The Cape Town group DIE ANTWOORD performed in Japan last week. THEUNIS ENGELBRECHT spoke to them afterwards.
'You have to eat everything with chopsticks, even your Rice Crispies! And we stayed in these fancy hotels with heated toilet-seats my friend - the toilet seats have even got a bum-spray button that you can push and it washes your bum clean. And here you get these little Japanese girls that run on your back to massage you!"
These are the words of NINJA from the Cape Town's rap-rave group DIE ANTWOORD live and direct from Tokyo where he performed last Sunday with YO-LANDI VI$ER and DJ VUILGEBOOST after a performance the day before in Osaka. This was part of the Summer Sonic music festival where performers like Stevie Wonder, Jay Z, Taylor Swift, Guns n Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, Pixies, The Offspring, Tribe Called Quest and 30 Seconds to Mars also performed.
DIE ANTWOORD'S performance at Summer Sonic was part of their world tour that started in June in South Africa. In July they performed in Poland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Serbia, Germany, Hungary, Chicago, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal, Boston, Philadelphia and New York.
"Flame on! Konichiwaaaaaaaaa!" said NINJA on DIE ANTWOORD'S Facebook group (that is now got over 106 000 followers) one day before their arrival in Japan. Within half an hour there were interesting comments from various parts of the world. Marilu Snyders wrote: "Welcome welcome! See you in the front row, from Sasolburg (South Africa) to Osaka, that's how we roll!" Non Nonnon from Tokyo wrote: "In my home town Tokyo? Yatta! Yippeeee! Go to a public bath, check out convenience stores with doors that play music and sit on a funky washlet." And from Derry Ireland, Kevin Kegadeth O'Kane writes: "Them crazy japs are gonna loooove you mentalists."
A rollercoaster, this is what DIE ANTWOORD'S world tour is. Their record label, Interscope, released a short-clip of 5 songs last month, as an appetite-wetter for their debut album $O$ and the reactions have been very good. BBC Radio 1 have been playing their hit single "Enter the Ninja" heavily - After the radio station played the single for the 1st time they received so many requests to play it again that on the 3rd day they announced that it was "record of the week". ($O$ is finally getting released on the 5th of October 2010.)
A person would think that NINJA, YO-LANDI and VUILGEBOOST would be exhausted by this point, but don't believe it. They took a breather in Japan.
"There are beautiful ancient Zen temples and a lot of good fortunes and spirits", says Ninja. "The Japanese understand fuck-all what we are rapping about, because they don't even speak English, but they understand us on a deeper zef-zen level." "We at least know a few Japanese words like konichiwa (hello there), arigato (thanks a fuckin lot) and karimashta (i understand perfectly what you just said) - so we all got on like a house on fire! Sometimes it feels like DIE ANTWOORD was made in Japan and programmed in South Africa, and now we are back home here in Japan. Our visit here was a zef-zen neon-manga energy explosion!"
"It was also YO-LANDI'S "ultimate shopping experience," says NINJA. "All the clothes are so cute and sexy. She bought so much stuff that her suitcase couldn't close." Yo-landi said, "It was the first time I was in a country with so many shops that have clothes that fit me. And everything here looks like a toy-world: even the people, the cars, houses, shops, everything. There are very cute cartoon characters and Japanese writing on everything. And the food is alien."
A big Japanese toy company GOOD SMILE COMPANY asked NINJA and YO-LANDI to make NINJA and YO-LANDI toys with them - something else to keep them busy besides the 4 albums they still have to make for Interscope; not to mention the feature-film and all the music videos they are also working on at the moment.
"We have our hands full with DJ VUILGEBOOST, " says Yo-landi."He always wears a mask on stage, and when they see him like this, a lot of people are scared of him. But the moment he takes that mask off, the girls start cooking around him and want to get him into bed. The other night, after consuming an unbelievable amount of Saki, he kissed two Japanese girls. The girls were best friends before this happened; but then VUILGEBOOST fucked everything up nicely again."
Everywhere they go, DIE ANTWOORD get presents from their admirers. "NINJA got a T-shirt that says STORM in Japanese text. He also got a badge that they give to Japanese school-kids with Japanese text on it saying: 10 OUTA 10! WINNER!"
The rest of DIE ANTWOORD'S year is going to be just as busy.The world tour is still not finished - Last night they performed in Norway; tonight they perform Sweden; tomorrow night they are playing in Budapest, Hungary; Tuesday in Zurich, Switzerland; Wednesday night in Vienna, Austria; Thursday in Munich and Friday in Berlin, Germany, and the following week 2 shows in Amsterdam, the following Saturday at the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium together with artists such as Placebo, Iron Maiden, The Prodigy, Groove Armada, Eels, Limp Bizkit, Goldfrapp and Gogol Bordello. After this they play on the 28th of August at the LED Festival in London.Then they come back to South Africa for 3 weeks to make a new music video. Then on the 26th of September, they return to the USA for a month and a half long tour to promote the release of their $O$ album.
and here's Yo-Landi as gloomy bear
Yeah, they're still around.