Off the Record – Francois van Coke

My ‘suburban’ hatchback is not built for bumpy farm roads. I can still hear the extra little squeak in my shocks since the trip. Nevertheless, I made the mission into the mountains (more of a koppie really, but mountains sounds more dramatic and kief) in Stellenbosch to meet with South Africa’s own man in black, Francois Van Coke. Picture-esque shit. Sunshine, mountains, farmland, horses. Gravel roads. GPS was kak. Lank vineyards. Winning.

The news has just dropped, but at the time of this sit-down, it was still undercover.

Fokofpolisiekar are releasing a new EP – ‘Droom Hoog’. Soon.

People crave these okes and rightfully so. They’ve been rocking and jolling and just being down-to-earth, lekker guys since I was a laaitie. They are bastions for the local scene and South African music.

Francois is the frontman for such vibes.

On the eve of his basically sold-out show, Francois Van Coke en Vriende, we sat down for a little chat with the headliner himself. Want tickets? Click right here and get on it.

We spoke about arm-wrestling, Phil Collins, fillet steak and ankle-tapping a Blue Bulls winger in the after-life.

The Temperamental Pencil: Howzit bru, welcome to Off the Record, shot for the time man…

Francois Van Coke: Off the Record…on the record…cool…I like that…

Pencil: Shot man, let’s start at the end. What do you want it to say on your tombstone?

FVC: Jeees, I don’t think I want a tombstone hey…

Pencil: So, cremation then?

FVC: I think I’d want my ashes scattered somewhere. I’d also want to donate everything from my body that I possibly can, and these days I might still have some of my organs in proper shape…

Pencil: Hahahaha

FVC: If I die now it’ll be fine…ummm, and I’ll be cremated. I don’t think I want a tombstone bro. If I had one, I think it should say – Friend. Husband. Father. Hahahaha

Pencil: Ah lekker, keeping it respectful…and if you scatter your ashes…where?

FVC: Fuck bro, hahaha

Pencil: Well, my next question would be, where are you going to retire to?

FVC: Ja I can answer that ashes scattering one…I don’t know, maybe Newlands (Rugby Stadium) …in the corner…

Pencil: Hahahaha

FVC: …I can catch the Blue Bulls winger there, the year after they scattered, you know?

Pencil: Def, there’ll be an ankle tap there in the corner out of nowhere…

Pencil: And retire to?

FVC: Ag, I like the West Coast hey, I’ve spent a lot of time there, my wife’s family has spots there, or had spots there over the years so I’ve spent a lot of time there, I love it. I want to move there while I’m still working, you know what I mean?

Pencil: Ja man, I’ve got the same thought, what, Paternoster or something?

FVC: Ja, like Langebaan of Yzerfontein, I’ll go anywhere there

Pencil: Love Yzerfontein man, yes!

FVC: Ja, I’ll go anywhere there, Yzer is probably the best because it’s a little bit closer to the city and I travel quite a bit so…even Melkbos would be cool, but for now, there’s just too much happening where I need to be in the city, so I can’t actually do that yet. But I’d love to…

Pencil: After nearly 15 years in the game, you must have some advice for upcoming artists?

FVC: Ja, this December will be 15 years since we launched the first EP with Fokof…we kind of started writing songs in April of 2003 so, you know, sometimes it feels like a complete lifetime and sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday.

It’s got both of those things and I feel chuffed, a lot has happened over the last fifteen years and I feel happy with the progress we’ve made in all kinds of things…

Pencil: On advice – what would you say to someone who’s just starting out in the music industry?

FVC: Jassis, it’s quite a thing, I get asked that a lot by young musicians, you know, what must I do? And I think the main thing we did, was we played music with our mates, that was the main thing.

Pencil: Love that

FVC: Ja, we played with our best friends and that was very important for me through the years with Fokofpolisiekar and Van Coke Kartel and with me doing the solo thing now with my band.

