DYD: Sons of Settlers consists of members from two successful bands, New Holland and Foto Na Dans respectively. How did Sons of Settlers come to be?
Gerdus (Sons of Settlers): The projects that we were involved with at the time reached a point where they stopped being a creative outlet for us. The bands stopped rehearsing and writing new material and as a result we were left feeling in dire need of some creative expression. Le-Roi and I were practicing yoga together and after practices we would hang out and jam on acoustic guitars, just for fun. Buckle and I have played together in every band that we have ever been in since high school, so I asked him to join in our jam sessions. The only thing that we still needed was a good drummer, that could sing too, and Justin came into the picture. Justin and I lived together for a couple of months in Blouberg, while living together we jammed together quite a lot and I learnt what an amazing musician he is. The four of us got together and we realized that the inevitable had happened…we had started another band.
DYD: How would you describe the sound of Sons of Settlers and would you say that there was influence from Gerdus, Buckle and Le-Roi being in New Holland and Foto Na Dans?
Gerdus (Sons of Settlers): We aren’t the biggest fans of labeling our style, limiting ourselves to a genre, we just strive to make beautiful music. The words that come to mind are melodic, harmonic, positive music. I have moved from playing lead on an electric guitar in New Holland to playing mainly my Stellenbosch Guitar Company handmade acoustic guitar, while Le-Roi moved from lead vocals to lead guitar. We obviously bring influences from our previous projects, but seeing as we swapped roles less came through than one might expect. People might easily jump the gun and say we are making folk music, but that simply isn’t true. We definitely have folk songs, but generally we branch out much wider than that. Some of our songs really come at you hard, and we aren’t scared of doing that, people are generally really surprised to hear the massive sound that the four of us produce. You should come see for yourself.
DYD: What are you hoping for in the coming months with the release of your debut album?
Gerdus (Sons of Settlers): We are hoping that we can secure an international record deal or agent agreement of some sorts so that we can tour the world and play to people.
DYD: You’re going on a massive SA tour soon, is there any place that you’re particularly looking forward to performing at? We hope that we’ll see you at Oppikoppi after the tour. Would you like to go to South African music festivals?
Gerdus (Sons of Settlers): We are looking forward to all the shows and we are especially excited about using the train as a means of transport. I feel very strongly about trains, they are awesome. With our previous projects we played all the South African Festivals and we would be blessed if we could do the same with Sons of Settlers.
DYD: Who is in charge of writing lyrics, or do you do it as a group? And, where do you draw inspiration from?
Gerdus (Sons of Settlers): Some of the songs Gerdus wrote on his own, but mostly we write collectively. We are increasingly moving in a direction where we write collectively. We decide before hand what type of a message would fit with the feel of the melody and harmonizations and we make it happen. We draw our inspiration from many sources, of course there are the themes of love and heartache, but we touch on more universal topics like the nature of our consumerist society and the effects it has on us and sometimes we just write nonsensical lyrics about sexual desire.
DYD: In terms of getting to know you guys, could each of you say who inspired you to get into music and if you weren’t on the music route what do you think you would be doing?
Justin Bosman: My mother is very musical and when my boet and I were young we used to muck around with the piano at home. When we used to go to Sunday school we used to terrorise the musical equipment at the church; me bashing away at the drum kit and my brother turning the guitar amp on full blast. Those “sessions” were short lived because the people in the church band would shit us out for making a ruck-us. So my brother definitely inspired me to get into music especially in our teen years he would get all this awesome music for him and I to listen to. If I didn’t get into music I probably would have been a lot more wealthier than I am now. No just kidding, I am currently studying a BCom in Marketing so I would probably be a marketer or working in the advertising industry.
Reyno Buckle: I really don’t know what inspired me to get into music. As far back as I can remember I was jolling beats on my school desk using my pencils as drumsticks. In high school I begged my dad to buy me a guitar; my parents were never keen on me doing the band thing. I got my first guitar when I was 14 and taught myself some basic chords. When I met Gerdus in Grade 9 it all just came together and we started our first band. I suppose at that stage I was inspired by local punk and metal acts, I was going to all the “underground” gigs. I also played drums in the church band, but that didn’t last very long. They kicked me out for playing too loud!
I sometimes wonder what I would have felt if I never experienced the magic of playing music for myself and for others. It’s most probably the most exhilarating thing I have ever done. I’m currently a civil engineer by day and would have probably only been that if it was not for the music. I often dream of living the second part of this verse by Albert Hammond Senior:
“Well, they used to sit and speculate upon their son’s career
A lawyer or doctor or civil engineer,
Just give me bread and water, put a guitar in my hand
’cause all I need is music and the free electric band”
Le-Roi Nel: The person who inspired me to make music is my neighbor. When he turned 13 his parents bought him an electric guitar and a 15 Watt Starfire Amp. This guy jammed nonstop and you could hear every note (most of which were bum notes) from our house. He would play every day after school until 8 or 9 at night. The nonstop racket got on my older sister’s nerves. She constantly screamed and yelled instructions over the property dividing wall to keep quiet or turn down the amp.
I was about 10 or 11 at that time and a menace to society. Seeing the effect that this guitar had on my sister caught my attention. I saved up some money for a couple of years and with a little help from my parents bought my first guitar when I turned 14.
I’m still studying finance and have through music been trying to avoid entering the financial industry as a professional. So if that option never existed, I would probably be bald, with a boep and a stomach ulcer working as a portfolio manager for an investment company.
Gerdus Oosthuizen: I come from an extremely musical family. My grandmother was a music teacher and each of her five children, one of which is my mother, were made to play an instrument of sorts. My mother is an amazing singer and plays piano beautifully. When we were young she had my sisters and I sing together. It became apparent that I had a special gift for music as I have been able to harmonize to music since the age of five. I sang choir in primary school and when I wanted to stop singing my parents said I had to take up some instrument at least. I started playing guitar. Reyno and I started playing in bands together in high school, at the time I wanted to become a pro golfer, but he told me that it was lame and that I would get no girls that way, so I opted to just focus on music with him! Nothing really inspired me to make music as it has always been so ingrained in my existence that I could only make music. I perceive the world through sounds.
If I didn’t go into music I would probably have going into Environmental Economics for a couple of years, but I rate I would ultimately have dropped out of that to become a yoga teacher.
DYD: We love hitting bands with this question. Could you describe the band in three words?
Gerdus (Sons of Settlers): I take it ‘no’ is not a legitimate answer? How about: four amazing musicians.