The amazing thing about bands is that the members often assume the identity of the band…but what if you play for a ton of bands? Chris Van Der Walt is one such muso. From Black Cat Bones to Boargazm to Dead Lucky to the Jonathan Peyper Band to Profoundly Dumb, he’s put stacks of himself in each and done so much in his musical career. No wonder he’s regarded as a rock star worthy of tomorrow’s Blood Brothers gig. Before you go check him and others at the Good Luck Bar, we caught up with the guy himself.
Also…if you can’t make it to the event, Vodcom has hooked you up: This year, Vodacom, in support of the Vrede Foundation, is bringing the Blood Brothers event, to all! Vodacom as one of the official sponsors of Blood Brothers, is offering all rock fans, the opportunity to watch the event, via their Live Event Streaming platform View+ on Vodacom live! What’s more, the stream is available to non-Vodacom customers and access is free. You only pay for the data. In addition, the platform is also hosting last year’s event as well as some cool artist promo videos, music videos, full tracks and Welcome Tones to download. Check it out.
Richard Chemaly (RC): Dude! You are way too busy, with about 4 bands on the go and still taking time out to do charity…are you just awesome or do you have a Redbull sponsorship we’re not aware of?
Chris Van Der Walt (CVDW): I don’t really do anything else. I am a full-time musician so I have to fill every gap I get. Every day you are not working, writing, jamming, practicing, rehearsing, gigging, is a day wasted. The great thing is every time you play you get better. It’s fun.
RC: We know about The Black Cat Bones (*remembers Radium Beer Hall days fondly*), Boargazm, Dead Lucky, Jonathan Peyper Band
and Profoundly Dumb. Most musos do one or two bands only, but even if you retire now, you can look back on an extensive career. What motivates you to play in all these groups? Different outlets? Various cool people to play with? Love for the different styles?
CVDW: The Black Cat Bones & Boargazm are my babies. All of these groups have something different to offer and I love exploring. Playing with all these different people has taught me a lot of things about music and myself. At the end of the day, I can look back and say I’ve jammed with some incredible musicians.
RC: Last year you also recently started a political outlet called PitVirus. I remember being excited about it last year and loving the EP because, at a time when even our punk bands are becoming politically apathetic, you injected some roids in to musical veins of the nation. We got the new single off the upcoming album over 4 months ago…where is the album?
CVDW: PitVirus is on a hiatus. A lot of the album has been recorded. It takes on more global issues and doesn’t only focus on South African politics. We’re all just very busy at the moment and just waiting for things to chill out a bit. Everyone has gone through some changes. We’ll be back.
RC: So you’re obviously really good at bringing people together to make music. Excluding our local musos…who you probably have easy access to anyway…if you could pick any foreign artists to form a band with, who would they be and what kinda band would it be?
CVDW: I’d like to play with people who can really jam, and take music into “other” places using exotic scales, abstract ideas, crazy rhythms, etc. My personal taste in music can sometimes be a bit far-out. It ranges from old school blues to intense math metal, with a touch of psychedelic. If I had to find something in the middle… Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Dweezil Zappa, Ben Weinman, Jordan Rudess, & Thomas Pridgen would make a killer band if I could jam on bass, and Hans Zimmer composing the songs.
RC: You also studied film and jazz (separately). Have you ever made a film and scored it yourself?
CVDW: I studied Film Sound Design and realized that music is the most powerful tool for manipulating emotion with sound. I did score some films in filmschool, worked on some of the MTV Crazy Monkey stuff, a bit of corporate work, but I didn’t fully enjoy it. So I studied Jazz to learn as much about music as I could, but then got swallowed whole and now I pretty much just jam. I’ve been working on odd jobs composing here and there. The most recent, and exciting, venture is working on a locally produced game called Jengo, by Robot Wizard.
RC: You’ve played in these supergroup kinda gigs before. How do you make it work with limited rehearsal time and do egos ever get in the way?
CVDW: Fortunately we have a really amazing set of people to work with. Everyone works with each other, not against. We all have the songs way in advance, and have been rehearsing as a rhythm section. Everyone is pro and they understand the responsibilities involved. Everyone involved is just incredible, and that makes it easy.