Go Barefoot released a music video for their song Hail, and the collaborative project, featuring three groups of dancers in a parallel narrative to that of the song. The exciting song, beautiful choreography and floating camerawork all come together in a tight package that celebrates the chaos of youth, and I couldn’t resist asking Saul Nossel, the group’s drummer, a few questions about it all…
“We started off as a resident instrumental group at 44 Stanley in Jozi,” Saul says, “and so we often improvised instrumental sections with changeable chord progressions and melodies. We looped these sections while individuals solo’d over them.”
“In 2015 our guitarist’s sister was having her wedding and asked if we would be the entertainment. We had to put together 2 hours of music for the occasion when we only had a 1 hour set so realised we had to write more material for the wedding.”
“We took our affinity for improvisation and found the bass line and chord progression that would be become Hail and turned it into a really long instrumental jam that we decided would be suitable for the opening song of the wedding as it was so jovial.”
“Hail developed from this 20 minute instrumental jam into the more conventional structured song you hear today.”
When it comes to the music video, the band decided to be more passive. “We worked with our old pal Tom Revington who shot the video for I Won’t Back Down, and with Meagan Connolly, a creative who choreographed dance to the song. When it came to the formation of the video, we just watched as these beautiful people interpreted our music. We got to be the audience this time”
“The band was not involved in any of the choreography because we wanted Meagan (the choreographer) to interpret the song in her own way and then workshop the performance with the different groups of dancers to suit their individual style.”
“We didn’t necessarily want the dancers to tell the same story as the song through their movements. We wanted them to find their own meaning within their medium so they could add meaning and emphasise themes within the song.”
“The idea is for the the song, dance and video all to be complimentary, share the story of the song and bring about new narratives all relative to one another.”
“As an independent band fitting into a small tributary of musical industries we have had to figure out our own way of producing our work such as recorded material, videos and other content. We figured that the best way to create all different types of media is to collaborate with other professionals, building their independent careers and allow for our works to feed into each other so that we can both gain traction and create rad artistic ventures beyond the music alone.
“We would like to hope we can create symbiotic relationship between growing artists in SA and Johannesburg so that everyone benefits from working with each other.”
“As well as the manner in which we work, we have found restrictions in ourselves from a cultural point of view. We acknowledge we were all brought up influenced strongly by Western and popular culture yet we are born in South Africa and part of the African continent, which is not always so focused in Western popular ideas.”
“Thus we challenge ourselves to assess our creative restrictions due to the media we have encountered in our lives and so we aim to acknowledge our position as young South Africans, but fusing what’s known and popular to us with more local sounds and characteristics, while adding flavour from our individual affinities.”
“And so with this and having five minds making music altogether we have learned to work together to be aware of how exactly we express ourselves as a South African band.”
It looks like Go Barefoot is heading in the direction of releasing singles rather than albums or collections at the moment.
“Oh no, there is an album most definitely on its way,” Saul interjects. “It’s about time we released a full length. We are currently in a process of experimenting with different recording and producing methods because we want to produce this album ourselves.”
“Yeah, well this also has to do with restrictions.”
“We have not yet had an opportunity to walk into studio with a huge sum and say ‘Sweet let’s record a 12-track LP’ and take off a month to do it.”
“Some of the guys have jobs and commitments outside of the band that make it tricky for us to have unlimited time to record and produce, so we opted to do in bits and pieces so that we can build it up, and have the time and resources to create something special.”
“So this may take a bit more time but it should be worth it. And so we head into studio and record 2 or 3 tracks at a time and then we just can’t wait to release something new so we have decided after each studio session we should drop a single so our audience knows what we have been up to and where we are going with out music. Releasing a string is definitely not the only way or the best. To us we see it as an experiment of finding the best way to connect with our audience and release content.”
“But we definitely taking influence from artists like Gorillaz and Thundercat who released plenty of singles before releasing their latest full lengths. It does make a lot of sense with the way media is currently being mass consumed and so we are just figuring out what works best for us and our engagement with our audience.”
In the meantime, they also just released another single, Clouds of Rain:
Floris sometimes writes things when he’s not watching movies or playing video games or editing videos or folk-rock singing/songwriting.