Interview with Felix Laband


Felix Laband feels like God has given him a purpose to channel something special. He is so much more than special, he is transcendence.


You’ve noted that Deaf Safari goes on to explore a ‘Colonial safari adventure’ and the unreality of the reality in Africa. How well does this concept sit with an international crowd?

It’s always interesting to try and figure how much Europeans are informed or even interested in Africa. I often feel that most of the samples I like using, which mostly comprise of local content, do not really have any impact on people in Europe. In fact, it generally feels like people over there are not very interested in challenging content, they just want music to escape to. Concepts such as guilt, which is a major factor of my everyday life as a privileged white South African, are not things that the average European has to deal with. Everything is pretty easy over there , unless of course you are an African refugee .

How has the engagement been with new audiences on tour when communicating the visual and audio territory of this new album?

The response from people has been really great , especially in Italy and Prague, but we didn’t use too much local visual and sound content that would go over their heads and confuse them. The visuals have been really powerful, as we have a pretty unique setup . instead of the usual VJ crap of flying ice-creams and laser beams, we tend to use more of a short film type idea . Kerry was playing lots of footage that we have recorded with our cameras of everyday South Africa and that went down well, and of course my collage films always seem to make people excited, as they are pretty weird and beautiful. I thought about exploring some World War Two ideas, as that is the subject that I have been most obsessed with over the last year or two, but I realized after talking to people, that it is still a very  touchy subject and I thought it would be better achieved if i did some official project, perhaps involving archives and museums. I don’t want to come across as a ignorant , arrogant tourist… I’ll leave that to the Americans!

I would imagine that your relationship with the new album, as well as Kerry has been a work in progress. Give us some insight into the collaborative chemistry between the two of you?

Kerry and I fell in love by talking on the telephone, we both have so much in common in terms of the art and films and music we are into, so things became really exciting when we realized we could work together. It’s very cool when you totally trust and respect your partner’s creative ideas and I know that we have definitely helped each other creatively.

Since I met Kerry, I have grown a lot more confident in my own art and I am seriously considering putting my work out there and putting a lot more energy into creating art. Why just make music when creating art is so beautiful and rewarding. I am old enough now to just ignore all the crap aspects of the art world that initially put me off. Those bitchy pretentious ART people no longer intimidate me . I am an artist.

The sound is unique. The visuals are transitionary. After playing them night after night on tour, does the combination of the two ever get monotonous? If so, how do you keep translating the performance so that it feels inspired?

The fact that I have listened to my music five million times during the process of making it is a very difficult one. To then have to go perform it over and over again is a real problem, that is the problem of working the way I do, which is essentially like being an editor. To be honest I’m lucky that I generally enjoy hearing my music very loud and I enjoy dancing to it and seeing how it makes an audience happy, but I have to find a solution to the problem and that will be performing live with instruments again. I come from playing in bands and I know how great and rewarding it is to play instruments, .so that is the direction we’re heading in.  We’re planning on starting a new project where it’s more of a live band type thing with a couple of people, as it’s impossible to perform electronic music live with just one person.

felix laband felix laband felix laband

Can you share one experience of gig with us on tour: the good, the bad and the ugly?

The greatest experience for us was probably playing Naghtdigital with Robag Whrume in Leipzig. Somehow everything just gelled in a magical way.  In Italy, we performed in an ancient medieval villa on top of a hill – it was an extraordinarily beautiful setting and we were so excited to perform, but unfortunately the power cut four times during the gig, due to their fridges drawing too much juice. It’s one of the absolute worst experiences you can ever have, because the audience assumes it’s your fault, just as you’re building into something, bam! everything dead, and then recovering and just about to set in again and then bam! off again.  It was the fucking worst. Having said that, Europe was usually impeccable with tech and everything being sorted.  We get a lot of people coming up asking about the visuals after. I’ve had people give the biggest compliments about how the experience has sent them into a kind of trip and how unique they are. We use things that might be off-centre and not to everyone’s taste, but fuck it. We both hate how conservative and PC most things have become and how safe people play things, so we’ll keep pushing.

Do you have a set routine on tour?

Yebo, wake up, go for a swim if we can, buy some local alcohol, explore the city, meet people, crazy prep in the afternoon and try get there early to pick up the vibe. We find that meeting people and picking up positive energy really helps with the stress of the tour, so we like hanging with the locals and.sampling whatever local food and drink we can, sucking up the night air and gorging on local architecture and history.  All the local things you can’t do in Cape Town.

Is there one particular city/ country that stands out to you by way of culture, interaction and mood?

Italy for sure, the most phenomenal dream of a place for us. Weirdly enough, I’ve never really thought about going there as you only ever hear about it in the cliches of ‘Eat Pray Love’ kak. We started our tour in Syracuse Sicily amongst ancient Roman ruins. You can’t even fathom that history as a South African. The people are incredible, there’s this golden light everywhere – all the families hang together, young and old, everyone on the streets at night, and everyone so friendly, generous and positive.  The culture shock from there to Germany was quite horrific.  We played a festival in the Polish countryside run by people from Berlin. There was no water backstage, no drinks, no food, no tech rider… and the buses got pulled over by the Zol (German Border Police) on the way back to Berlin for a rabid search of all our bags.  Germans know how to stress things out for sure.

What are the last thoughts you have before a performance ends?

Depends on the performance:  if we’re playing to a good audience, we’re so elated by the end of it and just thinking how to tie things up to make it really special for everyone. The last track can say it all, music means everything to me and my performances take a lot of energy from my soul if it’s great. I feel that God has given me a purpose to channel something special. If things go wrong or it’s arbitrary, I can feel like I’m naked in front of the whole school molesting a minor.

Catch Felix’s set in all it’s excellence at Endless Daze Festival.  

felix laband felix laband felix laband



About Author

Content junkie | Self-assured | Dance floor devotee | Empathetic | Lone wolf | “If you only read the things that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking."