A chat with my latest style and girl crush, Nwabisa from Denim Palace.
I had the pleasure of interviewing and photographing one of Durban’s legends for a Stellies based literary site.
I am rather pleased with the article and hope that you’ll give it a read to learn more about 031’s very own Mr Cool and what talent this city has to offer.
At the end of the day, physically meeting Ewok was what made me understand his talent and inspirations. The standard questions that you can find answers to in any interview, will never convey Ewok as a whole, composite person and getting to know him, if even for two hours, in the moments of uncontrolled laughter or tequila drinking, told me more about this human than the actual prepared interview ever could. It was a refreshing experience to sit and discover a regular person using all his passion to do extraordinary things. At the end of the day, that is all that you truly need to know and understand about Iain Ewok Robinson in order to be inspired by him. The rest is just noise.
Ya’ll can read the FULL story right hurr.
Durbanites will now be familiar with the soulful, folky sounds of Nhlanhla Majozi – The Litchi Orchid’s very own musical prodigy. Since then he has fanned out into most local music venues and never fails to surprise and impress his crowd.
In light of his much anticipated music video release for The River, today at 1pm, I caught up with him to pick his brain on a few things.
Whaddup MJ! Give us the rundown – who is Majozi?
M: I am 26 years old and brought up in Mount Edgecombe. My mother was a maid and because of her and the family she worked for that basically adopted me, I had an awesome childhood. I am a musician, and music director at Linc Church.
What sort of music do you play and who are you inspired by?
M: The term that I’ve heard a lot of people use to describe me is indie-folk and I’m cool with that. It doesn’t mean that it’s strictly what I am and what I play, but it gives people a cool idea of my vibe. I’m inspired by a lot of Johnny Cash, The Killers, Kings of Leon, City and Colour, Thrice and largely by my faith.
What are you looking forward to in 2014?
M: Enjoying this crazy ride that my life is on and finally getting to meet Jenna Kelly in person!
When did you begin this journey and what has been the biggest moment of your career so far?
M: Probably when I left my job at the bank. People thought I was crazy because I wasn’t exactly sure what was gonna happen, but I felt really good about my decision. I took a leap of faith and so far it’s paid off far more than I could ever have imagined. Biggest moment – opening for Gangs of Ballet and Zebra and Giraffe at Live. I was as nervous as hell, but it was a really life-altering night. Oh and of course, making it to No. 9 on iTunes last year.
How do you manage to not allow your religion to get in the way of how people view your music? And how do you allow your beliefs to govern you in an industry that is predominately fuelled by alcohol and anarchy?
M: To be honest I’m not sure. I guess I just figure that if I write good enough music that everyone will enjoy it. My music obviously has a certain theme – it’s who I am. I write about things I know and how I understand the world. I’m a Christian and flipping stoked about it. Based on my understanding of the Bible I do have certain boundaries for sure, but I also have a lot of freedom. I guess If I had to sum it up I would say I try to love people as Jesus did, have a whole bunch of crazy fun and know who I am.
What’s your best thing to do in Durbs?
M: I dig going to gigs, movies, visiting rad coffee shops with mates and hitting the beach for a ‘shorey bru’. My Achilles Heel is a good restaurant. I love me some good food.
How do you feel about the Durban music scene as a whole and what would you change?
M: Well I think things are changing. Guys like Bob Perfect and few others are organising events and giving guys kiff platforms to play on. Live the Venue is one of the best venues in the county and has a variety of bands throughout the year. The Upstairs has also become a rad place to go and do anything really. The Winston is like Bruce Willis (Die Hard) and there’s so many other places that cater to different tastes. There’s more rad stuff happening than ever before and I think we can celebrate that! The city is coming alive and so are its people but I wish everything would have better attendance. What would I change? More money for the musicians and organisers. Ha ha! Right now they are running on love and we are lucky to have such passionate people but, love ain’t gonna full a belly!
Tell us a bit about the process for your new music video.