It’s all been great units of people who get along very well. I think thats very needed, I feel very privileged that I was in the position I was and am, in bands that I really got along with. I know that’s not everyone’s bag and not everyone gets that lucky. But that’s very important, and when I was a young musician at that time and we were a young band, we practiced our fucking arses off, you know, in between the booze and the haze of zol and whatever, we really rehearsed and tried to become a band…

Pencil: That’s the thing you know, it’s not as glamorous as people think it is, it’s a lot of druk

FVC: Ja jassis fuck, for us it was very important, with the name Fokofpolisiekar vibe from the start, we wanted to nail it as a band and it was important for us to practice. So, that’s probably the two things I would tell someone. Practice as much as you can. Even if you’re younger and not in a band yet, practice your craft and become as good as you can. I never did that, hahaha, but it’s good advice and practice with your band and people you get along with

Pencil: Based on all that, what’s your established hangover cure?

FVC: Don’t drink…

Pencil: Hahahaha, don’t start!

FVC: Ja man, that’s the best cure. I’ve tried it all through the years hey, and I think the best thing is two Myprodols early in the morning, two Myprodols later and sleep and water. But I think the best advice is to not partake in the jol and you’ll feel fine the next day.

Pencil: Fokof created a massive movement in re-establishing Afrikaner culture on the scene in a whole new light. There was also lots of controversy on a few occasions. Where are FPK right now in terms of being a band? Going on tour right? Europe? What’s the plan for the next five years?

FVC: We just want to keep playing and making music from time to time and playing the songs, for us, like last year we did Selfmedikasie and Fokof wasn’t our focus for the ten years before, we did shows here and there.

Pencil: Lots of other spinoffs….

FVC: Ja, lots of other acts and all that, so Fokof only became the focus again last year when we worked on that album….our fans actually forced us to make that album with the crowdfunding thing but through the years people are always asking when the next Fokof album is coming, when are you doing that etc, at every show I played, I got asked that question, for probably ten years. Eventually, we knew we have to make an album and I don’t think we would have ever put enough time aside if we didn’t have that crowdfunding, which kind of forced us to do it, and that was great.

It was awesome we could do that ten years after making the previous full length and it was a special bunch of songs that our fans really enjoyed. It was important to us. We want to make new music and music that our fans enjoy and keep on playing music and re-inventing ourselves over the years. I think that’s what we keep on doing, it’s not like we have any aspirations to crack it overseas or anything like that. We just want to play music and stay relevant and true to ourselves. Make the tunes.

Pencil: And now you’re going on a tour to Europe?

FVC: Hahaha, ja, it’s kind of, I also don’t think this would have happened but someone in Zurich actually booked us for a show and that’s how that thing came about and then we booked Amsterdam on the back on that, because we’ve got a little bit of a following there you know…so that’s how this happened. Kind of also by chance and I don’t think its going to change the world, the tour that is, its going to be a week of fun and seeing a bit of the world you know. It’s not like we’re putting our minds on world domination.

I think when you start playing in a band the idea is to be a rock star and tour the world and all of that and I’ve kind of dealt with the fact that that’s probably not what I’m going to do but we, in myselfde capacity, and Fokof, have made a place for ourselves here and if we control our careers, well, it will have longevity and we’ll be able to do it for a long time.

Pencil: Any upcoming bands you look at and say, shit that’s us? Making kiff music and causing a bit of kak?

FVC: Jassis hey, it’s hard for me to say that. Umm, I see bands that make good music here and there, but unfortunately there aren’t a lot of them coming out.

Pencil: I was going to ask you about your stance on the local scene at the moment?

FVC: Actually, pretty kak, you know what I mean? There’s not a lot of new rock music coming out and I think there are a few contributing factors to that – rock music internationally isn’t that big at the moment. You know that MK channel, that music channel? After that thing kind of died I think the interest of being in a rock band and an Afrikaans rock band for that matter, waned. So, those are primarily the reasons, you know, dance music is really big at the moment and the major radio stations in South Africa aren’t playing rock music at the moment, it’s gone very urban.

