Local Afrikaans pop group Die Heuwels Fantasties have built up a massive fanbase since bursting onto the scene back in 2009. Now, they’re back with a bang as they premiered their highly-anticipated seventh studio album ‘2021’. Besides the lead single ‘Jy Stel My Teleur’ and ‘Mej Sonneblom’ racing up charts around the country, the group has paired up with an array of collaborators on the album and have used this opprortunity to show off just how diverse they are as a group. We get up close and personal with the band’s Hunter Kennedy who opens up on all things ‘2021’.
Congrats on the new album. What inspired the title ‘2021’?
We didn’t have the title up until the last bit. At the time there were rumours of 2020 being cancelled. 2021 is maybe the only thing we as performing musicians have to look forward to.
How differently did you approach this particular body of work than your previous material?
To be honest, not much differently. But I think we are more experienced than he last time. At the beginning we spoke of making an album of classics. Something akin to what we felt as teenagers about something like Dookie or Enema Of The State. All Killer No Filler if you want another unnecessary pop punk reference.
‘Ons Moet Leef’, your latest single with Ampie, has been so well received. What inspired this particular track?
We wrote it with Ampie on the 15th floor pool of the Sun International there in Menlyn. It’s basically a reflection on how crazy we were and being unapologetic about choosing to live life to the fullest.
You have a string of collaborations on the album featuring the likes of Francois Van Coke, Early B, Tarryn Lamb and more. Was it a conscious decision to make this record collaboration heavy?
Not a conscious decision, no. It feels like it just happened and I think we are better off for it. We wanted the album to sound as good as possible and also showcase some people we are working with and having a few old friends on is always lekker. 2’s company, 3’s a crowd, 8 is a party.
What, in your opinion, does a collaboration help in terms of pushing you as a band out of your comfort zone?
I personally think it’s just the reassessment that the energy a new person brings when you introduce them into a functioning system. It’s fun to write something for Tarryn as an example, kind of “we think you would sound amazing doing this…” and then it was awesome having Arno’s frenetic energy steer the song in a different direction. We wrote the first verse of Naweek because of a story Parow told us that day. Every artist we collaborated with brought something that lifted the song.
Despite the Covid-19 lockdown, you launched this record in style. Talk to us a little bit about this massive online streaming concert the band put on.
It was tough. Lots of Zoom calls. But luckily the album was done. Pierre did an amazing job of assembling a great team to handle the launch. MGG, Henré Pretorius, Johan Beukes, Dré, Pilot. Rave Grohl and Merwe Marchant handled the amazing visuals. It’s all collaborations, really. Everyone did their job exceptionally. It was quite emotional after the fact. It really felt like we did something positive. All the collaboration artists that live in Cape Town were keen to perform, luckily.
How important is staying ahead of the curve and consistently evolving your sound for you as a group?
I don’t know what ahead of the curve actually means, but I guess we try not to bore ourselves.
Now that the album is out, what does the rest of the year have in store for you?
We are planning one or two more live streaming shows, we are looking at developing some artists. Maybe make some music videos. We rarely stop. Everyone is busy with stuff. We will be releasing the live version of ‘Ek Mis Jou’ with Tarryn quite soon. We are also releasing the visual accompaniment for the album made by Rave Grohl quite soon maybe even today. 2021 watch out!
Listen to ‘2021’ here:
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