We’re interviewing a few of the acts performing at Grietfest 2014 this year. Next up in the series is Tommy Gun, a Cape Town based indie and nu-disco DJ who has been making waves for some time. He is also part of the team that runs the madness of Untamed Youth nights.
DYD: We’ve seen that Untamed Youth has partnered up with Grietfest this year. Tell us about Untamed Youth, its origins and development.
Tommy Gun: Untamed Youth was the first Indie/Electro-only club night of its kind in Cape Town, started by Dario Leite back in 2006. Dario was plugged in to the international indie scenes at the time and had the good presence of mind to get a party going at home, especially at a place like Fiction with its alternative electronic music policy. I quickly fell in love with the sound played at Untamed Youth – a totally current mix of indie rock and electronic music that carried a similar sort of grungy sophistication as the new-wave bands of the late 70’s and 80’s (New Order, Talking Heads, Devo etc.). I then knocked on the door (as a DJ) shortly afterwards and eventually took over the reins (as promoter) after Dario and Terrence Pearce called it quits in 2009. As it is today, the Untamed Youth team is made up of myself, design and concept guru, Jaco Haasbroek, and behind-the-scenes machine and resident DJ, Wayde Herman. UY still operates weekly at Fiction, as well as to much monthly madness at Great Dane in Jozi – a move initially facilitated by none other than Jo Auriacombe from Griet and Grietfest. Excitingly, UY has also been upping its international DJ game by bringing down Zombie Nation and hosting the likes of Boys Noize, St Pauli, St Lucia + Little Dragon DJ sets, Para One of course in Cape Town and at Grietfest this week, as well as another brilliant international DJ to follow in September (stay tuned).
DYD: What can we expect from your performance at the Untamed Youth stage?
Tommy Gun: Full power!
DYD: We have been brewing this question just for you. Can you compare the Johannesburg and Cape Town music scenes? And we also want to know which one you think is best.
Tommy Gun: Jozi has morphed into a different beast over the last five years. Where Cape Town I think set a lot of trends earlier on and has a bigger pool of creative talent, the growth in the alternative music scene in Jozi has been phenomenal to witness. Head down to the inner city on a Saturday to see what I mean, or even better, come to Grietfest this Saturday. There are masses of people all year round there that just wanna have fun. The CT/Jozi debate could go on and on but what I like most about Jozi is the effortless integration in the crowds – the only thing lacking from my beloved but more culturally segregated hometown.
DYD: Why did you follow the Indie/Disco music route for your DJ set?
Tommy Gun: For the reasons listed above. That style spoke to me the most when I started out and it still does to this day. I personally love the subtleties in these genres, which rely on a lot more than bass to get a dancefloor moving. I also love introducing people to new artists. The Indie/Disco scene is still relatively small in South Africa so the more people asking me directly what song is playing, or sneakily reaching out to Shazam it, the better.
DYD: Have you experienced Grietfest? If not, what have you heard about the festival?
Tommy Gun: I have not but I have followed it closely since the beginning and seen all of the seemingly insane video footage. Johan and Dom from Griet are a part of my extended family so it is a treat to be working with them this year. What am I expecting? Mass hysteria, tequila, and a naked man.
DYD: How did your relationship with Danielsun come about?
Tommy Gun: Danielsun, for those who don’t know him, is a great friend of mine, an architect by trade, and a freakishly gifted dancer who joins me on stage every now and then. Danielsun is a bona fide df beast who, if the music is good enough, can dance for up to six hours straight, leaving a pool of sweat behind of him. People mostly stare at him in awe but sometimes embarrass themselves by trying to copy his moves – myself included. Whenever I ask him to teach me a move he replies that he doesn’t know any. It’s that deep! I met him initially through my architect sister, Lucie, but after seeing him so many times on the floor at Fiction (he also loves dancing at Evol and Kitchener’s), it was only natural that I invited him up on stage.
DYD: Do you have a favourite performance? Where was it and why is it a favourite?
Tommy Gun: In terms of performance delivered, I’m most proud of my hour-long groove-to-hands-in-the-air-climax set at CTEMF ‘13. It all came together for me on a technical level, and my family also happened to be there to see it. I don’t know which is really my favourite though, but it’s definitely festival-related. There is greater open-mindedness amongst crowds at music festivals and that makes things more interesting. Grietfest is a festival, right?