KM), Mica Jenkins (MJ)

The Weeknd House Of Balloons (2011)

The Weeknd is the latest newcomer in the nu-school R&B scene. Their opening track ‘High for This’ is not your usual love ballad. The production on the album is diverse, with dubstep cues coming through on the title track ‘House of

Fleet Foxes Helplessness Blues (2011)

Close your eyes and you can practically hear the softly falling rain in the songs from the Seattle-based band Fleet Foxes in their second album Helplessness Blues. The haunting voice of Robin Pecknold comes at you from

Mr Sakitumi Secret Asian Man (2011)

Mr Sakitumi’s unique style brings a much-needed breath of life into the Cape Town electronica scene, combining a variety of instruments to create melodic masterpieces. Secret Asian Man controls the balance between

Samiyam Sam Baker’s Album (2011)

This is Samiyam’s first fulllength album under Flying Lotus’ label Brainfeeder, and he makes the complex feel simple with concepts that mirror his composition. Samiyam offers a hard orchestra of sounds arranged 108

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Balloons (Glass Table Girls)’ and other tracks; whereas a classic Aaliyah sample is used on ‘What you Need’, where we get the more classic hip-hop sound. Toronto-born Abel Tesfaye is 21 and it shows: he speaks of drugs, downers and the amorous side of global urban youth culture. The lyrics are relevant, the beats

are eclectic and Tesfaye has a distinct voice. If this is his mixtape EP, we can’t wait to hear his first commercial release. The future of R&B looks interesting… if not promising. (BA)

all angles while the unique use of strings and consistent rhythm holds each piece together. Echoing vocal harmonies layer on top of simple melodies, and the sparse use of lyrics on several pieces only highlights the band’s instrumental creativity. Other tracks follow a more ballad-like format, bouncing

from verse to chorus in a friendly way that leaves the listener nostalgic for barefoot spring afternoons outdoors. Influences range from Iron and Wine to Sufjan Stevens to Nick Drake and back again, encouraging analysis of each track individually and as part of the album as a whole. (MJ)

Mr Sakitumi demonstrates the difference between a producer and the simple DJ, and does so with some swagger. (AL)

instrumental and electronic elements and puts you in a surrealistic space. You’ll be surrounded by an array of diverse tracks, from the hiptronic ‘This That’ through the Mobyesque ‘Basshead’ to the chilled ‘Magnifreak’. ‘Secret Asian Man’ and its Mix n Blend remix sidekick are the highlights of this debut album.

with a ‘battle rap’ hiphop groove. Tracks like ‘Understanding’ feature a big band kick drum that sounds both rich and dirty, layered with harmonies that echo 8-bit video games from the ’80s over a dark electronic bass line. Take Samiyam’s influences, like the Wu-Tang Clan and Madlib, and put

them in the shaker of his electronic sound gear… and you get an album layered with bright synth chords and drum lines as complex as jazz but still essentially hip-hop. It’s a potent cocktail. (KM)

Little Dragon Ritual Union (2011)

Take lithe R&B vocals, indietronic synths and intelligent melodies. Throw them into a vat of sass and you get Little Dragon. The band’s credentials include collaborations with UNKLE, TV on the Radio’s David

Tyler, The Creator Goblin (2011)

There’s a new kind of hip hop emerging: it’s DIY, it’s dirty... and it’s getting props from Kanye West. Tyler Okonma, The Creator and his OFWGKTA (‘Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’) crew are the poster boys of the movement. Tyler’s latest album

Blitz the Ambassador Native Sun (2011)

Blitz ‘The Ambassador’ brings a human touch to his independently released Native Sun. Paying tribute to the music of his Ghanaian heritage, he incorporates warm sounds from horns to township guitar

PetitE Noir Maison Noir EP (2011)

Petite Noir is the first solo project by IAMWAVES, one half of the Cape Town-based Nu Disco outfit Popskarr. Maison Noir is written half in English and half in French. It has a sincere feeling to it and can be viewed as a personal

