Taxi Violence
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Taxi Violence

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May
23
Taxi Violence @ The Cellardoor

Johannesburg, Not Applicable, South Africa

Johannesburg, Not Applicable, South Africa

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Date: Friday 13 Apr 2007

Four white Afrikaans boys making bad, beautiful music are unlikely demographics for a rock band called Taxi Violence, right? Wrong. Well, then they’re probably a bunch of backyard wannabes with air guitars making lame stabs at success? Wrong again. Lump all you ever knew about rock ‘n roll and throw it into the ocean (or the nearest duck pond), because Taxi Violence are rewriting the business of music. As pacifists who like to “misbehave without hurting others” they’ve declared war on mediocrity and though they mix their drinks, they don’t mix their metaphors. They’re a hardcore trad-rock outfit who insist on purity and deliver the wildest Rock ‘n Roll.

Taxi (as they’re affectionately known by those who can sing along to every base-chakra-thumping track) are totally off the rails and absolutely independent. They sing their hearts out about love, lust and lingerie (ok, ‘a red dress with high heels’, so sue me) at select venues and festivals across the country. Indie from the G-string to the grave, this strapping quartet produce their own albums, make all their own videos, fix their own equipment and handle their own distribution (and, yes, straighten their own hair).

Naturally they indulge in indecent amounts of partying and take turns in whipping each other’s whatnots at Poker. But they aren’t your average rock stars. They’re the kind of guys who don’t disappear in a poof of pseudo-mysteria after a gig, but stick around to have a chat with their fans. Their approach to music biz is a passionately professional DIY and they don’t have time for pretenses. Their formula? “Be on time, be polite and value your fans because those are the people that make or break you.”

As human beings with bills to pay and very expensive passions, they all have day jobs. Rian Zietsman (guitar) is the electrical engineer. He’s amped to fix cables and able to fix amps. Louis Nel (drums) has niched himself into a lifestyle store for music aficionados. George van der Spuy (vocals) is a sound engineer/producer at Rockitdog Sound Production and Loedi van Renen (bass) recently started his own media company and makes amazing music videos. Making music is very different to making money from music. Total independence gives creative freedom and more control over how the money comes and goes, but it also takes time and clever tactics to develop a media presence that can compete with the high-end advertising budgets that major labels use to punt their artists to the public. Taxi’s media hype is not inflated and national radio is finally cottoning on. A recent poll of 41 000 downloads of their debut album’s title track ‘Untie Yourself’ on www.24.com in one week, is proof that South Africa likes their style.

But the ties that bind are not the ties that hold Taxi together. This is a band that carefully considered and consciously turned down a contract with a major SA label. They explain that “It came down to us asking what the record label could do for us that we haven't already done, or could do, ourselves? “ Gone are the days when a band’s only hope of success involved bowing down to the demands and dictates of reprobate record deals. George elaborates: “Things like being the owner of your own work, maintaining creative control over how things are going to sound, choosing what songs are going to be used on an album and what type of budget will be put aside for marketing purposes. These are just some of the benefits of taking the independent route. We like to do things our way.”

Most live bands make their cash at the door and by selling albums. But in an industry where CD sales are down and music production is up, selling music online (on sites like rhythmrecords.co.za and iTunes.com) gives a local band a global market. Music and moolah aren’t the easiest bed partners at the best of times, so it’s good to use protection. The proliferation of P2P file sharing and personal copy hardware means that a lot of music is moving around the internet illegally with money not reaching the music-maker’s pockets (or going into somebody else’s!) the boys caution that “If bands protect themselves and copyright their material they also get royalty checks from SAMRO (Southern African Music Rights Organisation) or SARRAL (South African Recording Rights Association Limited) for radio or TV airplay every 2 years.” Aspiring musos might think it’s all in the hips and the fingertips, but it’s actually in the fine print. Intellectual property law is a semantic minefield and Taxi’s warning is wise: “Don't go shark diving without a cage - capiche! Always get a musical lawyer to read over your contracts (especially with the big ones). They will get the best possible deal for you and assure you don't get screwed over.”

