Band Or Bust: The Cinematic Rejects chat their ethos and style ahead of Round 1 at The House Of Machines

The Cinematic Rejects are a dynamic 5-piece rock band from Cape Town, who prioritise explosive storytelling through their alternative rock and pop fusion, and their addition to our Band Or Bust Vol. 2 line-up was a no-brainer.

Texx: Give us a bit of background into your band – who are you and where are you from?

The Cinematic Rejects: We were born from diverse corners of South Africa, are more than just a band; we’re a collective bound by a shared passion for music and a defiant stance against conformity. Our journey began when fate wove together the threads of our individual stories, bringing Jesse’s guitar riffs from Secunda, Jason’s vocals from Durban, Thomas’s drumming and James’ melodies from Cape Town, and Shandy’s bass lines from Hout Bay.

Each of us, in our own right, felt like societal rejects at some point, but instead of conforming, we embraced our individuality. The name “The Cinematic Rejects” embodies this ethos—it’s about transforming rejection into something grand, something larger than life. It’s about taking the mundane and turning it into a spectacle, like characters in a movie who captivate audiences with their unapologetic authenticity.

Our bond as a band goes beyond music; it’s a solidarity forged through shared experiences of feeling like outsiders. We found solace in each other’s company, creating a space where judgment falls away, and creativity flourishes. In this sanctuary of self-expression, we celebrate our quirks and imperfections, turning them into art that resonates with those who’ve ever felt like they didn’t quite fit in.

Texx: In your own words, what kind of music do you make?

TCR: Our music is alternative rock with pop elements, blending a wide range of genres and styles brought together by five musicians from completely different musical backgrounds. We create tracks that can make you headbang and others that will have you holding up your flashlight with tears running down your face. Our music is exciting and unique to listen to, with Shandy having a jazz background, Jesse having an old school and modern rock background, Tom and James having alternative and metal backgrounds, and Jason having a pop ballad and classically trained background, which all come together to create our unique sound.

Texx: Sum up your live show in one short sentence?

Our live show is a blend of charisma, contagious energy, and high-octane performances featuring electrifying, unique rock music.

Texx: What’s been the highlight of your musical journey so far?

The highlight of our musical journey so far has been recording and directing our music video for “Daisy.” The rush of preplanning, organizing actors, a script, and extras all within a two-day period was incredibly exciting. It was a defining moment for us as The Cinematic Rejects.

Texx: What do you think you bring to the Final 6 that makes you stand out?

We bring completely different and unique music backgrounds to the table, along with high-energy performances and strong musicianship. On and off stage, our charismatic presence is contagious, drawing people in and making them want to be involved. People are drawn to our music because it’s relatable, exciting, and fun. We love making people dance and feel emotions, and the crowd seems to feel that love too.

Texx: Which act out of the Final 6 do you rate highly and why?

Operation Khataza! Their performances are a whirlwind of energy that sweeps you up, making you feel like you’re part of a liberating experience. They pour their entire spirit into their music, creating something that truly resonates with people. Some of us had the pleasure of hearing them perform at the Search Festival in 2023, and we were completely enchanted.

Their music draws from a wide range of genres, including African Music, Jazz, and more, with each artist bringing their own unique background and training to the mix. “It’s like a musical salad where you can taste the essence of each person blending together in perfect harmony!” – Shandy

Texx: If you could pick any of the judges to drink with who would you pick and why – and what would you be drinking?

TCR: If we could pick any of the judges to drink with, it would definitely be Majozi. Growing up, his music had a huge impact on us. One of the first songs Jesse learned to play by ear on his guitar was “Darling.” Jason remembers being a young teenager, singing in Urban Pops and watching Majozi perform on stage at Sibaya. He’s always been a kind-hearted person, treating everyone with respect, even young kids.

We look up to his live performances, known for their energy and engagement. Majozi has played at numerous festivals and events across South Africa, building a loyal fan base.

We aspire to be in the same sphere as him someday. As for the drink, we’d go for either coffee or an old fashioned. Majozi seems like the type of guy you’d want to be around, no matter the time of day.

The Cinematic Rejects take on James-Henry Sweetnam at The House Of Machines this Friday 7 June at 9pm.