Deon Bakkes has the face of a saint, with eyes that are gentle and appealing. And yet behind those kindly eyes are the memories of a fourteen year old that have become the driving factor underpinning the success that is Deon Bakkes and The Stolen Horses.
Photo credit: Henry Engelbrecht
I spent some time decoding the memories of one of the most versatile musicians I have come to know in 2018. This is the interview with Deon Bakkes and The Stolen Horses.
Q.You recently launched Thrice a pair. When did you first start making music? A. Personally, I started playing guitar around age 14. I was in love with the rock and metal bands of the 90s. I was in a few small bands ranging from metal to blues over the next ten years, and then started the stolen horses in 2016 when I became interested in jazz and improvisation.
Q. What is your production setup? Do you have any favourite pieces of gear? A. I try to keep things simple, to the point, and real. I believe the sound is in the player and not in the gear. But my favourite piece of equipment is my guitar… obviously... The beautiful blonde Hofner that people have come to know. Other than that, myself and Stephen only play with booster pedals to raise our guitar levels during solos. For the other horses, it’s just a matter of mic and cables really.
Q. How was this EP recorded? What was your creative process? A. The EP was tracked live in studio, with all ponies firing at once so to speak… There’s a special quality that comes out of a band when they jam together, and this is something I always want to have on our recordings. A few of the solo’s were overdubbed, but the rhythm section that drives the songs are all done in a single take together. I guess it’s really just teamwork if you think about it. We rehearsed the songs a few times, but not too many that it would kill the feeling of spontaneity in studio. Having the horses just a little nervous about the songs, makes them play in a special way.
Q. Why the name Thrice a Pair? What does it mean? A. At one level, the name refers to the fact that the EP has three kinds of songs on it with two of each kind. Two originals, two covers and two live tracks. But there’s also a gambling connotation to it, which suits the lyrical themes of Double or Nothing and the Ace of Spades cover quite nicely... However, if you really wanna get testy, you can also think of it as a pretty ‘ballsy’ EP, if you know what I mean.
Q. Where did your draw your inspiration from for the EP? A. Inspiration is a funny thing. To be honest, I guess it comes from all of the music I’ve listened to over the course of my life. But the main idea for this EP was to get a bigger and meaner sound, with more punk attitude in amongst the gypsy rhythm and jazz improvisation. We really enjoy this new sound, and plan to take it further with our next releases.
Q. What is your idea of a great EP? A. I think a great EP is like a good marketing exercise. It should show all the capability and breadth of a band in just a few songs. In the case of Thrice A Pair, we wanted to show that we can play fast, slow, aggressive and also pull that stuff off live.
Q. Underrated artist(s) to watch going into 2019? A. I would have to say Skinnee Sunrise, although most people I know rate them as pretty good. Those guys have great spirit and jam tight! They’ve just released an album called “Senior Year” and it sounds great! I suspect they will have a productive 2019 as a follow up.
Q. Vinyl or digital? Why? A. Depends on the situation really. I love digital streaming so that I can always have music on the move. But when I’m home and want to sit comfy and focus on music and nothing else, I’ll say vinyl all the way!
Q. What's next for Deon Bakkes and The Stolen Horses? A. We have a number of shows coming up which we’re pretty excited for as well as a quick tour to the cape in early November. After that, we'll hit KVD studios to record another EP in December. So we have our schedules all ready to rock!