Fame is fun but the post-lib music industry is no yellow brick road. If you want to invest in making South Africa (and/or the world) sing and dance you have to remember it's not all jelly tots and lollypops. I - Jess Henson for Rabot's Inspiration (First National Bank)


Taxi Violence - Untie Yourself
Label: (2007)
We gave it:
*****
Taxi Violence's hard work and spirit have paid off, resulting in Untie Yourself, a debut album that's tighter than a trannie's ass, and much sexier.
Download
The title track, free, here

Meet one of the few rock acts in South Africa that doesn't suspiciously resemble a record company tax write-off. No coincidence - they're not with a record company.

Canny vocals, modest and marvellous drums, some of the best guitar work in the country, melancholic yet catchy melodies - this in itself would raise Taxi Violence above the rest. But add to that gorgeous CD design, a free video for "Jimi's Revenge" on the CD, and a live act that's hotter than a Karroo railway track, and this band wins the fight.

Though preppier Just Jinjer fans might find these bare-chested kids too grungy, they share something with one of SA rock's best exports - they reach beyond the angry teen white boy Seattle-knockoff market. There's something approachable about their thoughtfully sexed up boyishness on tracks like "Jimi's Revenge".
"Taxi Violence are polished and tight as a snake"
And they're not short of songs - with 13 bouncing tracks to offer on this debut, they prove they've got the most important thing of all: songwriting talent. Beats, attitude, every time.

They'll remind you of other bands you love, but their energy is all their own. Joyous, sweaty, sensual and very rock 'n roll. Taxi Violence are polished and tight as a snake - the work has paid off - but they haven't lost their edge. So music fans, for your jumping up and down, your Friday hangover, your faith and your bucks, you are about to be rewarded.

- Jean Barker

Note: Untie Yourself is for sale at branches of Vida e Caffe, at indie record stores like Mabu Vinyl, and at gigs. Download a free MP3 of this album's title track to try before you buy. Download it here - it's number one on our charts this week. - 24.com (Jean Barker)


April 25, 2007
By Theresa Owen

The first thing that strikes me about Taxi Violence is how happy they are. Rock musicians are generally angst-ridden creatures - think Kurt Cobain and his "I hate myself and I want to die" motto.

"We are happy," grins bassist Loedi.

"We write happy lyrics. We mostly make music from the waist down. And we're really glad Axl Rose has cancelled the Coke Fest, because we can headline now!"

I'm chilling with these happy creatures inbetween soundcheck at Back2Basix in Melville. The boys are here to promote their latest album, Untie Yourself, which is released independently.

"Being independent is a choice for us," says guitarist, Rian. "We've been offered deals before."

"The pros for being independent are more attractive at the end of the day," adds vocalist George. That's another unusual characteristic about Taxi Violence. They are all eloquent speakers. In most four-piece rock bands the guitarist chats, the vocalist shows off, the drummer grunts and not a word passes the bassist's lips.

But Taxi Violence are chatty fellows. The sound engineer arrives and the boys get on stage and soundcheck using Led Zeppelin's Dazed and Confused. It is evident from this song that they are a tight band who are comfortable with their instruments.

"We love Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix," they say with a grin. "And bands like Pantera," adds Loedi. "Their second album, Far Beyond Driven, was their best." The others nod in agreement. They say that they began playing music around about the time of Nirvana. "So in our music there are a lot of retro influences mixed with a new rock sound," says drummer Louis.

Louis joins them in the role of extra guitarist in their unplugged session. It is here that their brilliant harmonies come into play. Taxi Violence ain't no normal rock band. They can sing, and sing well .

"It is extremely difficult to do this full-time," they tell me later on. "Our target market is difficult. We could do boere musiek, because we are Afrikaans, so we don't have to pretend. But doing an Afrikaans song wouldn't be true to ourselves. Maybe we could release Celeray, a health song version of De la Rey."

Like all South African rock bands, they are aware of the glass ceiling and have plans to go overseas and make it there. But in the meantime they are focused on promoting their album. And they all have day jobs.

"This industry is not very professional. We bust our asses to get to a gig on time and then the sound engineer is not there," remarks Loedi. "We are a serious band and we are openly ambitious. You don't want to be around us when we play a swak gig."

