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Off The Record With: Bittereinder

Afrikaans rockers Bittereinder have taken the local music scene by storm – and have the awards to prove it! The band recently released their brand new album ‘Dans Tot Die Dood’ and they’re taking the new album on the road. The lead single ‘Hartseer Gangster’ is climbing radio charts around the country, proving once again that the boys have a hit on their hands. I spoke to the guys on their new single, album and the future.

Your new single ‘Hartseer Gangster’ is amazing! What inspired the track?

Thank you! It’s a chorus that Peach has been messing around with for quite a while, used to make us laugh with his silly recordings of it in the car. But one day Louis produced this beat, and the chorus suddenly worked so well on it that the song kinda wrote itself from there. It’s about being lonely in suburbia and wondering if anyone will remember you, and whether that even matters.

Why was this particular song chosen as the lead single off your new album?

There were actually some really strong contenders, and it’s always a hard decision, but as the postproduction of the album neared completion Hartseer Gangster became the strongest contender in terms of accessibility and all round goodness and “bonsability”. Coined it!

You named your new album ‘Dans Tot Die Dood’. How did you settle on that name?

During the writing of the album we realised that it was largely an album about death, and also about dancing, and that dancing was one of the most effective ways to prove to yourself and other people that you are not dead.

How is this album different from your previous material?

We feel there’s a clear progression lyrically and sonically, another gear that’s shifted. The first album was very personal, an exploration of Afrikaner and spiritual identity, the second album was an increased awareness of what the band itself had become in the public eye, the third album expanded even wider to explore themes of technology and social commentary, and this fourth album is almost a combination of all of these things: dance, death, South Africa, evolving languages, globalization and so forth. The sound is also a lot more synth-driven and drum-decorated than before.

What makes Bittereinder unique?

If anything, we have quite a diverse skillset between the three of us, each one of us knows what we’re good at, and we place more or less equal emphasis on lyrics, music, visual artwork, studio quality and live performance. We also don’t often hear people comparing us to other bands in terms of sound, we feel we’ve crafted quite a unique blend of electro Afrikaans-rap.

What do you hope someone takes home after listening to your music?

Our albums! Also, we feel our music has substance. We don’t follow sonic trends, we’re trying to make timeless albums that can be listened to and appreciated decades from now for their content. So at the live show there’s plenty of “dans”, but upon further reflection there’s also plenty of “dink”. Hence, “die dinkdansmasjien”.

Tell us one thing no one knows about Bittereinder?

Peach was a Springbok high-jumper in primary school.

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