Damage (Chemical Crew, Sth Africa/Japan)
Article posted by TweeKUniT on 29/08/2005 3:56PM
Hey Deon, how are you?
Hi there. All good on this side, thanks…
So, tell us a little about yourself? How old are you, where were u born and where are you living now?
Well I have turned 28 this year. Hopefully it will take a little longer before I turn 29!!! I was born in a small town called Paarl about 60km from Cape Town. The wine and cheese centre of South Africa. At present, I’m living in Tokyo, Japan.
When did you first discover trance music? I heard you had your roots more in stuff like Hip Hop back in the day… how did you make the transition to the music your are making today?
I discovered trance a long time ago. Basically when it started I guess, but before psy-trance or goa trance were invented. I used to listen to a lot of Dave Angel`s mixes. But I had been listening to hardcore gabba already a couple of years before that since `92 , so I have been into this underground techno sound for a long time now.
Regarding the hip hop thing. Yes I enjoyed the old school hip hop quite a bit, still do really. I was trained as a DJ by 3 of SA`s top hip hop DJ`s as well, every Saturday for about 4 hours in a very famous hip hop club. But still, I was training on the techno tunes, which drove them mad of course. So even though I enjoyed hip hop a lot, it was always the techno sound that appealed to me most.
Damage has been in the scene for a while now; I understand that it wasn’t a solo project in the beginning. Tell us a little how the act Damage began, and how it got to where it is today…
Well damage was originally invented by James and myself. Both of us were in the same high school, although we didn’t really hang with the same crowds. We both did audio engineering and were the top students of our classes, so I guess we both were extremely passionate about sound and music creation. We were doing our own projects for quite some time apart, even though our friends told us that we should work together. Then one night we met at a private party and had both finished our first tracks ready for release and played it to one another. We were obviously both very surprised when we noticed that both of us went for the same sound and started working together after that. Those 2 tracks are the ones on the `Africa in trance` compilation, which was the start of many good things come for quite a few SA artists.
“God Help Us” was well received both critically and commercially… Was it a challenge as an artist to create a full album? Did you encounter any problems or things that stood in your way to creating the finished product? How are sales for “God Help Us” now?
It was an extremely bad time in my life when I had to do this album. I was in a very bad relationship with a girl. My day job was starting to give me problems, because they saw that my focus was on something else. These problems caused things to get edgy between me and James as well. Naturally, because all of this was effecting his future as well. So he started a new project, broken toy, and left damage as well. So a very bad situation for me. Only thing I could do to save the future of Damage ,was to end the bad relationship, quit my day job, give up my nice house, buy a laptop and start working full steam on this album while travelling, doing gigs and making sure to finish it before the release date. So I couldn’t do the album in a proper studio with proper music gear, which pissed me off a bit, but What else could I do? In the end, the album was finished before the release date, but then the release date got extended, so doing this album was a living nightmare to be honest, but it payed off in the end. It was for sure well received on the dance floor. Got
a few bad critics here and there, but I guess that’s because some of my fans thought I could do a bit better and I can for sure. The sales, I don`t think I will give the numbers yet, cause it’s still climbing, but it is well above the average numbers, so I am very happy about this.
What about your personal taste in music? Who influences you these days, and who do you think is doing some innovative/inspiring things? Which artists do you think are making big waves as new artists?
Well broken toy is always innovative, although I’m not really into the softer styles of psy-trance, but James always gets it right to make any kinda sound, sound real good. Also NRS is great for me. Very relentless power beats. My personal favourite artists are the Hefty Output boys. They are doing such inspiring music for me. They remind me a lot of me and James when we started. I have not yet had the privilege to see their live, but I’m sure I will in the near future...and I’ll be right in front of the dance floor!!!
Have your been working with any other artists on collaborations or projects lately? Any compilation releases on the horizon? What’s in store for Damage fans in the next month release wise?
