Ahead of his two performances at the seventh edition of Grietfest, we catch up with Half ‘n Half, discussing the roles he plays behind the scenes, the appeal of Grietfest, and which acts to look out for at the bass festival
Your involvement in the local music scene started behind the scenes with DJing providing an auxiliary outlet for your passion for music. How are you involved behind scenes when you are not behind the decks?
I’m very involved. I am answering mails and calls on behalf of various businesses. From booking and managing artists, to curating line-ups for festivals and club nights at our venue (The Good Luck Bar), to advising on various musical endeavours in the scene. I’m basically a sadomasochist for the SA music industry.
You started DJing at what used to be Bob Rocks in Greenside. What do you miss most about that era and those early days discovering the craft of DJing?
I love a dive bar and the atmosphere that comes with it. There is a tangible and visceral engagement in between the grit. People forgive you for not mixing a song in perfectly but also enjoy the curation and song selection and are far more open to hearing new music in a space like that. You learn a lot, getting accosted by a drunk dude or dudette asking for the latest Rihanna song is a stark wake-up call.
Being so close to music both as a DJ and behind the scenes, do you ever see yourself creating music if you haven’t already?
I constantly think about producing and the joy that finding new and exciting sounds and combining them would bring. But alas it is a very arduous process and time isn’t something I have in abundance unfortunately with the million things I tend to get involved in. One day though, I’ll get it right.
Your moniker alludes to how you are genre-agnostic in DJing, not sticking to one particular genre. Currently, which of the genres do you most enjoy playing out as a DJ and which genre do you most enjoy listening to at home?
The name actually stems from my being half Swiss and half South African. But it also doubles as me being a fluid genre hopping DJ. I enjoy blending amazing indie remixes with hip-hop or beat based stuff. Going from Calvin Harris to Panama to Kaytranada back to Daft Punk is an interesting journey musically and a fun challenge to take on and get right.
South Africa is getting its first music awards dedicated purely to dance music and one of the categories is for the best festival. Having had the opportunity to play at a variety of festivals how would you rate the credibility of Grietfest amongst the best out there?
Grietfest has been a pioneer in getting left of centre electronica to the masses. Championing and breaking acts that make good electro is what Griet has been about since their inception. Ultra, Tomorrowland, Crater, (the list goes on) all share a common thread of playing what is popular in whichever EDM genre (house, commercial, etc.). Griet steps to the side and looks at the genre objectively and offers a little something for everyone as well as pushing the boundaries of what you might think of as mainstream or commercial electronica. I will always respect and support that ethos.
Being genre-agnostic, which Half n Half can fans expect at Grietfest?
Well I’m playing two sets. One opening the main stage and the other on the secret stage. On the main stage, I’ll be bringing some new gems I’ve found and some classics. The secret stage will just have to remain secret for now. I know I haven’t elaborated much but I guess that means you’ll have to come watch the sets and see for yourself. Get those tickets now. #shamelesspunt
You’ve got your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in independent music circles. Are there any artists bubbling under on the Grietfest lineup you would recommend we check out?
Felix Laband is always great to watch and Bongani Zulu is really exciting in terms of the techno scene. I’m also really keen to see what MISSU from Durban brings to the party.
Grietfest takes place on the 26th of August at The Container Yards in Johannesburg. Get your tickets here. For all updated on Grietfest, keep up with the #OlmecaGF2017 hashtag and follow Grietfest on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.