Sunday, 7 February 2010

Die Antwoord : which came first, the sponsorship or the music?

Die Antwoord's secret chamber was the first exposure I had to this bizarre act from South Africa. With elements of euro dance, anime Afrikaans vocals, crunk and grime they've turned into a viral musical phenomenon. (And if you haven't seen the Secret Chamber... you HAVE to click the link above)

And, as with any successful viral campaign, this phenomenon exploded online in just a few days. Yesterday, South African news site The Daily Maverick wrote:

You can’t blame the real world for not keeping up with what was going down online. On Monday Die Antwoord was an interesting experiment being watched closely by a small fan base and a smaller group of music journalists and other cultural observers. By Friday it was polarising opinions from New York to Moscow, with both expressions of disgust and offers of gigs all over the world flooding in. The numbers were astonishing.

But are Die Antwoord providing a musical commentary of where South African youth culture is at the moment... or are they a marketing stunt, as Three Billion suggests? Possibly being funded by Puma and/or Jaegermeister, according to the logos on their site.

Die Antwoord has an album due in February, and there is an endorsement deal with Puma in place according to Daily Maverick. There are also ringtones, wallpapers, posters, and thousands of hits on their highly produced videos (plus enough traffic hitting their very shmick website to crash it). But which came first... did Puma help put this group together, paying for their website and videos? Or is this an act with a highly original creative vision, and a enough commercial acumen that they were able to get a major brand on-board before their first album was released? It might be the cynic in me, but I would guess that the Puma marketing team has been involved in this project from very early on. See tacitus' comment below on the origins of the group... they've evolved from the Max project, who have been making music for at least 2 years. So, the cynic in me has been proven wrong - which I love!

Nevertheless, the videos are well worth checking out.

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