Johannesburg - The Saturday Star caught up with Ross Learmonth, the lead singer of South African rock band Prime Circle that turned 13 last weekend.
The multi-award winning rock band reflect on their musical journey and also speak about their meeting with Nelson Mandela.
The band celebrated their birthday at Scarlet Ribbon in Joburg on Saturday night, which was their very last gig in Joburg for 2013.
How have the past 13 years been for Prime Circle?
There have been a lot of ups and downs, but fortunately more ups than downs. We are blessed to have been a band for this long but the cool thing is that we feel like we are just getting started.
Prime Circle has won several awards and are one of the most successful bands in South Africa. To what do you guys attribute your success?
We have always loved to tour and play and we love being on the road – this helps us reach our fans directly.
How did Prime Circle begin, and where did the name come from?
We are from Witbank; we got together and started a band and the name originated from “circle of friends.”
If there was anything Prime Circle could have done differently in the last 13 years, what would it be?
We would have had better contracts in place but other than that, we wouldn’t have changed a thing.
How has Prime Circle evolved over the years?
This has been a musical journey for us. We always strive to become better musicians. Our sound has evolved and in some instances has become darker, but it is a fuller sound that allows us to reach the European market.
Aside from the Birthday Bash on Saturday, how else will the band celebrate?
A massive party and heading on to a national tour – our 13th birthday tour – we will be partying the whole of December with the country and our fans.
What does Nelson Mandela mean to the band? Did the band meet Madiba?
He means a great deal to us and we were very fortunate to have met him. He had a wonderful nature and a great energy about him. He was patient with a grace and forgiveness like no other.
What have the band learnt from Madiba?
To always maintain a great sense of humour.
Does Prime Circle have any plans to move overseas?
We will continue to do what we have been doing. Spending time overseas and moving back and forth.
I’m sure Prime Circle has made hundreds of memories together. What would you guys single out as your most memorable gig?
I think it has to be opening for the band Live. It was our first time opening for an international act. It was at the Dome. Prime Circle became a household name after that.
I’m sure you guys love each and every album that Prime Circle has released. Do you have a favourite? If so, which one and why?
We are currently working on a new one and it is slowly growing to become my favourite. The album is due to be released next year.