Sitek, Gorillaz and SBTRKT. Ritual Union is the Swedish foursome’s third album and presents a swift solidification of their talents. The first ten seconds of their title track causes ears to perk, toes to tap and smiles to spread. Once Yukimi Nagano starts singing, you can’t help but surrender to her intriguing soulful sound

and simple but poignant lyrics. The songs were built around the beat as fuzzy bass lines contrast with crisp synths, and Nagano’s dusty vocals provide the glue. The dynamic tracks flow into one another. Potential dancefloor hits connect with chilled grooves… making a perfect accompaniment to spring drinks. (AV)

Goblin has defined the sound and its attitude. Tyler spits lyrics that drip with depravity and nothing is sacred. With tongue firmly in cheek, he explores themes like rape, murder, and sex (with dolphins and dinosaurs)… all the while taking as many digs at ‘fags’ and ‘white America’ as he can. ‘Yonkers’ is the strongest song on the album,

a dark and haunting self-portrait growled in tune to a razorsharp self-crafted track. It’s as close to perfectly executed hip-hop as you’re going to hear in 2011. The immediate future of rap music may lie in the hands of a self-described ‘19-year-old fucking emotional rollercoaster with pipe dreams’… a kid called Tyler, The Creator. (GC)

presents a diverse yet cohesive collection of songs, from the radio-ready ‘Best I Can’ to the soulful ‘Accra City Blues’ and the hip shaking samba beat of ‘Wahala’. If you appreciate African jazz or hip-hop, make this album next on your list. See p.66 for our interview with The Ambassador. (AV)

into his six-member Embassy Ensemble. Blending tight rhymes and instrumental hiphop beats, African, jazz and rap genres merge into what Blitz calls ‘Afrohop’. Despite Blitz’s American accent, the politically and socially aware lyrics indicate a deeper connection to Africa and an understanding of cultural duality. The album

statement to the world to stand up and take notice. The lyrics in the intro track declare: ‘We are illuminated.’ The album is psychedelic and dream-like with the trippy synths and layered vocals bringing to mind imagery of floating through light and dark clouds. Inner battles are almost tangible, like the contradictions of youthful ambition addressed

in ‘I don’t want everything, I want everything’. ‘LLAF EDICUS’ is an enigma – a thought in reverse. The title track ‘Maison Noir’ seemingly invites us to the world of the final track where the ‘Sandcastle Kids’ are free to be whatever they wish to be. Maison Noir is a fascinating, brave move and we will have to wait to see where this journey ends. (BA) one small seed


film reviews Reviewers: Guthrie Cooper (GC), Eftihia Stefanidi (ES), Stephan Viollier (SV)

The Skin I Live In Director: Pedro Almodóvar Starring: Antonio Banderas, Elana Anaya Category: Drama/Thriller


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Fans of the surrealist Pedro Almodóvar will not be disappointed with his latest suspense-thriller, a patchwork of young flesh, melodrama, and attractive transgression. The Skin I Live In reunites the Spanish director with Banderas (their last collaboration dates back to the ’90s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!), who delivers a scorching performance as Dr Roger Ledgard, an eminent plastic surgeon living in Madrid. Roger’s work evolves around advanced skin experiments that, if developed earlier, could have saved his burnt wife’s life. He inflicts his ‘care’ on captive guinea pig Vera Cruz (Anaya). We cannot but succumb to the whirlpool of Almodóvar’s hypnotic direction, while elaborate set design and dynamic soundtrack help to make this Spanish saga a feast for the senses. (ES)

Skoonheid The Skin I Live In

Director: Oliver Hermanus Starring: Deon Lotz, Charlie Keegan Category: Drama



Oliver Hermanus’ second feature Skoonheid (Beauty) is a penetrating portrait of a middle-aged Afrikaans family man whose suppressed homosexuality leads to selfdestruction. Shot in cinemascope, the film focuses on Francois (Lotz) and his obsession with Christian (Keegan), the charming son of an old friend. We gradually become voyeurs to his dormant and ill-fated life. Skoonheid tackles important psychological and social taboos that stem from a conservative people suffering and identity guilt. ‘Beauty’ here is unattainable, a representation of youth and what it means to be white in the ‘New South Africa’. A promising experiment of bridging art-house and mainstream cinema, Skoonheid marks the very first Afrikaans film to officially compete at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard). (ES)

