Most of you know him as Taxi Violence’s frontman with the pipes, but when he’s not on stage, George van der Spuy can be found at Kill City Blues, his recording studio in Woodstock.
His latest ambitious undertaking is The Coalition, a band collab/documentary project, the first instalment of which you can check out this Friday.
In the meantime, we picked George’s brain about collabs, The Flying Sex Snakes (for real), and SA’s untapped rock talent.
It captures the process of writing and recording a song on film and on ‘tape’ from its inception to its end, giving artists from different musical backgrounds within the rock/blues/metal/hardcore/grunge/punk/psych genres the chance to get out of their comfort zones and write with different artists.
The idea is to come up with something unique that you would not otherwise have heard from each of their respective bands.
What sparked the idea?
Having performed or collaborated with so many different artists over the years, I know it teaches you a lot about song-writing or how different people would approach a song. Those lessons can then be taken back to your band and in turn used to grow as musicians.
The end product of such a collaboration is that each different band or artist’s influences shine through and something new is born that one would not normally hear from their usual group. The result is hopefully something really interesting and fresh for people to hear.
So something a little like Sound City?
Definitely, but we have our own stars in SA and there is enormous talent here that needs to be exposed, especially in the genres mentioned above.
People are saying rock is dead. Well, we’re saying there are still people who listen to it and we cater for them. Hopefully the rest will realise that someone pressing a few buttons on a DJ console (though it does take skill) is not the same as someone who has crafted their skills on an instrument over many years.
There’s nothing like somebody creating something from scratch on the spot on a instrument and just jamming – that often leads to great songs being created. The magic!
Isn’t it tough, essentially putting together a new band from members who are used to playing in their own style with their own bandmates? And is anyone stepping away from their usual instruments?
I think most musicians want to get out of their comfort zones and do slightly different styles than what they are used to – they know what they are getting themselves into.
In The Coalition Part 1, I play a bit of drums but also do some vocals in the verses and Patrick Skuce (Kingdom/We Set Sail/Howard Roark), for instance, swaps his bass for a guitar. In some cases, some members might swap instruments (if they are capable) but it’s not the main focus.
The first Coalition collab band is called The Flying Sex Snakes … seriously?
Haha ja, it’s quite a laugh.
It wasn’t necessary for the first collaboration to have a name for the band but the guys thought it would be cool. The name was taken from Cards Against Humanity. The next Coalition might just be two bands (band vs band) or the same as this one.
In The Coalition Part 1, we have Chris de Wet (Stoker/Dead Lucky) on vocals, Nicolai Roos (The Sleepers) on guitar, Patrick Skuce (Kingdom/We Set Sail/Howard Roark) on main guitar, Zack Emmanuel (Filth) on bass and myself (Taxi Violence/Goodnight Wembley) on drums and vocals.
Collabs aren’t that rare, but turning the process into a documentary is. What was your thinking there?
Often people just hear the end product of an album, but don’t see or hear how it’s made. And in a digital age (mp3 downloads/streaming etc) where everything is disposable, it’s nice to give people something that carries a bit more weight.
In the days of vinyl, tape or CDs, you had booklets with artwork and it was tangible, something you could touch, that you grew into and where you got to know the members or the band better and created a better connection with the music. This is our version of that, although in a digital form. At least, that’s the idea.
What else can we expect from Kill City TV?
We will obviously have more Coalitions happening every month, but for now we won’t reveal too much. It’s a small industry and unfortunately we have to keep our cards close to our chest.
We are looking for sponsors though, so if anybody else out there believes in this product, don’t be afraid to contact us.
Who’s up next, for The Coalition Part 2?
We’ve spoken to Loudo Liebenberg, Francois van Coke, Guy Collins, Karen Zoid, Red Huxley, Death Panthers, Beast, Filth and a few other bands, but exactly who’s going to collab with who, we’ll keep a secret for now…
Photography and videography Christelle Duvenage Photography, Courtesy