Francois van Coke, the man behind the music.
The weather’s looking good, schools are out, and most of us are getting ready to enjoy the holidays.
This December sees the return of the annual Hermanus Craft Beer Festival, taking place on the 22nd at the Hermanus Cricket Grounds. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, make sure to swing by for a beer, paired with some tunes by the likes of Francois van Coke, Rumswinger, and more.
Speaking of which – I had a bit of chat with local rocker Francois van Coke ahead of his Summer tour, which also includes the festival.
MT: You’ve recently kick started your summer tour, what can fans expect from you and Die Gevaar this December?
FVC: Yeah, we have played a couple of shows and have quite busy period until the new year. We will be playing rock ‘n roll tunes at all these shows and making sure people have a good time!
MT: You’re playing the Hermanus Craft Beer Festival on the 22nd of December, as part of the tour. On the topic of beer, if you could share one with anyone, living or dead, who would that be and why?
FVC: Bon Scott. He is one of my heroes and he also loved beer.
MT: You’ve become somewhat of an icon throughout the years, being known as the drunken vocalist of Fokofpolisiekar, to the mature rocker and businessman we see today. What’s been the biggest highlights and pitfalls of your career thus far?
FVC: I think the highlights are the music that was made, all the albums I was involved in. That is the most important part of it all, if there aren’t any songs, then we can’t play them to people. I think the biggest pitfall is being away from home all the time. It was the ultimate when I was young, but these days I have a family and home that I love. I still feel it is a massive privilege to be able to play music as a career, but from time to time the traveling takes it’s toll.
MT: Speaking of Fokofpolisiekar, the latest album Selfmedikasie was recently released. How’s the response been? Also, congratulations on 14 years since the release of As Jy Met Vuur Speel, a personal all-time favourite
FVC: The response has been great. Our fans love the album and I think we might have reached some people that was never into Fokofpolisiekar before.
The band is still growing constantly and it is a massive privilege to be part of this band and all the projects we are involved with.
MT: From then until now a lot has changed – you’ve gotten married, started your solo career and had a baby girl. How have these things changed the way you write and make music?
FVC: I think being a parent was the biggest change in my life since adulthood. I don’t think about myself first anymore, everything is about my daughter and how it will influence her life. So, that will automatically influence the music. I have always tried to be as honest as possible in the songs I write and the music is just a reflection of where I am in my life.
MT: I remember my dad yelling at me when I would play Fokofpolisiekar too loud. The other day I walked into the kitchen and he asked, “do you know this song by Francois van Coke?” Your music is reaching more people than ever – specifically those who I would assume were the ones commenting on Fokofpolisiekar 10 years ago. Do you think that your solo music might have changed their minds about who you are as a person?
FVC: Yes, I know it did for a lot of people. ‘Toe vind ek jou’ probably did it all. That song just transcended everything I have done before, because so many people could relate to it. People from different ages and backgrounds just related to the honestly. I am still the same person I was when Fokofpolisiekar started, but I have also evolved and try to remain relevant to where I am as a person at the present moment.
MT: You’ve been a part of the SA music scene for a long time, how would you describe its evolution, and who out there is getting your attention at the moment? Any collaborations in mind for the new year?
FVC: The scene has changed over and over completely while I have been around. Nothing is the same as 14 years ago and things are also very different than 7 years ago. Afrikaans POP gets massive attention and then also Urban POP music is huge. I think those are the biggest things at the moment. I plan to do collaborations next year and would love to do something with Karen [Zoid] again. And I would also love to work with people I have never worked with before!
MT: Lastly, as I’m sure the fans would love to know, what’s up next for Francois van Coke?
FVC: My main mission for 2018 will be working on my 3rd solo album. Hopefully it will be out early 2019.
As a big fan of Fokofpolisiekar, and the movement that came from it, I’m always excited to get to watch Francois play. Make sure you catch him at the Hermanus Craft Beer Festival on the 22nd of December. Check out the Facebook event for announcements and info, and get your tickets here.