Older, wiser and better

2012-09-07 00:00

ZEBRA and Giraffe has a brand new rhythm section. This is both good and bad news. The bad news is that, for the sentimentalists out there, the Z&G that blasted on to the scene is now sans initial drummer and sans initial bassist from the band’s first two albums. The good news? There’s a new rhythm section, and one of South Africa’s most dynamic acts is still churning out tunes.

“I think this album is definitely our best work to date,” says vocalist and frontman Greg Carlin. “Obviously, you’ll have fans who disagree and those who’ll always identify with the first two albums, but for us it feels like the album as a whole just works. Over the years we’ve become better musicians and grown as songwriters and hopefully fans will appreciate all we’ve put into these new songs.”

Zebra and Giraffe is currently touring South Africa to promote its latest album, The Wisest Ones, and arrives in Durban for the latest leg of the tour at Live — The Venue tonight.

“We’ve had some really fantastic shows in KwaZulu-Natal, but also some tough ones,” says Carlin. “As with the rest of SA, I think it has a lot to do with venues. Venues are always closing down and changing names, and there’s no real standard.

“We are, however, really excited to play at Live, because in my opinion it’s the best venue in SA at the moment. I went to the opening and was blown away.”

In anticipation of the show, Carlin highlights the “brand new rhythm section, a new album and a whole new live setup” as something for fans to look forward to. The new songs are described as “darker” than the previous two albums.

“There wasn’t any preconceived idea when I started writing for The Wisest Ones,” Carlin reflects, “but as I went along, I slowly figured out that I was looking back to my 20s, and analysing what I’d done, the mistakes I’d made and also just documenting things that had happened, which I was too afraid to write about on the previous albums.

“I wrote all of the songs in the six months before I turned 30. So it turned out to be influenced by that and my state of mind at the time.”

As expected for a band, which has received South African Music Award (Sama) nods, the songs of which are on high rotation on many radio stations and which presents a dynamic live show, Zebra and Giraffe went about recording their third album differently.

“Both of the previous albums were recorded in the SABC RBF studio complex on a tight deadline,” says Carlin. “This time around we decided to take our time and split the process up. We started in November 2011 and finished recording around May 2012. It was a great deal more relaxed and allowed us to reflect on the songs we’d recorded and then change what we needed to. I also got to record all the vocals at home this time, which was a much better process for me. I’m finally happy with all the vocals this time around.”

Fans will get to experience Zebra and Giraffe in full flight tonight at Live — The Venue, 166 Matthews Meyiwa Road (Stamford Hill) Road, Durban, with supporting artists Shadowclub and Tailor.

Tickets are R70 pre-sale at www.web tickets.co.za or R80 at the door tonight. Inquiries: 084 510 3107.

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