Article and interview by Lannon Harms.
22 April 2020.
The ultimate South African Alternative Rock Supergroup
Listen to the Scarlotte Will interview here:
The band members comprise of:
- Tristan Green Dos Santos – Vocalist, Guitar, Keys
- Brendon Bez – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
- Hugene Koekemoer – Bass Guitar
- Xan Swart – Drums
Chatting about the song: “In-between”
The Nation in formation: (L-R) Bez (lead guitar), Tristan (vocals, guitar, keys), Xan (drums) and Hugene (bass guitar). Photo credit: @stellateleur.
Tristan and Hugene enjoying themselves thoroughly. Photo credit: Henry Engelbrecht.
A day in the life of…
What do the guys get up to in everyday life? When you listen to their music you envision the group living a rockstar lifestyle in a mansion somewhere, devoting every waking hour to their music. But these guys live very ordinary lives, believe it or not.
Tristan is currently studying towards a degree in physics and chemistry. As he explains, the band will always be as important as anything else he does in his life, always parallel to life itself. Xan is studying his masters in biostatistics. His plan is to eventually work from home and have a studio at home. Not too bad hey? Sounds like the dream… Hugene works in HR at a gold mine and uses all his free time after hours and on weekends to jam in Scarlotte Will amongst other bands that he is a part of. He also uses his paid leave for touring with the band. Bez is quite lucky in that he teaches music during the day and jams in his down time. He did his music grades in high school and studied sound engineering at the Academy of Sound Engineering in Jo’burg after school. He also started learning videography last year.
Each of the guys also have quite a few extra musical projects on the side. Hugene explained that he is in another band called “Punkfontein”, and Tristan is actually the drummer for this band.
Hugene taking a break. We can only imagine it was well deserved. Photo credit: Henry Engelbrecht.
The Bike Rally
Every musician/band has had their fair share of shitty gigs. It came as quite a surprise to me that Scarlotte Will was asked to cut their set short for being too loud at a bike rally… doesn’t make any sense, right? Listen to the podcast episode to hear them tell the full story.
Musical influences and where it all started
Tristan started playing piano at the age of 9, learning your typical classical music, but soon got bored of it. He grew up on bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers, Queens of the Stone Age and Muse, amongst other bands. Bez started playing guitar at the age of 7. He also went to music lessons, learning classical songs. He eventually started learning Metallica riffs, and soon found himself playing guitar in a metal band. He later went back to his roots of the more classical type of music he learned to play when he was very young, which matured into Jazz and Blues.
Xan grew up on The Offspring, Blink-182 and Sum 41, later getting into heavier bands such as Underoath and From First To Last. For this, his friends apparently criticized his music taste to be juvenile. He later got into Indie bands like Menomena, The Strokes and Ramona Falls which he says influenced his drumming a lot. Lately he likes to listen to: “Trance, Synth Wave and anything weird”. Hugene grew up listening to punk rock bands like Simple Plan and Bowling For Soup. When he discovered Fokofpolisiekar, he got drawn into the local music scene in a big way.
Tools of the trade
If you’ve listened to my interviews before, you’d know that I always make a point of asking the guitarists in the band about their gear. It’s around this point in the interview that Bez really started joining the conversation…. or should I say, take it over!
Bez says he likes the Strat-vibes, although he has never owned a Fender before. He has always had cheap knock-off Strats with upgraded pickups to “try and mod that thing to the max”. He also owns a 7-string. Interestingly, the song called “Drop A Bomb” is actually named after his 7-string’s low B string being tuned down to an A. Meaning, Drop A tuning sounding like a bomb!
He plays a 15 watt Ibanez Tube Screamer head and cab, which he has taken to JP Le Roux in Krugersdorp about 3 or 4 times already for some crazy cool mods. Coincidentally, Tristan actually plays a custom Le Roux amp.
Bez is a huge fan of Electro-Harmonix effects pedals. He uses an Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Plus reverb pedal, which has an awesome “flanger-reverb” type of effect built into it. This effect can be heard distnctly in the song “Intelligently Stupid”. He also has the Electro-Harmonix Memory Boy Deluxe analog delay pedal with tap tempo. For a sweet blues overdrive effect, he uses Benjamin Craig’s Zirconia Overdrive by Craig Amps. Of course, he has an old USA Big Muff pedal in his collection, but this one comes with a story attached to it – you’ll have to listen to the podcast episode to get the details on that one.
Bez playing slide guitar with a beer bottle. Photo Credit: Chris dos Santos.
About the Author: Lannon Harms
Lannon founded SA Guitarist in 2011. He’s been playing guitar and starting bands since two decades ago. He’s always been passionate about the South African music scene and started SA Guitarist to help promote the talented guitarists and musicians we have in SA. He’s currently the vocalist and guitarist for his latest band, Single Street Park. Follow Lannon on Instagram: @lannonharms