So…there isn’t a lot of new rock bands around at the moment and I think there are…you know some people like the Hellcats, they’re a great band but I don’t know if they are going to have, culturally, that much of an impact. I really dig them, but they sing about the rock ‘n roll standard, or at least that’s what I can hear. But they’re great.

I saw an acoustic duo the other day, two young guys, the Stinging Rodgers, very young, like 19 or 20 years old, playing some acoustic covers and some of their own stuff and I thought that was really cool…

Pencil: Are you a messager or a voicenoter?

FVC: I do both hey – I prefer to message but voicenote is so much easier…

Pencil: Are you a long voicenoter? 2 minuters?

FVC: Sometimes, fuck, I fall into the trap sometimes, not two minutes but under a minute ja…

Pencil: And in the band? Is there anyone who gooi’s two minute voicenotes….?

FVC: I don’t think so, this band is from the old school hahahaha

Pencil: Ultimate braai companions, alive or dead? Let’s go with three? I know Bon Scott will be one, but who else is joining? To sit with you and Bon at a braai and make it a skop. And what’s on the braai?

FVC: Dude I’ll probably say Schalk Burger…

Pencil: Okay kiff….

FVC: And Banksy

Pencil: And Banksy hahahaha

FVC: It would be a very weird party, hahaha, I’m kind of a fan of all those guys in those scenes for different reasons you know…

Pencil: And what you cooking on the braai for those okes?

FVC: I’m a fillet man hey, that’s my favourite

Pencil: Lekker, little pepper sauce there?

FVC: I’ll klap a pepper sauce, I’ll klap a bit of a mushroom sauce. Fillet and Jimmy’s sauce, that’s my thing. But everything with Jimmy’s sauce. I’ll braai fillet everyday if it weren’t for my wife telling me to do something else you know…

Pencil: From punk rock Afrikaner angst – actually its funny, I was driving here, and I was listening to ‘As Jy Met Vuur Speel Sal Jy Brand’ and it reminded me a lot of Pennywise – that kinda sound, you know Pennywise per chance?

FVC: I know Pennywise, but I don’t know them that well, that’s kind of one of the bands we missed in that punk upbringing, you know, we fell in love with Green Day, when I went to High School and me and Wynand were in High School – Dookie – I was in Standard 6, that was a major influence back in the day. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, all of that stuff influenced me, that’s kind of the reason why I wanted to play music but I think for our band, Green Day definitely, and when we did ‘As Jy Met Vuur Speel Sal Jy Brand’, we were very into Alkaline Trio and we also got into rock music like ACDC at that time. So, we went through this loooong punk phase and played in punk bands and then when we started Fokof we got into old school rock and the two of those, kind of merged, you know…

Pencil: Lekker man, ja, Pennywise had an album called Unknown Road and I wasn’t sure I was going the right way, then my GPS was saying I was on an Unknown Road…

FVC: Hahaha

Pencil: So ja, from Fokof, to a huge ballad with Karen Zoid that went number 1 everywhere – ‘Toe Vind Ek Jou’

FVC: Ja, a lot of stuff happened in between, Van Coke Kartel and everything and then I started the solo stuff in 2015, and none of the bands were kind of active at that time. So, I had a bit of time on my hands and thought fuck it, I’m going to write some music and I didn’t know at the time what it was for, but I was going to write some music. That became my first solo album and I wrote a couple of songs on that album with different people. I did one with Die Hemels Fantasties, I did one with Laudo from aKing, and I think Karen’s the other one, ja, and that all just kind of fell into place.

We wrote the song and I told her about my situation, a very personal story, it’s about me and my wife’s relationship and she kind of really helped me word this thing that I wouldn’t have if I was writing it on my own. Because, she really liked that vulnerable side that I’ve shown in songs in the past but, not a lot, and she wanted to get that out of me again. We wrote that song together in two sessions, recorded it in a day, and the day that I dropped my album, I put that music video out and everything changed…

Pencil: It just blew up hey?

