Songs have a way of evoking different emotions in people and it is this shift in consciousness that makes music so special and empowering. Listening to The Capitals, you cannot help but smile. The band’s debut single Wake Up, is an instant mood changer, a celebration of life, eliciting a sense of joy in its listener.
Formed in 2014 as a side project by good friends Travis Mellett and Rics Eltze, and later joined by Conrad Rudolph and Tanya Redinger, the band started performing under the moniker, Up Sexy.
Tasting success, the outfit went on to share a stage with local heavyweights Desmond and the Tutus, