By Deva Lee and Kaitlin Keet
A fusion of jazz and deep funky house is what brings about the unique sounds of the two man group, Goldfish. The main inspiration behind this interesting blend of genres is jazz, because “most good music comes from jazz,” as Dominic Peters puts it. David Poole describes it as “a jazz subversive”. Their music is a complete intermingling of sounds, “combining instruments with electronica, in a non-traditional way,” says Peters. They intend to bring the art of jazz to a younger audience using house as a medium.
Their debut album Caught in the Loop, has bought these Cape Town locals a nationwide fan base. Both members studied at UCT and together created the eclectic tracks which they perform and mix live at their performances. You may recognise them from the jazz band, Breakfast Included, who also have a few albums under their belt. The name Goldfish resulted after Poole’s jokes about Peters’ terrible short term memory skills.
“We’re not really DJs,” says Poole, “but we fall into the DJ category because we play dance music.” “We’re more of a ‘live act’,” he says. This is how they have been referred to outside of South Africa, and no other description could be more appropriate. Poole plays the saxophone and flute, and Peters the double bass, while both electronically mix their original tracks – Peters using heat-sensitive decks to do so. These guys are true performers. “We don’t rehearse [for the shows], it’s different every time, there’s no set structure,” says Peters. Poole adds that this is also because there are only two of them
and they have more freedom on stage because of this.
Goldfish use a variety of different vocalists on their tracks and also experiment with different kinds of sounds which enrich their melodies. What results is a music that is noticeably African in feel. The vocalists they use must have “a distinct voice,” says Peters and, when explaining their choice in sound elements, Poole says, “We like them to have an organic edge, a warmth about them. In the digital age, sounds are very cold.” They prefer more rustic sounds to give the music “a bit more edge”.
They seem to have gotten it right too, as their sound appeals to a wider range of age groups and Poole says that they are planning to do more shows that accommodate more than just the usual 18 to 30 target market. An example was the concert played at Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town.
Goldfish are rapidly cracking into the international market and plan to tour Europe next year, as well as live in Ibiza for a couple of months. They have been offered a residency at Pacha, one of the most renowned clubs of our time. They currently hold an international deal with UK based record label Black Mango Music.
They agree that a highlight in their career thus far is their opening for Pete Tong at a club next to Café Del Mar in Ibiza. They were witness to one of the island’s great traditions. Tong was playing during sunset and “as the sun popped over the horizon the music stopped and everyone clapped,” says Poole. Tong followed this up with a high-energy track in celebration.
In their spare time they enjoy surfing and Peters believes that “music is influenced by a whole lot of things”. “We both love an outdoor lifestyle,” he says and explains that they sometimes draw “inspiration from the environment”.
Peters was born in Zimbabwe and much of his extended family still live there. “I went back to Zim two years ago. It’s so mind blowing because I could see what it used to be, from what I remembered. You suddenly realise how lucky we are,” he says.
Their sound lends itself to many genres and settings. At the SHARC HIV Aloud concert they played alongside rock bands, but they have also played in a line-up of house DJ’s at a club, as well as at various outdoor venues.
The duo loved the street party gig they played during O-Week at Rhodes, saying that Rhodes students are a great crowd. Rodger Goode was also quite impressed and sent them a video he took on his cellphone of the gig.
Although still without a name, their new album is said to be released in September of this year. It will be “more up tempo,” says Peters, but still “relaxing and uplifting, a little jazzy and African,” adds Poole. “It will always sound like us,” says Peters.