Music Interview South Africa

#MusicExchange: The storyteller in music

Afrikaans music has a cool and unique new voice with Frans Karoo's debut track O God.
Image supplied: Frans Karoo
Image supplied: Frans Karoo

Those who know, know Frans Karoo from bands such as Jet Black Camaro and Gunshot Blue - a poet, musician, singer, writer, wanderer, photographer, filmmaker, thinker and a bonafide rock star. He's cool without trying to be cool, can pull off a hat and a suit like no one else. He has a tattoo on his face.

O God is Frans Karoo's debut single in Afrikaans. It's hard not to fall in love with it. Karoo’s voice is lazy, as if he doesn't want to sing but rather wants to talk, almost as if he's channelling Bob Dylan and music that makes me think of Mott The Hoople (there I lose the millennials now). But it's not old school.

O God is hot ‘mieliepap’ with chakalaka – simple but with an edge, as good rock 'n roll is, and always has been. It's music for road trips. It's music that forces you to listen to the lyrics while your foot keeps the beat on the carpet. But you have to listen carefully. Even if the song sounds entirely innocent at first, itself upbeat, you soon find that it actually has a dark soul.

I caught up with Karoo last week…

What is your job description?

Storyteller (I shoot and edit videos)

What does music mean to you?

Music is medicine. Music is language. Music is touch. Music is fire. Music is a door. Music is home. Music is a river. Music is a passport. Music is the ocean.

My music is about…

Ordinary people with extraordinary tales.

What is your motto?

Whether you wine and dine. Whether you dress or mess. Whether you walk or talk. One thing matters. Authenticity.

Fame is about…


Retirement will happen when…

My last breath leaves this mortal coil.

I don't do…

Roads not less travelled.

I would love to co-write with…

Arno Carstens, Hunter Kennedy or Peach Van Pletzen.

Where do you go for inspiration to create?


What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?

Creating something out of nothing and then seeing or hearing how it resonates with another.

The song you must do during every show?

In Die Son

Any funny moments on stage?

Every time they don’t laugh at my jokes in between songs

My heroes are…

Karl Jung, Hiroshi Musashia and Lao Tzu.

My style icon is…

Throw James Dean, Jimmy Hendrix and Johnny Cash in a potjie.

Which living person do you admire most and why?

Eckard Tolle. He’s funny and serious at the same time. Wise without trying to be.

What is your most treasured possession?

It’s a tie between my trucker cap, headphones and incense.

It's your round; what are you drinking?


Dream gig to do?

I’d love to do a gig inside a cave with an underground lake.

What makes you stand out?

My laugh.

Any nicknames?

My dad used to call my younger brother and I “Doppie and Proppie”. Then there was Rambo at this one veldskool.

If you were not a musician, what would you do?

Make perfume.

Pick five words to describe yourself?

Creative, sensitive, adventurous, free and complex.

What are you streaming?

Any good action/crime/spy thriller or murder mystery I can find.

Greatest movie ever made?

The Holy Mountain by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

What book are you reading?

Deur Die Donker Drif by Deon Meyer.

What song changed your life?

Release the Pressure by Leftfield.

Who do you love?

My mother. Animals and plants. Nature. My close friends.

What is your favourite word?


Top of your bucket list?

Writing a book and/or directing a feature film.

Your greatest achievement?

Getting a face tattoo

What do you complain about most often?


What is your biggest fear?

AI taking over

Happiness is…

This moment

On stage, I tend to…

Zone in. Zone out.

The best life lesson you have learned?

Be like Bruce Lee. I mean water.

What has been your favourite journey so far?

Every time I drive down to the Cape, I try to take different routes and/or stay in different towns.

Do you do charity work, and if you do – what do you do?

It begins at home. And then it follows me on my way to work. And then at work…

Wishes and dreams?

To stay: somewhere by the coast, then the mountains, then the woods, then the city. And repeat, and breath of fresh air.

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About Martin Myers

Co-owner at Triple M Entertainment, founder Music Exchange, manager Sipho Hotstix Mabuse

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