Van Pletzen are ‘The Lekkerness’

Between a satin bomber jacket, a Moot tee and one Woolworths packet filled with Famous Grouse – Charlene Dos Ramos sat down with two-piece band Van Pletzen at Lush. The topics of discussion: the semi-permanent state of being Kak Lekke, satire in music and of course, ‘The Lekkerness’.

 

 

It’s safe to say that in a global era of genre-less popular music, Van Pletzen fits right in. Their sound is sparkling and reflective, like the sunlight on an infinity pool we don’t have. Although after the 20th play, you realise that there is something much more to it. There is a well thought-out strategy to this musical offering which is disguised behind yellow aviators and song titles such as “Liefde Maak” and “Boude.”

 

‘Kak Lekke Vibe’, Van Pletzen’s freshmen offering, is both perfectly strange yet slightly comfortable and hella addictive. It’s certainly wouldn’t be the first thing a Durban English kid would put on their playlist, but I did and have yet to look back. With a sound somewhat rooted in tropical electro, overlaid with catchy earworm lyrics, and Bass-Synth driven beats; it’s worth ‘save’ on whatever streaming platform you use these days.

 

Beyond the Kak Lekke Vibe we asked Peach Van Pletzen (Yesterday’s Pupil, Bittereinder) and Matthieu “Nik Nax” Auriacombe, (Hello Beautiful, Beach Party) a few questions before their set at Lush Festival, check it out below.

 

 

DIY: What role does humour play in your music and holistically as a band?

Peach: I think humour is very important and very underrated. I feel like people think when things are constantly super serious… it’s somehow more valuable or rather that it takes more work, but I think it’s just as much work making someone laugh as it is to make someone cry. So, we like to have a balance of feel-good vibes and humour. Van Pletzen is about making people forget the normal things.

DIY: [Laughs] The normal things…?

Peach: Yeah, the normal things

 

 

DIY: When did you decide to make the album?

Peach: May or June last year (2017), we were drinking beer and, ja, once we made one song we just knew that we could do an album.

Nik Nax: I think it was at the same time we actually decided to make the actual band.

Peach: Ja, Ja…

DIY: So they’re one in the same?

Peach: Pretty much.

 

Photo by Stuart Anderson

 

DIY: Did the recording start as an album concept, did you have an idea for the structure and length of songs, numbers of tracks and so on? Or did it come organically?

Peach: It came organically but I always like to have some sort of a vision of what an album can be, it’s the potential from early on. We had decided 10 tracks is a good amount, just the vibe of how we wanted it to feel. Whatever we made after that fact, we would listen back to, and if it fits in with the whole Kak Lekke Vibe, we then knew it belonged on the album regardless of genre. Although we weren’t setting out for this album to fit into any specific genre.

 

 

DIY: What is the artistic ambition of Kak Lekke Vibe?

Peach: I suppose it was what every musician wants to achieve…

DIY: Which is?

Peach: Enlightenment!

DIY: [Laughs] What is the enlightenment of Van Pletzen like?

Peach: Being enlightened would always be constantly being in a state of being lekke.

DIY: Lol.

Peach: No! I’m dead serious…

 

Photo by Stuart Anderson

 

DIY: What were the first instruments that you guys owned and how did you pay for them?

Nik Nax: Ah, I’ve got a funny story here…

Peach: Dive in!

Nik Nax: My mom bought me a drum-kit, and then about a week later, my brother gave me an acoustic guitar and told me that he is going to take the drum-kit. So, should have been drums, hey but it was guitar hey.

Peach: Mine was the opposite. I started going for guitar lessons, and I arrived early one day, and I heard drums, and I was like, hmph, that sounds lekker. I walked in, and I asked, ‘Wait, can we do drums today?’, and he’s like, ‘Well, do you wanna do drums or guitar?’, and I said, ‘Well, today I wanna do drums. At the end of the lesson, he told me ‘you’re a drummer!’ So, I changed to drums. I didn’t buy my first kit; my dad also played the drums, so he gave me his 1963 Ludwig, which I still have (for all the gear-hounds out there). Also, check out our studio vids, it’s lank informative in there…

 

A post shared by VAN PLETZEN (@vanpletz) on

 

DIY: Peach, tell us about that satin number you always wear for Van Pletzen performances?

Peach: Until the next mystical special jacket comes along, this one, I feel like this one is very much bound to the start of Van Pletzen, and I will know when it’s time to let go of the old, aaah, Saturn, the old GOAT.

 

DIY: What do you want listeners to feel and take from this album?

Peach: I think once you release something, you are completely disconnected from it, and it’s no longer yours. It becomes everyone else’s. It belongs to the person listening to it. So, if it means something to one person, that’s what it means. If something different to someone else, that’s what it means. All we want the album to do is spread a feeling of lekkerness, and not negativity or stress or anything. I think that there’s more than enough of that and this is, you know, just the lekkerness. The album could have been called ‘The Lekkerness’, but, it wasn’t.

Nik Nax: I prefer KakLekkeVibes

Peach: Me too. 100%.

 

DIY: Why do you spell it without the ‘R’?

Peach: No, I thought about that for a while, and if you put the ‘R’ there, it takes the flow away. ‘Kak Lekker Vibe’, whereas, if it’s ‘KakLekkeVibe’ it becomes one thing. So, it’s one; it’s not three words. It’s one thing. Kaklekkevibe! That’s why we dropped the ‘R’.

 

Photo by Stuart Anderson

 

DIY: To some degree (and there is nothing wrong with it) the album is talking about the world with a very surface level lens. Is there a deeper meaning to it all?

Peach: I think if you look at the long game of Van Pletzen, the band spans much further than just this one album, or one song. I think it’s an interesting album to start off here on the surface level. Before people know it, over the course of 3 to 5 years, the band goes slightly deeper while still maintaining the lightness of the mood and vibe. Suddenly you realise: “if I listen to that again, some references and metaphors might hit a bit deeper”. I feel like, I don’t know about old Nik Nax over here, but in the previous decade I’ve made a lot of serious, dark and profound music, and I just felt like it was important for me to have fun with this project.

Nik Nax: [Nods silently]

 

Photo by Stuart Anderson

 

Peach and Nik Nax are delightfully technical musicians and producers, and it comes through in this polished album. Van Pletzen has become the band I turn to when I think about Facebook using my data for unsavoury things and the numerous other problems that adulthood keeps throwing my way.

 

So next time you are about to light a zaab, throw on some KakLekkeVibes.

 

Check out their brand new music video for Die Beats Amazing ft Early B below.

 

 

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