Local talent day! That’s right, today, 925|Rebellion is delighted to welcome multi-talented South African musician Ann Jangle.
Let’s begin. What genre of music do you consider your work to be?
Firstly, “the only thing constant is change”, our emotions and views on life change every day, new things happen constantly, therefore, looking back now I realise that my genres have been quite vast. My music always comes from the heart and is usually a result of something I am facing or have faced. People always wonder how I get to play at ‘Rockabilly-, Rock-, Blues-, & say, Folk Festivals. Usually bands play and stick to a specific genre, we have something that links us to most genres. Of course a heavy metal band isn’t going to play at a ‘hippy-jol’ so we don’t sell out by playing at shows we don’t want to or feel uncomfortable. I grew up in the Blues though; learnt to play my first guitar as a result of the blues; I met a wonderful “family” all firmly rooted in the Blues. I began as a blues musician but my love for music has gone beyond that. Mixed with my passion for theatre and SKA music, as well as being quite the rebellious gypsy, my music now gets described as: ‘Theater Rock/Swamp Blues/Dark Folk/Storytelling with an upbeat twist’. These are the more frequent words used to describe me. I try to stick between those lines now as people learn to identify with your style more than the words you are singing (just in case you haven’t noticed all the crap playing on most radio stations)
How would you define your work?
What can you tell me about your instruments? (i.e. Are you subject to brand loyalty or will you play with whatever is available? What made you choose the instruments you have now? Was it cost or was it a style/model/brand/colour preference?
This must be the saddest thing I have ever read. (Not due to the question) You see, my brand new guitar and vintage percussion box containing cables, tambourines, egg shakers, those little wooden frogs (that make frog sounds) cappo, strings (my life) got stolen out my car on Friday night when I dropped off some friends on the way home from a gig. I went in for a ‘wee’ and came out 15mins later to an almost stolen but empty car. (they should’ve taken the car and left my gear) but I won’t yap on about this now (that will happen later when the red wine kicks in). It was an Alvarez guitar. First time owner of an Alvarez. Up until recently I have been a big ‘Cort’ fan. I still am, but I just enjoy trying new brands. I could never order anything over the internet that I haven’t physically played. I don’t care what brand it is, all that counts is that first connection you make when playing it for the first time. It’s like when a woman gives birth and holds her baby for the first time, when the child grows you dress it with new little babygrows and stuff. That’s how I feel with my guitar. I accessorise it with new things; maybe buy a more expensive cappo coz it deserves the best, try new strings here and there, a new tuner or guitar strap and so on. You can imagine the disappointment of losing a child. Well, I don’t care what you might say. My tears haven’t stopped since my guitar got nicked. I am luckily not subject to brand loyalty but wouldn’t mind that happening…soon. Sponsors give free merchandise and all musicians can do with free merch, especially in South-Africa where we still get given “free platforms for exposure and get paid in bar tabs and meals’ coz yah, thats what pays rent?! Aaah, beautiful South Africa, where people still look at you as if you have invaded earth from a foreign planet with a dead hamster stuck to your forehead when you mention that music is your profession.
Who is your greatest musical inspiration?
Yoh, who isn’t? I have so many. Firstly Tom Waits. If you are a fan, you will understand. Then, my dad. He used to ground me with his Queen Cassette tape playing blasting in my room. These obscure noises coming from all these woman-like men at my tender age of 9 were just too weird for me NOT to look into. My dad kinda opened the doors for me to Jimmy Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones Vinyl, the world of Rock ‘n Roll.
Who have you performed with and where?