FVC: Ja, it was like, I didn’t even expect anything, I promise you, and then that night there was like 90 000 hits on that video, overnight, it was crazy. That was obviously a very cool way to launch a solo career, on the back of that song, really helped.

Pencil: Wow man, yes, obviously a lot happened between Fokof and that, and I love the fact that there’s a road that’s been travelled. Looking at that single, was it about flexing your ubiquity as an artist? You’ve always said you’re about recreating and diversifying and trying something new. Is that what you’re pushing for as a solo artist? Diversification? It seems like you went somewhere else?

FVC: Ja, I just wanted to make an album that didn’t sound like anything I’d done in the past…so I really tried to stay as far away as I could from Fokof and Van Coke Kartel….

Pencil: Ja, ja def

FVC: And still try and do something that I love based in the rock kind of genre. Because that’s my love, you know. And that song specifically, uhhhm, we didn’t want to do anything with it. It was just an honest representation of what it was. It was about the song, the lyrics and the melody and the music was just kind of like kind of taking it as easily as possible and let the rest kind of shine. I think it’s kind of a countryish kind of vibe. I didn’t really think about exploring different things… the album is quite diverse but it’s still a rock album, you know what I mean? I didn’t really think I wanted to take it too far away from that, but I also tried to make it sound less the same, you know?

Pencil: Ja, I think it’s almost the same when you look at top chefs not wanting to overcomplicate cool ingredients, or fresh ingredients hahaha.

FVC: That one specifically, you know, the music video is so straightforward and nothing to it, it’s also the cheapest one I’ve ever made, and it’s the one that did the most, hahahaha, it’s crazy man

Pencil: Let’s talk about Francois en Vriende. I really dig that Early B track, very cool…

FVC: Ja, I love that guy, he’s fucking cool for me, I think he can lighten up a song. How that thing worked, he actually sent me a song he wanted me to feature on his album, because he’s just released an album, like maybe a week ago, and he sent me a song and I really liked his raps but I didn’t really like the song or rather the chorus didn’t seem like me. So, I asked him to let me and my guitarist Richard rework this tune, we’ll do something new for it, we’ll keep your raps and I’ll write a new chorus. I then liked it, he then liked it, I liked it so much that I asked him if I could put it on my EP rather and he said cool…

Pencil: Ah epic, it’s a great track. Anyone else who you would dig a collab with besides the guys like Laudo on this album?

FVC: Ja man, I’ve been doing collabs for so long, like the Francois van Coke en Vriende show that’s happening, that’s like everyone I’ve collabed with, almost everyone you know. Karen, Arno Carstens, Jack Parow, Majozi, Early B, all those people, there are so many people I’ve collabed with…I really want to do something with Tumi, the rapper from Tumi and the Volume, Stogie T I think he calls himself now…I think he’s fucking cool, and Kwesta, I think he’s cool. I would dig to do something with those two guys, they’re on my wishlist.

Pencil: Your hitlist some might say?

FVC: Ja, I think it would be cool, I can’t think of anyone else at the moment, but those two guys would be cool, ja.

Pencil: Describe yourself in three words? What does Francois van Coke stand for? Who is FVC? As a person and as a musician.

FVC: Uuuuh, hahahaha, love this question…

Uncertain. Honest.

Pencil: Dig uncertain….

FVC: I’ll think of one more!

Pencil: Michael Jackson? Fan?

FVC: I am, I am, I’m not like a fan that knows every single song off every single album but, I, love ‘Beat It’

Pencil: Hahahaha

FVC: What album was that song from, Thriller, hey?

Pencil: Ja, Thriller…

FVC: Ja, I dig that album, I know that album quite well ja. I don’t know all the songs but…

Pencil: Maybe the Greatest Hits album?

FVC: Ja, I’ll know most of those, haha, but I’m definitely a fan ja

Pencil: Is it lekker now being a solo artist and not having to worry about the whole band thing? As you know, bands get kak complicated sometimes?

