Mr Cat & the Jackal is a five piece band hailing from Durbanville composed of Gertjie BesselsenJacques du Plessis, Pierre-Arnold Theron, Johan Roos and JC Visser. They are well known for their interesting choice of instruments (some hand-made) and theatrical live performances. Their single ‘Bad Man’ did well on radio stations and the music video won an MK award. You can catch the guys live at Park Acoustic’s 3rd Birthday, click here for more details. Ash got down and asked these musical geniuses a few questions. 

Photo by Bruce Geils

DYD: Describe your music to an old Oomie from the Freestate? 
Gertjie: Hallo Oom. Ons maak ‘n tipe folk musiek. Dis baie teatraal. Ons speel ‘n klomp instrumente, soos die pens-klafier en die saal. Oom sal daarvan hou.

DYD: Any other band names you were considering when you first formed?
Gertjie: Obviously you play with a lot of ideas. There’s nothing specific I can remember, but it took a while to get to MCATJ. The name came about because we actually had a gig coming up, and they had to know what we’d call ourselves.

DYD: You guys have quite a few gigs coming up. Dish the dirt; out of the band members, who has the worst habits whilst on tour (and what are they)?
Gertjie: Hahaha, we’ve all had our turn but we’re actually quite civilized I’d say, except for drinking a lot. But we’ve toured so much that we know by now how to pace ourselves.

DYD: You’re out with your mates and have had a couple of beers, what is a typical activity that would constitute in you dropping your drink for example thinking you can stage dive off of a crooked bar? 
Gertjie: A lot of tequila, but I won’t drop my drink…rather my pants.

Photo by Bruce Geils

DYD: I have a Spanish friend who is a massive fan. She’s always dancing by the stage when you guys play in Pretoria, while her tall Afrikaans hubby stands nearby (you’ll see her at your upcoming Park Acoustics gig). Where would you say you have the largest fan base in South Africa?
Gertjie: Pretoria is definitely way up there! But they come out when we play because we’re only up there once every two months or so. We definitely have a solid following in CT as well, but it’s almost like they are used to us by now.

DYD: Yesterfang have worked with you guys quite a bit regarding puppetry and animation, how was this relationship formed?
Gertjie: We met them through Pierre. We started off working on shadow puppetry along with our live show then they pitched the big heads that we used at Oppikoppi and Ramfest, and then they pitched for the video of Bad Man, and the rest is history.

DYD: Could you tell us why so many strange and wonderful instruments are used on stage during shows?
Gertjie: It started off slow, but the idea from the start was to have two percussionists, a bassist and then me and Jacques playing all kinds of interesting and different instruments that suited specific songs. So in the end we started collecting.

DYD: Lastly, are you looking for a tambourine/triangle player, specifically for when you play in Gauteng? I’ve got super skills, I’m told.
Gertjie: Hell yea! The more the merrier.

If you want more Mr Cat & the Jackal information:
– Like the Mr Cat & the Jackal Facebook page
– Check out the Mr Cat & the Jackal Website

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