There’s something extra special about the opportunity to see brand-new acts at a music festival. Almost like a treasure hunt, you can take the festival line-up and go on a quest to discover music you’ve never ever seen or heard of in your life. Half-Sister will be one of my treasure hunt moments this year. With no more than about a year of existence, this five-piece is just as excited to introduce their music to Mieliepop festivalgoers this year for the very first time.
The forming of Half-Sister sounds somewhat like a beautiful co-incidence. What was the main motivation for forming this musical project?
Jaco and Louwrens have been working together in an office for a number of years, so starting a band was more or less unavoidable. “Motivation” is a complex word, let’s just say it’s currently an avenue for each of the five band members to live out some of their stranger interests.
We know Jaco as part of the very successful group, Bittereinder. Was there any pressure to equal their success when Half-Sister started out?
Absolutely! Tons and tons of pressure, at this point we can barely persuade our voices to squeak from our throats. Bittereinder’s world domination is a well-documented fact, and seeing as Half-Sister is also an Afrikaans electro-rap act, the competitive nature of the duality is crushing. As with most things in life, only some of this is true - we’ll let people decide which parts are true once they actually get to hear the music (which very few people have currently had the opportunity to do…).
You guys auditioned numerous musicians in order to gain more top class members. Tell us about this process and what exactly you were looking for in potential new members?
It was a quite remarkable experience, we were unwittingly exposed to an amazing cross-section of female musicians auditioning for the band, from super-talented Lorde-like millennials to ladies in leopard-skin leotards who sing saucy covers in casinos. It feels like we really heard a massively diverse group of voices, and it was quite encouraging to hear the amount of interesting music being made in the Gauteng music scene. After a lengthy and quite emotional auditioning process (it’s really hard to say to someone “thanks for trying, but we’re going with someone else!”), we found three new members who are quite literally diamonds in the rough: Imke & Anika Reinecke (who are real-life sisters and sing super amazingly together), and Cynthia van der Mescht who plays synthesizers (yip, Cynth on the synth, the joke has been made).
There is an EP on the way – very exciting! What can we expect?
Indeed, we’re working on 6 fresh tracks at the moment in studio, and they’ll be mixed and mastered at Planet Awesome by the living legend Peach van Pletzen. It’s hard to describe the music think; Stranger Things soundtrack meets Twin Peaks soundtrack meets Arcade Fire. Lots of dreamy synths and reverbed guitars, lots of harmonies, male and female lead vocals, effected kalimbas and drum synths, no backtracks.
Being selected for Oppikoppi last year and Mieliepop now, as a pretty new act, must feel quite victorious. What’s the secret recipe to grabbing the attention of festival bookers and music lovers?
Victorious is a lovely word. We really enjoyed our maiden voyage at Oppi, and are very excited for our first show as a 5-piece band at Mieliepop. If there really was a secret recipe and we happened to be in possession of it right now, it’d be weird to share it, right? On the real, this band is layered with mythological subtext, and at the moment we’re quite smitten with the sounds that we’re creating together, and that kind of energy usually resonates through the performances into the listeners, it’s not something you can fake.
What are your three festival must have’s?
A festival schedule, a willingness to explore, wet-wipes.
Be sure to catch Half-Sister on the Willow Tree Stage on Friday 23 March at 15:00!