FVC: It is, and that’s the one thing I realised when I was writing songs for the solo album, is, in Fokofpolisiekar and Van Coke Kartel, things happened over the years where someone in the band made a decision to do something else, and you kind of, have to fall in with their plans….VCK – the drummer went overseas and Fokof – Jonny started a studio, so kind the band kind of went a bit on the backburner, and in myselfde capacity the final decision is mine and that makes it a little bit different and it’s also a way to have longevity. I’m always going to be Francois van Coke, whoever I play with. As I said, I prefer to play with people that I am friends with and I get along with, I still have that in myselfde capacity. I’ve got a great band of very loyal musicians and friends but if someone wants to fuckoff and do their own thing I can keep doing this…

Pencil: And keep your own creative licence…

FVC: Exactly. So that was also something to get used to, having only my name on something, like you know, you face all the criticism. You get all the acclaim, sure, but you get all the creative criticism too, it’s not like, ‘these okes made a kak album’ it’s like, ‘this guy made a kak album’ you know, so that was also something to get used to…

Pencil: Where do you draw inspiration from for your solo stuff? Obviously, in a band there are a lot of creative influences coming together but where do you draw your own inspiration from? Anywhere in particular that you like writing?

FVC: Dude, I write wherever is needed and inspiration is shit happening around us. South Africa is a big influence, I think my relationships with people are a big influence, I think what’s happening in the world around us is a big influence…I think it’s also quite important for me to try and stay relevant to where we find ourselves as humans at that time, that inspires me. Then, I also get inspired by great music, great writing and great rugby. I’ve mentioned rugby a couple of times. I love rugby.

Also, that last word to describe myself – what’s a good word for, with faults?

Pencil: Kind of like – faulted – maybe? There’s a better word for it but that’s cool. One of my mates says when someone is tweaking or a bit off centre that they’re faulty, hahaha

FVC: Faulty, ja that’s also cool…

Pencil: Favourite song you’ve done so far? In all the bands?

FVC: That’s a hard one. I don’t know if it’s even about what I dig, you know what I mean? There are special ones. If I had to say what I dig the most, at the moment, it’s ‘Ek lewe, ek belowe’ – it’s on the Francois en Vriende EP with Heuwels, that’s what I like.

But it’s not really about that. I think the songs that the people connect with the most are the most important ones – ‘Hemel Op Die Platteland’ with Fokof, ‘Tot Die Son Uitkom’ with Van Coke Kartel , ‘Toe Vind Ek Jou’ – myselfde career, ‘Komma’ with Fokof, those songs I’m probably going to play in every set I’m going to play for the rest of my life until I die so – also ‘Ek Skein (Heilig)’ from Fokof – those special fucking songs – the standouts, they are my favourites actually, aside from the style or whatever…

Pencil: Just from the impact they’ve had?

FVC: Ja, and the people they’ve touched or whatever…

Pencil: What do your Mom and Dad think now about your career and tunes –you changed your name from Badenhorst to Van Coke to spare blushes within the church?

FVC: Exactly, ja something like that….

Pencil: At first, the name was an issue and your Mom cried?

FVC: Hahahaha ja….

Pencil: How do they feel now? Surely now they’re stoked?

FVC: They stoked ja, they’ve always been very supportive, aside from all those things…

Pencil: Ja, because let’s be honest, it’s quite a shock factor name…

FVC: Ja ja for sure, it must have been hard for them and hard for them to support me, but they did, you know, they rocked up at shows and they sat there and I know my Dad is biting his tongue, you know, to this day, when he’s in the crowd and he hears all that swearing and blaspheming going on he’s like…it’s not what they envisioned I don’t think.

