Grande Maison


In Interview The genesis of South African horror-pop outfit NO INTERNET

“Music for house-wives on crack”

“It’s for the hordes of people who have built lives on false promises. Britney Spears fans who are revelling in the lies they were sold, but they’re shaved their head and now find themselves in a mosh pit.”

Power-cuts are so often the catalyst for intimate accidents - steamy experiments under the cover of darkness. Well when the internet went out on Human Waste and L i L i † H, from South African outfits DOOKOOM and The Frown, the spawn of this electrical fault was a rampant amalgam of chaotic-punk and performance-pop. Supergroup is a term so few can ever live up to, but NO INTERNET’s unmatched brand of gritty-instrumentalism and concept-heavy vocals are without a doubt the result of the best of two distinct musical worlds. Taking the weird and the wonderful and weaving them together, the offspring was NO INTERNET. It’s pop spelled “P Vomiting-Emoji P”. And it’s coming for Europe in 2019, like a freight train filled with synthesisers and beer.

GM Damian, you’re known as Human Waste - of Cape Town’s DOOKOOM. Was DOOKOOM a political band?”

D We had one track, ‘Larney Jou Pous’. It was engineered to push buttons by being highly political. It was an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to South Africa. In retrospect if was a really dumb idea. It made the entire DOOKOOM dialogue about racial politics.” Damian explains, “Sure, it was cool, it was exciting. It was national news - for months! But you know, we are still labelled as a Black Racist band - which is interesting since two of us are white

GM But other tracks like ‘Do Not Exist’ also feel political...

D Well, to a certain extent everything in South Africa is political. We’re post-apartheid. But to be called a political band, we don’t feel comfortable with that label. We’re not pushing an agenda. At the time the main political parties wanted us to perform on their behalf, on their platform. We said no to all of them.

GM And Eve, you’ve made quite a splash with your work as L i L i † H of The Frown. What about NO INTERNET will be different?

ER The Frown was a fashion band, and I’m afraid of being that again. All the articles written were about what I was wearing, not what I was saying. We want to be part of the provoke movement. Play and be in places we wouldn’t naturally fit, to provoke a feeling in that space. That’s exciting for us.

GM Was that the plan when you started NO INTERNET?

DWell we started to do the music, without an idea. We had no internet, so we started to make music. To engineer a story onto that would be fake. But the idea of Human Waste & L i L i † H coming together to make pop music in our own perverted way, so we could be loved by the masses as opposed to fighting against the industry again, that is the core concept.

GM The sound is both aggressive and yet dreamy, how might the performance reflect that unexpected mix?

D We’ve had some idea. On the surface it’s melodic, almost sweet. But there’s an underlying and unhinged element to it. We’ve been playing with Horror Pop, Hardcore Pop, Punk Pop, as ways of defining, but we’re still not certain. With DOOKOOM it was punk before anything else, because our shows were pure chaos. It was grittier than the syrupy, radio-friendly vibe of NO INTERNET. But that just means there’s more to explore live.

ERDOOKOOM was messy, uncomfortable. The Frown was what people wanted. So in that sense there is only one way NO INTERNET can be.

GM What goes into the lyric writing process for you, Eve?

ER Shit… Black Label beer. Damian gives me that, switches the mic on, and there is no plan. That’s nice for me, because with The Frown every song had a concept and structure behind it. With NO INTERNET, whatever comes out of the song writing process is the music.

“When we say pop music we mean pop spelled “P Vomiting-Emoticon P”.”

GM Damian, how does it feel to move from DOOKOOM into the pop world?

D I’m still not sure if I see it as strictly pop. It’s so many different things. It’s more my version of pop, which may not even fit into that world. It’s not anything that isn’t fundamental to the music I‘ve been making my whole life. It’s just in a different guise.

ER When we say pop music we mean pop spelled “P Vomiting-Emoticon P”.

DI’d be almost disappointed if we didn’t have a mosh-pit.

ER Yes, a mosh-pit full of Britney Spears fans from 2007. That’s who our audience is going to be. People who were sold lies. They know they were lies, and they relish in the lies. They shaved their head three minutes before our show, and now they’re in a mosh pit.

GM It reminds a bit of Alice Glass era Crystal Castles. Musically it’s melodic, radio-friendly, but also a little bit frightening, especially live.

D Sounds perfect.

ER I love Alice Glass, especially at the moment - she’s so strong. That’s been something I’ve been likened to a lot in my life, but it’s not necessarily a box I want to put myself in.

GM Okay, so who are your inspirations?

ER Of course Alice Glass, but then also Fever Ray, Bjork, Julee Cruise, Joanna Newsom, Salt & Pepper. Then also bands like The Pixies.

D My musical inspirations are so sparse. I really come from a hip hop background, I ran a label out here for ten years, was DJing in the UK before I came here. I like dub, I like punk. So many things have passed through me...

ERDamian’s an empty vessel, waiting to be filled.

D Nice.

GM So your fans…

D House-wives who are casually taking crack.

GM Yes - Them! You said they’ve built their futures on a foundation of falsity. Is that a statement?

D Yes. That’s it. Although we’ve just made that up right now talking to you. It could not be true at all.

ER Exactly. And that’s what we need to do. We just made some music - we can only decode it through interactions with other human beings.

GM It’s refreshing to see a band coming out who hasn’t cemented their PR image, but are letting it evolve naturally. What is it about settling on one image that you are so cautious over?

ER We want to leave ourselves space to grow. Take Die Antwoord, they boxed themselves very early on. And every single day I’m a different person.

D I don’t know how much I think or care about that either. We just do things instinctively, and then other people put it in their boxes. I’m going with what feels natural.

“It’s about laughing at yourself and the world, and still being comfortable crying.”

GM So as NO INTERNET grows, how will you hold tight against those forces of The Industry?

ER We’re just going to take the piss out of everything, I think. It’s about laughing at yourself and the world, and still being comfortable crying. We’ll have a cry at the shows, and then crack a beer and smile afterwards.

D The whole term “The Industry” is false too though. It’s not one force, there are millions of stages, platforms, routes, so my instinct would be to move through things in our own way. We’re not 17 and being signed by Sony. We’ve navigated through it in our own way so far. We’ll just continue to do that.

GM You’re going to be in Europe touring. Where are you most excited about playing?

DI’ve been touring France for the past ten years or so, I’d love to bring NO INTERNET there. They take it so seriously, it’s a great environment to be an artist in.

GM Last question: where do you see yourselves in 10 years?

D I come from a hip-hop background, so that’s all I know about obviously. Jewellery. Ugly, extravagant jewellery. I want that. So i’ll be in a massive mansion, with bitches, jewellery...and internet.
ER (Laughs) I see myself naked in an art-gallery in ten years.
D I’m sticking with the mansion.

GM I’m holding you to that. It’s on the record.