The national lockdown has had many effects, but many artists in all realms are using the opportunity to connect with fans or share new content.
One of the most popular Afrikaans bands out there, and a somewhat internationally recognised electro/pop/jazz/rock-outfit Die Heuwels Fantasties is one of the first bands to launch an entire album while in lockdown in South Africa.
But planning is planning – and as such the group found new ways to pique interest in their latest full-length album, and also to provide a little more. For instance, if you buy any merchandise from their online store you get a free digital copy of the album.
The album, 2021, will be released on 22 May and features 15 new songs recorded at Sunset Recording Studios in Stellenbosch.
Lead singer Pierre Greeff gave some insight into where Die Heuwels Fantasties is now and what’s next.
How do you think the lockdown will impact touring schedules, as those booking fees are so important for artists in South Africa?
It’s already brought our touring and travelling to a halt. Who knows what the future holds but we don’t think getting on a stage in front of an audience will be a reality before November at least.
On a positive note we have decided to embrace the internet and will do our first lockdown launch for the new album on 30 May. This will be the first time that our global fans will be able to attend and that is a bonus.
Comparing digital sales with album sales, do you see digital shift anyway?
Absolutely, the last two years have been massively positive and we have seen digital royalties match what we used to earn from physical sales. There has never been a better and more immediate and convenient time to be a publisher of music or any digital media.
When was the album recorded, and were you upset to find launch plans hindered?
This could be a blessing and will include more of our fans in the launch cycle of the album 2021.
We started the writing phase in February last year with a retreat to Yzerfontein.
We have decided not to push back the launch, but rather embrace it with our fans helping us make the first single, “Ons Moet Leef”, with a music video with footage submitted under lockdown.
How important has social media become now, in 2020, in the current climate, to promote new work?
Social media is massively important and a dialogue more than ever … we even have a fan club on WhatsApp.
Has this forced you to be more creative, and do you think you managed to save production costs on the first music video?
We might have saved a little with crowdsourcing and not going full-on music video production… but all and all, looking back the video, the song and the message is always needed. The situation pulled us in the right direction.
What’s the general feel or mood of the album?
It’s an energetic journey from track one to track six with a mellow centre in the middle and a lift at the end. We hope it’s an hour in which we can give our fans light and love from our musical minds to their ears, brains and feelings.
Get in touch with the band on WhatsApp by dropping a message on 064-527-9296. You can also see what they are doing on their social media channels.