Deon Bakkes and the Stolen Horses is an eclectic group carving their own niche in the music industry. Stealing horses is a German idiom for romance and refers to the traditional gypsy lifestyle which relied upon the service of these steeds, hence their inevitable theft. This group is bringing a new light to Gypsy Jazz, incorporating the classic blend of European Gypsy melodies and 1930s swing, coupled with a modern attitude rooted in Hard Bop Jazz, Punk and Rock and Roll. The group formed in 2016 when Bakkes brought his love of Django Reinhardt style Gypsy Jazz into his own musical conception. They recorded their debut album called “Neither Here Nor There” in late 2016 which features a mix of original songs and re-ignited covers of jazz standards such as Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean A Thing”. They have played live numerous times in Pretoria and Johannesburg, with appearances at the Mexican Tequila Festivals in 2016 and 2018, OppiKoppi 2017, Park Acoustics 2017 and 2018 to name a few. In 2018, they released their EP called “Thrice A Pair” which explored the new punk side of The Stolen Horses’ music.
“Barrelhouse Blip” is the latest single offered by Deon Bakkes and The Stolen Horses. The listener is immediately confronted with a guitar line that is absolutely reminiscent of Django Reinhardt, but with an unmistakable modern twist. The upbeat nature of this tune will have you in search of the nearest dance floor within moments, and the verses have a great punchy rhythmic quality to them. Several instruments such as the violin and saxophone are featured throughout this song as well. There are elements of jazz and swing, but with a tremendously modern take on them, resulting in a song that is truly unique and quite refreshing. This is a genre-defying and inspiring song to listen to, and we recommend you listen to “Barrelhouse Blip” today!
Listen to “Barrelhouse Blip” here and get to know more about Deon Bakkes below!
Thanks for catching up with us! First of all, how did you all meet and form this group?
Well it started with myself (Deon Bakkes) searching around for other musos who
could handle the virtuosic playing that comes with the gypsy jazz territory. I stumbled
upon Stephen and Raziela Kosterman (siblings) playing a small dinner show featuring
guitar and violin in Pretoria. I invited them to be stolen by my gypsy jazzpunk
sound. After that, we decided to add more to the mix with drums, saxophone,
trombone and eventually keys. And of course, we can’t forget the live addition of the
poi and hoop dancers!
Who would you say your collective artistic influences are?
We have a rather wide set of artistic influences seeing as the band is made up of a
widely diverse set of people. But to put it simply, our influences range from Django
Reinhardt and Angelo Debarre type gypsy jazz to Art Blakey and John Coltrane
Bebop, through GBH and Discharge punk, with some Motorhead and Venom for
taste! And obviously there’s a good helping of Gogol Bordello and Kultur Shock
gypsy punk influence!
What does your songwriting process look like? How do these songs all come together?
Generally, I write the music and lyrics as a starting point and the other musicians
bring complements and riff ideas into the mix. I’m always coming up with chord riffs,
lyrics and melodies as little song primers (usually like 3 per week!). From time to
time, a good one pops up and sticks. Then I go ahead and flesh it out with a song
structure, lyrics or melodies where need-be and take the song to the band – that’s
where they add their magic to it. I like this approach because the songs are firstly
expressive of my own ideas, but then influence from everyone else takes it to that next
level where it really feels done.
Your music has so much to offer and incorporates so many genres. Did this always come naturally for you, or is it a conscious process?
I always had it in my mind to mix the virtuosity and ferociousness of the gypsy jazz
sound with my first love in music, punk and metal. I never really tried to mix these
consciously, because when I did, it sucked. But now it seems to have combined in a
more organic and unforced manner. Basically, the approach behind this music is to
have each musician express their own individuality in the sound. That means we
develop our sound from a rather diverse set of musicians that bring a wide array of
influences to the table. I think that by allowing each musician to explore the kind of
sound they personally love, makes for a unique mix that comes together just right
given enough pressure and time. Like coal and diamonds.
What can we hope to see from you in the future?
We have a mini-documentary coming out soon that will cover our Cape Gypsy
Injection Tour to the South African Coast and much of the last year in the Stolen
Horses. Beyond that, we plan to record another album by the end of this year, which
will be called “Pariayar Prayer”. This has me very excited because the music for that
album is a lot more mature, but still has a mean gypsy jazzpunk streak! Stay tuned all
you jazzpunk gypsies!
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