An Interview With Dirty Moonshine
Reminiscent of hot days, boozy nights, and dusty shoes, Dirty Moonshine has taken their own unique brand of rock ‘n roll across South Africa.
Local rockers, Dirty Moonshine, recently released a new single – A hardcore track that immediately made me sit up to listen (you can read more about it here). I recently caught up with the guys behind the music to talk about Oppikoppi and being a rock band in South Africa. Here is what they said:
Hi! Thanks for chatting to Dirty Pink City! According to the Urban Dictionary, Moonshine is “illegally distilled homemade whisky, usually with a very high alcohol content.” So, that’s where your name comes from? Do you guys drink moonshine often, or perhaps make it?
Wez: That’s not entirely where the name comes from but let’s just say that there was alcohol involved when we came up with the name, it just kind of happened. We have had our own branded moonshine in the past and we are looking at making more in the future. The stuff is like jet fuel but people seem to love that stuff.
Just quickly, please introduce the band to my readers.
Dave: We have Roy Epstein on Rhythm guitar and Main Vocals. Allan Lancaster on lead guitar and backing vocals. Me (Dave) on bass and backing vocals and lastly Wez Hitchin on drums and backing vocals.
You say you have “experience old enough that it could legally order its own scotch”, what did you all do before forming Dirty Moonshine?
Wez: Before forming Dirty Moonshine we had all been playing in bands from the tender age of 14 ranging from metal bands, punk bands and theatre shows. We all have our own unique experiences from the music scene and we have tried to incorporate what we have learnt into Dirty Moonshine.
On your website, you describe the band as “everything your mother told you to avoid”. So, what is it about you guys that our mothers warned us about?
Wez: Well telling you that would be giving away our trade secrets. You will just have to join us at a show and find out for yourselves.
Just a few weeks ago, you released a really impressive single, Toxic Waltz. Tell me about this track; How do you guys put a new song together, from writing to recording?
Thank you. Toxic Waltz was one of the first songs we wrote as a band. It started with an idea Roy had on guitar, he showed it to me, I put some drums to it and the other boys wrote awesome parts to fill it all up. We were lucky enough to gel immediately once Dave and Allan joined the band.
Dave: Most of our song writing involves one of the guys bringing an idea to the floor, we then we all just add to the idea and help develop it further to a complete song. Sometimes it takes one evening, other times the idea can take a few weeks. We all vowed when we started to never rush the song writing process or write a song to just be a filler on our set and album.
You are playing Oppikoppi this year – First time? What can we expect from your set at Oppi, and what are you looking forward to at the festival?
Wez: It is our first time at OppiKoppi as a band, so you can imagine our excitement. No matter what we play, be it a big or small gig we always try and bring the party and get the feet and bodies moving. OppiKoppi will be no different, just on a much larger scale. We will be bringing our A game and a ton of merchandise and goodies to give out.
Dave: We love music, we love festivals so looking forward to OppiKoppi as a whole. So many of our friends are playing, so its going to be great hanging out.
I see you guys have an official merchandise partner and online store – That’s great! You stock everything from shirts to dog tags… How important is branding for bands these days?
Wez: Yeah. we have been really lucky to get involved with individuals and companies who are really willing to help up and coming bands. Branding is crucial, just playing shows isn’t enough anymore in this day and age unfortunately. If your brand is strong it helps carries the whole package and we have found that as we have developed our brand further is has really been beneficial to the Dirty Moonshine.
Honestly, rock ‘n roll in South Africa is looking a bit grim at the moment, with more and more people going to electronic music festivals and the attendance at rock events not fantastic (at least in Cape Town). Do you think it will change again, and what do you have up your sleeves to set the scene ablaze again?
Wez: Well, funny enough we have noticed a lot more rock ‘n roll bands popping up all over SA. I think you just have to give it your all and hopefully bring something to the scene that maybe people haven’t seen yet. It’s really just about pushing yourselves really hard and being dedicated to your craft.
Dave: We always try make every show a fun expereince. Whether is be silly antics on stage with each other and the crowd or just giving all our heart into making an energic performance. I have noticed there has been an increase in interest lately, so I hope it grows. As for the future, we have some concepts and stratergies that will hopefully take shape, the idea behind them is create more of an experience at each event.
Besides other musicians and bands, who or what motivates you guys to make music?
Wez: Well our lyrics have all sorts of influences from movies to infamous people throughout history and those crazy party nights you never forget. An influence can come from anywhere really. We love playing in a band together, the groove and connection just tickles every little fibre in each of us so just being in a room together is motivating. The bromance is super real.
So, where can we see you perform live next?
Dave: We have two major shows in one week, first up is Misty Waters Music Festival in Secunda on Saturday the 30th of September at 17:15. Then literally a few days later we will be at OppiKoppi 23: Me now, the Mango Picker on Thursday the 5th of October at 16:00 on the Skellum Stage. And then the 28th of October we will be playing the Big Top at Carnival City for the Rocktober Rumble. Super exciting weeks uphead.
Lastly, what are your plans for the near future, any tours, albums, music videos coming up?
Dave: We are busy working on releasing a new single very soon and yes, there are also music videos in the works to support the singles. We are finishing up the remaining songs on our debut album, so we will be looking to launch it in the next few months. A tour is on the table to support the album release so we are busy planning that at the moment as well. Other plans include expanding our merchandise on our online store. What can I say, we are always extremly busy behind the scenes and that is what also keeps this whole journey so exciting for each of us.
Awesome! Thanks and looking forward to hear more soon!
Dave: Thank you for having us, it was a pleasure.