After the success of their debut album ‘The Hanging Gardens Of Beatenberg’, the group went on a bit of a hiatus as they readied their next move. The break saw them collaborate with Mumford & Sons and ink a deal with Island Records UK. Now, the group are back and lead singer Matthew Field opens up to us about Beatenberg’s new album, their new deal and international success.
Welcome back! You’ve just released your brand-new album ’12 Views Of Beatenberg’. How different is this album from your debut project?
It’s hard to quantify just how different it is (aside from words like ‘very’ etc. I wouldn’t even know what kind of language to use!). I could mention some ways in which it feels different for me, but I sort of want people to have their own experience of the music.
You recently inked an international deal with Island UK. Tell us a bit about how the deal came about.
We had been in contact with Island through working with Universal Music South Africa, but we didn’t receive any real offers until after we went to the UK to support Mumford & Sons. I would say that brought it about.
Mumford & Sons have been very supportive about your career. What is the biggest lesson the band has taught you about the music space?
We learned a lot from our experience with Mumford and Sons. One thing that stands out is the strength of their live show. Not so much the spectacle and scale of it but the way the crowd love the songs, the intensity with which the band deliver them and the sum of those two parts. I also really appreciated their openness and welcoming vibe on tour; I think that’s a cool way to be.
Your music has always been proudly South African. Why do you think that people all around the world have been identifying with your music?
I think it’s partly due to the fact that our music is in some important sense rooted in the place it was made that makes it speak to people at all, whether that’s people here or elsewhere. But then, of course, there is a degree to which music can be place-specific in its referents, it’s style/aesthetic that can make it less broadly and immediately accessible outside its origin. I don’t know the answer, really, but I guess it helps to be both comprehensible and unusual.
After working with him on ‘Zambezi’, you teamed up with Tresor for your new single ‘Aphrodite’. What is the best thing about working with Tresor?
I really like Tresor and it’s always great to spend time with him, working or otherwise. He is really driven and I’ve been importantly inspired by that at times when I’ve felt less so. I think we connect over our love of music from Africa, and he also has a sense of rhythm and melody that I relate to and find productive to work with.
What’s the one message you’d like to say to your South African fans?
I’d just like thank you for listening to us and for being so supportive of our music. We are glad to be back with new music and we will continue to release more and more for you guys!
Now that the album is out, what does 2019 have in store for the band?
We’ll be doing some more recording early this year and then doing a Southern African tour in February/March. We’ll also continue to release music and videos from the upcoming album. After that, as I mentioned above, we’ll be gearing up for shows in Europe, and hopefully releasing more music too. More on all that later!