Face to face with superstar Mel Botes
CAPE TOWN - Lockdown enhances SA globally known rockstar’s creative connection, enabling him to produce music of the spheres.
Q: How did the Covid-19 lockdown during the festive season affect your business as a performing artist, and as an owner of the artist venue, Mel's Place, which consists of a restaurant and an art gallery in Keurboomstrand?
A: It affected us in a strangely positive way. It made me more aware of the essence and true values in this life and ignited my creative world to apply new business initiatives. I persisted in pushing a new brand in an industry that witnessed a sudden, yet slow, decay. Both the entertainment, food and beverage sector hit an all-time low, but we managed to survive the onslaught. Q: Compared to previous years, what was the impact on your business from a financial perspective?
A: Financially it was very challenging. I had just started a new business and unique venture and subsequently, slowly phased The Barnyard Plettenberg Bay into “Mel’s Place”, closer to the more populated town. We were running two businesses at the time and invested in renovations, interior design and appliances to get the new venture off the ground, anxiously waiting for the season. We had one fairly successful season, a very quiet January 2019, and then of course, lockdown in March 2019. We still managed to endure the onslaught of the pandemic, but were mostly entertained by the absurdity of the regime and its preposterous abuse of power. What amused me most, was how the SA lambs were obediently led to the slaughter. Q: During these challenging times, where do you get your creative inspiration from?
A: Where I always got it from: the Universe out there, the stars, distant planets, milky ways and the cosmos.
Q: How did you visualise in the rock opera, Flight of Bird, the role and or wearing of “masks” during the fight for human souls?
A: I saw human bodies scattered and strewn across fields and pathways. I found myself inside the body of someone who had surpassed this form of existence and visualised a very traumatic experience. From this out of body flight, I could picture the rescue workers working endless hours to heal, while other forces of the Universe came from everywhere to capture the souls of the dying. I commissioned the artist Fourie Ackerman to draw sketches and paintings for the musical Flight of Bird in the year of 2004. The medical workers wore face masks similar to the Covid-19 period.
Q: Do you regard these times as the right time to complete your book and music on David's Confessions,
complementing the conspiracy theories regarding aliens and the end times?
A: Yes. There is without a doubt enough evidence and security in my knowledge that this was where the end of the mystery would finally lead to. Sadly, I was too young, naïve and even ashamed to admit, submit and share. The forces were far too brutal and adverse to comprehend, understand or to mention. I wrote The Machine in 1990, released in 1999-2000. It deals with the oppression of the human race by the control of the machine, whatever it is, the numeric, digital, computer, communication devices and financial systems enforced by the reptilians. And, please, I hope that not all capitalists want to claim the stake of this so-called superiority. Most of them (are) blinded by greed, and we don’t want to put them on a pedestal, do we? Q: What is your advice for upcoming artists to initiate authentic and creative music to make the world a better place?
A: Listen to your inner voice and trust it before you speak. Beauty is everywhere around us and the simplest form of understanding is looking into nature and explaining it to the stars. Create naturally, you can always catch up on Facebook and chatter later. Leave the machine and fruity loops for the DJ’s. Conjure melodies up before recording. KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid, then add all the violins, support lines and spice later. You’ll be amazed at the impact. Focus on your instrument. Q: What was your biggest success and disappointment in your journey as a world recognised rock artist?
A: My biggest success was recording my work with the likes of symphony orchestras, choirs, great fellow musicians and having those opportunities backed by corporates. My biggest disappointment was having the same successes taken away by the same or similar entities in which a greater task at hand was entrusted.
Q: Can you name a few world-famous artists that you have performed with?
A: Brian May, Roger Taylor from Queen, Will Smith, Annie Lenox, Katie Meluah, Mike Batt, Michael Jackson, Shawn Phillips, Duncan Faure, to mention a few. These include some whom I met and some I shared a stage with.