Wednesday night it is definitely not a swak gig. Around 11pm the place is packed and Taxi Violence are pumping. The pretty groupies are singing the words to all their songs with a devotion that is normally reserved for bands like Springbok Nude Girls or Fokofpolisiekar.

Taxi Violence have thrown away the pretty unplugged thang from earlier and are now gunning it. They are a totally different band. They are hot. Their focused energy elevates them to another level. The hype around this band is believable. They almost restore my lost faith in rock bands, which more often than not should read rock blands.

"Playing live is a good tweaking process," explains Rian afterwards. "We're lucky like that. When we compose we all come in with something. Then we play it live and modify."

"We already have enough material for a few albums," announces George proudly. "I am actually looking forward to the next album."


Taxi Violence will be playing at the My Coke Festival on Worker's Day in Cape Town.


- The Star Tonight! newspaper


Violence on video
February 16, 2006
By Jon Monsoon

If it's true that "video killed the radio star", then it's a good thing that rising SA rock superstars Taxi Violence aren't too concerned about how much radio time they'll be getting.

Instead they're focusing on something more visual and have just released a groundbreaking music video for their first single, Nothing Left To Lose. It describes a dark, post-apocalyptic view of consumerism and industry hype.

Ironically, the thing about this band is the hype. Their name has spread faster than a Table Mountain bushfire fanned by a global return to interest in rock music and SA makers of it. While we have our share of caretakers to the throne of SA rock, the nation is looking for some new royalty.

As word of their video launch spread, local musical cognoscenti were falling over themselves to secure a hot ticket.

Fans could trade contact details for free entry. Using the number of A-list and high-profile RSVPs as a yardstick for pre-determining a band's likelihood of success, it would be fair to say Taxi Violence are well on their way to being the Next Big Thing.

In fact, it's widely expected (and hoped), that not only will they carry the crown, but that they'll also dust it off and give it some new jewels, too. So industry bigwigs, party animals, pimps, playaz, local shlebs and shmoozers gathered for the video launch.

The tension during the three-minute long visual rollercoaster ride was palpable and with all eyes on the screen, the band crept onstage and kicked into song just as the last scene faded out, prolonging an intense climax, with an explosive result. The crowd was double-cheering, applauding the video and the band onstage.

While visually appealing, the video offers a challenge to the SA media. With it's Sin City-inspired atmosphere, awesome 3-D animation, CGI scenery and, of course, possibly one of the most intriguing songs to emerge from beneath the shadow of SA rock, the video bears all the trademarks of a Taxi Violence production . But will local media "get it", or much less, care?

The video will be sampled to the usual channels, but the band isn't holding their breath as it's not a case of "will you play our video?" but rather "we dare you to play our video!"

The biggest audience for their work is overseas and the band has had strong interest from several foreign networks and music stations. Back at home, it's available on digital and mobile download platforms before being aired on a local TV channel.

This is just another reason why Taxi Violence, who hail from Cape Town, are so adamant to do things their way, embracing their fans and a global, digital vision for their future success.

The band feels strongly about raising the bar for SA music videos. "There really is no excuse for bands not to make a quality product that will stand up to anything produced overseas," asserts bassist Loedi van Reenen.

Taxi Violence take pride in their live shows. They believe in the details and in giving fans their money's worth. Pre-launch, they spent two days fiddling with the lights to create just the right atmosphere while the venue became an extension of the video on the night, with playing cards scattered across the dancefloor, gorgeous girls in corsets ...

Not that they need the extras to make themselves heard. Minus the lights and gimmicks they still present a kick-ass show.

Taxi Violence is carrying on a legacy left by consummate entertainment bands like Boo!, where you'd try to see every show they did, even though you weren't a fan, because you knew the entertainment value was worth the price of admission.

- The Cape Argus newspaper


Discography

Taxi Violence - 3 track EP (2005).Self-titled

'Rock Out' 1st music video from self-titled E.P.
Reaches No.1 on various campus radio stations nationwide.

'Waking Up' - 1st single from E.P.(2005) -
www.samp3.com chart topper.
Appeared on SL magazine cd.Later again appeared on SL magazine cd - 'Best of' Collection.

