Interview by Shannon Lawlor
Medicine Boy are an alternative rock band hailing from Cape Town, South Africa. The band was formed in 2014 by Andre Leo and Lucy Kruger, and later joined on stage by drummer Werner von Waltsleben. Dubbed as ‘dream-noise’, Medicine Boy meld elements of dream-pop and noise-rock together to create their own unique, enchanting fusion of psychedelic alt-rock.
Since 2014, Medicine Boy have released a handful of singles, a debut EP titled More Knives, and a follow-up LP in 2016 titled Kinda Like Electricity met with exceptional acclaim. The band are currently preparing their sophomore album.
Medicine Boy are set to perform at Cape Town’s picturesque Endless Daze festival on November 3-5, surrounded by lush scenery and it’s inevitable power to impress.
We caught up with Lucy Kruger of Medicine Boy on progression and growth:
For anyone unfamiliar with Medicine Boy’s charming resonance, could you tell us about how you initially formed?
Andre and I had been making music together for a few years before we started Medicine Boy. We had a couple of different projects that gave us the chance to explore extremes – from very stripped down and intimate to a much heavier psychedelic approach. When we decided to start a two piece (out of both curiosity and necessity) we had already developed a musical relationship/trust and were safe to experiment quite openly and intensely.
Debut LP Kinda Like Electricity was self-released in August 2016, could you tell us about the recording process, and how it may have differed to recording your first EP, More Knives?
We were very lucky to have support for Kinda Like Electricity, which meant the gift of a bit of time in studio – something one doesn’t always have due to financial restraint. This was both wonderful and challenging – for a while it gave us the time to craft it and also gave us the chance to second guess ourselves.
We had an almost intentionally juvenile approach to recording More Knives – two days in studio where we went in and put everything down. The idea with this was that we were still figuring out what our band was about and didn’t want to overthink it or force it. Kinda Like Electricity was a little more considered in its production – though we held on to the belief that less is more and tried very hard to let the songs steer themselves.
Medicine Boy have been busy preparing a sophomore album. What details can you share about the journey thus far?
We’ve tracked the album and feel really excited about the collection of songs we’ve put together. We’re busy with the mixing part of the process which is always quite intimidating and very fundamental to shaping the personality of the album. But we’re working with great people and look forward to seeing it come to life. Hopefully soon.
On November 3rd, Medicine Boy are set to perform at Endless Daze Festival located in South Africa. What are you most looking forward to about this experience?
(I have to be careful to not be too gushy here) This festival is very close to our hearts and is as near to home as we’ll find. There is a genuine love for music and so there is careful attention to sound and space as well as a respect for the artists – both international and local. It’s also just a lot of fun. A sort of safe haven for the strange.
Medicine Boy are better known for their heartfelt and intimate performances as a duo. Since implementing new instruments and textures into your sound, how has this changed your alluring stage chemistry?
I hope not. If anything, I hope the widening of sound amplifies the intimacy. Creates more space in which to play and come alive. I do feel glad that it started small and has slowly developed. We had always imagined it growing/shifting/changing shape and love playing with different players. Werner von Waltsleben (our drummer) has been very instrumental in shaping our sound – bringing in new ideas and helping us to more easily explore our own.
If Medicine Boy could single-handedly change the music industry, how would you do it?
That’s a really big and complicated question.
I’d suppose I’d love to see a return to live music. To somehow nurture the relationship between musician and audience where it is less about producing/consuming and a bit more based on a necessary sharing. Though I do believe this is happening on a smaller scale and am grateful for that.
What does the future hold for Medicine Boy?
Endless Daze will be our last show for the year and then all focus will be on getting the new album ready. We’re hoping to spend a bit more time in Europe from next year. Our wish is really to tour and play live as much as we can – it’s the thing that we love the most.
Medicine Boy will be performing live at Endless Daze festival in Cape Town, South Africa, 3 – 5 November
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