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THEY have become one of South Africa’s top bands. And the journey started in late 2006 when the band was known as Isochronous (later shortened to ISO because the pronunciation was a bit of a hassle).
Now, seven years later, the electronic, dance and rock band (pictured) have notched up numerous accomplishments, and a fifth album in the works.
They have also become the first South African band to release an iBook.
They toured Germany a few years back and have stepped out of their comfort zone in collaborating with hip hop artist JR on a track titled Death by Designer.
Their career has been a roller-coaster ride, but something tells me things are going to get bigger and better for the Pretoria band.
During our chat, frontman Richard Brokensha offers more about their undertakings in the music industry.
He is friendly and easy-going and answers the call warmly.
When I tell him I’m from Durban, he expresses how much he loves our sunny shores and how stoked he gets whenever the group perform in the Banana City.
As we chat about ISO and their many achievements, he says music means everything to them.
“It’s definitely something where people get to escape reality. Music is good because it helps the soul and makes you feel good. If you listen to a dance track, you get a dancey vibe, while other music can put you in a deep thoughtful process and bring out the emotions in you.”
Elaborating on their track featuring JR, Brokensha says they were approached by 5FM presenter Jon Savage to form part of a new 5FM feature named Mashlab. I hear the excitement in his voice as he tells me more about their first collaboration.
“When he told us they wanted us to collaborate with JR, we were really excited about it. JR is also from Pretoria and he’s really cool, so we got together and produced the song. And it came out cool and people are digging it.”
Having watched ISO perform, it’s evident they give off a lot of energy in their shows and are well-loved by their fans.
Their music is catchy and their track No Fire (off their current album) made waves throughout the country.
And they have just released an iBook titled ISO Discography. It features everything the band has done to date, from recordings to videos and photoshoots. It also features ISO’s products and material, as well as an in-depth story on how the band came into being and developed over the years.
“It’s free and it’s an interactive iBook for iPads and it’s on our complete discography, with our music vids, and includes a cool timeline showing our career and how it started. You get to access info about the band you would not have known. And you can tap on the songs and scroll on the lyrics, so it’s quite interactive.
“We were approached by a company called Yoobe. They wanted a South African band and we were, like: ‘That’s awesome.’ We were busy with it for six months, assembling it,” he says.
ISO have also released a new video for their track, Heaven, from their fourth album, Piece by Piece. The video, inspired by an interesting concept, centres on a burial in a graveyard.
Explaining the concept, Brokensha says he came up with the idea of being buried by the rest of the band.
“It just came to me one day when I was on my way to a rehearsal. I had an image of the band carrying me into the grave and then I had the image with the song. I really wanted to do it, so I spoke to the others and they were all on board.
“We basically did the video ourselves, which was a mission. We shot it on a farm, which belongs to our friend. We got a big grave dug up and we filmed for about two days straight, into the night. Getting buried was quite weird and I got sand in my eyes, but I like doing weird, different things that are out of my element.”
At the moment, ISO are focusing on their fifth album, which is going to be different from their previous stuff as they are all about exploring other genres.
“We keep on evolving. With our first album, it was very technical, the second was acoustic, the third more pop, and the current one is electro and dub step.
“As a musician, you want to explore and learn diverse kinds of music.
“So with our fifth album, we want it to be a different genre – maybe even surprise everyone with a kwaito album,” he jokes.