PETER TROMP chatted to the members Cape Town-based music group, CODA, who will be releasing their new album ‘Disclosure’ at a launch party on the May 16 at the Beautiful Life Building in Bree Street (70 – 72). (The new record will also be available on iTunes.)
Tell us about the new album. What can fans look forward to with the release?
Galina Juritz (electric violin): ‘Disclosure’ is a more personal offering from CODA. Singing from the belly and playing from the heart. While the genres are somewhat schizophrenic the passion and energy that drives the music is consistent throughout.
Zami Mdingi (vocals): The album shows human error and experiences in a fun musical way which is a bit confrontational at times. Love is a big game and as an almost entirely female band you can just imagine what an important topic it is!
How would you describe the CODA sound, and how have you guys mixed things up for this new album?
Galina: It’s a husky blend of timbres. A dance between the 8-bit world of electronic sound and the growling of real instruments. But it’s certainly Zami’s voice that shines through for me. She’s unmistakable and unforgettable.
Judy Brown (sax): Retaining the signature CODA sound, we’ve explored a variety of different styles from Electro-Swing, Dub Step, Reggae, and Hip Hop to classically influenced ballads. There’s really something for everyone.
There are quite a few collaborations on ‘Disclosure’. Tell us about the artists you guys worked with, and what they brought to the party.
Zami: We have explored different genres and tried to find the best artists that can take our tracks to exceptional levels, i.e. for Kwaito we collaborated with a duo called Ruffest, for Hip Hop the rapper Whosane, and for House music, DJ Cleo. We worked with producers Mix n Blend and Ross McDonald from Hey Papa Legend who really found the sound that started this journey for us.
Carol Thorns (electric cello): We approached Ross in 2012 to help us with a new song, and he told us he wanted to do the musical equivalent of ‘clothing us in pleather’. That set the tone for the entire album.
Galina: Collaborations always bring about such an exciting emergence. When you get together in the studio there are all the nerves and awkwardness of a first date – but that translates as something fresh and exciting when the engineer hits the record button.
Judy: Whosane gave the track ‘Baby mama drama’ a real international sound. The Ruffest’s original rap in ‘Uyabizwa’ made for a truly South African Kwaito feel and pianist and producer Andrew Ford added the perfect combinations of intensity and fragility to the ballad ‘Same girl’.
Galina: The Ruffest were amazing to work with. They brought a mad energy to ‘Uyabizwa’, not to mention a wicked sense of humour.
Judy: Collaborating with these artists at the top of their game has added authenticity to the various styles explored.
The new album contains more personal subject matter. How did this approach affect the song writing period?
Judy: It can be daunting bringing new material to the band that is close to your heart. But CODA rehearsals have proven to be a safe environment to bring ideas. Everyone is so supportive of each other, even when we are sometimes pushed out of our comfort zones into uncharted territory.
Carol: There’s a huge amount trust amongst the team and I think our closeness can be heard in the end result. I think it has to do with the fact that there are four girls in the band, but we literally don’t stop talking – ever. So it was inevitable that our stories and confessions would become the subject matter.
Galina: The more a song speaks truly to what one feels, the more authentic it is and the more one invests in the process. The creative process is all about making oneself vulnerable – which is tough at times – but ultimately more rewarding. One has to close one’s eyes and dive in – not knowing what’s on the other end.
What kind of tour, or promotion do you have in store beyond the May 16 album launch?
Carol: After our launch party we’re performing at Café Roux in Noordhoek (June 6 – book at firstname.lastname@example.org) and at Summer Elegance. We’re planning launches in Johannesburg and Durban later this year. Our songs are currently being sent to radio nationwide, so we’re holding thumbs that we’ll enjoy further play-listing. Fans can follow us on Facebook at CODA Africa, or visit our website at www.codaAfrica.co.za.