Wren Hinds recently released Don’t Die In The Bundu (Bella Union), talks to Captain My Captain about his process and his weapons of choice.

THE CAPTAIN (TC): You have released some amazing music over the past years, the quality is impeccable. Who would you say encouraged you the most growing up and how did this shape the great musician you now are?

WREN HINDS (WH): Both my father & mother were hugely encouraging to us as kids. My mother being a landscape painter, and my father being a musician exposed me to both worlds and my parents always encouraged us to follow our hearts and do what we love. 

TC:  You work on your own quite often and normally play most of the instruments. Is this a choice or more of a practical decision?

WH:  I think it just happened like that. As much as I love collaborating, I think my solo work is a result of me just being with myself and a blank ‘canvas’ and making it something, a world of its own, a sonic universe. I just enjoy overlaying and multi-tracking, and maybe sometimes I just get carried away.

TC: You do collaborate with your uncle, Keith Erasmus, quite a bit. He writes lyrics and you put music to them. How does your process differ in terms of composing alone and have someone else do the lyrics?

WH: The process is always changing, in fact you never know how these things unfold but they just do, it’s like magic. When I work alone, usually it’s the melody and music first, and then I’m given a space, a framework to bring a story into the picture through words. When I work with a lyricist, like Keith, I’ll usually work (musically) around the lyrics because I have to find some pattern, rhythm, timing within the lyrics to formulate a musical idea.  

TC: As I mentioned earlier, you have released four amazing solo records. How do you keep the momentum going and ensure that the level of quality remains so high?

WH: As long as I have some fire within me, something to say, something to bring to the world, the well will always be full. Making records is healing for me, and that I guess gives me momentum.

TC: You were recently signed to Bella Union, home of many great favourite bands. How did this come about and what personal impact has it made?

WH: I’m very much at the beginning of this new chapter as an ‘artist signed to a label’, and Bella Union are my absolute favourite! Bella Union are not genre specific, and they certainly have the most eclectic roster of artists! And what makes it such a special label is the owner, Simon Raymonde, who is a true pioneer of discovering music via some of the most obscure rabbit holes (like Bandcamp). I never imagined a label like Bella Union discovering a small-town guy from the KZN south coast, but I guess crazier things have happened.

TC: Tell us a bit about your recent UK tour?

WH: It was amazing going to the UK for two weeks in September. Bella Union brought me over for two showcase shows alongside two of their newest signings, War Violet & Colouring. We performed in Brighton and London, and it was just phenomenal performing to a full house of people who actually give a shit about music! It’s rare these days, especially in SA audiences are sadly apathetic and, in my opinion, South Africans are just too materialistic and consumed by their devices, it’s a tough time for art and the music industry, but my time in UK showed me that people over there actually care and are kinda obsessed with music, records and art. So I look forward to touring UK more regularly and building something over there! Baby steps.

TC: Don’t Die In The Bundu, your latest album is amazing. Tell us a bit about how you went about recording it?

WH: Don’t Die In The Bundu certainly had a bit more pressure on it compared to my past recordings. The fact that this would be my first official release on a household label made me nervous, but I also felt really inspired and excited about it. Technically I’ve always worked intuitively, and this was no different. I rented out a timber cabin in the Cape Peninsula mountains of Glencairn and pretty much made the whole record there, you can occasionally hear cicadas calling in the background which really captured the natural environment. All projects unfold in their own way, but I’m really happy with how this record came out, and I’m already conceptualizing (in my mind anyway) the next project. Making a record is my happy place, it’s therapy for me.

TC: Finally, in terms of guitars, what is your weapon of choice?

WH: Yamaha CJ818

Interview conducted by: Captain Michael Erfort