‘We wanted failure’
“I’m hearing this and thinking wow, but who’s going to buy this?” says either Givan Lötz or his other half, The Bear, on the final track of their self-produced debut album. The short and unfortunate answer is: Not many people. But those who do will be rewarded with possibly the weirdest, perhaps the most wonderful, easily the least commercial local album for some time.
Forget trying to describe the sound. Electro slash blues slash minimalist jazz slash what-is-that-buzzing-noise-in-the background is the best this reviewer can do, but there are layers to this Vangelisian delight that take a few listens to appreciate. The in-jokes and bootleggy nature of the recording are awkward as often as they are amusing or intimate, but in a market that has learned to polish shit this is a musty, gritty, bare-boned and, thrillingly, often brilliant retort. At its worst, this is two guys jamming in a bedroom trying to be weird. At best, it is sombre, mesmerising, surreal and, which is more, it is like nothing you will have heard before.
Interview with Givan Lötz
Where did you record the album?
We wrote and recorded everything in two days in a self made studio in Pretoria, South Africa. No retakes, no refunds. We had a piano, two nylon string guitars, a voice prism and a bag of potatoes.
How much did it cost to make?
I made 40 double albums for our friends and 20 single albums for retail. The physical materials cost me about R 500. I made them up by hand. We’ve sold 3.
I've given up trying to describe it. You have a go...
The sound is a result of trust. We trust each other. We trust our hands more than our heads. We don’t try - we do. The tension between something improvised and something considered is important. It is fragile - we wanted failure. The sound is that of an burning boat through a crystal palace or not.
Who is The Bear?
Charlie Higson is affectionately known as The Bear. He is asleep. Don’t wake him, not until supper time.
Any aspirations to get a record deal?
A patron willing to foot the bill for my mistakes? Sounds nice, where do I sign? Ambition will kill you. If a record deal means compromising my expression then the answer is No.
Are there other local weirdoes we should know about?
How much is that doggy in the window?
Bring your hope, we’ll have a bonfire.