I’m sitting with Alden Clapper at my dining room table. It’s 21h00 on a school night. I’ve just watched the Vikings Season 5 finale and I’m stoked.
Alden Clapper is the kind of guy you describe as having a sparkle in his eye. Except, in his case, it’s more like a fucking glitterbomb just went off in his head, and he knows you saw it. A purple hue to it. There’s something about him. He’s unique.
I’ve just heard two of the new singles off their (Androgenius) debut EP, due out in April. A sneak peek of the ear, if you will. I feel kak important and I have a gut feeling I’m about to go jolling on a school night. Naughty.
And, now, it’s officially out there.
Here are the links for their brand new single, Soulless Solace:
It’s just fucking cool. It’s unapologetic and it’s refreshing. It’s a new sound (for me, at least). Soul hop, so they say. I like it. A lot.
The tunes offer technical swagger with an extra shot of tude. Sick basslines. Refined guitar work. Drums on point. Vocals that slay. It’s crafted beautifully.
I’ll be playing this EP in my car, it’s got that vibe. Or at 2am when I’m searching for feeling or something. Elements of jazz and funk and attitude and vibes hit you like a shovel.
These guys hey. They’ve worked fucking hard and you can hear it. Natural unbridled talent and hard work does such things. It makes people gush. It makes me gush. And now I’m blushing. You’re blushing. Listen.
If you don’t have plans on the 21st, get a ticket (www.webtickets.co.za) and go to Café Roux (CBD) and witness the fitness. You will jam and you will have a good time. Hell, a great time. If you do have plans, cancel them and go. Bring the people you were ditching.
Alden and I spoke about their upcoming EP and single launch, being Sebastian in The Little Mermaid, waterbending, failed Tinder dates and who will sit on the Iron Throne.
Pencil: Where do you want to retire to?
Al: I would love to retire…can I pick two places? I want to be in certain places at certain times of the year, I’d like to be in….
Pencil: Caledon and?
Al: Hahahaha, nah, I’d want to be in Prague and in Paris.
Pencil: Chasing winter or chasing summer?
Al: Depends on the year and what gigs I have happening, but I want to bounce between those two. Even to retire. Especially to retire.
Pencil: Paris hey?
Al: Ja, Paris. The music scene there is so highly regarded. It’s such a different quality of appreciation. It’s like, ‘these people care about quality music’ and there’s a much larger concentration of world-famous musicians there and that are from there. Those are the best gigs I’ve ever seen in my life. Paris and Marciac (Jazz Festival). But yes, Paris and Prague. Kind of like that they both start with P.
Pencil: What do you want your tombstone to say?
Al: be better
Pencil: Have you always been a performer and an entertainer? Were you like this when you were younger?
Al: I can’t remember when I wasn’t doing some sort of performance. I remember always being in the school plays and stuff like that and having a decent role. I was ‘Sebastian’ in The Little Mermaid in Grade 2…
Pencil: Of course you were, haha
Al: Hahaha, so ja, I’ve always been pretending to be an actor I suppose, that’s the job, acting, and then it just turned to music. Ja, I can’t remember a time not performing. I can’t remember a time not liking attention.
Pencil: Which musicians or experiences influenced you growing up?
Al: So fucking many! People or the persons I spent the most time listening to, were Mariah Carey…like I bought, or I have, eighteen physical copies of CD’s I bought of hers, because she is the Queen of RnB and is the only person on the planet with eighteen Number 1 singles, and she can sing like that. That’s number one. I’m passionate about her. Stevie Wonder for sure. I spent a lot of time listening to Stevie Wonder – my Dad LOVES Stevie Wonder and has great musical taste, so I picked up on Stevie quite a bit…then I’d say Diana Krall – she’s a jazz pianist…
Pencil: Yes, Diana Krall! Devil May Care et cetera
Al: Yes, you know her, ja, she was quite an easy introduction into Jazz.
Pencil: Yeah man, she was my introduction – Diana Krall Live in Paris…wow Al.
Al: I could probably sing 120 Mariah Carey songs with every lyric intact hahaha. Have you ever caught yourself watching Mariah Carey’s Shadiest Diva Moments on YouTube, surpassed only by Naomi Campbell? Hahahaha, check those out. So intolerant.
Pencil: Hahahaha, can’t say I have but I’ve been looking for new content lately, so sweet.
Al: Unapologetically intolerant. I wish I could be less apologetic.
Pencil: Don’t we all man
Pencil: You’re finally releasing some songs after a long time crafting (it’s been a year). Has it taken this long because of intense self-editing? Are you a perfectionist? Or is it world domination you’re after?
Al: I think it’s everything hey. It’s been a very very long process. We recorded everything very early on, we hadn’t been a band for two months before we recorded our first six songs. Our drummer, Jarryd (West) was participating in West Side Story for three months and we wanted to get everything down before he left. So, lots has happened since then and I think we know all know what each of our roles are, and now the stuff sounds like everyone has their own space. It’s a lot less jamming and a lot more structured. We kept redoing parts, sorry it took so long! Alex (bassist), is also a perfectionist.
Pencil: Well, it sounds amazing…some might say its shanana.
Al: Thank you so much
Pencil: Where do you see Androgenius this time next year?
Al: I haven’t done the planning yet, but I have done the dreaming – this time next year I’d love to be in either Belgium or Prague, playing music there, or Sweden, with the band. I need to go and see what the scene is like over there. By then, we would have released quite a bit of stuff so, if everything is perfect, we’ll hopefully pick up some dank traction across the waters and have people who are quite keen to come and see us before we get there, which could be quite dope…
Pencil: Game of Thrones. Iron Throne? Who? Favourite character?
