How has going up in Johannesburg in Democratic South Africa affected your music and song writing, if at all?
It’s definitely affected my songwriting! I think your surroundings influence who you are as a person and who you are as a person will influence the music that you write. I’m naturally quite an anxious person and I think Joburg plays a big part in that. It’s a manic lawless city with a lot happening all the time and I think that creates a tension within me. I think that tension comes through in my music. It’s a beautiful and ugly place, a loud and quiet place, a clean and a dirty place – all combined in to one. I like to think that my music is all of these things rolled up in to one.
I write a lot about the East Rand and the people/situations that you find in the East. It’s a place where you find rich people and poor people living next door to each other. I like the stark comparisons between how people live or view life. It provides me with endless ideas and themes to write about.
Slow Horses is the Title of one of the songs on your EP and is the EP title. Elaborate on this title as it pertains to the Song and as it pertains to the album title.
We can’t all be “fast horses” in life. The “fast horses” are the guys who always win at life. They have the nice jobs, nice cars, nice ladies. ‘Slow Horses’ is about the people who get up every morning knowing that they going to have to work twice as hard as the next person just to stay in the same place. There are people out there who are optimistic about life, no matter how many times they lose the race.
The song ‘Slow Horses’ is all about a guy who gets up every morning truly believing that he will get his lucky break that day. No matter how hard he tries, he never gets anywhere but he still keeps on, keeping on. There’s something beautiful in his over-optimism. Maybe it’s stupidity!
The album is about getting older and realising that you yourself might just be a ‘Slow Horse’.
A lot of good and bad has been said about the South African music industry. What is your stance on it?
I think the industry has got a lot better over the past 5 years or so. There are a lot more festivals taking place with a lot more international bands visiting the country. I think that people are really starting to realise that some South African artists are just as good as international artists. I think the general population really does like SA music. I think however that we have a shortage of professional venues. I also think that there has to be a culture change amongst South Africans. A lot of people will like an SA artist but then never go and watch one of his/her shows. There is a difference between liking SA music and really supporting SA music…
It’s just business at the end of the day. I think a lot of SA bands forget that we live in Africa. Simple demographics dictate that artists who play “African music” or gospel music or Afrikaans music are going to do better than people who play metal music…
Any local acts you’ve enjoyed working with or are looking forward to work with one day?
I’ve really enjoyed sharing the stage with some amazing acts like aKing, Gangs of Ballet, The Parlotones, Crystal Park, The Motherland, Sutherland and Justin Serrao. The list goes! I think there is a really good vibe in the industry at the moment. I’ve made some great friends in these bands.
I would love to one day work with the guys from Monark on a few songs. I think they’re the best songwriters in SA at the moment.
There seem to be a lot of parallels in your sound along artists like Matthew Mole and Mumford and Sons, artists who are a part of the hipster movement. Do you see yourself as part of this growing trend and if so, does that have a direct influence on the overall tone and subtext of your unique sound?
No I don’t think I’m part of the hipster movement. I can understand comparisons between my sound and that of Matthew Mole and Mumford and Sons as we all have a folk influence. I however think that my sound is a bit more raw and a bit more rock n’ roll. I see myself as having a rock sound dashed with some folk and some country. That being said, I have nothing against hipsters. I write music that I like and if other people like it, then that’s great. It doesn’t really influence my sound. I have a clear idea on the music that I want to write and I don’t think that I let any trends or fashions influence that. My album sounds like the bands/acts I grew up listening to – Springsteen, Neil Young, Damien Rice, maybe even some Rod Stewart…
Any plans for a full length album?
Yes! I am currently in pre-production writing songs for a full length album. I plan to release it early next year, probably around February. I’m looking to do something a little bit more upbeat, something simpler and something a little bit more commercial. The ‘Slow Horses’ EP is very different and sad and melodramatic. I’m a lot happier now than I was then!
What does 2015 look like for Trevor Rebello?
Hopefully good! I want to release the full length album early in the year and then do a couple of coastal tours. I would also like to play at most of the big festivals in the country.
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