An Interview With Bittereinder

Bittereinder releases Dans Tot Die Dood

DPC recently caught up with Bittereinder. They told me about their new album, Dans Tot Die Dood, disappearing for a while and about touring soon.

Hey, you guys just don’t play enough in Cape Town! But how’s 2015 been this far?

It’s been a lovely year, especially because we got to take that magical week off to write new music in July. Also had a great tour of the Netherlands and Germany, and we’re looking forward to all the launch shows coming up before December.

The dinkdansmasjien has been around for a while, but whose idea was Bittereinder years ago?

Jaco penned his first Afrikaans rap verse in 2007 and summoned high school friends Peach and Louis at the start of 2009 to start a band. We spent the next two years creating the first album and started playing live shows in February 2011.

And you are now releasing your fourth album, Dans Tot Die Dood. Is this going to be your best work yet? 

We already firmly believe that it is, yes. All the tracks have the potential to make our live set stronger, which we’re excited about, and there’s a ton of conscious bonsable Afrikaans electro-rap on it.

Did you guys try anything new with Dans Tot Die Dood? 

Lyrically and sonically we tried all kinds of new things, lots of new rap flows, lots of analogue synths and real drums.

Who wrote the songs? And how do you come up with the lyrics? 

Jaco writes all the lyrics, and on this album, we all worked on the music together, although most of the beats come from Louis’ original ideas. We spent a week in the mountains of Mpumalanga grafting on this album together every day, it was magic. Peach spent two full weeks in his studio after that on the mix and final postproduction.

Your album covers are always quite interesting. Who comes up with the artwork?

Louis Minnaar, the band’s own visual mastermind, does all our videos, artwork, posters, graphics, even most of our photo shoots.

And can we expect a tour with the release of Dans Tot Die Dood?

Definitely, planning to tour all over South Africa this year, and Europe and South America in 2016. Keep an eye on our facebook page for tour announcements and posters.

We heard you guys disappeared to Mpumalanga for a while? What was that all about? 

For the first time in six and a half years, we managed to align our schedules, and we disappeared from society for a week just to write music. That’s when this album was made, in this amazing isolated environment in July.

So, why do you guys think Bittereinder is so popular?

Nobody’s really explained this “popular” vibe to us yet. We enjoy being “the next medium-sized thing”, I guess any popularity we might have stems from our pretty unique sound and approach. Bittereinder doesn’t really sound like anything else, across our bodies of work.

You have played all over, from Cape Town to Mozambique, any specific festival or gig that stands out among the others? 

Lowlands in the Netherlands was amazing, and of course, all 4 Oppikoppi shows became something quite iconic. When we didn’t play Oppi this year we were literally flooded with people demanding to know why and insisting they weren’t going unless we played. We assumed they were lying and went anyway 🙂

Is Afrikaans music still alive and kicking?

We’d like to believe so, yes. But “Afrikaans music” is not a genre, so there should be some care taken here. We make electro-rap music that’s mostly done in Afrikaans. And “Die Skynmaagde” and Bobby van Jaarsveld can’t be grouped together as “Afrikaans music”, for example.

Where can we get our hands on the new album?

On iTunes, or hard copies of the CD at all our live shows.





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