M: It started of with early morning sunrise shots – an old man and young girl down by a river around some sugar cane somewhere on the North Coast. Those shots were used for the storyline of the song and we ended off with some scenes of me playing at a concert. It really was an awesome day. The guys got some awesome footage and I’m really stoked with what they did with it. Tim Hay (Director), Simon Wilkes (Camera Wizard) and Yash (camera) all were involved and they were boss. I basically had two stories I wanted to tell. One of an old alcoholic man whose lost everything and another about a 17 year old prostitute, who is sent to work by her father. The song and video ends with hope for both of them as they end up by the river where they find their salvation.
Worst experience you’ve had with the industry so far?
M: I’ve honestly been really lucky, my experience has been amazing! People have been really awesome and friendly towards me. If I had to pick one moment I’d say the low attendance at the YOAV gig at Live. He deserved a bigger audience.
Majozi is one of the most humble and dedicated local artists I’ve ever had the privilege of interviewing – check out his music video at 1 pm today here. I can promise it is going to be absolutely epic.
Photos by Claudia Whittaker
My cousin Warren got married to his beautiful bride Lauren,a few weeks ago at Spiga D’oro in Florida Road. This unique wedding venue created a truly wonderful wedding complete with sparklers,sweetie table, endless Italian food and good ol’ family bonding.
Really enjoyed the relaxed vibe of this laid back couple and wish them all the best. Thanks for the raging red-wine hangover and for the embarrassment of my cousins all watching me set a cigarette a-flame with a candle. Winning.
One of my goals for 2013 was to further my interests. Seeings as I actually take New Years Resolutions seriously,this goal has lead to the development of the very blog that you my dears, are reading now.
I have also endeavored to take risks and to push myself and have had a few exciting opportunities this year as a result of putting myself out there. Shortlisted for a TV commercial, guest writing for one of my favourite Durban Websites and hosting functions: Not to blow my own horn, just to demonstrate what you can do by applying yourself!These are also by no means amazing feats, just personal accomplishments that let me know I am heading in a positive direction.
So regardless of the fact that my first instincts were telling me to “quit while I was ahead” with this ELLE Style Reporter Search entry, I decided to bite the bullet and go through the process, if only for the exercise of it all.
I am glad to say that it was worth the effort- irrespective of what does or doesn’t happen with my application. I met some truly wonderful and vibrant people in between the skeptics and those that asked me for money in exchange for their picture.
Here are some of the outtakes. Thanks to those that participated even though I looked like a madwomen jumping out of a moving car to take their pictures. Thanks for letting a complete stranger ask you to pose or walk for my camera. My love for my city and the potential of its people is only that much more stronger.
Loved this Motley Crew of trendy young things. Loved them even more when I found out that have their own line of clothing! Check out Down Town Alley
So most of you have probably noticed that Glossary Lauren and I have a mini love affair. I would probably have quit my first proper job to rejoin the hippie colonies in India, if it wasn’t for the patience that my boss lady had.
I could not have asked for a better mentor, within the work place or out of the office. She has been such a guiding light through these last few months of working, blogging and photographing and I have to thank Lauren for this personal development. I have really learnt from the best.
Lauren recently said some wildly positive things about me – which I couldn’t not share with someone. To hear these words from someone I have grown to value and admire, is such a treasure.
Check out Jenna via bird’s eye view, here.
The last thing you expect whilst lazing at home on an overcast Sunday afternoon, is for a band of cool kids to rock up at your door and ask you to do an impromptu photoshoot for them.
The Paper Planes consists of Steve Murray on bass, Rudi Van Der Zee on drums,Nick Pitman on electric guitar and Badyn Holesgrove on acoustic guitar and lead vocals.
In their own words, The Paper Planes are “A collection of talented muzos who recently got together to take the acoustic music of Badyn Holesgrove and turn it into a hard hitting indie/blues rock sound guaranteed to get some takkies squeaking.”
For now, these guys are a well kept, up and coming secret.So my trendy young things who want to be ahead of the crowd, check these guys out on the Facebook for upcoming gigs and hardcore rock ‘n roll pics of Badyn grabbing his crotch and the illusive Long Sock Steve.
