Kick off your Saturday nice and early with coffee, capoeria and chow.
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.
Gig guides for two local talents . Psyched!