The DYD team met up with Yo Grapes, Craig, one sunny afternoon and asked him about everything. He can cook, he’s quite the dancer and we all know what a talented musician he is. Ash took over the interview.

Photo by Lourens Smit | Click here

DYD: What is Yo Grapes’ music like?
: I think it’s electro guitar pop.

DYD: How did Yo Grapes come about?
: When I was at school a friend of mine used to shout, “Grapes!” really really loudly and every time I’d turn around because I thought he was shouting at me because it kind of sounded like “Craig”. Then everyday he used to greet me by saying, “Yo Grapes”. You can name yourself whatever you want, at the end of the day if you make cool music they won’t give a crap about your name.

DYD: I was listening to your song, Human of the Week, you mention that your mom makes amazing bolognaise. That made me laugh! Such ‘deep’ lyrics, I love it! Tell us about your writing process.
: I like to keep it very light-hearted. I don’t want to make it completely throw-away so there are some love stories and life lessons. I want it to be funny but true.

DYD: What is your favourite Yo Grapes song?
: I like the newest one I made which is Human of the Week. I also like Bad Peacon Nut. I was very amped about the way it was structured. I record everything by myself and I’m getting better at producing cool sounds.

DYD: How do you manage your band schedule with Desmond & the Tutus and then your solo project Yo Grapes? Have there been any clashes?
: I check the availability for Desmond because I do the bookings so I kind of know when it’s cool or not cool. It works well because Doug, the guitarist for Desmond, and I bought our guitar amp together so it’s impossible to have a gig at the same time because we have to use the same amp. Also, I have to play the drums while he plays.

DYD: After gigs, do you hang around to party?
: If we’re (Desmond) in Joburg then we all just go home. When we’re out of town and it’s just the four of us then we party and we all get a bit slizzered. It’s a lot of fun, we’re all best friends. Before gigs we go to Chicken Licken, that’s our restaurant of choice.

DYD: If you could do any colab with anyone else who would you consider?
: My brother and I are doing a collaboration now. We’ve never done anything on our own together so we’re trying something. It’s going to be flipping weird, but I think it will be cool. I’d also dig doing a collaboration with Phillip Erasmus, we’ve been friends for a really long time. He plays for Die Heuwels Fantasties and is a really awesome dude. We’d probably hang out more than do any work.

DYD: If you could perform in any other city besides Joburg, Pretoria, Durban and Cape Town where would you like to go?
: The raddest small town that I’ve already played at is Grahamstown. A lot of the people that study there are from big towns so they knew some of my stuff.

DYD: Who influences you music-wise?
: My favourite band of all time is Cut Copy. They’re an Austrailian Electro Pop band. I listen to their stuff and it’s super good pop music and at the same time it’s super sonically interesting. As Yo Grapes I don’t mimic other artists but I reference a lot of artists so I like Chromeo and Empire of the Sun. I like bands that have good pop structured music. I also love Calvin Harris even though he’s so commercial. I dropped a Calvin Harris remix in my DJ set and the indie DJs were like, “Huh?” but I love Calvin Harris!

DYD: What quirky or weird stuff don’t we know about you? 

Craig: A lot of my Joburg friends don’t know about this because I grew up in Pretoria and only recently moved to Johannesburg. When I was in school, all the way until varsity, I used to break dance. I break danced at Oppikoppi during the Bittereinder show. I’ve got a video clip that I’ll put on YouTube. 
DYD: It’s going to go viral! 
Craig: I’m not very good anymore but when I was at school I had a crew as well. I even had a name, I don’t really tell people the name. 
DYD: Come on, tell us the name! 
Craig: Bearing in mind that I was thirteen when I made it. My friends in the crew were, B-Boy Adapter, Jiffy, Nerf, and then I was B-Boy Lullaby.

DYD: You and your bro are musically talented. How did you get into it? What made you think as a teenager when you were growing up that this was what you wanted to do? 

Craig: Doug started playing the drums and then he taught me the basics of the drums, afterwards he started playing the guitar. Then my brother and I have always been amped on performing. He probably doesn’t want me to tell people this but when I used to break-dance, he used to rap. I don’t think we thought when we were in high school and wearing beanies and armbands that we were going to be in a rock band.

DYD: If you could have any tips for aspiring artists what would they be?
: I think the best thing is to write good songs and make music that people want to listen to. Playing lots of gigs is also very important. Many people are like, “I don’t want to play a shit gig”, but you have to do that. Desmond played a shit gig earlier on this year but you’re always going to have crap gigs.You have to be willing to play anything that comes your way and then obviously when you get to a certain level you can start turning down gigs.


Upcoming gigs: 
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