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#ThenAndNow: Marius van Coller talks growing up on a farm, being in a band, and the truth about Santa Claus

Ever heard of the Dope Folks? I hadn’t, not until recently anyway.

But then again I don’t get to Stellenbosch all that often, where they’ve made a name for themselves and their brand of high energy folk-rock with hints of punk and surf.

As an avid consumer of all things local, I was excited by the prospect of something new.

Unlike with Bam Bam Brown and Nic Preen, I didn’t know much about Marius van Coller. Funnily enough, I met him at Mercury Live not too long ago, a towering individual with the personality to match.

The Dope Folks, Bam Bam Brown, and World of Birds are celebrating a combined Father’s and Youth day at Mercury Live this weekend and we’re here for all the cutesy nostalgia.

In a little game we call #ThenAndNow, Marius took every opportunity to sing his pops’ praises and my heart melted.

What is your father’s nickname for you?

My parents call me “Mannemarak” (They still do, and my close friends from high school love giving me shit about it). It comes from an old school Afrikaans kids program about a robot called Mannemarak that travels across the universe and teaches kids about the world. Kinda like a low budget Afrikaans magic school bus.

What was your father’s response when you decided to become a musician?

I think my Dad always knew music would forever be a major part of my life, from playing in bands at school, writing music in my bedroom, and singing in choirs. Though, he always saw it as more of a hobby, and I noticed him and my mother’s concern when It became more and more of a serious pursuit. Especially since it picked up in my final year of studies. But after the release of our first EP, which happened shortly after I graduated, I could see that they were at ease with where I was going in life. It was never a conversation, but a gradual realization.

Growing up, did you and pops have any father/son traditions? If so, what were they?

I spent a lot of time with my dad on the farm, especially during school vacations. Whether I was helping him feed the livestock or driving the bakkie (at an age which no one should be allowed behind a wheel). It was hard work, but it was hard work with my dad.

What is your favourite memory of you and your father?

There are many different memories, but they all revolved around my dad being the life of the party. He was the class clown and I followed narrowly in his footsteps. A prominent memory that pops up would be how he used to dress up like Santa every Christmas, even when we were definitely old enough to know it was him, but he liked to put on the show.

What is a song you associate with your father?

Don’t bring me down by Electric Light Orchestra. They are my favourite old school band and I discovered them when I was a teenager; During my obsession my dad heard me blasting their “Out Of The Blue” album, and told me that it was the very first album he ever bought. I’m not crying, you’re crying.

If you think your dad has what it takes to wear the ‘dankest dad in the city’ crown, enter their competition and find out more about their #FreeForFathers gig here.

It’s not bias if it’s true.