BY WESSEL KRIGE
Whilst the Stellenbosch music scene is struggling to keep afloat amid the waves from the global COVID-19 pandemic, local band My Brother Einstein is defying the odds of keeping the music scene alive. The band, consisting of Xander Botha (23), Jonathan Lotter (23), Craig Scholtz (23), and Werner van der Merwe (21) from Tygerberg have exploded onto the scene with their new EP ‘It’s Relative’.
The EP is a powerhouse in the local music scene, experimenting across genres and in the process creating unique experiences with each song. The opener ‘Gin & Tea’ entice the listener with folk vocals and jazz undertones before exploding into a punk-like chorus. Their closing track ‘Jozi’ takes alternative rock to new heights with an understated verse that builds to an explosive chorus and stellar guitar work by Van der Merwe.
Die Matie sat down with lead singer Xander Botha and drummer Jonathan Lotter to talk about music in a time of disaster.
In the build-up to its release, what ideas helped shape ‘It’s Relative’ into what it is?
Xander: “We toyed with the play on words with Einstein and the Theory of Relativity and the questions of what relativity means while making the EP. We also wanted to give fans a taste of what we sound like live.”
Jonathan: “The songs don’t have much to do with each other, but they are all quite relevant to our lives and we just wanted our followers to hear them.”
Where does your inspiration come from and how does that drive the meaning behind the music?
Xander: “It’s actually interesting, songs like ‘Jozi’ have different meanings, some would interpret it as being about Johannesburg, but it was actually written for a girl who used to live in our area. ‘Gin & Tea’ was written [about] a girl who loses herself in the party world and the grownup world at a young age.”
How would you describe the image of My Brother Einstein?
Xander: “What you see is what you get. We don’t try to be cool. We do this to be able to show our kids that we were in a band. We don’t try to put on a mask and be people who we are not.”
Jonathan: “We want people to see the band and see talent.”
How do you guys feel about the EP now that it has been released:
Xander: “We feel good! We’re happy and I still love listening to the tracks. I think that it is better to listen to it now and not focus on things we could have changed.”
Jonathan: “I feel a bit sad that we couldn’t promote the EP at shows or go on tour with it, but it’s doing well and that’s great. Everyone seems to enjoy their own song on it and that means a lot.”
I know it’s early… but what is next for My Brother Einstein?
Jonathan: “A well thought out album, with a theme and a story from track one to track twelve. That has always been the dream since the twelfth grade.”
Xander: “We also want to tour further in the country to places like Stellenbosch, Bloemfontein, and Potch. Sort of like a coming home tour.”
With the whole music scene being turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, how was My Brother Einstein affected by lockdown?
Xander: “Since we are three medical students in the band, we understand the gravity of the situation. The scene took a great knock, but it was nice to see everyone doing these online shows and supporting the industry.”
Jonathan: “The band took a hit as we were all pulled into different parts of the country. The EP was supposed to come out in April but was pushed back to September and now it’s going to take serious work to relearn the songs we haven’t played in seven months.”
Xander: “On the upside, I think we have all grown during this period. We have seen that music can survive and that people need music.”
Is there any message that you want to send to your fans?
Jonathan: “Thank you for everything so far. For, the shows with two people and the shows with 2000 people. We are most definitely going to bring out more content to satisfy your needs and keep you listening.”
Xander: “Yes thank you! It’s so cool to be on this journey and even better to experience it with you. I think we can take this band forward into 2021 and have some happy times, be it with two or 2000 people.”
My Brother Einstein’s EP ‘It’s Relative’ is available now on Apple Music, Spotify, and all other music streaming platforms.