Yes, Hot Water will be playing Mieliepop in Mpumalanga in a couple of weeks (17 – 20 March) and I’ve been fanboying for awhile…since 2008 in fact. So I’ve been burning with questions for ages…and now I got to get them out…finally. I spoke to Don about being a diva, collaborations and shouting at sound engineers:
Richard Chemaly (RC): Wamkelekile Don. How are the Afri-can guitar sales going?
Donovan Copley (DC): Howzit?! Well, they’ve reached some amazing artists including Passenger, Ed Sheeran, Joe Satriani and Sasha Baron Cohen to mention a few.
RC: Cool. Well done! I remember the first time I heard you was a December 2008 gig when you opened for Rudimentals at the Assembly. I hadn’t heard of you back then but I was going to watch the Rudimentals and was pretty stoked that I got there early. At what point did you realise that you’re no longer an opening act but rather a band that draws a crowd in its own right?
DC: Wow! that was a while ago! Well in the music industry it’s all relative because even the biggest bands in South Africa (at this point) would still be an opening act for say, Coldplay or a big international act. Having said that it’s very satisfying to make a great living doing what I love and also, as an independent, be completely in control of my creative work and schedule.
RC: As a result of that show, I bought the two albums out at the time and your music got me through a year of SRC leadership at the University of the Free State. Have you heard any cool stories about things your music has inspired fans to do?
DC: I love hearing feedback like that because the music has really helped to get me through a lot and so to have it support others is just so fantastic. I’ve always wanted my music to serve and support people.
RC: I won’t mention the festival but I watched you in 2015 performing on a stage which is annually infamous for it’s bad sound…you spent a large portion of your set shouting at the sound okes and sitting on the couch you had brought (also some exotic dancing on that couch during Tribal Man). Are you a bit of a diva, Don?
DC: *Laughs* Are you trying to get me into Hot Water…? Yes, that was one those rare shows where the sound on a technical level just sort of fell apart….the audience couldn’t even hear the vocal and I had to navigate some fantastically rough waters with the engineer’s saying everything was – hopefully I still made it entertaining though!?
RC: Totally, but now, at Mieliepop, it’s been announced that you’ll be performing as a duo so without the full might of a band behind you…a perfect opportunity to have other friends on stage. Of the other artists going to the festival, who would you most likely bring on stage to play Hopping Frog with you?
DC: I certainly have a great range of Mielie’s to pick from don’t I? It’s a super line-up…that’s how I started Hot Water actually…it was just me and I would invite people up in the middle of a set….let’s see what pops on Saturday night!
RC: You’re extensively well traveled and have been firm on the correct pronunciation of “dance”. Have you been able to convince the Americans to say it the right way and have you been tainted in any other way by your international travels?
DC: Next time I see Trump I’ll tell him to say it our way *winks*. I’ve always been very clear in terms of staying with a certain feeling which is the heart of the music. My heart’s still happy so I think I’m all good!
RC: Festivals tend to get messy and the bands who play later tend to suffer because a portion of the crowd is collectively nursing a hangover in their separate tents. What’s the big attraction of Hot Water‘s set going to be and why should we have a Jager, get over our Fat-Cat-ish hangovers and rock out to some Siki Siki (You will play Siki Siki right?)?
DC: Hot Water leaves people feeling alive, feeling uplifted, feeling great about their lives – so if you want some of that, I promise you we can deliver for you! Siki Siki – for sure! *winks*
RC: We’re looking forward to your set. Last question. Do you know who Timo ODV is and are you threatened he’s pulling off the hairstyle better than you?
DC: I didn’t know who he was until you asked and now I’m insecure and I care what people think (Thanks Twenty One Pilots). Thanks and looking forward to having you at the show for some magic!