DPC Interview Series:

Posted by Aileen Raymond Thursday, May 23, 2013 0 comments

Mean Black Mamba are Guy Collins on guitar and vocals, and James van Minnen on drums and percussion.

Give us a little background on the band and the members?

Guy: I grew up musically in Stellenbosch in the mid nineties amid Springbok Nude Girls fever and mentor figures like Valiant Swart and started my first band Billygoat back then, an improvised blues-rock outfit.

James: I grew up in a musical family and the first band I played in was a rockabilly band with a bunch of reprobate older guys who taught me a lot about the importance of playing off-key and out of time. Years of playing exotic and obscure music over the years kinda cured me of that but I still like to lay the beat down late every now and then.

Guy: Traveling and living overseas gave me, like James, an eclectic blend of musical experiences which I carry through to my current work.

How did you meet?

James: We actually met years ago and played the odd gig together although we were mostly in other bands.

Guy: Yes, we even went to the same school at one point. I recently returned from living overseas and James and I started playing well-paid house parties in-between other music commitments in 2012.

James: We quickly realised we had something going and things just seemed to line up for us to put our backs behind this project now.

So what does your music sound like?

Guy: Someone described it today as part rock, part blues, part African. She said it had a lotta soul.

James: Yeah it's great to play music which really gets me amped and it seems to radiate out infectiously. Generally when I look up when we're playing people are almost always moving.

Who or what inspires your music?

Guy: When I was four years old I was transfixed by a record in my parents’ collection, Live at St Quentin by Johnny Cash. Something about the honesty of his voice and the raw sound of his band made a huge impact on me. Music I hear which contains that same honesty and honours the past while still being fresh is the kind of music that inspires me to try to achieve the same.

James: Ja, I must say I would say it's the way music feels that connects me more than just the sound. When I hear some music in a genre I really love, sometimes it just doesn't cut through and grab me for whatever reason. When I hear Guy's guitar breaking the airwaves it makes me wanna go nuts on the drums. And it happens.

Guy: I have to agree that for me it's the same when I hear James's drumming. And there's something truly spontaneous and intuitive about the way we play together. And that inspires me to play outside my comfort zone.

 "Often things that would be said or felt directly after a difficult gig are best left to settle."


What do you guys do before a gig?

James: Preferably arrive on time, in motorised transport of some kind.

Guy: But seriously, we don't have any special rituals.

James: Officially.

Guy: We're not atheists. Just too old for that shit.

And after?

James: Go home.

Guy: Hang out for a short while, chat, pack up. We normally get around to talking about shows after we've slept on it or given it some good reflection. James is usually very sweaty so I prefer not to hug him after. Again, we've been doing this a long time and often things that would be said or felt directly after a difficult gig are best left to settle. Life's too serious to take too seriously.

"One of the best memories was a house party in Noordhoek where we played for three hours straight..."

What do you guys do besides making music? Any day jobs?

Guy: James eats goji berries and battles with his internet.

James: True. I do some extra work to make the serpent's ends meet but it's mostly music. This band primarily and a few others.

Guy: No. I play music. That's it.

Tell us your best memory since being a band?

Guy: Trying to sleep near the doefdoef tent at 3am at Splashy Fen after negotiating 200 feet of mud and inebriated humans definitely not the best memory.

James: Something classic about what I saw when I turned around as we were leaving the next morning, seeing the crumpled faces of Guy Collins and Dave Ferguson as they navigated the sodden terrain, misty, muddy carnival tent in the background...

Guy: It was very amusing, even at the time! But frankly, one of the best memories was a house party in Noordhoek where we played for three hours straight and a day of recording where we laid down seven tracks in a few hours. Hot damn boy!

James: Isja!

Favourite venue or festival to play at?

Guy: Kirstenbosch, House On Fire (Swaziland) and Womad (UK)... and... actually I can't remember what it was called but a little town in Croatia was quite an experience...

James: Also loved playing at K-bosch, also Paleo Festival in Switzerland... and a corporate gig I did in a cave once about 12 years ago...

So what is the one festival or venue you really want to still play (local or international)?

Guy: Red Rock Amphitheatre in Colorado

James: Been there.

Guy: You bastard

James: But not for music. Just fishing. Beautiful place. Mine would be The Festival in the Desert in Mali.

Guy: You see?!?!? We are telepathic! You took my other choice!

Which local artist/s would you most likely collaborate with?

Guy: We already collaborate with Lonesome Dave Ferguson.

James: Ja. What a jol! And I would love for us to collaborate with Madala Kunene some time.

Guy: Brilliant idea! He's a guy who steps outside his comfort zone and cultural background while honouring his roots.

Who are your fans? Any funny groupie stories?

Marissa (James's wife shouting from the other side of their flat): Your wives!

Guy: Ha ha ha. It's true.

James: Lucky us. Truly. My wife hasn't necessarily been crazy about every band I play in but she digs this one!

Guy: Groupies?!? I'm too old for that shit!

So, if someone wants to buy you a drink after a gig, what can they get you?

Guy: Home-made ginger beer or... it depends if it's hot or cold outside...

James: Kombucha or a double whiskey on the rocks for me.

"The roughest place I have ever played is the back stoep of the Spur in Ceres, in about 1996, opening for Valiant Swart."

Which venue in Cape Town has the roughest crowd?

Guy: The taxi ranks, CT station. 9:30 pm.

James: The Blowhole, Glencairn, 2005.

Guy: Actually I was joking. The roughest place I have ever played is the back stoep of the Spur in Ceres, in about 1996, opening for Valiant Swart.

Where is your next gig?

James: Carnival Court on June 8. Guy is in and out of Cape Town touring, so keep an eye on our Facebook page and Twitter for updates.

Plans for the rest of 2013?

Guy: To get our album out. Super-amped about our new logo being seen on posters, merchandise, etc and making ourselves known in the local scene. We're working on connections to get some gigs internationally as well. Will see how that develops.

And where can we find your music?

James: Right now just youtube but soon to be acquired from us at gigs on disc and in cyberspace.

Famous last words?

Oh shit! I thought that was a sound check... Well it was awesome anyway!

Photos by Beliah Oh.

Contact me: eliinthecity@gmail.com

Judul: DPC Interview Series:
Ditulis oleh Aileen Raymond
Rating Blog 5 dari 5
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