Acoustic Element is a dynamic and exciting acoustic pop duo from Cape Town – and cousins to boot. They don’t have degrees in music, but they sound like they might. Their music seems like unplugged versions of EDM – infectious, energetic, and lively. We asked one of the cousins, Callen Petersen, a few questions about the band and their latest release – For The Day (feat. Four).
The combination of violin, guitar, and beatboxing might not be unheard of, but is a relatively unique sound. How did you come across the unique combination?
We both learned our instruments classically (individually) from a very young age. We came across the combo one Christmas, when the whole family got together (myself and Jody are cousins). I got a new violin as a gift and Jody a new guitar – and we just started jamming. And basically never stopped!
You’re a duo from Cape Town – how important is your home town in the creation of your music?
We take a lot of inspirations from Cape Town when creating our sounds – the main one being the actual feeling of Cape Town. Our city has a very laid back relaxed feel, but at the same time, turns into a social hub at night. That contrast gives us a lot to play with when creating riffs and beats.
Since you’re cousins making music together, I have to ask: Do you come from a big musical family?
Yes! My mom actually plays the violin. My brother the clarinet. Jody’s bro plays the trumpet – and in the mix of cousins, aunts and uncles, we have pianists, flutists, more violins and basically everyone can sing in pitch perfect harmony together.
How did you end up collaborating with X Factor winners Four on your latest track?
We met the lads out one night at Shimmy Beach Club and basically came up with the idea of doing a track together – and when they were back in Cape Town again we hit up the studio.
The single, For The Day (feat. Four), has an interesting combination of acoustic instruments with dance music sounds. Is dance music important or influential to you?
We love making people dance! We take a lot of our influence from tropical house, purely because it has a very laid back feel (allowing for a lot of musical interpretation) but also a very strong beat.
The genre-defying sound of For The Day seems broad and approachable. Do you find your fans are equally eclectic and varied?
People have seen us perform in very different settings – from weddings, corporate dinners, markets, festivals and clubs. Sometimes they will hear raw acoustic music, other times with back tracks and sometimes with a DJ supporting us. So I think each time someone hears us, it’s special in its own way, depending on the nature of the event. In part, that’s what we love about For The Day – it goes across all genres, it’s very easy listening, and it has something in it for everyone to enjoy.
Who are your big musical inspirations or influences?
Tropical house is a huge influence. The likes of Goodluck, Goldfish, Thomas Jack and Kygo.
What is in your CD player (or top of your playlist) at the moment?
Top of my playlist currently is Lakota Silva‘s Teeth and I’m still hooked on We Dance Again by Black Coffee. And I know Jody is loving GoodLuck‘s Thinking About You and Chain Smokers’ Don’t Let Me Down.
Floris sometimes writes things when he’s not watching movies or playing video games or editing videos or folk-rock singing/songwriting.