Straight off of the boat from Scotland, the South African pop favourites can still hardly believe that they were hand-picked by indie rock giants Mumford and Sons to perform at their one of a kind traveling festival: Gentlemen on the Road. KATE-LYN MOORE spoke to ROBIN BRINK from BEATENBERG.

These days most pop music is written by a team of twelve producers for ‘a face’ who may or may not be actually able to sing.

So says drummer of the enigmatic pop trio Beatenberg, Robin Brink. But Beatenberg might just be the exception to the rule when it comes to their approach to the actual “pop” in the music. These guys take music seriously.

When they aren’t playing private festivals with Mumford and Sons in the Scottish highlands, they are listening to Beethoven and carefully honing their craft.

Known for their excellent production, thoughtful lyrics and carefully presented live performances, many fans are confused to hear Beatenberg confess their music as pop. In fact, many vehemently assert otherwise.

“Our idea of what our so-called pop music is just that it’s meant to be popular: which means that it’s for all people. There’s no distinction in the audience. It’s for everybody,” says Brink.

The trio’s fun beats are easy to listen to, their melodies are complex, yet dangerously catchy and Matthew Field’s smooth Paul-Simoneseque vocal delivery sounds just like summer.

“If we dig it then we’ll put it out and, maybe, other people dig it. What a lucky combo,” enthuses Brink.

Beatenberg has moved from strength to strength in the year since they dropped their chart-dominating album The Hanging Gardens of Beatenberg. “I think that sometimes, I and possibly the band, struggle to actually describe what it’s like having some of these experiences because they are so surreal,” he says.


Beatenberg perform at the Gentlemen on the Road festival in Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands. Photo: David East

Handpicked to play with Mumford and Sons in Scotland.

“To get the call from a band as big as Mumford, to join them at their traveling festival in the highlands was like really far out, as you can imagine.”

Although previously unfamiliar with Mumford and Sons’ music, the trio came back as fans. “A lot of people in the music industry are full of rubbish. Those guys were so down to earth and sincere and friendly with us. It was incredible how much we got to connect with them,” says Brink.

Mumford certainly seems to have set up a challenge for the ever increasingly commercialised and soulless festival industry. According to Brink, Gentlemen on the Road was a really welcoming, friendly, productive space where all the artists sat together, talking, having some “sick jams” and sharing their experiences of the music industry.

Although they’d never encountered Beatenberg previously, the UK crowd could not have responded with more exuberance. “Without being too cheesy, I think it’s because our music spreads a kind of warmth, which just goes down really well when the place that you’re at is kind of cold.”

They f*#!ing love Beethoven

As classically trained musicians, the group occupies a strange tension. On stage they perform their radio hits. “You can see the paradox now that what we do is commercial, and it’s easy for everyone to get and to just dance, even if they’ve never heard it before. They want to go home and hear it again.”

But when Beatenberg are in their homes, they’re listening to jazz aficionado Miles Davis and Beethoven (“Fucking love those guys”) and are constantly trying to refine, learn and improve as musicians.

“It’s kind of hard to explain the tension between the two,” he explains. “No one is going to go to a gig and say: ‘Ooh I can see that’s these guys all love Beethoven,’ or whatever. It just affects you on a deep level.”

More than anything, Beatenberg wants to record a new album. What might it sound like?

“It won’t be a repeat of anything that’s happened before,” says Rob. “It’ll likely be like: I’m 25 now; next year I’m 26. That’s probably what it’s going to sound like: like we’re a year older.”

Kate-lyn Moore


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