'Nothing Left to Loose' - 2nd single and video from self-titled E.P.(2005).
'Nothing Left to Loose' - Best animated music video on DSTV music channel , MK89.

Untie Yourself - debut album (2006)

'Untie Yourself' - 1st single.
'Untie Yourself' - playlisted nationally across all campus and commercial music station and reaches Top 5 on S.A.'s leading radio station 5FM.
Single on frequent rotation daily.
Live broadcast on 5FM of Taxi Violence performing at 'My Cokefest 2007' with bands like Evanescence ,Hoobastank , Three Doors Down, Staind and other locals acts.
No.1 download on 24.com for 4 months standing - 42000 downloads in first week.96000 in weeks to come.
Included on Footskating 101 soundtrack,Splashy Fen 2007 complitation cd,Blunt magazine cd and The Cellardoor Live 2007 compilation cd.
Music video included on MK89 DVD for best videos of 2007 - featuring local SA acts.

'Waking Up'(album version) included on 'Footskating 101' movie trailer.

"The Mess' included on 'Footskating 101'movie trailer and featured on soundtrack.

'Jimi's Revenge' music video Only included on 'Untie Yourself' album as bonus to fans.

'In Loving Memory of Photosynthesis' video aired on e-tv's Showbiz Report,accompanied by interview and behind the scenes footage.

'Living it Up' - second single currently on www.samp3.co and 24.com for free download.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

For most rock bands nowadays, the only story worth telling is the one they would rather write themselves. Their tale told is one of hardship and perseverance over difficult odds with a (hopefully) triumphant outcome: a platinum record deal, truckloads of sales, worldwide fame and groupies. That would be nice were it the truth more often.
Taxi Violence is a band under no illusion.
Since their inception (fittingly a jam session at a military base outside cape Town in June 2004), they have maintained a steadfastly independent attitude, even turning down a prize record contract with a major record label in their quest to retain artistic freedom and integrity. A gamble that has paid off as their scale the dizzying heights of success - on their own terms!

For Taxi Violence, “Full effort is full victory”, and somehow they just wouldn’t feel satisfied were it any other way. Keeping their fans close at hand is an integral part of this rock band’s motto.
They realise that whilst such things as radio play, A-list air time and high rotation videos are important tools to furthering a career, they are not the be-all and end-all. Taxi Violence have made it: on their own terms.
Looking back on their career thus far, a career littered with headline shows, top 40 chart positions, award winning music videos, sold out performances, stadium gigs, festival billings, newspaper and magazine front covers, countless rave reviews, everything they’ve achieved has been as a result of their DIY ethic.
When they appeared on the front cover of the entertainment newspapers in three separate cities under the screamer headline of “The next BIG things!”, it was justified (and they didn’t even have to pay anyone to get it!)

Whether on stage or in the studio, Taxi Violence refuses to play a mediocre song. It’s got to blow their minds first, otherwise we won’t hear it. They are a rock band in the true sense of the word.

Their debut, self-realised album, called ‘Untie Yourself’ was unleashed in November 2006 and is still charting nationally on mainstream and campus radio stations.
Taxi VIolence were recently selected to perform at the My Coke Fest music festival sharing the stage with the likes of Hoobastank, Evanescence, 3 Doors Down, Staind and others.
www.taxiviolence.com

“Taxi Violence - The next BIG thing!” – Cape Argus Tonight, The Star Tonight, The Daily News, February 16, 2006

“Taxi Violence…the best thing to happen to South African rock music since The Springbok Nude Girls…” - Miles Keylock (Mail&Guardian, 10/02/2006)

“Like a better, rockier Franz Ferdinand” – Vidzone UK.

“A rough-edged fusion of classic and new-age rock, painted with liquid vocal overtones” - zaZone.com

“To my ear, the sound bounces with fairly high frequency somewhere between Interpol and Muse with a little Seattle thrown in for good measure..” -
themuso.co.za

“Check them out…‘cos they are not shit” – Stage Magazine (01/ 2006)

Visit www.myspace.com/taxiviolence