Interview by Shannon Lawlor
Dangerfields are a four-piece alternative band from Cape Town, South Africa. Blending elements of early post-punk and ’90s shoegaze together, they have crafted their own unique vision into an alluring formula, both rich in texture and flawless in sound. Inspired by greats such as Joy Division, DIIV and The Horrors – Dangerfields have self-released two EPs; Embers in 2016, and Ashes in 2017 and are currently preparing their first full-length LP.
Dangerfields are set to perform at Cape Town’s picturesque Endless Daze festival on November 4th, surrounded by lush scenery and it’s inevitable power to impress.
In preparation for Endless Daze festival, we spoke with Lucas Swart of Dangerfields on collaborating and the future:
For anyone new to your flooding radiance, could you give us some background on how Dangerfields was originally born?
Calvin and I used to play for a band called The Very Wicked, along with Andre and Lucy from Medicine Boy. While they were starting to focus more on Medicine Boy, we had more time on our hands so we used it to come up with demo’s and brainstorm ideas for something new. We didn’t know what we wanted to do, just that we wanted it to be something unique which represents our own personal tastes and experiences, in an almost brutally honest way. When we had a few songs fairly well-formed, we started looking for a drummer and another guitarist so that we could start playing shows. I had played a few solo shows with Nic on drums and I knew that he was into the same kind of music as us, and that he is just generally an all round cool dude, so he was an obvious choice. Luckily he managed to find time between his busy schedule of playing for Retro Dizzy and basically running The Shack to jam with us. Josh is also an old friend, him and I met years ago when I filled in for his high school band’s drummer for a show at The Hidden Cellar in Stellenbosch. We also studied music together back in 2010. I had seen him around for years and knew that he could play and that he was into the same kind of music as us, so when his previous band Loveglove Pyrotechnics broke up, I kind of jumped at the opportunity to ask him if he wants to try something new. The line-up was complete around February 2016, and we started playing shows two months later. Our first show was at a Psych Night event, along with our friends Bilderberg Motel and Medicine Boy, naturally.
Dangerfields’ debut EP Embers was self-released in June 2016, how did this recording process differ to that of 2017’s Ashes EP?
I would say that the main difference was in the song writing. The songs for Embers were almost finished already when Josh and Nic joined the band, whereas we all contributed ideas towards Ashes. We recorded Embers at Cape Audio College with our friends Warren Fisher and Yan Sanchez, who we had worked with before with The Very Wicked. We had only played two shows when we recorded Embers, so there was a bit more experimentation in studio. By the time we recorded Ashes later in the year, we had played a bunch of shows and the songs were pretty well formed. We smashed it out in two days at Sunset Studios with the legendary Jürgen von Wechmar behind the console.
If there were any artist, or band you would ever considering collaborating with, who would it be, and why?
We enjoy doing visual collaborations, like when we collaborated with my dad and Adam Hill for the cover art and designs for Embers and Ashes. It’s really cool to see how other creative people interpret our music and use it to make their own art. At the moment, we’re looking at doing a visual collaboration with Bad Weather, a local production company, at some point. We’re very curious to see what they come up with to accompany our live show. Musically, we are planning to record an album next year and there are a few people I’m hoping to collaborate with in a production capacity, but they don’t know it yet so I would rather not say who.
On November 4th, Dangerfields are set to perform at Endless Daze Festival located in South Africa. What are you most looking forward to about this experience?
We’re most looking forward to playing our new songs on that stage, with great sound and lighting and a sound engineer that understands what we do. At most shows, there is a risk that the sound engineer doesn’t necessarily understand what we’re going for, like they just don’t make the guitars loud enough or put enough reverb on the vocals. For Endless Daze, the Psych Night guys have chosen only the best people in every department, so you know it’s going to be good. Our show there last year was our favourite show that we have played so far and we’re looking forward to topping it this year.
If Dangerfields could single-handedly change the music industry, how would they do it?
I guess we would find a way to get people to care more about live music. We have a wonderful scene here, but after a few years of being in it you start to realize that it’s usually some variation of roughly the same (great) crowd of people at all the shows. I think if we could, we would find a way to get more of the general public to take notice of more than what is played on the radio, and just get out there and live a little.
Dangerfields are known for their mesmerizing blend of post-punk and shoegaze. Where do all of your individual influences come from, and how does it work it’s way into your music?
We try not to make our influences too obvious, but there are certain bands that we are all into, like DIIV, Deerhunter, The Horrors. Most of us dig post punk and new wave, from the 80’s and more recent revival stuff. Josh also has a fondness for soul music, but I’m not sure if it comes through much in our music. I also listen to a lot of dream-pop, stuff like Beach House and Porcelain Raft. I think generally we all gel pretty well when it comes to the music we want to make.
What does the future hold for Dangerfields?
We’re planning to record a full length album sometime within the next year. We will also be playing some shows up country, and hopefully be booked for some more festivals. We weren’t able to play as many shows as we wanted to this year due to me getting really sick. I’m still working on getting better, so for the meantime we’re being really selective about which shows we play. At the moment we’re focusing on writing new music and trying to make our live show memorable.
Dangerfields will be performing live at Endless Daze festival in Cape Town, South Africa, 3 – 5 November
For more information follow Dangerfields on Facebook
(Image credit: Joshua Rijneke)