Did releasing your album independently make the recording process more interesting in any way?
It’s been very interesting, it’s a whole story by itself. We started off working with Richard Brokensha and Marko Benini from ISO. We recorded with them and we weren’t really happy with the product after that, so we asked our friend David Grevler from Wrestlerish and Anti Motion Studios in Jo’burg to help us out and make it releasable so that we’d be happy. We’ve learnt a lot. We thought we’d learnt enough from the other bands [we were involved with before Le Voyage], we thought we’d learnt not to make mistakes. But in this industry, you always make mistakes. We’re busy writing a second release now – we don’t know yet if it’s going to be an album or an EP or a single, but we’re going to do things differently and our way this time because we’ve learnt more.
What type of sound can listeners expect from the album?
They can expect pop-rock, rock‘n’roll and ballads. [Adriaan] call[s] it “chilled rock‘n’roll”.
Your singles “Right back at you” and “Saw her come in” have enjoyed some airplay on campus radio stations as well as on 5FM. What has the response to these singles been like so far?
It’s been pretty cool, our most successful release has been “Saw her come in”. It got playlisted on pretty much all the national campus radio stations and some commercial ones, including 5FM, so that was really nice. We’ve had some success with the other [singles] – “Right back at you” was a cool song to release first. After that we [released] “Cry for more” and “Fire it up”, which also did well on campus radio. We’ve just released [a single called] “Kings” and we’ve had some good feedback from campus radio stations and some national ones.
You went on a short tour in April, performing in Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Johannesburg and Pretoria. Can you speak a bit about that experience?
We’d never played in Cape Town before that, and we have lots of friends there, so we wanted to go not only to play but also to see our friends. [The tour] was a success, we had really good responses in Cape Town and Stellenbosch. The scene there is a lot more booming than it is up north in terms of instrumentalists and bands, there’s a bigger market for instrumentalists down there.
Is songwriting the responsibility of only one of the band members, or is it a collective effort?
This album is different, because [Wim] wrote it before [he] even had the band. Then [he] head-hunted Adriaan, we started jamming together and Marko [Smit, bassist] joined us later. [Wim] wrote the backbone to this album and asked for [the other members’] input on their instruments. They kind of had to take the lead in terms of drums and bass. They really contributed a lot and we got to know our sound a bit more during that process.
Where did you draw lyrical inspiration from for the album?
That’s a tough question. We’re not even sure. You can’t push it, sometimes you need lyrics done for a song and then it doesn’t happen. We have this one song that we’ve been playing for a year now without lyrics as an intro song [at shows]. We want to write lyrics for it but it needs to happen naturally. If you force [lyrics], it’s not always as strong. [The album’s] inspiration was relationships in [Wim’s] life. Sometimes it’s the narrative of a story, sometimes it’s made up, [you] don’t even know who [you’re] writing about, but you kind of know that this situation has happened to you before, you’re not sure when or where, but it’s there. Mostly our songs are about the audience and how [we] would like them to perceive our songs. A lot of it is about everyday relationships with people and so on.
You studied music before forming the band. Would you say that having this kind of background makes your sound different to that of bands that don’t contain members who have studied music?
Studying music doesn’t necessarily make you a better songwriter, Adriaan’s never studied music. It doesn’t make a difference, but [studying music] gives you a few more options, it makes you aware of certain things you maybe wouldn’t have been aware of [otherwise]. It’s a two-sided coin. It can either positively affect your musicianship or it can restrain it and kill the passion. We studied western art classical music which is filled with theoretical rules, but it’s 2014 and a lot of producers in electronic and instrumental music don’t follow any rules whatsoever, they write to make it sound like they want to.
Le Voyage comprises partially of former Tuks students, Wim Jansen van Rensburg and Marco Smit as well as Adriaan Cruywagen. Photo: Clareece Smit