But I do think they are very stoked for me that I’m able to make a living from it and support a family from it and they love my daughter and they love that side. I think all of that, apart, they are happy for me, and, what changed for them, which is also a big thing, is when that Toe Vind Ek Jou song came out, amongst the Afrikaner landscape, everyone listened to that, or a vast majority of people, so their friends were into that song. I think that changed their perception of me slightly, because you know, before that I was this crazy drunk singer from Fokofpolisiekar and now I’ve got a song that their friends listen to and they come to my house and collect CD’s for their friends…it changed things for them, and I’m all good with that!

Pencil: That’s amazing man…

FVC: But seriously, they’ve been supportive through the years and everything that Fokofpolisiekar has said, they’ve never been negative about it, my Mom was shocked about the name, she said you know, when you say Fokofpolisiekar you are saying fuck you to all authority, and I said, but I think we do, you know? Haha, they got used to it and they supported it but didn’t, well, never agreed with it.

Pencil: How has Fokof managed to stay together for this long? There are always egos involved and I’m sure there have been a few bust-ups. What’s the secret?

FVC: It’s so weird with this band, we were friends before we started this band, we were in other bands, but we’re tjommies, and you know, me and Wynand were in our first band together when I was fifteen years old…

Pencil: And you got kicked out hey?

FVC: You fucking haha, you know that shit…

Pencil: For kak singing?

FVC: I think for kak singing ja, hahaha

Pencil: Been in the same boat myself, hahaha

FVC: For kak singing, and there was this kid at the High School (Bellville) who was an incredible singer, so I was like, he should actually be the singer, I was hard done by, haha, but he should have been the singer all along, you know what I mean. But I look at me now bitch…hahahaha

Pencil: Hahahaha

FVC: But ja, all of us were tjommies and we just had a way of resolving things somehow, always.

Pencil: Ja you guys seem very down to earth and chilled…

FVC: Ja I don’t think egos have got in the way, we respect each other, and everyone has found his place in this band, it’s not like this guy has stepped on someone else’s toes, every guy just does what he needs to do…so I think that’s why it worked out.

Also, when we took a break the time was right though, and it helped us. Couple of other things as well, like when we weren’t very active we had a documentary come out about us, we had a book about us, we started a beer brand, and all of those things kind of kept us alive.

It’s weird, Fokof actually got bigger the less active we were and that is incredible. It was just one of those things that happened, the kind of project where a brother wants to tell his younger brother about it and you’ll get the whole family in, and now we’re playing to kids that were 3 years old when we started, and their parents are there, at the shows, together. There was a lot of luck involved too, right place, right time…

Pencil: Favourite guitar and microphone to use yourself?

FVC: I’ve got two Fenders – that I use – but I can’t say that I really play them. I’m playing on my Tele lately…

Pencil: I was going to ask if they are Telecasters or Stratocasters

FVC: Tele ja, I’ll play on a Strat too, but I’ve got a very nice acoustic guitar – a Martin, B28 I think, its like the American standard you know, Johnny Cash, Elvis, Neil Young…can’t go wrong…fucking incredible thing. I’m not a great guitarist but that thing makes me even sound good, you know, haha, and mike-wise, SM58…

Pencil: Ah, the Shure…

FVC: Standard haha

Pencil: Describe your perfect day?

FVC: Fuck man, perfect day? Probably hanging out with my family – I don’t get a lot of that, which sucks. Like obviously my job requires being on the road, but if I’m at home, and not working, I spend my free time with my family. If I can play an arena show the night before, then it’s all good…

Pencil: Most guys say throw a show either that night or the night before…

FVC: Hahaha, ja lekker, I think once I became a father my family became more important to me, music was always the most important thing in my life but it’s not anymore, I’ve got a family now and nothing can beat that, you know, obviously music is a massive thing in my life but it’s not the main thing.

Pencil: Western medicine vs plant medicine?

FVC: Fuck, western man! I’m a badass like that haha

Pencil: So, you’re not an Ayahuasca guy to pop off to Peru quickly for a session?

FVC: No, no, I’m completely western medicine. I think the closest I get to kind of hippie vibes is hiking and shit bro, but I’ll take whatever works immediately…

Pencil: Disprin hey?

