[interview] The Vanilla – Cape Town Pop Band in PTA for Park Acoustics

[interview] The Vanilla - Cape Town Pop Band in PTA for Park Acoustics

Another Park Acoustics weekend is upon us, with another rad line-up of South African acts ready to make you pretty people dance. One of the acts playing this Sunday is Cape Town Pop Band THE VANILLA, who will be playing a few shows up in Gauteng over the weekend. Lets get to know these boys with a short interview ahead of Park Acoustics this weekend:


The Vanilla is a 4-piece feel-good pop band from the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. The band consists of Jaen-Pierre Dowling on bass, Francois Keyser on drums, Tyan Odendal on guitar and lead vocals and Barthlo Visagie on lead guitar and synth.

Tyan and JP attended Rocking the Daisies 2014 and felt inspired beyond belief. Playing Daisies’ main stage seemed like the ultimate accomplishment and they briefly toyed with the idea of starting a new band. It wasn’t until the end of the year that they really kicked into gear however, and after an amazing December holiday up the East Coast, The Vanilla was born.

Just as 2015 got underway, Tyan – a self-professed bluesrock aficionado, started writing pop songs out of nowhere. Writer’s block turned into creative flow, and soon a hefty pile of songs had been written. JP and Tyan always had an immense love for radio pop and figured their new project should be a natural extension of something they cherish.

The band may be brand new, but the members have known each other forever – Tyan, Francois and JP practically grew up together, attended the same schools and learnt to play their instruments at the same time. They picked up Barthlo along the way, and the 4 of them moulded The Vanilla’s sound into something refreshingly new, but strikingly easy on the ear.

The word “vanilla” usually refers to something normal, neutral or plain – the exact opposite of what the band aims to be. This beautiful piece of irony got the members excited, and the decision to adopt the band’s name was unanimous.

The Vanilla has spent a lot of time crafting their songs, working on their live performances and building a brand that is instantly recognisable and easily relatable. The band’s message is centred around good energy, having a great time and sharing a positive outlook on life. They aim to make you smile, but they definitely make you dance!

Interview: The Vanilla

[interview] The Vanilla - Cape Town Pop Band in PTA for Park Acoustics
  • Hello gents, how you doing today. Its awesome to be chatting to you.. 
  • Before we get started, can you please introduce us to the members of THE VANILLA, tell us where in SA you come from and maybe a quick history on where you all met? Who plays what part in the band/group?

Hey there, doing great thanks, yea likewise!

Bass: JP Dowling
Guitar: Barthlo Visagie
Drums: Francois Keyser
Vocals and Guitar: Tyan Odendal

We are based in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town (Bellville/Kuils River). We’ve known each other forever; Tyan, Francois and JP grew up together and we met Barthlo through the music at an early age.

  • Whats up with the name THE VANILLA? Quite interesting as a band name 😀

Haha, the name originally came from ice cream (obviously) but then Katlego from Expresso introduced us “They may call themselves The Vanilla, but there is nothing plain about them”. So we went with the contrast of the name being “plain”, but our music is energetic and uplifting.

  • Where do you take inspiration from in your sound?

Between the four of us, we have quite a diverse taste in music so that kind of melts together when we write our songs. Tyan usually comes up with a basic melody and lyrics and then we work on it together in the rehearsal room.

[interview] The Vanilla - Cape Town Pop Band in PTA for Park Acoustics

  • Our local scene has been growing positively over the past few years… What are your thoughts on our local music scene at the moment and if there is anything you wish to see happen differently? 

The music scene has taken an interesting turn in recent years, to be honest it is harder now because of the scene being quite competitive, but at the same time that makes it exciting to be a part of that because you are then forced to think outside the box with how you engage with your fans or how you release your music etc.

  • Are there any local acts that you think need a special mention?

Little Ringo is a really cool band from Pretoria, they are joining our tour at the end of the month, and then Die Heuwels Fantasties are just absolute legends, released a kick ass new album “Okay!” and just all round cool guys.

  • You are playing in Pretoria this month at Park Acoustics.. Are you guys excited for this gig? What can we expect from your set?

Yes we are so stoked to be playing at Park Acoustics for the first time ever! We can’t wait to bring our music to the PTA audience, you can expect a lot of jumping and jiving!


  • Anything that you guys are currently working on that we would be interested in hearing about?

We released two new songs about a month apart called “Sally” and “Suburb Boy” and we will be shooting a video for “Suburb Boy” soon. Furthermore just amped to be going on tour and coming up North for the first time since Oppikoppi in 2015.

  • Where can we follow you on Social media?

We are on Instagram as “thevanillaband”, twitter as “@thevanillaband” and Facebook and YouTube as “The Vanilla”

  • Lastly, if you could collab with an artist in SA, who would that be with?

We would love to do a collaboration with Tresor, he’s got so much swag.

  • Thanks for your time guys…!!

Thanks to you!

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