That was then, this is now...
SS: How well did 'Puff The Magik' do?
TOE: It was released late in 1995 and
picked up interest and publicity during
1996 because Radio 5 banned it from
their playlist, but then we won the FNB
Best Rap Album award in 1996. In the
beginning it received limited airplay
but it has subsequently been played on
5FM. 'Puff' sold all the thousand odd
copies that were released and has been
SS: Did you two start the band?
TOE: Before we were signed we (Sebastian,
Brendon and Waddy Jones) got together
and wrote some tracks over about four
weeks. We recorded these tracks as demos,
self-financed. We didn't have a name
then until Waddy started shopping it
around to the companies. About a month
later we were offered a deal by Sony
Music to record an album. It was mainly
due to Josh who at that stage worked at
Sony but whom we also knew because we
all used to hang out together at Storeyville,
a club in Rosebank (Johannesburg). Josh
took our demo and went to the Sony A & R man,
Lindelane Mkhize, who had also just
received a copy of the demo from Waddy
and they went "snap". The deal followed
SS: What material was on 'Puff' and
is it repeated on 'Burn'?
TOE: The first CD, 'Puff The Magik'
has six tracks but only two songs,
each with two alternative mixes. The
new album is all brand new material.
There are six new tracks and instrumental
remixes of two of those tracks ('Funky
& Loose' and 'Jazzgroove'). They are
instrumental remixes because we didn't
want to limit ourselves to the hip-hop
market -- we wanted to take ourselves
into the acid jazz and funk markets as
well. The remixes are very trip-hop.
SS: So then you got yourselves a name.
TOE: The obvious reference is to marijuana
and also to always keeping things fresh!
Anyway, we subsequently discovered some
hidden agendas and things changed a little.
Then Sony set us all up in a house in
Greenside (Appropriate! - Ed.) where
we could live, work and record together
but it all fell apart because there
was no infrastucture. We stayed there
for about three months but weren't making
enough money to support us all. We
played our first gigs at 206, which
was the only venue that really catered
to our sound.
SS: Who played which instruments?
TOE: Well, I (Sebastian) played bass
and back then we had a drummer called
Craig Neilson. Waddy Jones was the
rapper with Brendon, and we had a DJ
called Phat Jack. After the house fell
through, Waddy decided to split and
pursue a solo career. Things went quiet
for a while and then after some meetings
with Sony, Brendon and I decided to
carry on doing what we were doing
which was to explore all the different
musical avenues we were into. Before
there was too much control and manipulation
of the process with a specific product
in mind. Now we could do what we liked
and follow all our influences.
SS: Such as?
TOE: Courtney Pine, Branford Marsalis,
Grand Puba, A Tribe Called Quest,
Ernest Ranglin, Monty Alexander,
Miles Davis, Yusef Lateef, Bob James,
Tom Waits, Funkdoobiest -- the list
goes on but the thing is that on the
'Burn The Evidence' project we could
draw from so much more and it's far
more representative of what the band
is really like live.
SS: Is it recorded live?
TOE: It's not. We'd assembled a new
band and had recruited a new drummer,
Gaston Galiath, who played with Gito
Baloi and he introduced us to using
samplers and loops in our live performances.
We also brought in guitarist Mark
Buchanan and DJ Soap and that became
our new live crew which we took on
the road until we recorded the album
a few months later. We started recording
in March, 1997, and finished around
June/July of the same year. Brendan
Jury (ex-Urban Creep) and Warrick
Sony (ex-Kalahari Surfers) helped
out as well. Warrick recorded and
produced the album and it was the last
album recorded at the Shifty studios
in Johannesburg before it relocated
its operation to Cape Town. When we
recorded the album, we went in one
day and recorded all the tracks as
live takes and then Warrick started
added in programming and textures on
top of the original tracks. On the
'Burn The Evidence' song there is a
lot of hectic drum programming, very
Squarepusher-type jungle stuff which
at the time, when we decided to do a
jungle track, we wanted it to be very
in vogue with what was happening
globally. It's quite hardcore with
the heavy metal guitars on top of
it -- quite bizarre!
SS: Tell me about the other songs.
TOE: There's quite a span of styles
on the album. The track 'Funky & Loose'
is pure George Clinton-style funk.
'Jazzgroove' is an African-type jazz
riff, while 'Can You Deal' is a
straightforward hip-hop kind of jungle
song. 'Jazzgroove' is the first
single and has received some airplay
on Radio 5 but they took it off
because they said it didn't fit
into their type of format! So much
for claiming to be behind SA music…
SS: So who released the album
TOE: It is released by Sony and
the publishing is through Gallo.
SS: How will this CD be marketed?
TOE: Although it has eight tracks,
it sells as a CD EP for R39.
SS: It's not obvious from the covers
who or what you are, so you could
appeal to a wide selection of the
South African market -- also because
of the obvious dope references.
TOE: We wanted to try and cross
over and reach as broad a spectrum
of the SA market as possible. We
wanted to make our music accessible
to all South Africans so that
the cheaper we could sell the CD
for the better.
SS: So what are your current plans?
TOE: The rest of the band is in Jo'burg
and we are busy in Cape Town promoting
the album. When we play in Cape Town in
February/March we are hoping to get Gaston
and Mark to come down but if they don't we
do have a Cape Town crew as well which is
Brendan Jury and Warrick Sony, who would
actually play with us even if the others
do come. So we have two squads: one in
Cape Town and one in Jo'burg. We've worked
with so many people that we can chop and
change our crews while still retaining
the basic group, which is us two and Gaston.
We can do gigs as a three-man crew but
that becomes far more hardcore drum 'n
bass. With the guitarist, DJ and
keyboard player it becomes more funky
and filled out.
SS: Any previous band experience?
TOE: This is Brendon's first band.
I (Sebastian) was in a few garage
bands but this is my first serious
band. I was quite naïve when we
started as we were just having fun
and had been hanging out together.
When the shit started we stuck together
and worked through it and decided
to mostly have fun, which hadn't
been happening before with the band.
There was bad energy, but we've fixed
all that and now it's cool.
SS: So how do you see youselves now?
TOE: We may be signed to a major label
but we will always be an underground
type of operation. We're not looking
for global stardom or notoriety. We
just in it for the good times, the
playing live and the creative process.
We rehearse a lot but do allow a certain
amount of improvisation by the DJ,
guitarist and drummer. So our sound
and personnel will change to suit the
SS: Any plans to tour SA?
TOE: We haven't played in Cape Town
yet but plan to during February/March.
We want to play in Durban as well. We
also want to play some of the festivals
because we've mostly been playing the
Jo'burg clubs, but now we have the CD
to promote so we're open to anything.
SS: Other future plans?
TOE: The thing is that our best shit
hasn't been recorded because every time
we've recorded some songs they are
already old for us from touring and
playing them for a year. We have about
15 new songs that haven't been recorded
yet and we're keen to record those.
You can only let go of something once
it's recorded. We've learnt a lot
about the music business and what goes
on but we're having a good time and
the future's looking … green!
The Original Evergreen are:
Brendon Le Roux - Rapper
Sebastian Voight - Bass
Gaston Galiath - Drums, SU10 Yamaha sampler
Mark Buchanan - Guitar
DJ Soap - DJ and scratching
The Original Evergreen releases are:
'Puff The Magik' (ESA 0000041 I)
'Burn The Evidence' (CDEPC 5499 G)
¨ These can be purchased online at http://www.oneworld.co.za
The Original Evergreen's email address is: