Five Minutes with December Streets

We met up with Tristan Coetzee and Dane Steinhobel from the Pretoria-based indie-pop band December Streets. They've been on the SA music scene since 2009 and are still going strong with the release of their latest EP titled Wild Heart. They let us in on making it in the industry, what inspires them and what's planned for the future... 

You recently dropped your new album, Wild Heart. You collaborated with Thieve on the title track Wild Heart. What was it like collaborating with Thieve?

Amazing. We wrote the track. We’ve always been massive fans of Thieve, they’ve influenced our music. I became friends with Andrew a while ago and I phoned him and said, "Dude, I’ve got this track and I think your vibe would be sick on it." We met up in studio and started writing the rest of it. And the rest is history.

Wild Heart is a track that could resonate with quite a few people. Was that inspired by a personal experience?

Definitely. It was inspired by an old relationship and we took it further. I think many people can relate to being in a relationship where you feel like you’re putting in more than you’re getting back. And that’s the core of Wild Heart.

Can we expect a killer music video for this track?

We have to plan that still. We have some ideas. We’ll probably do it in the next two weeks. Usually we hit inspiration the day before. And we just say, "Cool, let’s get the team together and shoot it." But yes, you can expect an awesome music video.

In a 2011 interview, you said you can’t quite claim the “popular tag”. It’s been six years since then – do you think you’ve earned it now?

I think so. I think it’s at the point now where we’ve worked really hard on the scene and we’ve seen the recognition. It’s really awesome to see the hard work paying off. But it’s still pretty surreal when people ask, "Are you famous?" It’s like, I don’t know, we’re still working on it and growing on our music.

Are you guys working on anything at the moment?

Well, you reminded us to work on that music video, so... [Laughs.] At the moment, we’re just chilling because it’s been blood, sweat and tears for the past few years. We’re trying out a new collaboration and focusing on touring.

What would you say inspires your music?

A lot of the stuff is definitely relationship based. Not only relationships between people, but a relationship with life –where we are in our lives and what’s important. If you listen to some of our earliest work, it’s all about being in university and partying. Now it’s more about having experienced love and heartbreak – and partying.

Any advice for aspiring musicians out there?

Ja! Don’t be afraid to approach people of any kind of calibre. Step out of your shell. It can be quite intimidating speaking to someone who’s more renowned in the industry. But that’s the key to getting in – making contacts and building relationships. That’s how we started out. I approached Catherine Grenfell and told her about "My Name" – our first track back in the day. She got hold of it and chose it as her treffer on 5FM when that was still a thing. That was literally our key into the music industry. It opened a lot of doors

Learn about the music industry. Because it’s often not what you think it is. As a muso, you shouldn’t just focus on the song writing side of it – the music industry is enormous. There are so many different angles and aspects. Going out and speaking to whoever will help a lot in the process of learning how this massive machine works.


By Tilana De Wachter Photos supplied by December Streets