Gino DePinto for AOL The Parlotones, the raucous four-piece from…
The Parlotones Q&A: Climbing Kilimanjaro Without Proper Training and the Complex South African Music Scene
- Posted on Jul 6th 2012 1:00PM by Nicole Pajer
Gino DePinto, AOL
What's it like to be famous in your hometown and then start over to break into the U.S.?
It makes us appreciate the successes we've had back home and it makes us hungry again to redo the journey. It's very exciting for us. We grew up in a relatively small music market and then coming to the biggest music market - it's an exciting adventure.
Do you feel like you're starting from scratch again?
We're going back to some of the early days but we've never really left this starting-from-scratch environment because once we achieved success in South Africa, we started touring the U.K. and then we started achieving success there. Now we're starting in the States. It's fun having a contrast. In America we're really back to the beginnings. It doesn't feel that foreign.
Tell us about your recent Mt. Kilimanjaro climb the band did as part of Africa Unite.
It was an amazing and difficult experience. We underestimated how difficult it would be and we didn't really stick to the training routine that we were sent, largely due to the fact that we were so busy traveling and stuff before the actual climb took place. But we all managed to get to the top of the mountain. It's something we are proud that we did and we're proud to be involved in the cause and on a personal level it's something to check off our wish list.
Was it as hard as everyone says it is?
It was harder, actually. After you complete it you're like, "Yes, we did it" but at the time we were like, "Whoa, this is really difficult." None of us are big-time hikers. People did warn us ahead of time and say that it was achievable but it was really hard and some people just can't get up there with the altitude sickness. Fortunately, none of us got the altitude sickness, but you definitely get a lot of fatigue and you don't get much sleep the whole time. The last day is quite intense. Once you get to the top of the mountain you're like, "Yes. I've made it to the top," but that's not the hard part. The hard part is actually getting down. Climbing down actually takes more pressure on your body than going up and that's when you really start feeling the aches and pains and you've known you've done it so that mind strength of trying to achieve a goal is kind of gone. You almost wish there was a cable car that you can take down
What would your advice be for somebody who is thinking about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro? What should they do for training or just to mentally prepare?
I'd say if you're keen on doing it, hike but also make sure you are hiking in areas that have a high altitude and get used to that environment. There is a whole training program; if you really want to be 100-percent certain that you'll make it, follow it.
There's a whole training program that you guys didn't follow?
No, we didn't [laughs]. But we did do other things to prepare. I think the full training program is designed though for someone that doesn't work out at all and then suddenly wants to climb a mountain. It's not the hiking that actually gets you; it's managing the fatigue and the altitude.
What's the music scene like in South Africa?
It's a really cool scene and there are a lot of awesome musicians and bands but it's very diluted because we have 11 different languages, 11 different cultures that go with those languages and 11 different styles of music that are attached to those different languages and cultures. When you start breaking it down, it's all very quite niche and it's not as established as it is here and there aren't that many venues. The thing that we did for years is we just traveled from city to city with our own P.A. and just played wherever we could, whether it was a bar or school or club or restaurant. These places weren't really venues, we just created our own. It just makes it a lot more difficult to actually play live. It's one of those things where there is a lot of interest in music but there's just not the scene or the infrastructure to provide for that. What ends up happening is instead of the musical environment progressing, it's almost like it's just running on a treadmill. It's going but it never really grows. We really are an anomaly in terms of the success we achieved there and I think I can count on two hands the amount of artists that can actually do it as a full time job there.
What are the emerging South African bands that we should know about?
Some of the rock bands that I like are aKing, Zebra and Giraffes, Wrestlerish, Crashcarburn, and Shadowclub. There are some African bands that are quite cool such as Freshlyground. And then there's a lot of hip hop artists that would that I admire that are never going translate outside of South Africa because they are singing in another tongue.