Our lovely friends,Andrea and Bryan, got hitched yesterday on a perfect afternoon in Ballito.
5 and a half years of ups and downs,long distance and loving long time, they finally walked down the isle in a beautiful ,intimate garden ceremony. I teared up as soon as I saw Bryan,let alone the bride,who pretty much looked like perfection.
What followed was a night of too much food,too much booze ( peach bellini’s!) and a freak load of dancing and booty hopping with all the people I love.
I elected to leave my dear camera at home so I could relax and enjoy the evening,tech-free, but here are some snaps I stole from my friend’s one, that we all had picked up and used at some stage of the evening!
Veranda Panda is an electro duo that has been shaking up Durban for the last few years with their offbeat style and filthy jams. GWAB proudly presents Jane on the violin and Liam on the rest of the musical shiz, talking candidly about music,the 031 and Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
What exactly is this “Veranda Panda” you speak of?
L: We make electronic music! From Hip Hop to Drum and Bass and a whole bunch of weird genres that we don’t have a name for. I guess we do what we love and have somehow managed to make a career of it. The common thread has always been doing what we want I guess, mashing up my style with Jane’s, into what we now produce and play as Veranda Panda. We also play ‘Live’, an expression that is somewhat abused nowadays, but it means we don’t just play back off of laptops or CD’s. We involve a whole bunch of machines that allow us to manipulate and perform a lot more intricately. That being said we do sometimes play DJ sets, (together or just me alone) using good old fashioned CD players and often play other peoples music much like any other DJ. However, we focus a lot more on being a live act, playing our own music.
When and how did you get started?What was the biggest risk that you had to take?
J: Liam and I met when we were both booked to play at the Durban July fashion show.We chatted a bit at the show, and then just kept talking (we talk a lot) and spontaneously thought it could be fun to play together!So I went along to one of Liam’s gigs at Origin, and took my violin. It was at the old roof bar at Origin, we had no idea what we were doing, but people liked us, and we liked us too and so we decided to take this thing and run with it. It seems to have been one of the best life choices we’ve ever made. The biggest risk we had to take and still take is being true to ourselves and our sound- we aren’t commercial, the music we make and play is sometimes difficult to classify, which can be a good thing but so often it’s been really hard.We have cleared dance-floors and people have come up to Liam swearing and asking him to play house music.Flip,it’s not all fun, but we have realized that it’s so important to stick to who and what we are, because that is what makes us different and (hopefully) special. It’s a risky place to be, but it just feels right
You most certainly are very special!On that note,how does it feel to be so big on the Durban scene right now?You little celebrities you!
L: That’s a strange thing to answer. It’s rad to hear you say that, but we don’t really feel like we are at all. We have no delusions of grandeur when it comes to this choice of career. It’s really hard and long and often really isolating. Whenever we receive an awesome response from people, we are kind of taken aback and really touched. There is always this threat though, that no matter how good things can get, tomorrow is another day and you have to keep working or risk disappearing. It would be nice to walk into Spiga one day and be offered free pizza though…
J: We don’t feel big at all. We really just like to take each gig and crowd as it comes- we don’t have any airs or graces about stuff, and we are just really grateful for the position we are in and really happy when people like our music and get down with some filth.
What are the plans for Veranda Panda? Where do you want to go from here?
L: We will be releasing our next EP for free. My goal is for it to infect every cell phone, play list and docking station for the next year! We really just want people to hear the music that we are so proud to be making. We are well aware of the ceiling that can be reached in both the local and national scene and would obviously like to extend beyond that, without ever compromising our music, and at the same time have a bucket load of fun. Obviously we have a whole bunch of other plans, but I really want a black Audi that’s been custom made to look like a panda. Lame I know, but I want that so bad.
Shotgun front-seat!If you were broke as hell and found 50 bucks in an old jacket pocket,what would you spend it on?
L:Two Avocadoes and some rye bread. I love me some avo on bread.
J: Petrol! And a chocolate Supermoo from the petrol station.
