Dans tot die Dood has warmed our loins and made our eardrums weep with joy. Bittereinder explains how the process of releasing a new album is sometimes magical but there is still some eye-scratching in between.
I feel like I blink and you guys release a new album. Is there pressure to have new music out in the world all the time or are there just too many songs running around in your minds?
The perception of how “quickly” we’re releasing albums is a little misguided – we’ve now released four albums in about seven years. It’s been exactly a year since we dropped the third one, “SKERM”, so we’re quite surprised by how everyone seems to think it’s happened so quickly. For us, though, it is a little faster than usual, it normally takes us two years to make a new album, this time we halved that. It really came down to this magical week we were able to spend in Mpumalanga, focused purely on writing music. We got a ton of work done in a much shorter time…
Was there anything different about creating this album than its predecessors that stood out for you?
That magic week I was talking about, was incredible. Louis is busy making a “making of” film which documents the time we spent making DANS TOT DIE DOOD, which captures that creative process really well. The synergy and collective creative rhythm we hit was something quite remarkable for us.
How is it collaborating with each other to perfect your tracks? Is it holding hands singing Barney songs or is there potential for eye scratching?
Lots of Barney, and also lots of eye-scratching. As anyone who’s done any form of group-work will know, it often gets tricky to find a collective vision, and in the world of creative arts I’d argue even more so. Artists generally take “ideas” and “disagreements with said ideas” very personally, but we’ve been friends for a long time, and we’ve worked on hundreds of projects together now, so we make sure we get through the strife-ridden patches. Often, the art also flourishes because of the constant clashing of different ideas.
How would you describe your new album, Dans tot die Dood to your grandparents?
Haha nice question. Maybe something like: “pasop, dis bietjie hard, maar dit het regtig baie goeie bedoelings”.
Which track stands out for you from the album?
We’re pretty happy with all of them. “Die Mes” is special because it was the first track, and gave a kind of direction for the other tracks, and we’re also quite excited about “The Flood”, “Die Berge Brand” and “Great Track”.
At which stage is creating a new album the most fun?
The actual writing is usually more fun (for me, Jaco) than the postproduction and admin of printing and distribution. And then the day of the online launch is also usually rather thrilling…
Are there any unexpected places where you gain inspiration?
Inspiration is a crazy and formless thing. Sometimes songs come and bother you at unexpected times. I wrote “The Flood” at a truck-stop in Botswana.
Coming up for Bittereinder in the next few months?
Lots of gigs! – check our facebook page for dates and venues, and then some new videos and more plans for gigs next year.