I arrive at Young Blood’s quiet coffee shop to three fresh-faced boys already waiting, sipping on hot coffee. Vickus Horne (vox), Nicholas Forbes (lead guitar) and Richard Dicks (bass) are the epitome of the boy-next-door – they are pleasant and polite with a dash of naivety that is equal parts endearing and frustrating.
I open the interview with a question I generally don’t like to ask but it was one I felt necessary in this instance – for someone who has never heard of you, how would you describe your band and, in an indie-saturated city like Cape Town, what makes Cherry Vynil special? Vickus, by far the most talkative of the group, answers after a few seconds of contemplative wide-eyed staring: “I suppose you could say all the lame things like, ‘it’s something unlike anything you’ve heard before, something completely new and unique’.” Pause, more staring. I can almost feel him search for the right answer that balances just the right amount authenticity with cool. After the silence enters the awkward sphere I try a different angle to help them along. “Let’s say you are describing your band to a cousin, or your hypothetical best friend who lives overseas and doesn’t get to see you live?” I nudge them along. Vickus steps in again, he seems to have something this time. “Well, sort of like an acoustic-folkish-indie-rock band?” he almost asks, unsure of himself.
I want to stop them right there and send them into the wild for a week to carry their lives on their backs and do some manic introspection. But I can’t quite tell if they are just genuinely bored with the questions I’m asking (in which case maybe I need to go do some re-evaluating) or if they are truly stumped and have never actually thought about this before – something that would be a little worrying consider their recent album release and extensive PR run. I give them the benefit of the doubt and try to come up with something leftfield.
They have been added to multiple campus radio stations and are doing well on those charts, so I ask them about the specific role campus radio plays in the development of the South African music industry. Richard answers this time. “I think it’s important because once you get married it’s very seldom that you go out,” he says, with giggles from the table egging him on. “It’s true, cause you’re normally tired”.
Vickus picks up the thought, adding: “That’s where the energy is. The students are the ones who go out and party. They’re the ones who go out and actually listen to bands.” It is undoubtedly their target market, with yearly tours to all the student campuses and towns a massive part of their mission. That, coupled with an upcoming tour supporting local artist Elvis Blue, (remember the Idols winner?) and their aforementioned album “Busking Cape Town”, they’ve got more than their fair share of work on their plate. A feat some fulltime bands can only dream of.
“To be able to make a living and just do this is really tough. But we’re lucky in the sense that we do corporates we do weddings. So you’ve got the commercial Cherry Vynil and then you’ve got the corporate Cherry Vynil,” Vickus explains.
Aside from Vickus, all the band members are from Bellville, something they are really proud of. “There’s something in the water,” Richard laughs. They’ve all also played in various bands before settling on the current Cherry Vynil line-up, which includes one absentee member Jason Solomon on drums. Nicholas is the newest member and only joined three weeks prior to the interview and is best known as the lead vocalist and guitarist of The Ballistics. They seem to have found a formula that works for them, and despite the many changes the band has undergone, only speak good things of the members who have gone on to other things. Their nice-ness never wavers, and I wish it would, just to shake things up a little.
Their all-encompassing description of their sound is perhaps the best indication of who these guys are. If tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, these guys are the Five Roses of the scene – their finished product is more consumer-friendly but might not bode well when it comes to setting them apart.
Follow Jessica on Twitter.