From the Land of Madness to the Land of Structure – Interview with Roxi Sound
Roxi Sound is a South African musician that found her way to Brighton in a bit of a random way, but she might be here to stay, or not, depends on the weather and other things. However she’s been very busy even though she hasn’t stayed for long. She is currently organising a big exciting event that she calls Neon Tribes taking place on the 7th of July.
Where are you from? I’m from Johannesburg, South Africa – the land of madness, great weather, and beautiful sunsets.
What brought you to Brighton? I worked as a singer in 5 star hotels in Abu Dhabi and China, and in true stereo-typical fashion, I ended up with a musician from the band in the Hotel down the road. He was at the Grand Millenium and I at the Hilton – so we left the 5 star factory to concentrate on creating and building amazing things. I love the sea, and I love the creative mindset of Brighton. It’s a big city without feeling as ‘elbow everybody out is the way to get what you want’ as London.
Are you here to stay? Is anyone ever anywhere to stay? (haha that’s my pretentious jerk answer, although based in truth). I don’t know as of yet – but I’ve already started building things, like my band, Roxi Sound, who are incredible musicians and humans, and this night. I might go home for a few months every English winter, though – English winter is not for the faint-hearted! If the weather, red tape and my lack of car on this continent don’t drive me mental… then yes I’m here to stay (until I have a mental break-down when I turn 30 and move to East India to be a Monk – or something like that).
What is life like in South Africa? My biggest comparison I can say is this: England works and is efficient; South Africa does not work very well and I think I can quite fairly say it’s a bit inefficient. England is made of Systems. South Africa is made of 11 different languages and a bunch of vibrant people… but not necessarily in the most well oiled machine.
(***) Have you ever worked in a job, where there are lots of things going wrong, the systems aren’t quite in place, it drives you mental, but you can take advantage of it sometimes? Those jobs can be the most frustrating but also, incredibly freeing. You don’t have to ask permission every time you do something. Suddenly, you got an efficient manager in, and you couldn’t go as slowly, or joke as much, and it becomes all work work work. You’re grateful that there’s a system in place and you know what’s expected of you, but miss the stupidity and freedom you used to have. That’s kind of the best way I can compare the two.
Also, South Africa’s cheaper to live. You earn less on the scale of world value, but the cost of living is cheaper. Wine and eating out are cheaper and fresher. I think you need to spend less money on material ‘things’ because you have the outside. There’s a lot of space, and you’ll be surprised by the amount of bungalows. There are of course consequences which I grew up with and am used to but if you’re used to safety being promised to you by the government, the electric fences, fear of smash and grabs and inability to walk anywhere might get you down.
What do you like about Brighton? The art. I can’t get over the expression people have painted over this city. It’s less of an established – we enslaved a bunch of people back in the day to build this – kind of art, as much as a rebellious, individual and community art. I could be completely wrong but the art in Brighton feels much more small community like than big city like. The banksy, the wrestler type graffiti in the underpass up to the station, the portraits on the Prince Albert, the graffiti near the Concorde and even the light show on the Pavilion: These are all examples of Creativity, expression and inspiration on all different levels of society, that this city clearly loves. I like the slightly dirty edges of this city and it’s sparkly sequin suit.
Tell us about what you’re up to? Neon Tribes: It’s easy to feel lonely in the big city. Come join our Tribes. The bands are booked, the poster work is being done, the sponsors being spoken to, and a local dance and make up school getting involved.
In April I had the chance of meeting my idol, a lady called Toya Delazy. I don’t get star-struck, but I was absolutely dorking out when I got asked to introduce her as the surprise act at a show in London. To put it in context, she has just under half a million followers in SA, and was a coach on The Voice SA (I never really watch it… but that’s how well recognised she is), but for me she’s just an incredible songwriter and musician, and creative! When she took up my offer to do a show in Brighton, I knew it was the time to bring out this idea I’d been stewing.
We’re gonna be getting loads of blacklights and make up artists using Cyberdog’s neon make up to create tribal warpaint. We’ll have photographers there, studied up on blacklight photography and try to make sure we get people great shots they can keep forever. We’re also looking into sponsorship for some neon decorations.
The Line Up is:
Roxi Sound (My afro-folk-pop band’s full kit debut – expect banjo, expect dancing)
HEATH (a Brighton based electro-pop band fronted by the awesome Tom Staniford)
TOYA DELAZY (The incredible international singer songwriter and her London based band – her genre is JEHP – Jazz Electro Hip-hop Pop – yep… that’s it)
How did the idea come about? When I was singing at the W Hotel in Guangzhou, China, the had a night called ‘Glow Night.’ They had MASSIVE pots of Neon paint and everyone got involved (maybe not as dramatically as i did: insert 5 year old kid with bright paint… that was me). I kept a neon yellow pot and it became my brand of wearing neon warpaint on my face. My birthday that year I painted everybody with it. I find it’s a great way for people to express themselves, get involved and feel united. I think feeling part of something is huge. I liked the idea of Neon Tribes as it speaks to unity and my African roots, and gives ample room for individual art in terms of their make up. It’s also bright and fun!
When and where will the event take place? It’s taking place on the 7th of July at The Hope and Ruin, Brighton. It’s super close to the station for anyone travelling. The first band will start at 8pm, and will finish around 11/11:30 so there’s ample time to watch all the bands and still catch your train!
The tickets are 10 pounds at the door and 6.60 online. The artwork is still in motion but in the meantime here is the link to buy your tickets upfront – you’ve spent more on a cocktail? and on 2 pints. and on a cab. and on a train ticket. and on a corner shop outing. Check it out: http://www.seetickets.com/event/neon-tribes-toya-delazy-heath-roxi-sound/the-hope-ruin/988174