Describe each other in lyrics from a song and describe Veranda Panda in lyrics from a song:
L: Jane in lyrics: “Put your hands in the air, if you’ze a true playa” (Biggie Smalls)
Veranda Panda: “I can’t stop…” (Some Dubstep song)
J: Liam in lyrics: “Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree; merry king of the bush is he!”
Veranda Panda: “The Vengabus is coming”
Describe your average ol’ weekend.
L: Weekends are pretty hectic!It’s this mad mixture of plenty of work and plenty of play. I normally smash some Taco Zulu sushi or a Gorgonzola Pizza from Pizzeta. In fact it’s pretty much guaranteed that you can find me there at some stage! Obviously we play a lot more on weekends, so often it’s about trying to slot in socializing with friends and family, without affecting the fact that we need to work later. Most Fridays and Saturdays I only get to bed by 3am and by that stage I am normally too hyped up and will watch cartoons till I fall asleep. Sunday is recovery day!
J: Our weekends are often filled with gigs and if i’m not Veranda Panda-ing, then I’ve usually got orchestra concerts or string quartet gigs.But otherwise, apart from the jol (which usually is Origin), I enjoy tucking into some sushi (Taco sushi and Beluga are great), drinking copious amounts of tea (Antique cafe in Churchill road + Factory Cafe for the win!). I also love going on fun adventures with friends, which can involve anything from frolicking around parks like Mitchell Park Zoo, to hitting up malls and markets. I also like to sleep when I get the chance. Sleep is so underrated sometimes.
J: Durban is….yours. And that is not just a website. It really is yours, and ours, and it’s a really great place to be. Claim it, stop hating and be happy!Stop pining after other places when we have so much right here!
Amen sister!Tell us about this upcoming album?
L: This album is pretty much the final part of a three part series. Both Jane and I have only been working together since the end of 2010. In comparison to most, this is a really short time, and as a result I think we are still finding our consistency. The music we created has been this sort of un-controlled, organic thing. Often it shifts wildly from genre to genre and when it came to releasing it, we battled to tie it all up. So we split the music into three groups; ‘White’, ‘Black’ and ‘Colours’. Problem solved! We gave ourselves a platform to release the various styles. ‘Colours’ is our most dance orientated album. It explores a lot of my experiments with Bass Synthesizers, often leading the song with nothing else but really weird, warping bass sounds. Jane has also done massive amounts of work, writing more music than ever before, playing recorder (Haha) and doing some really awesome stuff with the Violin. It also contains some of our most ambitious tracks, with more hours than we can count being spent on tracking and recording, mixing and editing. The biggest addition to the music however is our website, where we are going to release the whole album for free. The only payment needed is a share on either Facebook or Twitter. We are really excited to drop this album. I think the day after the launch I might just cry for a whole day then go hide in the mountains for a week.
One random message to the good people of Durban…
L:Stop being apathetic. This city has the potential to become the main attraction on the Southern tip of Africa. Stop talking and moaning and start doing. Also, please can the municipality waive my traffic fines? Thanks.
Would you rather watch Keeping up with the Kardashians on loop or spend a night in Addington hospital?
L: I am not outspokenly political in my music. You won’t hear me writing protest lyrics and such, but I get angry and disillusioned just like any sane human being of moderate intelligence would. SA has so much beauty and potential, as well as a bunch of criminals who bugger it up on a daily basis. There are definitely some politicians who I would beat with a frozen Salmon for some of the shit they are guilty of.
L: A couple years ago this one girl used to phone me late at night from an unknown number and just sit on the other end of the line. I eventually found out who it was and confronted her and she never did it again.
My beautiful cousin Rochelle and her wonderful husband Richard, both have blogs that I feel the whole wide world should know about.
Both Durban born,this amazing couple got married on a cold day under rows of trees at the Botanical Gardens and left for a life in Hong Kong.
I can only aspire to the talent they both have for photography and proudly show off my wrist tattoo done by Rich. Not only do I admire them as a couple but as individuals rocking their unique style,travels,crazy dog and general antics in the deep of Hong Kong.
Click here for Rochelle’s blog
And here for Richard’s blog
All photo’s featured are from these talented kids and on their sites.