Lessons from Cape Town for Durbs

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TO NDR Veranda Panda 2 Veranda Panda.

ELECTRONIC music has been huge on the global scene for a some time and its popularity in South Africa has grown in recent years.

One city in particular that is always sure to bring the “house” down is Cape Town which has featured some of the hottest electronic music festivals to date. And not too far behind is Durban which has also shown immense talent on the dance scene. And all house lovers out there can experience the insaneness first hand at Hazelmere Dam next Saturday at the Fun in the Sun- Fits Fest.

With an entire day of endless fun, a killer line-up is on the bill featuring DJ Fresh, Veranda Panda, Pascal and Pearce and an array of some of the finest local DJs.

Veranda Panda is the kind of name that sticks and if you watch these guys play, you are definitely going to be blown away by their originality and energy. They are violinist/DJ combo, Liam Magner and Jane Baillie who specialise in live electronic music. For regular club goers, Veranda Panda are familiar faces as they have played at practically every dance floor in Durbs.

As we sip cappuccinos, the fun and bubbly duo chat about the electronic dance scene in Cape Town and Durban and how the two cities differ when it comes to this particular genre. “Cape Town is like the cradle of electronic music. I could really go on and on about the history of electronic music there because I’ve been following them for so long. They are a lot more European and much more cutting edge. And they’re also big in the live performance. It’s very rare that you would just find a guy playing CDs. They’re into all sorts of weird things and setting trends. It’s very inspiring,” says Liam.

In the mother city as DJs, they say, it’s great. “Specifically, I find that we don’t have much influence here. The first time I took my music there, it didn’t sound like anyone else’s stuff. And I almost felt like I was from the farm,” Liam laughs.

Jane adds: “Yeah, we are in a very different scene to theirs. It’s really exciting when you play there and it’s also really rewarding to hear people give feedback about our music. They appreciate people who do their own thing; they’re a lot more accepting. ”

From playing at Oppi Koppi, Ramfest and Matric Rage 4 U, Veranda Panda are stoked about their forthcoming EDM festival at Hazelmere Dam. “Something that we both really love about the electronic scene in Durban is that you get an opportunity to mix with the guys from different genres. And because the Durban scene is quite small, we get to play music with everybody and it’s good for us because we get exposed to music that we wouldn’t necessarily play or produce. I will support any music festival because it’s building a scene. We live in one of the most beautiful places and it’s amazing to me that we don’t have a music festival every two months,” says Liam.

Asked how the Durban scene could improve and possibly grow to be as successful as that of Cape Town, Jane says: “I once heard a quote that said, ‘If you create music for today, then you will be forgotten tomorrow.’ And I think that’s a big problem. A lot of people are caught up in trying to create music according to what is cool instead of asking themselves what they really want and running with their individual idea.

“That is the only way the scene is going to grow, otherwise its just going to be people jumping from trend to trend. I think it’s about persistence, integrity and support.”

• Catch the Fun in the Sun-Fits Fest on February 23 at Hazelmere Dam. Starts at 6am. Tickets available at Computicket.


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