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I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Ice cream was the order of the day when chatting to electrified rock and hop band iScream and The Chocolate Stix. Made up of frontmen Luke Viviers & Bheki Dladla, Just Nathan and Tony Shine, the band have been hard at work on their much anticipated debut album. Living off the fame of their three hits Schizo, My Cape Town and More Cowbell for the past two years without any album is a wonder in itself and this full package can only garner further acclaim.
Meeting up with the four-piece outfit at the Italian ice cream store Gelato Mania, I realise one member is missing. “Don’t worry, Bheki functions on African time, he’ll get here soon, chuckles Shine.”
Each picks their favourite flavoured scoops in sugared cones. “Vanilla reminds me of being small, it’s the first ice cream I ever had,” says Viviers licking his sugar cone. “I love anything and everything caramel,” Nathan says of his caramel helping.
Shine cannot seem to pick his favourite and asks the woman across the counter if he can try them all. He ends up with a nutty scoop.
As we sit down Nathan starts sniffing the serviettes funnily and passes it around. “Smell it, it smells like poo.” Laughter erupts. That topic dies upon Dladla’s arrival, to which the guys all give a loud welcoming cheer. Dladla goes straight for his chocolate stick fix.
Shine points to each member: “Luke’s a rock ’n roller British Indie kinda guy who loves his Beatles. Nathan’s a heavy metal freak, Bheki’s an RnB dude.”
Dladla exclaims: “Ah not rnb!”
“You do your rapper and hip hopping thing,” says Shine.
“He’s the real rhythm and blues guy, if he’s not playing it, he’s living it. He’s favourite meal is pork and beans,” laughs Nathan.
With their mixture of electric, rock, dance folk and hip hop, the band say they were finally happy enough with their product to release.
“We’ve been sitting on these songs we made two years ago. Basically they were all done (but) they weren’t mastered properly. We’ve been so finicky with the tracks trying to get it perfect where we should have had a third album out already,” says Viviers.
The 12-track album, which boasts their signature style, with each song different from start to finish. Their crazy song titles alone describe their quirky and outspoken nature.
“More Cowbell has an actual cowbell in it and when we got it back we thought it should actually be louder. And it’s obviously from the Will Ferrel movie, it’s such a great scene we all had a good chuckle. Schtizo starts off on a jazzy little number and ends up an electro banger,” explains Nathan.
The four musicians mesh each of their genres well. “It’s having to have each one of our styles and what we represent, represented properly and to its fullest and not have one be undercut in any way. You want that alternative style of rock Beatles harmonies to be vivid as well as the deep guitar riffs that come from your heavy metal background, and you want some of those blues and you want everything to come in, and it’s almost like the formula is all balanced,” explains Bheki.
They are known for their high energy live performances where the band can be seen jumping as they entertain crowds.
“Before a gig we have to stop ourselves from going crazy backstage,” says Shine.
“We played drunk already, but it just doesn’t work,” laughs Nathan.
“Tony was doing the Titanic with his arms and Nathan was more in the crowd kissing his girlfriend,” adds Dladla.
iScream and The Chocolate Stix have a simple musical ethos. “Be authentic in what you do, people can see right through you if not being real. We’re not trying to save the world just yet but we are saying we are a lot of fun and if you want to join us come along,” says Dladla.
• The band performs in Ballito at Mr Price Pro on Saturday. The first 100 that follow @iscreamtix and tweet “I want a copy of your new album @iscreamtix” will get a free online copy of the album with artwork.