Any muso who’s ever been drunk after a mate’s gig can attest that the muso’s equivalent of “OMG haven’t seen you in forever we should totes grab a coffee together sometime maybe never” is: “Dude, we have to write a song together!”
It’s a conversation that besties Richard Liefeldt (Retro Dizzy and Dr. Lovefield) and Sihle Mkhize (Runaway Nuns and Old Man Coyote aka OMC) had had a thousand times before and, until recently, had nothing to show for it.
But something about the pre-lockdown panic of bars closing at 6pm and the impending doom-cloud looming ahead and drawing ever closer, pushed them to officially take their bff relationship status to the next level: co-collaborators.
A casual hangout turned into a dinner date, which became “just one more drink”, riling them up and making it impossible for Liefeldt and Mkhize to resist the urge to fool around a little in Mkhize’s spare bedroom (read: home studio). And by 3am, they’d created their first Dr. Lovefield and Old Man Coyote collab, a 5-minute distortion-driven noise haze of a psych-rock track that sounds every bit as diabolical as the title, “Stay Evil” suggests.
It’s dungeon and dirty, screechy and schizophrenic, and it’s exactly what they didn’t know they were always supposed to create together. Liefeldt and Mkhize open up to me about their creative process.
Al Clapper: Talk me through who did what on the song, from instruments to vocals to production.
Sihle Mkhize: Richard handled the main vocal and guitar throughout the song, I did some backing vocals, the drums on a midi controller, the bass and the really phased out guitar in the back which adds a sort of uneasiness to the track. The song was recorded, mixed and mastered by me which was a lot of fun, it’s the first time I’d done that for a collaboration, super stoked I got to do it with one of my best choms.
AC: You mentioned that you wrote this track under the influence and that you kept the dops going all the way through, until you finished the track. When you woke up the next morning, no doubt with a hangover, did you feel the same about the song?
Richard Liefeldt: When we woke up we both looked at each other and were like, “Ok here is the big test!” and went to listen and it was still mad. Thank Allah.
AC: What are each of you bringing to the track that you don’t necessarily get to express in your other projects?
SM: I think most of it comes down to the chemistry Richard and I have, it’s obviously a different dynamic when compared to working with four other people in nuns and working alone in OMC, I think that difference and dynamic has a lot to do with the sound we crafted together.
RL: Well I actually feel like this track could have fallen right in between Dizzy and Dr. My solo stuff is normally the more soft intimate subject matter and Dizzy is a bit more out there. I feel like this song has a bit of both, a split personality per se. But then when he picked up that bass of his the whole song changed and grew, definitely into a different creature that I hadn’t imagined. The whole speed up part at the end was his idea, take the boy out the Nuns but can’t take the Nuns out the boy I guess.
AC: The way I hear it, the song exists in four scenes: the intro-into-sung verses and chorus, the sped up high-octane car-chasey vibe, the dynamic drop in energy and tempo, and the final electronic part. What mood do you want your listeners to feel with each part.
RL: For the beginning parts I would hope the listener let’s go of all inhabitions and takes a proper deep animalistic breathe and just becomes aware of their existence but in a good way, not the, ‘Oh my fuck this is happening’, awareness. Sorry I digress. When it hits the first, ‘Stay Evil for me baby’, part I hope the listener has started to undress. The small pause or inhale before it speeds up is to allow the listener a moment to prepare for pleasure. The last part should allow the listener to be wild and free, beat your chest you animal.
AC: Both you and Rich explain that this song was an opportunity to create freely. What does it mean for you to create without constraints?
SM: I think with this song because we had no real idea where it was going to go, we were free to bounce ideas off each other going back and forth pretty rapidly, we were open and willing to try out each idea just for the sake of seeing what happens, in a band context you don’t always get to do that just because of time constraints or whatever.
AC: Other than “Stay evil for me baby”, what other sexy phrases can a lucky lover expect from your pillow talk?
RL: “It’s time to go home, I’ll get you an Uber babe” or “Sorry about the mess” or “-Insert wrong name”.