The alternative pop band from Pretoria, ISO, have just released their latest EP, PASSAGES, which is just another amazing milestone to an already incredible journey. Having recently performed abroad as the support act for German musical icon, Marius Muller – Westernhagen; these four talented musicians have confirmed their status as one of South Africa’s best live acts. They recently released their latest EP, so we caught up with them for a quick chat about it and what we can expect from them in 2014, this is what they had to say:
MA: Hey guys, nice to be chatting to you, thanks for your time…
Before we get started, can you please introduce us to ISO, where do you come from and who are the member of the band..
ISO: We are 4 Guys from Pretoria who’ve been a band for nearly 8 years. We formed back in late 2006 and had a jam band philosophy.
Richard Brokennsha – Vocals and Guitar
Marko Benini – Drums and production.
Franco Schoeman – Bass guitar and backing vocals
Alex Parker – Keyboards, Keytar and backing vocals.
MA: Being in the South African music scene for quite some time now, how have you seen it improving over the years?
ISO: We’ve definitely noticed and improvement over the years we’ve been involved in the SA music industry. You now see a lot more festivals especially around the year and they are well attended. As with most industries, the music industry really took a knock during the recession, as fans spent less on music which they saw as a luxury. But overall we are noticing a growing audience, especially amongst music that has bigger cross-over appeal.
MA: Can you tell us the reasons why you changed the band name from Isochronous to ISO? How has the change been to your fans?
ISO: We wanted our band to reach out to more people and we felt by simplifying our name we could engage with more fans. Fans have generally taken well to the change, with some being bothered and others not. Our sound has evolved quite a lot and some older fans have lost what they loved about our earlier stuff, whilst the newer fans are in love with our new material. So it’s a bit of a balancing act.
MA: Has your influences in your sound changed through this process too?
ISO: When we started out we were listening to a lot of progressive rock music like Tool, Muse, Porcupine Tree and many jam bands with musicians like Jojo Mayer, Dennis Chambers, Victor Wooten, Scott Henderson and Joe Zawinul. But as we grew older we started listening to more EDM and modern pop music like Deadmaus, Skrillex, Avicii and bands like Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear. We also went back in time to check out The Beatles, Queen and Earth, Wind And Fire. With such a diverse range of influences, our music twist and turns through numerous genres. We feel this helps us grow as musicians and challenge us to come up with something new.
MA: Ok lets get down to the exciting stuff… You have just released your latest EP called PASSAGES, please give us a background for this EP. Why not a full length album, as we all know that you guys are capable of such awesomeness? Also, what is behind the name PASSAGES for the EP?
ISO: We wanted to experiment a little with how we engage with our fans. We felt that a shorter, more succinct EP would be a way for us achieve this. There’s so much great music out there that our fans hardly have time to listen to. Also it allowed us to focus strongly on the 5 songs and make them sound special. Passages is a reflection of our growth and constant introspection as a band. It showcases Richards vocals in an eternity of sweet sonic landscapes. We developed on current musical styles and quote them throughout the EP.
MA: Where and when can we download or purchase PASSAGES?
ISO: iTunes, Google Play.
MA: What song on the album do you predict being a fan favourite?? Which one would you say is the most fun to play live?
ISO: It’s tough to say. Probably “give me Something to believe in” on both accounts. It’s a really epic tune.
MA: Talking about live performances, we absolutely love watching ISO live… Tell us about your upcoming tour, from this weekend till early May. what can we expect from you guys?
ISO: On our upcoming tour we will be showcasing our new EP as well as some other special surprises for audiences throughout the country. We always pride ourselves on delivering a stellar live show, and we’ll be making sure this time is no different.
MA: Are there any other rad stuff that you guys are working on that we would be interested in?
ISO: We are releasing our music now under the label ISO music. This is a very positive step for us as we have been able to take full control of our music distribution in a way no other South African band has.
MA: Where can we catch you guys on the social media platforms?
MA: Lastly, what International band would you guys love to work in studio with or play opening too?
ISO: Muse, Mew or Jeff Lynne.
MA: Thank you so much for you time….
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Louise Pieterse