The Sick-Leaves Interview 2
[pullquote]Part 2 in which we talk about the next Sick-Leaves studio release, playing live, the best places to rock out in South Africa, and a couple of other bits and pieces. Oh, and mountains as well…[/pullquote]Following our recent review of the latest Sick Leaves album Last Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy, we’ve been fortunate enough to get The Sick-Leaves frontman Eksteen Jacobsz to answer some questions exclusively for The BlaBla Blog. This is Part Two of the interview interview. If you haven’t read Part One yet, you can read it here: The Sick-Leaves Interview – Part 1 .
Be sure to also check out the link at the end of the interview and enter our draw to win an autographed copy of the Last Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy as well as a stylish “Rock n’ Roll is Not Dead” t-shirt* as worn by rock stars and other people who know a good thing when they see it!
Okay, enough with the heavy serious stuff…
The BlaBla Blog: Do you have interests outside of music at all? I saw somewhere mention of CFA studies? Is there a “daytime job” that helps you get through the musically tough times? Or is TSL everything?
The Sick-Leaves: At this stage The Sick-Leaves is everything, but I want to build on my qualifications with the future in mind.
BBB: On the subject of other interests… What’s with all the mountaineering references in the last album? The title of Last Dance… is taken from the Stephen Venables book “Higher than the Eagle Soars”, there are at least two tracks on the album with mountaineering references (Move Faster Than This and K2), and there’s that haunting “I’m falling” chorus line in K2… Are you going mountain-climbing anytime soon?
TSL: I did mountain climb quite a lot between 2006 and 2008. It was something totally different from what I did before and it fascinated me. Part due to the simplicity of it and the immense stamina and endurance needed for it. It’s just you and the mountain. The further you walk the more committed you are and the only way of getting back is walking back. It is also humbling in the sense that you realize how small and insignificant you are. Where 5km in a car takes you two minutes to drive it takes you 2 hours to walk! I guess those experiences did creep in during the writing process for the last album.
BBB: And talking about titles… What’s the story behind “The Sick-Leaves” anyway? You are a single person. Surely it should be “The Sick-Leaf”? And why not just your name as a solo artist?
TSL: I think you’ll agree Eksteen Jacobsz does not sound as good, or say as easy as, “The Sick-Leaves”… The Streets a.k.a. Mike Skinner gets away with, so surely I can as well.
Playing your music…
BBB: Which do you prefer: playing live or working in the studio?
TSL: I love writing and recording but there is the addiction to live playing and feeling the music instead of just hearing it. I guess we can call it a draw.
BBB: When you play live (not having had an opportunity to see you perform live yet) how do you handle the layered sounds that Last Dance… captured so well? And what about the heavy wall-of-sound elements from your earlier material? Do you use support musicians, or backing tracks, or is the live performance stripped down to the essentials with just yourself and a drummer? If that’s the case, how are you able to effectively convey those complex instrumentations you’ve become known for?
TSL: It is stripped down to the essentials. We play as a three piece and in a way it is a compromise to the album’s sound, but it is just so hard finding musicians who are willing to play exactly what you tell them to play without them being unhappy or getting bored. I can’t deal with that. It is also much more challenging to play as a three piece, which I enjoy. There is something very pure and powerful with only drums, bass and one guitar.
BBB: Do you have a standout memorable live gig that you’ve done? Where was it, and what made it so memorable?
TSL: Oppikoppi 2009. I was sick as a dog(same as the first time I played ‘Koppie) and Wayne and I played as a two piece, main stage, Friday night. It was an incredible slot and the biggest audience we’ve played to. It was a very difficult gig but I felt we pulled it off.
BBB: Where are the best audiences to play live to? Is there a city or a specific venue where you love playing live because the audience are always receptive and appreciative?
TSL: Bloemfontein’s Mystic Boer has always been a great venue to us. The Rose City also love and appreciate their music very much down there.
BBB: What’s the craziest, weirdest, funniest thing that’s happened whilst you’ve been touring or playing live? Were groupies, booze, wild parties or television sets through hotel windows involved? Or is the rock-star-on-the-road life not really all it’s cracked up to be?
TSL: I once managed to set the stage alight in Hermanus. Needless to say, we haven’t been invited back there. Funny things happen all the time. I guess it is a case of how wild you want things to get. Besides, it doesn’t help the tour budget if you throw televisions out of hotel rooms.
The next album….
BBB: What can you tell us about your 4th album, which we believe is under development at the moment? How far is progress on it? And what can your fans expect in terms of sound? Last Dance… was a move away sonically from your earlier albums. Can we expect another shift on the new album, or is Last Dance… a good indication of the route that your music is taking into the future?
TSL: I have an album’s worth of songs, but I want to do an EP for the next one. The reason? To do what I want with it. No restrictions with regards to reviews, radio play listing or anything else. I just want to go into studio and record the biggest sounding guitar songs to ever come out of SA. Delay and experimentation will be the order of the day.
BBB: You worked with producer Darryl Torr and drummer Wayne Pictor on the last album. Is the same team going to be working on the follow up?
TSL: Yes […it’ll be the same team. We worked very well together on Last Dance…]
BBB: When can we expect to see the new release? And does it have a title yet?
TSL: We’ll go into studio January next year, so hopefully it can be out by March 2011. I am toying with “Breaking Away” as a title, but it is not definite yet.
BBB: The five albums you’d load onto the iPod for when you get stranded on a desert island?
- AC/DC – Back in Black
- Oasis – What’s the Story (Morning Glory)?
- The Black Angels – Phosphene Dreams
- Radiohead – The Bends
- Nirvana – In Utero
BBB: The five greatest guitarists of all time?
- Jimi Hendrix
- Jimmy Page
- Pete Townsend
- Chuck Berry
- Matthew Bellamy
BBB: The five people (living or dead) that you’d love to invite to a dinner party?
- Keith Moon
- Edmund Hillary
- Bob Hoover
- Roger Federer
- Candice Swanepoel
BBB: Your favourite five places are…?
- Mweni, Drakensberg
- Victoria Falls
- Bazaruto, Mozambique
- Scottish Highlands
- New York City
A huge BlaBla shout of thanks to Eksteen for taking the time to answer our questions, and to Linda Thompson for helping to put it all together for us – you both ROCK!
[pullquote] In Part 1 of our interview with Eksteen Jacobsz we spoke about growing up on a farm outside Ermelo, guitars and playing music in London… [/pullquote]
In order to enter the draw to win an autographed copy of The Last Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy and a Rock n’ Roll is not Dead! t-shirt JUST FOLLOW THIS LINK and fill in our simple entry form.
You can boost your chances to win the prize by interacting with The BlaBla Blog, The Sick-Leaves and Springleap via our social media profiles.
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* The Sick-Leaves are Brand Ambassadors for springleap, and wear springleap T-shirts in all these images. Our t-shirt prize is courtesy of the good folk over at springleap.com . All images are courtesy of The Sick-Leaves and Sean Brand