This review was first published in Cape Times on 23 October 2015. DIS EK, ANNA. Directed by Sara Blecher, with Charlene Brouwer, Morne Visser, Nicola Hanek...
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The Dirty Skirts' Jeremy de Tolly:
On Unicorns, Jamming and George W Bush With an impressive record of success behind them so far, The Dirty Skirts can without doubt be named one of South Africa’s greatest musical acts at present. Having recently released their third album and preparing to jet off for a UK Tour, it certainly seems these four guys are set for great things in their future. An evening with frontman Jeremy de Tolly was not only one well spent, but provided much insight into their music, old and new, as well as life behind the scenes of The Dirty Skirts.The band was born in late 2004 and released their EP the year thereafter. The independent release saw success with tracks Feeling The Pressure and Set Me Alight soaring straight to the top of local radio station charts. Two years later the band satisfied fans with their full album, On A Stellar Bender. The band was conceived during a drunken chat between Jeremy and guitarist David Moffatt. The two members joined forces with a laptop [explaining the predominant electronica stroke in their earlier music] and began their journey as The Dirty Skirts. The mere fact that the band was conceived with alcohol as catalyst should be indicative of the crazy impulsion that continues to drive their music even today. Jeremy confesses the band’s indulgence in what they term ‘jamming’, which comprises a session of fully improvised playing on stage. Risky? Perhaps. Totally awesome? Hells yeah! An indication of the raw talent of these four musicians, hearing of such schemes is what makes their approach admirable and their music genuinely unique. And it fits in perfectly with Jeremy’s perspective of many things. His philosophy, mirrored in the band, is to live life fully and immediately, even if that means making mistakes along the way. Jeremy divulges his inspiration for the new album Daddy Don’t Disco’s final track, Wake, saying that he feels too few people live their lives truly “awake”, being aware of everything around them and seizing the many opportunities life presents.The band eventually saw the addition of two members to finally grow to the four-piece it is today. On interference with one’s personal life, Jeremy admits he would like to be able to spend more time with friends. On that note is said that the band members are quite comfortably managing juggling the two spheres of living thus far, and the opportunity to go fully international will not be passed up. Currently signed to Sony BMG Records, the band will soon leave for a tour in the UK. Though they have played abroad before, Jeremy seems confident of an even more successful tour this time round. Avoiding catering only for the South African market abroad, this tour boasts better organisation, with public relations experts behind the excursion. The new album returns to the prominent electro stroke of their EP, though not abandoning their funky Indie sounds entirely. The lyrics are lingering in their curiosity, the often strange choice of words forcing one to listen intently. The themes of apocalypse and carpe diem are strung throughout Daddy Don’t Disco, making it an album with substance without being at all overbearing.The Dirty Skirts joined forces with local bands Plush and The Beams to pay a South Africans Against Drunk Driving [SADD] at FTV in Cape Town. Though surprised by the organisation’s choice of venue, Jeremy looks forward to the event, especially eager to play for a cause as honourable as theirs. SADD was formed by counselor and social worker Caro Smit as a result of the tragic death of her son, former Plush member, Chas Smit. Perpetually taking on projects, SADD, together with SAB is currently undertaking the task of raising awareness at Universities especially about drinking and driving. Their aim is not only to make students aware of the dangers involved with drunken driving, but to resultantly change their attitude about the matter for the better. The final goal is to decrease the exceptionally high death- and injury rate in South Africa. The current estimation is that 9 000 people are killed annually in accidents involving drinking and driving, with another 75 000 being injured. SADD has always stressed its approach involving more than just talk and meetings. Recently the decision to reach people through music was made, and thus far the response seems to have been the desired one.Having spent a casual Sunday evening with Jeremy revealed an artist that is quirky but sincere, just as The Dirty Skirts’ music. Fans would be pleased to know that these are actual people with personalities and flaws who make bad jokes about cucumbers and George W. Bush. An artist who has graced every major stage in the country, aired on every remotely important radio station and featured in countless magazines, it seems there simply is no stopping Jeremy de Tolly and his team and if I know anything about music, I’ll bet they’re going to blow the UK away!