[INTERVIEW] Beatenberg On Pop Music

Beatenberg 5

Photo: Ross Garret

South African super pop group Beatenberg has taken the South African and Africa music scene by storm. Considering they studied music at UCT, I asked them about their relationship between pop music and being taken seriously as artists:

BCTC: I love pop music. No matter how many people slate it, I’ve always believed it has it’s time and place. After studying “serious” music at UCT, what lead you stand up for pop music?

BeatenbergB: “Pop Music” is not easy. We like the challenge, and it’s rewarding to do your best within any set of constraints. “Pop Music” is also appealing because it demands that we’re multidimensional. It means we have to think of music videos, photoshoots, artwork and design.

BCTC: Roxanne, Maggie May, Elenore Rigby, Rozanna, Angie. Chelsea Blakemore has joined a long line of female inspired tunes. Did you know South Africa was going to adopt the tune so quickly and add Chelsea to the long list of female inspired hits?

Beatenberg 4B: We didn’t expect the song to catch on in such a big way – because it’s quite unusual. We’re really glad it has. 


BCTC: When the collaboration with DJ Pluto arose, did you want to expand into Afrohouse or did you just go with it hoping it would be well received?

B: We’ve been fans of SA house for years. Clock was a South African music hero for us, as well as Professor and the Kalawa Jazmee crew, and then Culoe De Song and Black Coffee. It was natural for us to approach SA House, because it’s basically the Pop Music of SA. We all had so much fun jamming with Clock.  


Photo via Beatenberg Facebook Page

Photo via Beatenberg Facebook Page

BCTC: You played your first AMA’s this year. Did you imagine you’d have a single that grew to be as big in Africa as it did?

B: We had no idea it would get to that level. We met so many incredible artists from Nigeria, Angola and Kenya at the event. It was a privilege for us, as such young guys, to be part of that.

BCTC:  What other kinds of music would you like to dabble with or are you set on pop-indie-afrohouse for now?

B: We’d probably like to put some more energy into Jazz and South American styles, which have always been close to our heart. Also, there are loads of sounds from the rest of our continent that we’d like to explore. 

Beatenberg’s latest album The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg is due to be released soon. Their song Pluto (with DJ Clock) recently broke the record for a song for most radio plays over a week long period in South Africa. Hitting #1 on 5FM, YFM, Highveld, KFM, MTV Base, Metro & Heart FM – and hitting the #1 spot on iTunes Botswana and #2 on iTunes South Africa, Pluto (Remember You) is the biggest collaboration since the inception of a democratic South Africa.

Their new single, Rafael, is already the 2nd most played song in the country, only 4 weeks after its release.
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