Drive Director: Nicholas Winding Refn Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carrey Mulligan Category: Action/Crime/Drama

One of the most entertaining films to come out of the Cannes harvest, Drive is an old school heist movie and definitely set to be your top guilty pleasure of the cinematic year. Gosling (Half Nelson, Blue Valentine) plays the unnamed dexterous stunt driver/garage mechanic who engages in some clandestine nocturnal getaway driving. The phlegmatic Driver embodies the ultra cool, even when he encounters his attractive neighbour Irene (Mulligan). Their connection is tangible and we might think we are heading towards a romantic drama when the film changes gear and injects an array of adrenaline fixes into the twisting plot. Winding through the beautifully lit streets of L.A. to an ’80s synch-pop soundtrack that diffuses the violence, Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn’s little gem has the potential to become a cult classic. (ES)

Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest Enter the Void

Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest

The Tree of Life

Director: Michael Rapaport Starring: A Tribe called Quest Category: Music Documentary

Enter the Void Director: Gasper Noé Starring: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta Category: Psychedelic Melodrama

If you like your melodrama caked in sex, drugs and throbbing techno, then Enter the Void will get your blood pumping. Set in hyper-neon claustro-strobic Tokyo, the film is shot entirely from the point of view of Oscar (Brown), a young American drug dealer with a stripper for a sister and a taste for DMT. This is a dreamy (at times nightmarish) out-of-body ‘life-after-death-butbefore-birth’ experience as we explore Oscar’s tragic childhood, his relationship with his sister (de la Huerta)… and the path his Tokyo life took to get him to where he is now. Enter the Void is an allyou-can-eat buffet for the senses, but you probably won't ask for seconds. (GC)

The Tree of Life Directed by: Terrence Malick Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn Category: Undecided

Beats, Ryhmes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest is an intimate portrait of A Tribe Called Quest, one of the most influential groups of hip-hop’s Golden Era. Tribe inspired the likes of Pharell Williams, Kanye West and J Dilla (who later also became a member of Tribe’s produced collective ‘The Ummah’). The documentary traces Tribe’s history, culminating in their 2008 reunion tour, and exposes the tensions between frontmen and childhood friends Q-Tip and Phife Dawg. More than just a documentary, director and avid fan Rapaport manages to craft a vivid and emotionally compelling story that explores the life behind the music, from Phife’s diabetes to Q-Tip’s nonchalance. This is a must-watch for fans and highly recommended for everyone else. (SV)

No other recent release has divided critics as sharply as Terrence Malick’s ambitious The Tree of Life as this Palme d’Or winner defies classification. Penn plays the adult Jack O’ Brien, a businessman whose midlife crisis takes him back to his 1950s childhood under the regime of a domineering father (Pitt) and the loss of his brother. Probing trivial thoughts and the great existential questions, the film juxtaposes the genesis of cosmos with nostalgic scenes of everyday family life while Jack’s voice-over binds the impressionistic strands of this tapestry together. Whether his philosophical contemplation will speak to your own is something that you have to discover alone – though you can still appreciate the cinematography. Bewitchingly attractive and intolerably self-absorbed at the same time, Malick’s work demands your attention... if not your affection. (ES) one small seed


now showing

The used


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The Used are an integral part of a generation of angst and expression. The four-piece band from Utah sat down with one small seed before performing at Grand West Casino on 8 August. We were given inside information about their upcoming album, new record label and private lives. You’re not going to find this interview anywhere other than on


A behind-the-scenes look at our fashion spread, called 'Self-Made' (p. 82). The shoot yields its naughty secrets exclusively to onesmallseed. tv viewers. If you’ve ever wondered what goes behind the scenes of one of our fashion shoots then you cannot afford to miss this one.

