Band gigs non-stop for 24 years

Habit To, from left, Dale Wardell, Chillie Stent-Wardell and Yesh Naidoo. | DAMIEN DAVIS

Habit To, from left, Dale Wardell, Chillie Stent-Wardell and Yesh Naidoo. | DAMIEN DAVIS

Published Mar 9, 2024


Durban — Proudly South African born-and-bred band Habit To are heading home to perform at the Splashy Fen Festival this year for the first time in 10 years later this month in Underberg.

The Independent on Saturday caught up with band leader Chillie on the band’s highs and lows.

Habit To has – literally – been making waves internationally, working on cruise ships and seeing the world.

Working on the cruise ships The Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, they performed every night for four months of a world cruise around Australia, Africa, Europe, Scandinavia, the UK, the US and Canada. They have a new contract with the latter liner.

They then landed a resident gig performing every night for six months at a five-star man-made paradise on The Palm Jumeirah, Dubai.

“We have been gigging non-stop for 24 years. In fact, we have been performing on stage six nights a week around the world for the past few years. We have been away from home and have not had the opportunity to align our visits with our favourite stages on home soil,” she said.

Despite the travelling, the band members have not forgotten who they are.

“Our music is inspired by heavy rhythms and light melodies which can paint darker and brighter moods from one song to another. Think bold, fiery reds of hard rock in contrast to gentle, muted hues of melodic pop. We enjoy appealing to more senses with a broader dynamic.

“I try to convey feelings and perspective in my lyrics with thought-provoking stories,” she said.

The band faced challenges during the Covid-19 lockdown when they, like everybody else, were stuck during the pandemic. With venues closed, there was nowhere to gig. While the world stopped turning, they managed to launch their most recent album online. Finally, after tough times, the dreaded lockdown ended and they began riding the ocean waves.

With all the nostalgia about coming home, the band has an electrifying show planned.

“We hope to see familiar faces in the crowd but also hope to see even more new faces who we can invite into our tribe. The biggest reward as an artist is to perform for a crowd which responds with the emotions we are trying to harness.”.

The band has a busy year planned.

“We have just completed a six-month performance contract at Anantara, the Palm Dubai resort, which has been a real dream.

“We head home for the Splashy Fen Music Festival on March 29. And then we are off in April to perform in the Mediterranean for a cruise ship contract with Cunard’s Queen Victoria. Our year is jam-packed and we are totally amped to keep rolling,” said Chillie.

The Splashy Fen Festival is in Underberg from March 28 to April 1.

Independent on Saturday