FVC: Ja, Disprin, Myprodol, Cortisone if I have inflammation, I’m a badass like that hahahaha

Pencil: Do you still go to church? If not, are you spiritual? Yoga and stuff? Meditation?

FVC: Not at all hey, I don’t kind of have anything in my life that can be regarded as spiritual, but I would like to find time to meditate and all that…I exercise quite a bit so that kind of…in a way, conditioning your body…running…

Pencil: Ja man, healthy body, healthy mind and all that, so you’re a runner?

FVC: Ja, I run, and I box, so I’ve got those two things. Before this, I didn’t do any exercise for like years, about three or four years ago I started exercising again, before that I didn’t exercise for like ten years, so I like that, it’s a big part of my life and I try to do anything active, I surfed for a bit, I run, I box, I played rugby in the Tens tournament in Cape Town…

Pencil: Oh heavy, so you played Tens hey? You were a scrumhalf back in the day?

FVC: Ja, ja

Pencil: And you went to school where? First XV and all that?

FVC: Ja, ja, first team in Matric at Bellville High…. I played Primary School Western Province and did Craven week and all that…

Pencil: Kaalvoet vibes?

FVC: Hahaha, ja kaalvoet, then High School I kind of, music took over a little bit so that kind of shifted my focus, in Primary School I was kind of befok in my kop rugby you know, I would wear rugby shorts and socks for my hanging out wear you know…

Pencil: Who are you digging to watch at the moment?

FVC: I’m a Stormers and Province guy hey, bigtime…

Pencil: Damian Willemse?

FVC: Ja he’s fucking great hey, I watch less rugby than I would like to because I’m always on the road on weekends, but I do a lot of catch up, highlights on a Saturday after a gig, I watch it before I go to sleep…if I’m at home and I didn’t have a family or responsibilities and all that I’d probably watch every Super Rugby game from the morning until the night…but I can’t do that anymore

Pencil: Same, I have to be discreet, sneak outside for a ciggie and quickly watch

Pencil: Klippies or Richelieu or KWV or Olaf Bergh or Wellingtons?

FVC: Dude I’ve given up brandy when I was 23 already hey…

Pencil: Hahahaha, what, karate juice?

FVC: Ja… so I’ll say Parow Brandy…if any brandy it’s Parow brandy

Pencil: What colour crayon are you in the crayon box?

FVC: Black

Pencil: Straight up hey? Johnny Cash

FVC: Ja man, I only wear black…. it’s weird that you ask that because I’m drawing every day with my daughter, so I have crayons in my hand every day…

Pencil: So, the black one is pretty small now?

FVC: She asks me to draw stuff all the time, I must draw faces and dogs and stuff…

Pencil: My girlfriend has one of those adult colouring in books, seen those?

FVC: Ja I’ve checked those, our merch guy rolls with that shit, and I’m always like where the fuck do you find time to do that shit…

Pencil: Some sort of meditation thing I guess…she digs it

FVC: He also likes it…funny haha

Pencil: And breaking news – this bar now in Pretoria? Fokof Bar? Pretoria seems a lekker home away from home for you guys? Any projects you’re involved in as far as charities go? Or background businesses?

FVC: Ja, we’ve obvs got the Fokof lager, that we’ve been doing for two years, ja, 2016, two years, on tap and then we bottled it for the first-time last year, October, so that is quite new, and it’s been going very well…

Pencil: All major retail outfits or what?

FVC: Not majors like Spar or Checkers, some Spars actually, like Tops, it’s slowly but surely moving into bars and retailers, so you can find it in weird little towns in Natal, you know, ummm, not everywhere but it’s growing, and we’re opening the bar with the same name, in Pretoria sometime before the end of this year.

Pencil: Pretoria seems like home away from home for you guys?

