An interview with Jason Oosthuizen from Oooth
“…most people did not think I could pull this off. But having the final product done and getting great response to it makes it feel even more rewarding.”
Jason Oosthuizen, renowned South African drummer and musician, has just released the debut album, ‘Who Cares What You Think’, for his solo project Oooth. In July 2018, Jason also launched his own signature snare drum range, entitled ‘J.O Drums’, as well as his own apparel line named ‘Oooth Clothing’ and a coffee brand called ‘Oooth Coffee’. He is one of the most talented drummers to come out of South Africa (not to mention a really busy entrepreneur!).
I caught up with the man behind the music to talk about the new album, his other projects and his future plans:
Congrats on the debut album. It sounds amazing! How does it feel to finally have this project out? And how has it been received so far?
It is pretty amazing, especially as most people did not think I could pull this off. But having the final product done and getting great response to it makes it feel even more rewarding.
Awesome! You’ve written, recorded and produced most of the aspects on this album. Tell me about the journey in putting this amazing piece of work together?
It’s been a whirlwind of mixed emotions, but mostly exciting. I have also just contributed drumming to previous projects I was involved with, but to be able to do most aspects by myself was thrilling and nerve-wrecking at the same time. Ultimately though, I love the final product and I enjoyed spending time on it.
So, when was the seed planted for Oooth and where do you want to take this brand ultimately? Perhaps internationally?
About 10 months ago the project was kicked into gear, but it has been an idea of mine for quite some time. Also creating my own brand as a whole was something I have been working on for the past year. The brand consists of Oooth Music, Oooth Clothing and Oooth Coffee and who knows, there might be some more exciting avenues coming soon. Taking Oooth Music internationally is definitely the plan and I am already working on this.
Amazing! You’ve played in a couple of SA’s biggest rock bands. Why did you decide to go solo too?
I am still playing in big bands and my current projects and doing everything like I have always done it. I have just decided to take on an extra challenge really.
And tell me, how was it to take the guitar and be the frontman for a change?
It was something I definitely looked forward to, but again it was quite intimidating in the beginning. Practicing and rehearsing with the band obviously assisting in getting comfortable not just with the guitar, but also being the lead singer now. I am definitely ready for the launch, first time live, and look forward to this new spot on stage.
So, when did you start playing the drums and why did you decide on this instrument?
I grew up in Cape Town and my grandad was a banjo player who then got my dad into drumming at around 10 years old to which he would end up leaving school early to play professionally. I was born in the height of my dad’s career and pretty much grew up on stage from around three months old next to my dad and behind the Marshall stacks. At the age of 4 I played my first song on stage with my dad’s band while sitting on his lap as I couldn’t reach the pedals, which earned me more money than him on the night in tips and, right there and then, I made my career choice. In this industry it takes just one good moment and you’re hooked! I kept drumming and at age 15 I decided to leave school and go play professionally at Sun City. Since then I have toured most of Africa and quite a lot of the world playing music.
You’ve launched your own signature snare drum range earlier this year. What do you hope drummers will get from this product and what advice do you have for young drummers in SA?
I created the snare drum purely for myself and my love for drums, plus my addiction for snare drums collecting. After creating it, I felt it was just too cool not to share. All the products created so far is to my taste, what I would feel most comfortable playing with and the look and feel I like. All I hope is that other drummers can get that same feeling from them. It is a completely unique, niche product, one-of a kind and even though there are more than one of each item, each one is still handmade, so they get to have their very own, unique product.
My advice for young drummers is to be 100% in it for the love of what you do and give more than 100% everyday. Not everyone can be a musician, not everyone will stay a musician and not everyone keeps on doing it purely for the love of the music. If you can stay true to yourself, give your best and not sell out, your success is measured in your own personal goals and achievements and not what others think of you or how much money you make. Money will make you happy for a while, music keeps you happy till the end.
I’ve heard that you are launching a drum company in the USA in 2019. Tell me about that?
J.O. Drum was launched In July 2018, with my own signature snare drum range. It is the first of its kind in Africa where everything besides the skins on it, have been made from scratch in one place. The J.O Drums are 100% handmade from start to finish; their focus the production of a snare that connects with the player who purchases it. It’s about the craftsmanship and connection you get when owning one. J.O Drums also recently launched a Bass Drum Beater, Hi Hat Clutch, PK Drum and Acrylic Snare Drum and plan to launch a full J.O Drumkit in this year still, all firsts for Africa. The plan is to take J.O. Drums to NAMM, the largest Music Equipment Distribution Expo in the world. This is still in progress, but will hopefully be finalised soon.
You have an album launch tour coming up. Any specific shows you are most looking forward to?
The album launch kicks off the tour on 26 November at Barnyard Rivonia. Entrance is free for all, but there are some limited VIP tickets available with some exciting goodies. Of course this will be the show I am most excited and nervous about. For the coastal tour in December, I guess each show and venue will be unique to the town and crowd so excited for all of them in their own way. I had the privilege of touring the coast 2 times in the last month with my tribute shows and must say although the road is hard, it is so rewarding playing for the amazing people along the coast.
Finally, what are you planning for 2019?
Getting J.O. Drums to NAMM.
Touring with Oooth across SA and the globe, especially the UK and some other countries already in the pipeline.
Touring with my 3 tribute bands more often.
Pushing the Oooth brand as a whole with Oooth Clothing and Oooth Coffee still growing.
Just making as much music as I can and playing as often as I can, while I can.
FREE Oooth debut album launch:
Date: Monday, 26 November 2018
Venue: Rivonia Barnyard, Johannesburg
Tickets: FREE / R150 VIP (Includes Album)
BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL: here
Facebook Event: here
Images by Christelle Duvenhage.