Le Plur Stage, 9:30-11:00 p.m.
It’s been six years since the South African “rap-rave” group, Die Antwoord (Afrikaans for “The Answer”), visited New Orleans and tore up the stage at Voodoo Fest. Releasing their first album for free online, they began as an internet sensation with their bizarre and shocking videos, glorifying all of society’s misfits and writhing between the duality of authority/conformation and anarchy/creativity. Shortly thereafter, they attracted international attention and found themselves signed to the powerhouse label, Interscope Records, and catapulted onto the large-scale festival scene. Unfortunately, the band’s love affair with the big-time music industry didn’t last long and they quickly parted and created their own label, citing their unwillingness to neuter their content to appeal to a wider pop audience. They’re determined to make it on their own terms, even going so far as to spurn collaboration requests from Lady Gaga and many other top stars in favor of working with old friends and locals in their South African hometown.
Eight years, four albums and numerous world tours later, critics still argue over whether they’re authentic or an act, but the fact remains, the music is powerful and provocative. They have a unique look and sound that’s an assimilation of the diverse cultures from which they’ve been raised. In their material, no icon is safe. No beat is off-limits. No subject is taboo. They’ve got a worldwide, cult-like following that celebrates the spurning of convention and their almost comedic, simultaneous homage and parody of rap, pop and social culture. Die Antwoord is certainly not the first to try and turn pop culture inside out and expose its ugly insides, but they do it in a way that crosses deep, dogmatic oceans.
This year they are back with a new album, Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid, and a new video single, “Banana Brain.” Their three-piece setup includes “God” (formerly known as DJ Hi Tek) doing the beats, and “Ninja” and “Yolandi Visser” up front. There’s nothing like Die Antwoord’s sound, a dynamic concentration of rapid-fire rap from Ninja behind God’s EDM beats and topped off with Yolandi’s ethereal, baby-like whispers. For an intense introduction into what they’re about, be sure to visit their YouTube channel and watch their cinema-like video sequences. The band routinely collaborates with visual artists to develop their style.