I have had the privilege of sharing the stage with many of my ‘heroes’ in the music industry such as:
Schalk van der Merwe (Bed on Bricks, Karen Zoid, Finley Quay), Schalk Joubert, (Lonesome) Dave Ferguson, Guy Collins (Hot Water, Mean Black Mamba) Albert Frost, Gerald Clark, Natasha Meister, Sannie Fox (Machinery), Kwazi Mkulo (classical cellist), Nick Turner (Sons of Trout, Mechanic), Piet Botha (Jack Hammer) as well as some electronic projects I did ‘psychedelic’ vocals on. From Cape Town to Mozambique and everywhere in between. My next stop is in America where I will be meeting up with 2 fellow musician friends and hopefully from there, Berlin. Just waiting on my British Passport to arrive as my father and his whole side of the family are British and most of them are all over the UK. I am very drawn to Europe. Something is furiously pulling me there.
Which songs do you perform most frequently?
It all depends on the venue and vibe hey, but throwing in an old favourite definitely scores you brownie points with the crowds and can secure you a few more CD sales which means you might be able to pay rent on time this month.
Do you ever play any covers?
Only if I feel a deep connection. I then make it my own song. I make it personal.
Do you have a set play list?
Nope. You gotta read the crowd man.
Have you produced music for film, TV, theatre or games?
Some of my songs have been used for TV adds and not so long ago a big ‘Cooking Sauces Company’ from South Africa “bought” my song ‘Soul Robbers’ to pitch their brand in America. That was a pretty sweet deal. Would love to get more involved in producing music in this type of environment for these kind of things. I love capturing the feel of a specific scene, clip, sequence of events and putting music to it.
Could you briefly describe the music-making process?
Step1- “I get by with a little help from my friends” – The Beatles … something somewhere somehow will inspire a creative person. Step2- write that shit down or record it on your phone ’cause you WON’T remember it tomorrow. Step3- work on it every day and NEVER settle for 2nd best. Be satisfied and proud of your work because what you put out there can never be taken back. I learned that the hard way.
Besides my own self doubt sometimes, I would say finding people who are just as passionate about my vision and dream as I am. Allot of my band members have come and gone. It’s sad, but the show must go on. Another obstacle is finances. For the first few years of one’s music career it seems that you can’t quite do the whole ‘go on the overseas trip with the boyfriend’ or ‘save up to buy a house’ thing. Recording Albums and shooting music videos are a constant battle as it’s all very expensive. Unless you’re a snotty little trust fund kid and mommy and daddy pay your way to the top. I don’t have that luxury. I do have a lot of people who believe in me and are more than willing to invest into my passion. I am grateful for this. It builds character. Money can’t buy character.
How has your music evolved since you first began playing?
Well a lot! I think it was in 2010 when I bought my very first excuse of a 2nd hand guitar and started learning cords. I got some help from this guy called ‘Groenies’ (yes it’s Afrikaans) who lived across the road from my Step Dads house. I initially just wanted to sing and play little percussive instruments now and then like tambourine or shakers while I lose my shit on stage, “belting out vocals and crazy hand gestures infront of gazillions of fans”, but I found that writing music was almost impossible without hearing the key or chord changes. My first songs all consist of about 3 chords (which I later learned was not such a bad thing as some of the best songs on earth consist of 3 or 4 chords). Now I can play around with STOPS and weird chord changes and clever little things I learn along the way.
What’s the best thing about performing in South Africa?
Wow!? errrrrr, Well, I can be all ‘proudly South African’ and say shit like: the mountain, the wonderful industry and festivals itself and, well, kiss every sponsor’s ass I’m trying to get on-board with me but I won’t because performing in South Africa is just like performing anywhere else except that I know more people because I’ve grown up here. So to me, the best thing about performing anywhere on this planet, are the peoples response to my music. That satisfying feeling of seeing people get up and boogie, the rush you get from watching them, PHEW! That feeling you get when you’re bouncing up and down next to your band mates, all pouring out our hearts and trying to keep the food down that we gobbled in with some wine and Jagermeister shots just moments earlier. The Best thing is when people run up to you after performing, shouting “YEEEEAAAH! RAD SHOW GUYS, THANK YOU!” and you know that all your blood, sweat and tears have fallen on the right soil.
What’s your ultimate direction?
