Photo: Regan George

Soco shaking things up

By Aurelia Mouton

Cape Town band, Soco, formerly known as the South Easters, are back with a bang as they kick off this year with their new single “Stuff and Things”. Formed in 2014 in their drummer’s garage, the five-piece band has earned their street-cred among the easy-going, plaid-clad, live music mob of Stellenbosch.

 The group of friends, David Derman (vocalist), Oli Amos (bass), Jason Winde (drums), Chris Cloete (keys) and Xander Combrink (guitar), describe their sound as a product of an odd assortment of musical backgrounds.  The members of the band took music as a subject in school and have varying degrees of training in classical and jazz music, having mostly played in swing ensembles. 

“Having primarily played in heavily jazz and swing influenced bands for a large portion of our lives, and with all the members of the band listening to and playing a wide variety of genres, Soco’s sound is definitely an interesting one. With roots in blues, pop-funk, folk and neo-soul music, our influences range from Kaleo, John Mayer and the Black Keys to Tom Misch, Milky Chance, Lauv and Anomalie,” said Combrink. 

With each member bringing the vibe of what inspires them, the band has a nuanced undercurrent to their music. The result is a sound crafted by an interestingly intricate mix of genres and lyrical inspirations.

“Soco’s sound has certainly come a long way since the release of “Salute the Sunset”. The chilled, laid back sound soon morphed into the harder, more blues-inspired driving track titled “Illusion” and is currently taking on something quite exciting as our new music approaches its release,” said Combrink about their journey from their first releases to the music currently in production. The band’s music is produced in-house by Winde and Amos, who jokingly refer to their final mixes as “suitably mediocre”. 

Derman, Amos and Combrink are proud Stellenbosch University (SU) students, while Cloete studies medicine at UCT and Winde pursues sound engineering in Cape Town. “Soco is essentially a group of good mates who really enjoy playing and creating music despite each of us following very different career paths,” said Derman. 

Fan and friend of the band, Wilmie Conjé, BSc (Biodiversity & Ecology) graduate from SU, said, “You can literally hear the passion when they play–whether it’s their own compositions or covers. They are all solo musicians in their own right but, their styles are so complementary!” 

When asked what is next, the band said, “Soco will always be a melting pot of ideas. It is an extremely exciting creative environment to be a part of and to be honest, we’re not even sure what could jump out next! Rest assured it will be music, videos, photos and stories that Soco have poured their lived experience into, that bring together who we are and that we are extremely proud and passionate about!” Soco can be found on Instagram at @soco_official_, and as The South Easters on Spotify and Apple Music.

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