THE guys of Early Hours started life in South Africa…
but are based over here in the U.K. now. I ask Jake and Adam about their formation and what they can reveal regarding the new single, Blink. They tell me what they are doing next and if there are any gigs lined up now they are in the country.
Early Hours recommend some new artists and tell me what the scene is like in Cape Town right now; if there are fond memories they have from their time in music; whether they get time to chill outside of their musical life – the guys reveal what they hope to accomplish before the end of the year.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Been a busy old week! Jake just flew down from America and we got to see each other for the first time in four months (we’ve taken the first half of the year off as Jake studies songwriting in Boston and Adam is studying Production in Liverpool, but we’ve relocated to the U.K. for the next three months). So, there’s been a lot of catching up, rehearsing and listening to the new Arctic Monkeys album.
We’re a combination of jet-lagged and excited for this summer we’re about to spend together.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We are Early Hours, an Indie-Afropop band consisting of Jake Bennett and Adam Rothschild; bred in Cape Town, South Africa and now based in the U.K. seeking out world domination on a budget…
Blink is out now. What inspired the song?
Blink came about through a period of uncertainty. We put out a song called Smells Like Summer as we finished high-school, which went viral online and became the first track in our country’s history to get over a million plays on SoundCloud. We felt like the world was ours for the taking but South Africa is a small place and it’s tricky and expensive to escape from.
So, while we wanted to be out seeing the world and meeting all these fans we’d generated through the power of the Internet, we felt a bit stuck. Blink is about that period and about that feeling that the world is passing you by but with a silver-lining of hope that, despite all the worries we have, the best parts of this world might be sitting right in front of you.
The track is perfect for the summer! Was it written with festivals and celebration in mind?
Oh, absolutely. We come from one of the most beautiful, sun-kissed and joyous countries in the world and it’s always been our goal to bring a slice of that cake to the rest of the world. The irony and the beauty in Blink is that it’s coming out right as we get the chance to do just that. We can’t wait to take it to every festival and celebration the U.K. will let us into!
Might we see more material coming later this year?
Absolutely. We can’t say when, but our advice is don’t blink.
Jake and Adam. How did you find one another and form Early Hours?
Jake was born in England and moved to South Africa and Adam was a South African with a fascination with the U.K. music scene. We met on our first day of high-school and bonded over a mutual love of Arctic Monkeys. We formed a lifelong friendship out of that singular conversation. The band is pretty much just a product, and an extension of that friendship, paired with a dream to get back to the U.K. and be a part of that scene we’re both so in love with.
You have achieved worldwide acclaim and worked with some great producers. Do you think travel and great collaborations make your work stronger and broader?
Without doubt. The reason this partnership works is because we push each other...
But, the real magic is formed when we combine that competitive spirit with the outside world; whether it’s life on the road informing the lyrics or a general fascination with other country’s music scenes. One person in particular that changed our sound and our way of working is an Australian producer named JP Fung, who we emailed out of the blue because we were a fan of the Australian music scene and, in particular, a band called Last Dinosaurs (who he produced).
We didn’t expect a reply, but he liked our music and we’ve been working and writing with him ever since. He’s our biggest collaborator and he feels like a very close friend - even though we’ve never even met face to face.
You hail from Cape Town. What is the music scene like there? Is it quite easy to get gigs?!
It’s small but deadly. The relative lack of bands and venues mean those in the scene have to compete with each other for the country’s affection. But, at the same time, it comes with a feeling that we’re all working towards the same goal of having South African music recognised – be it by the world or by the local community who are lost in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart.
That feeling, and the hard work it takes to achieve that goal, builds a pretty nurturing family spirit. There's always a great sense of pride when someone from your community breaks the boundaries and starts to take off. Jeremy Loops is the country’s latest and greatest export and we’re all firmly behind him, while furiously trying to catch up.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
We feel like landing in the U.K. last week was an achievement in itself as it was kind of the culmination of eight years of our friendship and playing music with each other. Now, the goal is to connect with as much of our U.K. fanbase as possible and play in the venues and the spots we’ve dreamed about since high-school. We also hope to achieve a pretty profound knowledge of what makes a good English pub.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
As we said earlier; when we were in high-school, we put out a song called Smells Like Summer which took off online and led to us jumping on a plane the day we finished our final exams; leaving our hometown together for the first time and flying to New York to record a song. That feeling of escape, and our first leap into the great unknown, will stick with us forever. It’s a feeling we try to tap into with every show we play and every song we write.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Arctic Monkeys was the band that we bonded over in the first place, so that would be pretty sweet. Though there is that old saying about how you should never meet your heroes - so maybe that could be a risky business. We got the chance to tour with The Lumineers last year when they came to South Africa. They were a band we didn’t know much about but really got into as a result of that experience.
As for the rider, we’re pretty easy to please. A few bottles of tap water, some fresh towels and 2000 Smarties hand-sorted into different colours is all we ask for.
What gigs do you have coming up? Will you come to the U.K.?
Just arrived! We had our first show in London at the O2 Academy this week and we’re off to Bristol in June. Other than that, keep an eye on our social media (Instagram and Twitter handles are @earlyhoursband) to see where we’re popping up next.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Make sure you only eat the orange Smarties.
IN THIS PHOTO: Beatenberg
Do you both get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
We grew up underneath the watchful eye of Table Mountain and that instilled a great love for the outdoors. Running up there, or just getting out of the house and into Mother Nature’s pocket, has always been a great way to unwind and a wonderful source of inspiration.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can each choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Jake: way it goes - Hippo Campus
Adam: South of the River - Tom Misch
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