Al: I fucking love me some Arya Stark. She’s a bad bitch. She’s sassy as fuck. I also really really love Cersei, the fact that she has made me hate her so much. She’s so unapologetically evil. She’s so hot. She’s so mean. I don’t know if I like Daenerys.
As far as the Iron Throne goes, I want everyone to die before that happens. I love how everyone speaks in GoT though. Beautiful shit.
Pencil: White Walkers take the Iron Throne? No Jon Snow saving the day?
Al: As much as it breaks my heart, no. The White Walkers will destroy the Iron Throne.
Pencil: What advice do you have for up-and-coming musicians? Would you advise youngsters to go into music as a career full-time?
Al: I would say that you can do it in different degrees…for Alex (bassist), he’s a full-time musician, for Callum, he’s also a full-time musician, most of the time, but he is also a producer a lot of the time, and an editor. Everyone has their ‘not performing but I’m in music’ kind of thing, oh…and Ray (drummer), it’s been nice getting to know him. He and I have known one another for years – he used to play for Early Hours – when we were playing as IndividuAl, we played a couple of shows together…
Pencil: Early Hours is a cool name…
Al: Yeah Early Hours is dope man, shoutout to Jake Bennett and Adam Rothschild, and Adrian Fowler was playing with them, he was our Indigo Child drummer (another of Al’s previous bands, so kiff)
Pencil: Sounds incestuous
Al: Oh, SO incestuous…
Pencil: Is the local scene incestuous?
Al: Ja, but it kind of has to be, because there is only a handful of really good players and really really big handfuls of average players. But, what’s a little bit frustrating is that people are still okay to have their average players and I can’t hate on that, if you know how to sell yourself and you’ve got people to sell it to, and you’re doing it pretty alright, then kiff. What I like about the stuff we’re releasing and writing – we didn’t write it because we thought it would sound nice – it’s very honest – well, we didn’t write it because we thought it would sound nice to everyone, we just thought it would sound very much like what we all wanted to do. The reception has been great.
Pencil: When can we expect the full EP? Okes are frothing for it.
Al: March, latest April hey…. we’re excited
Pencil: Sweet, we’ll make the waves for that!
Pencil: Is there an inherent message in Androgenius’s music that you’re looking to convey?
Al: Yoh. I think that I write very much the same sort of lyrics, different situations but same sort of outcome, a lot of the stuff I think is about addiction, like Soulless Solace for instance, and the other stuff is about boys. That’s the stuff I have experienced deeply and processed enough to form a concept…I do like to write quite vaguely so that it can be all applicable.
One of my favourite things to hear is someone saying that the lyrics resonated with them. Doing the social media for the band has been fun too. I get to say things there I otherwise wouldn’t. I’m a bit of a control freak like that. I said to Alex the other day, I’m just a sensitive vocalist ‘and he said, ‘you mean a vocalist’ hahahaha.
Pencil: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Al: I’m down with water-bending dude (check out The Last Airbender)! I think it would be an efficient method of travel, I feel it would be powerful…and fun…. rolling around on your own mini-wave, not giving a fuck…
(Al and I proceed to get into a 15-minute chat about the benefits of airbending versus waterbending and the travel benefits of each, as I like airbending – it’s styling – but he stuck with his waterbending despite my claims of superiority)
Pencil: Dream gig location?
Al: I would love to play at the Marciac Jazz festival in southern France. We went two years ago and it’s a beautiful corner of the French countryside, all this incredible Jazz coming at you and beautiful French boys.
Pencil: Really? Some of that on the EP that’s coming out?
Al: Hahahahaha, maybe. There’s one song on the EP called Scene One Take Two and its about a failed Tinder date in Paris…
Pencil: Sounds scorned
Al: It’s apologetic from my side…I was in Paris and I was too lit for the day, I was wasted, and he wanted to go home…
Pencil: Ah, so you pulled an Icarus
Al: There’s a song we have called Icarus…so…
Pencil: If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
Al: Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse, and the third one is tough, you know who I really like? Coco Chanel. She says the most amazing things…
Pencil: One thing most people don’t know about you
Al: That they probably annoy me.
But then you get your good quality people and they make it up.
Most people don’t know I have a prawn tattoo on my left ass cheek and I will gladly show anyone even remotely interested in seeing it.
Also, that I auditioned for UCT College of Music on three separate occasions, and I was rejected every time.
Pencil: Who in the band is the most batshit?
Al: I think we pass around the baton, over the past period I think I may have held onto it a scorching amount of time, but I think Callum is also so capable of being…he’s like introvert crazy. I’ll get drunk and fuck shit up externally, but he’ll get drunk and play StarCraft. But he can also fuck shit up. Alex is mental crazy…he’s obsessive and like ‘this is this way’ and he’s stubborn and he thinks aaaaaaa lot…a crippling amount. He analyses stuff, which is great for the music, but I can imagine tiring for the self at the same time. I need him.
Now, Ray, we’re now figuring out where he fits in. We went to go play at the Wild Spirit Backpackers in Nature’s Valley…that was the first time we all spent some real time together. Think it was four days in total. We thought he was the normal one but he’s a joller, lots of fun. We understand each other better now, hahaha.
Pencil: Well, awesome man, that concludes Scene One Take Two, thanks for chatting and good luck with the launch, I’ll be seeing you on the 21st…
Al: Hahahaha, it’s been great chatting boooi….
Catch Alden and Androgenius at Café Roux (CBD) on the 21st of February.
Tickets here: www.webtickets.co.za
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