we miss you

A strong ideal can make all the difference in a narrative. We Miss You is a short film that begs for something more: a movement. Three German film students decided to express their Luddite nostalgia by setting their film in the bustling metropolis of New York, hoping to get our attention and remind us that nature misses us. The film is sure to move you‌ perhaps even outdoors. is brought to you by

mr sakitumi

A journey of a thousand miles may begin with a single step, but no one can deny Mr Sakitumi is well on his way. After producing hits with Max Normal, Mr Sakitumi has become a durable figure in Cape Town’s fickle electronic scene. Mr Sakitumi played drums for Lark and Closet Snare and worked with Krused and Sorted. He played at this year’s Pitch Festival in Amsterdam alongside Flying Lotus and Gaslamp Killer. one small seed cornered him (and Ms Pinky) at the Red Bull Studios. Visit onesmallseed. tv for the interview and check out the review of his album Secret Asian Man (p.106).

David sieveking

What started as a journey of selfenlightenment became a nightmare for filmmaker David Sieveking as he came to blows with mystics, heroes and crooks. Transcendental meditation seemed a sound answer to ennui at first but ultimately proved a racket… costing upward of $2500 a session. We got an exclusive interview with David Sieveking when he brought his documentary David Wants to Fly to the 13th Encounters International Documentary Film Festival in Cape Town in July this year.

Indidginus Album Launch

Wielding a heavy duty didgeridoo, Indidginus is Michael Martin, purveyor of the finest riddims and dubstep, dub/dancehall and general electronic vibes. His new collaboration-laced album Sofa Surfer was launched on 9 July at the Rubadub party at Mercury Live, and has since garnered critical acclaim. sat down with the man behind the beats.

one small seed


The Last Word

THe EigHT CommandmeNTs of THe Cult of Self

1. Thou shalt always pout in photographs Even if you pout ironically, you have to pout. If you pout ironically, you can still reap the benefits of looking sexy but you retain that all-important plausible deniability. As long as you look like you’re wearing a duck mask, you’re doing the right thing. 2. If thou holdest a drink, thou shouldst raise it This is called the ‘Woo!’ face. If someone is taking a photo, it is vitally important that you scream and raise your glass. This will allow anyone viewing the picture to know that you are having a whole lot of fun... more fun than they could ever hope to have. 3. Thou shalt practice the art of the self-aggrandising complaint In order to let people know how great your life is without making it too obvious that you are doing so, you need to complain about something that you actually want people to know. These examples might provide inspiration: • Like my platinum card totally doesn’t fit into my purse right now! • I really wish I didn’t make my girlfriend sore every time we make love. I guess it’s just my giant penis. :( 114

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4. Thou shalt upload many pictures of the same people from a slightly different angle Just because you are posing with your group of friends and you’re all pouting perfectly doesn’t mean you should upload just one photograph – it means that you should upload a whole bunch of photographs all from slightly different angles. Ten should do it. 5. Thou shalt refer to thine friends online by inane nicknames Thankfully, Sex and the City taught us that it’s just not real writing unless you refer to all of your friends with really cute nicknames you’ve made up for them. You may consider such names as: The Model, The Blonde, The Party or The BFF. 6. Thou shalt always refer to yourself as ‘we’ Cool people are never alone. Or they’re only alone when they have ‘life-changing’ experiences that they need to tell people about at length. You must thus always refer to yourself as ‘we’. For example: We were just discussing like how terrible it would be to have been born ugly. We’re such a hoot, you guys! 7. Thou shalt be an expert Almost everyone online is an expert on coffee or social networking or something. You need to choose some suitably arcane area of expertise. You could always stick to coffee. Tell people when you’re drinking coffee and complain every time you have one ‘below your standards’. No one gets between you and your latte. 8. Thou shalt always mention thy twitter handle and

Illustration by Si Maclennan |

Greetings everyone, I am so glad you could make it. Please leave your hoods down at all times – I know the robes are itchy but they make you all look really good. But not as good as I do. This cult is all about looking good online and making other people jealous. And clearly we are awesome.

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