Ultimately, a big festival production that I can turn into a little theatre production. It’s hard to choose between the 2 but you don’t have to either. It’s good to be able to do both. This means both a theatrical festival outfit, ‘get up and lose yourself-‘ mayhem with brass instruments and hitting on rusted car doors to little theatre productions where I sing twisted stories in a more sexy jazzy setting if you know what I mean. I would love to take this production to every corner of the globe. Ultimately I want everyone to sing along.
How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Do you have a website with sample songs or a demo CD?
Indeed. All of the above. I can’t quite paste links here right now but I am on Twitter – @annjangle ; on facebook (I have a personal page AND a music page both called ‘Ann Jangle’, I would prefer if people “like” the official facebook page as more information comes through on there, gig dates, music info and so on) ;
Advice for those interested in joining your field?
When I started playing music it was purely for the love and fun of it, the challenge and knowledge you gain from standing next to someone communicating with nothing but your heart and hands. I never chose to play music, it chose me. It was only later on that my whole life was totally consumed by it and I didn’t really have much of a choice but to do it full time. You can’t go on tour, spread your music, have late nights and cope with all sorts of hangovers, do all the admin one has to do to be a musician these days AND have some form of “normalcy” with day job. Allot of people will argue with me on this as we have many different ways of getting music across via youtube, soundcloud and many other social medias. Bottom line, music comes with late nights and hard work. If you want to sit in front of your computer screen very night “getting your music out there” by all means. Go for it. I, on the other hand prefer to live the life of a real musician with all its ups and downs. The amount of times I had to listen to drunken guys shouting “Hotel California” for shit pay, falling off stairs because I couldn’t fit the amp through the tiny stairway toward the stage, the relationships I lost due to difference in lifestyles, The stress that comes with the realisation that I might never “make it” and by then it’s too late to find a decent job, many, many late nights, fighting with organisers and venue owners for my money, the uncomfortably awkward reality check you experience when yet another friends gets married or has a baby and wondering if it’s actually still ‘normal’ to be single without a child at 28? I’m not saying it’s impossible, I know of many musicians who have babies and are married, I just personally prefer travelling the globe and playing music whilst visualising co owning my own studio with my musical partner.
Here are some things no one ever bothered to tell me:
- If you can’t handle rejection, well, you should just quit while you’re ahead. Use your little guitar to make a fire and braai some marshmellows.
- Unless you are a spoilt little rich kid or were born with the amazing ability to be liked and loved by everyone on the whole entire planet when you sing your first song, you will suffer for your art. Remember, you are not alone and this builds character. Money can’t buy character.
- ALWAYS have duck tape. ALWAYS. This goes for when you have to tape anything from microphones to mic stands, cables, drunken mouths, broken car windows and in extreme cases, stab wounds when you get stranded without petrol in a deserted areas on tour.
- 2minute noodles go along way!!!
- Never burn bridges. The music industry might be over populated but it’s still one of the smallest little worlds you will ever be in.
- Never date a band member unless your name is Johnny Cash or June Carter.
- Going on ‘Pop idols’ does not make you a musician. Neither does a fancy music school.
- Music: ‘the highest of highs and the lowest of lows’ (the guy who opened the doors to my music career said this to me, it literally saved my life)
- Always be nice to the sound guy!
- By now you must’ve heard that every second person is a musician now days. So, chances are, your musician buddies aren’t going to go out of their way to help organise you gigs or what not coz that just means you’re are taking away a bit of what could’ve been their gig money, taking up their space on the scene and a bit more of a threat to their ‘time to shine’/ ‘reputation’ / ‘exposure’. Also, nobody’s got time to make anyone else’s dreams come true. It’s a dog eat dog industry. At the end of the day, I don’t actually even want to tell you any of this coz I personally wouldn’t mind a few less musicians in the scene, so bottom line, YOU GOTTA RELY ON YOURSELF AND NO ONE ELSE. No one’s gona make it happen for you.
…………Not enough space on this page.
Any last words?
“It always seems impossible until it’s done” – Nelson Mandela.