Feature

We caught up with Foul Play founder Josh O’Bree ahead of their massive show with Fokofpolisiekar tonight

Fokofpolisiekar are set to bring the house down at District in Cape Town tonight, presenting their latest album Dans Deur Die Donker. Presented by Foul Play, the evening will also include performances by Hellcats and Cistamatic, bringing together some of the country’s best rock acts for a night of unadulterated head-banging. You just know it’s going to be one for the books.

Together with District, Foul Play have put together some of the best line-ups our country has seen in recent times, consistently redefining the landscape of Cape Town’s intimate live show culture.

So, ahead of their big night, we caught up with founder and creator Josh O’Bree to get the full scoop on all things Foul Play.

Q: Why was Foul Play started and what are they all about as an organisation?

A: In 2022 I was managing a band called Champion Trees and at that point not many spots were doing regular live shows so we would have to organise our own. That usually came with a string of expenses that had to be covered before any of the bands could even think about making cash from the door.

I managed to book them at Surfa Rosa and the place was fucking packed. It was an amazing event so I chatted to the owner and we discussed doing something more regular upstairs at District. Since the beginning, the biggest thing for us was and always has been making sure that bands keep their door sales, without worrying about the costs that go into organising a live show.

Q: What are some of the core values of what you guys do, and why you do it?

A: The main thing I try maintain throughout all my shows, whether it be a big national band (I call them legacy bands) or a band doing their first ever live performance, is the quality and treatment of the artists. If they’re happy with on-stage sound and come out of soundcheck feeling good, then I’m feeling good.

I have my two sound engineers that I work with who are just the best dudes. Barend van der Walt and Carl du Toit, legends not only in the local music scene but in general. They are a massive part of what Foul Play and District do. They’re great at their jobs and also extremely passionate about the scene. And that’s probably our actual core value – passion towards the local live music scene and a desire to see it grow and flourish.

Q: What have been your favourite shows to organise and your best memories so far being involved with Foul Play?

A: Yoh, that’s quite a tough one. I’ve had so many moments where I needed to pinch myself. When I started out with the small shows, I set an end goal of booking the Springbok Nude Girls. They were a band my father introduced me to the same time he showed me Pearl Jam and Nirvana etc, so that was very much a pie in the sky kind of idea. I managed to book them within the first 4 months. So that was quite a surreal moment for me.

And since then I’ve had so many incredible moments, from booking Nudies (again), Shadowclub, Retro Dizzy… That Dizzy show was probably the first time I went “This is perfect, no notes,”. I was able to just be in the crowd and enjoy it.

Working with other event organisers such as Revival Co. for the Dune Rats show (fucking awesome chaos that was) and Boogy Central for That ’70s Fest have also been one of my highlights. But possibly the biggest thing for me has just been finding all these local bands. 90% of the new music I listen to today is from bands that have done one of my shows. I’m so lucky that I get to watch bands for a living haha. It’s crazy when I think about it.

Q: What are Foul Play’s goals for the future and what direction do you plan on going in?

A: So my goals for Foul Play vary. The “day to day” stuff can always be improved. But besides that I want to expand a bit more. I am so grateful for what District has allowed me to do over the past few years and they are my home base. I want to start doing more for those shows and try my hand at bringing something fresh to the table. Get the brand out there some more and find more likeminded people to get involved.

I’ve got some ideas that I’m working on but they’ll be shared when they’re ready. Also doing some bigger shows outside of District is definitely something I’d like to do, like I did with ’70s Fest. Something like that two or three or even four times a year would be amazing. Collaboration is something I’ve grown very fond of.

Get your tickets for tonight if you haven’t already. They’re limited and you know you don’t want to miss out. Doors open 8pm, music starts at 9pm.