FVC: Ja, we spend a lot of time in Pretoria, we’ve got a massive fanbase there and PTA has been very good for us from the start, for all of us and all our other projects, my solo career, PTA has been the shit, and the bar will work there, but that’s a mission on its own and ag, I do my clothing brand, Van Cokes, that I work with the Vrede Foundation ( for and all proceeds go to the Vrede Foundation. The Foundation helps young people with cancer. That was started by a friend of mine in 2009 when his brother, who was also my friend, died of cancer, so I feel very strongly about it. So that’s the charity I’m most passionate about.

Pencil: Favourite SA Venue to play at?

FVC: A lot of places in PTA, hahaha, I’m going to say the Sun Arena because Francois van Coke and Friends is happening there, and I’ve only played there once. With Karen, she did a big show there, kind of similar thing like mine, and it was incredible, so I can’t wait for that, it’s big and it’s awesome.

I also love a bunch of clubs up there, Weiveld for one. There are new Afrikaans clubs that are big with good sound systems and stuff, Pretoria and Centurion, Oppikoppi I’m a big fan of, we do that every year…

Pencil: How was that? You guys played there now hey?

FVC: Ja, last weekend, it was great. I saw there’s a news article and so many people were robbed of their phones and tents and shit, so I think in that regard it was a bit of a fuckup, but Oppikoppi is part of our DNA, I’ve played there 14 years in a row so it’s amazing, I love it…

Pencil: Cape Town, anywhere?

FVC: Cape Town, ja, we played our first shows at Mercury….and that was our home base, so I‘ll always have a love for Mercury, I actually know the guy who is taking it over now, so hopefully it’ll become a premier live venue again – because Cape Town doesn’t have many you know….I really like Café Roux for acoustic shows….

Pencil: Who wins the arm-wrestling comps?

FVC: In Fokof?

Pencil: Ja?

FVC: Probably Wynand hey, he’s probably the fittest out of all of us and he trains weights, no one else does that

Pencil: So, he’s the frontrunner?

FVC: Ja, he also has the record for the 800m in high school so he’s probably the sportiest out of all of us…

Pencil: Craziest thing you’ve ever done?

FVC: Sang a song with Johnny Clegg once, that’s crazy, quite incredible

Pencil: What’s your secret love?

FVC: Phil Collins….

Pencil: A bit of Genesis action there?

FVC: Phil Collins bro – In the Air Tonight and Another Day in Paradise, I know it’s probably very uncool to like Phil Collins but hey. Who else? Rugby is not really a secret anymore. I have a bit of a sweet tooth.

Pencil: What are you Netflixing right now? Last thing you watched?

FVC: I’m watching ‘Mindhunter’…have you seen that? Actually, pretty fucking cool, they are profiling serial killers for the first time – fictional though and set in I think the 70s or something and they start profiling serial killers…and I’m watching ‘I am a Killer’…fairly new show that, and that’s also pretty cool. I love true crime and shit like that. I can watch gangster shit for days on end. My wife is not that keen on it. Loved Ray Donovan.

Pencil: Law and Order SVU…

FVC: Ja that shit as well, I can sometimes imagine myself being a detective hahaha

Pencil: Stance on UFO’s? Is there life out there?

FVC: No doubt. There’s just too much stuff happening out there. It’s too big and too vast…

Pencil: And if they came to earth?

FVC: I don’t know if you saw that thing where they were communicating with crop circles and kak? But if they came, I don’t know if they’d think we are advanced enough to pull in here…or are we too advanced? But the universe is so fucking big there has to be life somewhere out there

Pencil: Is there another Francois living in a parallel universe?

FVC: I don’t know if I believe in parallel universes but definitely more life than just Earth out there. Way more. Many, many Earths….

FVC Live_100_photo by Henry Engelbrecht – MR

If you’re in Pretoria over the weekend, grab your tickets here – here

The line-up is insane – Karen Zoid, Majozi, Arno Carstens, Jack Parow, Laudo Liebenberg, Die Heuwels Fantasties – basically everyone Francois has ever collabed or worked with. Sun Arena. Get in there.

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