Band Review: Forefront – A New Up And Coming South African Band

Robin Taylor
Photo by Robin Taylor

Forefront are a vibrant 4-piece Indie Pop Rock band based in Cape Town, South Africa. Their live set consists of a relentless collision of bouncy rhythms, catchy melodies, and harmonies, with a little rap mixed with synthesizer sounds. Forefront have grown from their modest high school roots into a strong, well rounded Indie Pop Rock band. Nicky, Rous and Jason took the first steps in creating the band by jamming together in their early years of high school. Taylor later joined in 2009 when he moved to Cape Town after many years in darkest Africa.

Brett Rayner 4
Photo by Brett Rayner

The members of Forefront only first realised their own potential after placing first at a local battle of the bands.  Part of their prize was recording time with the legendary Richard Black at Spaced Out Studios. It was only then that they started to take themselves seriously. They have a great chemistry together, and have recently begun working on perfecting their sound and sharpening their performance skills. They have played at venues such as ROAR, Zula Bar and most recently they opened up main stage at the 2015 Rocking the Daisies 10 year anniversary.

Laura McCullagh
Photo by Laura McCullagh

They are very easy to listen to. Their sound is loud with clean vocals, crunchy guitar sounds (created by distorting the amp) and a tight rhythm section all blending together to create a unique sound that makes them so popular. The band members each play an integral role in the unique sound they create, and their chemistry together as musicians is a large part of their success as a band.

Brett Rayner 2
Photo by Brett Rayner

I was fortunate enough to not only hear them playing live, but to be able to interview them for my blog:

How many band members do you have, what are their names, what role do they play in the band, and finally, what instruments do they play?

Robin Taylor 3
Photo by Robin Taylor

Taylor Jackson – Lead Vocals; Guitar
Taylor is the multitalented front-man, talented with a genuine passion and love of music. He is originally from Durban, but was raised in Tanzania before moving to Cape Town. He is regarded by his fellow band members as an essential part of what makes Forefronts unique style and what makes them work together as a band. Along with his talent, he has a huge passion and love for music which shines through in what he does. He comes from a musical background and not only is he a great guitarist but he also has real song writing abilities.

Robin Taylor 2
Photo by Robin Taylor

Nick Andrews – Lead Guitar; Vocals
Nick is one of those genuinely multitalented people and has been one of the driving forces in Forefront since day one. His talents range from soccer to professional magic.  He is clearly comfortable on stage.  His song writing ability, individuality and panache are the things that make him such a huge part of Forefront’s image. And as if that isn’t enough, he is a well rounded vocalist and lead guitarist, as well as being an accomplished saxophonist.

Robin Taylor 5
Photo by Robin Taylor

Nicholas Rous – Bass Guitar; Vocals
A man of few words, until you know him well, Nicholas Rous is probably the genius among the four. He’s calm, collected, witty and awkward, a personality that solidifies Forefront’s talented rhythm section. He is a precise classical guitarist, an A grade student, and his knowledge of music and the bass guitar are evident in his playing ability. His talent and creative flair are all part of the man known as “Rous”.

Robin Taylor 4
Photo by Robin Taylor

Jason Dionysopoulos – Drums; Samples; Keyboards; Backtracks
Jason’s style of drumming and technical ability add a dimension to Forefront that would be otherwise incomplete without his expertise. He is classically trained in the flute and piano, and is an immensely talented drummer and sound engineer. This clearly explains his sharp, perfectionist’s ear when it comes to music and sound engineering.

Robyn Fester 3
Photo by Robyn Fester

What musical influences do you attribute your sound to? Is there any music you listen to for ideas and inspiration?
We are all very musically diverse individuals, and that definitely reflects in the band’s musical influences. We all bring our own personal character to the table, which we believe have helped us create our own unique sound. As a band we find inspiration in artists such as Maroon 5, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The 1975, and Shortstraw to mention a few.

Suretha Rous 3
Photo by Suretha Rous

Which song are you most proud of, why and what influenced it?
I think this is a question all of us would answer differently. I personally go through phases of my favourite songs. At the moment I would have to say it is Happiest in Water. It is a really energetic song to play, and the crowd really comes to life when they hear it.  It’s also slowly moving towards summer in Cape Town, so it has almost become my theme as the weather improves and I head outdoors.

Herman du Toit
Photo by Herman du Toit

If anyone wants to hear you play where do you usually perform? Where can they find out about performance dates and concerts (is this something you publish on a website)?
We perform mostly in and around Cape Town. We hope to start expanding our list of venues to include other major South African cities in the near future. All of our upcoming shows are available on our website.

Robyn Fester
Photo by Robyn Fester

Do you have a sound cloud or a few songs I can publish on my blog for readers to listen to, so they can get a feel for your music and what you play?
We have all our released music on Soundcloud as well as our debut music video “Happiest in Water” on Youtube.

Brett Rayner
Photo by Brett Rayner

Do you have a set list of the most current music you play to your audience?
Our most common setlist at the moment includes a lot of unreleased music. The songs we can almost guarantee you would hear would be:
1) Intro song.
2) Rain.
3) Cowbell (working title).
4) Sexy and I know it [Cover] (often replaced with new covers, but always seems to makes its way back).
5) Keepin’ On.
6) Crash.
7) Happiest in Water.
8) Let’s Get Retarded.

Robyn Fester 2
Photo by Robyn Fester

Forefront’s latest ready-for-the-summer indie-pop single “Happiest In Water” has the upbeat influences of indie-pop, undercut by a catchy pop rock tune, making for a very catchy, upbeat song all conducive to celebrating the start of summer. They have recently released a music video that captures the song for their fans and those interested in exploring their music, who I am sure, after listening to this are bound to become fans!

Suretha Rous 2
Photo by Suretha Rous

The video was captured by Brett Rayner, whose signature style is very much evident in this video. The video was filmed along the magnificent Gordons Bay coastline, and is based around the idea of a road-trip. It features magnificent coastal backdrops, celebrating good times with close friends, and everyone’s favourite; a performance on the beach. The “Happiest In Water” video encapsulates the essence of everything that makes up the perfect summer. Metalic ringing guitar chords supported by an buoyant bass line open up the song, before Forefront jump straight into a series of four chord riffs and an upbeat drum section, that will have you partying the summer away.

Brett Rayner 5
Photo by Brett Rayner

Forefront are rapidly gaining popularity and making a name for themselves after opening for the likes of The Plastics, Nomadic Orchestra, John Wizards and Main Stage at Rocking The Daisies. Navigating the quagmire that threatens to swallow so many South African artists, performers and bands is very much part of the SA music scene. So far they have managed to avoid it. They must keep their heads down and continue to work as hard as they do and this will further propel them into many musical successes. Their latest single “Happiest In Water” with the great video, bouncy rhythms, catchy melodies and great harmonies is bound to get them noticed.

Brett Rayner 3
Photo by Brett Rayner

Well done Forefront, I look forward to seeing a lot more of you and your music in the future!

Forefront social media:
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/forefrontsa
Instagram: https://instagram.com/forefrontsa/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/ForefrontSA
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ForefrontSA
Website: http://forefront-band.com

Forefront
Photographer: Unknown

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