I’m currently pushing for 20 releases this year alone and it looks
like it might end up being more than that. I’ve been holding back for quite some time now, but for good reason. I have decided in 2004 that 2005 will be the year that I’m going to start working a lot harder with producing new and fresh music and pushing damage to new levels. so I pretty much spent most of 2004 just trying out new things on the dance floor figuring out what damage should sound like in 2005. so there is a huge amount of time spent on all the tracks released after the album. labels that will be releasing more damage this year, will be: Acidance, Yage Records, Shiva Space Technology (Japan & Germany), Mechanik Sound, Reckless Rhythm, Mass Abductions records, and FullMoon records. obviously some of these labels will be releasing more than just 1 damage track. also working with NRS quite often, because I see him a lot here in Tokyo and we always have a lot of fun working together. Both of us are currently doing a song with Scorb, which we will call ` RAMAGE`. Quite excited about this one. I will also be doing some music with `hefty output` in the near future and there is a possibility that I will be doing something with `40%` soon. This one will be very interesting, seeing as we have very opposite styles. then, the new project I am most excited about, is the one I am starting with the “beat master c” AKA jimmy c hehehe. We have decided to start another side project together and are currently working on the first album which should be finished around the end of this year. I think we will only be releasing albums with this project and not any tracks on compilations. the name of this
project will be introduced at a later stage.
What about outside of trance? Do u listen to much other music? If so, what is it?
I listen to all kinds of music. I don’t think I’m going to mention
names of bands and artists here, cause this will really take forever. I really like the old 70`s rock music. My dad also loved this music a lot and I woke up to this music, loud on the hi-fi, every day of my life. Back then I hated it, but now, I can really appreciate it. I also enjoy old school hip hop a lot. New hip hop is more like hip pop...and I don’t like pop so much, although there is the occasional pop song that appeals to me. I like pop music from the 90`s a lot though. In my opinion, this was the best time for pop music, when they figured out what you have to do with the electronic sounds for it to sound good...or maybe I was just at the right age to appreciate this kind of music. I also listen to a lot of other styles of techno music. Some more underground, some less. I still love hardcore a lot. This music always inspires me a lot and gives me many new ideas. Phat break beats are also great for me, and when listening to my music, it is obvious that I am influenced by it a lot. And let’s not forget about metal. I’m not such a huge metal fan, but I have my
Hows gigging lately? Have you been playing a lot around the world? If so, where have you been playing lately? Any highlights? Any future party/festival bookings you’d like to let anyone know about in case they want to catch your show?
I haven’t been doing so many gigs outside of Japan since I’ve moved
here. I’ve really spent a lot more time on doing new music, than organising tours outside of Japan. Also, it is a huge mission for a South African artist to organise the visas needed for a tour...especially if he/she is not living in South Africa. So this is really not helping to inspire me organizing international tours. It’s just so much easier for me to work on music in the week and quickly jump on a bullet train on the weekend to go do a party. So I have become a bit spoiled with this. It needs to change fast though. I am focussing on doing some international tours again towards the end of the year and the whole of next year. But for sure, what’s happening in my studio right now is most important to me. My highlights for this year, was an outdoor party in Nagoya, Japan. It was good seeing what artists like Tsyoshi are up too lately. also saw some great djs
Playing very fresh tunes that gave me a lot of new inspiration.
South African music seems to have a very distinct flavour and vibe to it, what’s the scene like down there? Many parties? I’ve heard a little about a few here and there, but is it pumping every week with parties? Worth visiting for holidays sometime?
I haven’t been there for quite some time now, but when I left,
it was for sure still one of the most happening psy-trance scenes and what I hear from friends back there, is that it’s only become bigger and better. To be honest, I haven’t been to ANY party outside of SA that has been better than a SA party. Could be because I am South African, but really...for me...SA parties are number one!
How was your last trip down under? I heard that party went off!!! What were your impressions of our country, and will you be returning anytime soon?
I had a greeeaaaaaat time in Australia. The people were really cool.
The organizer treated me well and I made a lot of new friends. Also got to meet the hefty boys too of course. This was also the first party where I was asked to play the same live act AGAIN as the last set. I think everybody had great fun at this party. Very relaxed vibes and good people. Excellent venue too. Was just a pity I couldn’t stay longer. I have no idea when I’ll be returning, because the organiser is apparently in London at the moment, but I hope it will be very soon.
Any thank-yous, last words or things you’d like to say before we wrap this up?
Like to thank all the fans for supporting this kind of sound. It’s not the typical kind of sound and it takes a special mind to be able to appreciate this music. Keep checking out for new Damage. I can assure you that it will not stop for a very long time...if ever. The next album will be quite something else too. A lot more fun and quite a few levels up from the first one...if we talk about production. Also big thanks to all the party people out there. Without you, our lives would be empty...how corny...but it’s true!
Thanks Deon, good luck with everything… Keep it ripping!!!