BILLY SUTER with an occasional column in which he chats to popular musicians about their musical likes and dislikes. The spotlight is on JEREMY LOOPS, who performs at Durban’s Botanic Gardens on Sunday, September 29, with support from the bands Bad Peter and Rubber DUC. The concert, which forms part of the Music at the Lake series, starts at 1pm and booking is via www.webtickets.co.za. Early-bird tickets cost R170 for adults, R120 for children aged six to 12, and R20 for children under the age of six. Gates will open about 12.30pm.
Three of the finest albums ever – and why?
Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde, Bon Iver’s For Emma Forever Ago and Paul Simon’s Graceland.
Song you hate the most right now?
We Are The World by USA For Africa, for sure. It was an absolutely atrocious song that I found to be a patronising First World way to try to support Africa. I’ve always cringed at it.
Song you most associate with your teens?
A song that played non-stop in my teenage years was Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus. It’s cheesey, but it was huge. And then this year, Wheatus actually came to South Africa and played at a bunch of festivals that I also played at.
It was pouring with rain and you had to wait right to the end. They basically played an entire show of songs that no-one knew. However, when Teenage Dirtbag came on, I wasn’t the only one in the crowd who was having a childhood moment listening to them play it. It was special.
The size of your music collection and the artists represented most there?
I was an early adopter of downloading music. I was also that guy who copied and burnt everyone else’s CDs. So I amassed a huge amount of stuff and had a real archive amassed over time.
Then when everything shifted over to digital streaming, it was a blessing for me.
I had a lot of reggae in my early collection. Toots and the Maytals and all sorts of different reggae artists, And punk too, like Offspring and Rancid. Then later on I got into folk music and went super-deep into all the folky stuff I could find: Dylan, Joan Baez, and in more recent times, all the Mumford and Sons, Lumineers and Bon Iver’s stuff.
So the collection has changed over the years as my tastes shifted and transformed.
Favourite radio station and DJ?
You’re not going to bait me into answering that question. I’m a big fan of all SA radio stations that play local music and support the local scene. I don’t hold any real alliances, I’m just a huge fan of whichever ones are playing our stuff at the moment.
The local artists you most admire?
Really, any of them who have tried to take steps to crack the international code.
Artists from abroad that you most admire?
These are wide ranging… but we toured with 21 Pilots, who are an absolutely insane live act. I have a lot of respect for them. We got to see the inner workings of their machine and I was really impressed with just how well put together and how well-oiled they were – and how much commitment the guys in the band have towards the whole production.
Most over-rated people in the recording business?
I’m not going to go and start slating people in the recording business, although I do have a relatively long list of people in the SA industry who I’ve found to be disappointing to work with over the years. Which makes us quite selective about who we partner and collaborate with. Learning how to say no from an early part in my career has helped us push forward.
Pet hate/s about the music scene in South Africa?
The mindset. People don’t support each other enough here. We are a bit of a poverty-stricken society, mentally, in some ways, and that translates over to the music culture in quite a big way. On the international scene, you see a lot more collaborations.
The one music act you would give the world to see perform live?
Bob Dylan. He still performs. I’ve tried a number of times to see him. I’m a lifelong Dylan fan and supporter but at the same time Bob can’t really play like he used to play. So my expectations are very much that I will be disappointed… but something in me has felt like I should try regardless. because he’s such a hero of mine.
Ever asked a music personality for an autograph?
Music acts you have seen live and loved?
Got to be Toots and the Maytals. One of my favourite reggae bands of all time, from Jamaica. They are the original reggae gangsters; they were before Bob Marley’s time and they’re still going.
The most embarrassing artist represented in your music collection – and why is it there?
Break My Stride (by Matthew Wilder), which probably a lot of people know. It’s pretty cheeseball. I don’t know why it’s there but it’s a song I listen to every now and then, and I think everyone has to have those songs in their collection.
Your choice of karaoke song (and why)?
I do not do karaoke. Never have and probably never will. Because… I don’t feel like it.
The first song you ever performed for an audience?
My song Power. I wrote that song about how terrified I was to get on stage for the first time.
Worst decade for music?
For me, the ’90s. But I don’t know. I’m not into judging worst decades. Everything seems to come around again and styles change. And, you know, there was a time when the ’70s was not cool and then became cool, and then the ’80s was so uncool and now is kinda cool again. And maybe the ’90s will have a comeback as well.
The song you’d like to be played at your funeral?
A song called Hole in the Ocean Floor by Andrew Bird. Sometimes I listen to it in the bath, with the lights out. It’s a beautiful song