It’s a good look.
YV: Yeah, at our shows we see quite a few people doing it.
Are there any musicians today you admire?
N: Not really.
What about some of your labelmates? Lady Gaga?
N: She doesn’t impress me at all. She has a strong visual thing that kinda works, but her music’s like some washed-up wannabe Madonna. I don’t register a lot of stuff out there. Our standards are high. We don’t worry about what’s going on too much; we just stay in our power zone.
People have questioned if you’re for real. They wonder
if you’re a conceptual art project.
N: I don’t even know what that means.
Or if you’re just a joke, punking us all.
N: In South Africa people know what we are straightaway. It’s just punk Afrikaans shit. But in America it’s a little alien, so they’re like [in an American accent], “I don’t get it. It must be a joke. What are they doing? What is this?”
YV: But also I was watching MTV, and I was like, Oh, this is why everyone thinks we’re a joke. Because everything is the same recipe, rehashed. I used to be into Björk and PJ Harvey, and they used to blow my mind. But there hasn’t been a pop star blowing anybody’s mind. Our music’s got flavor; it’s got skill. And we present it really well. And people were like, “What the fuck is this?”
You’ve said you’re doing five albums and then
N: $O$ [their debut] is a powerful album. It’s got 23 tunes on it. We wrote that not knowing what was going to happen but putting everything on the line. And we thought, There are very few people who maintain that for five hard-core albums. Plus we’re also making movies. We’re into film. As much as we like making music, we have an equal dedication to visual stuff. That’s why we do our own videos. So we’re going to make five pop albums and then move into film stuff.
So you guys actually are like a conceptual art
N: We’re more like Olympic athletes.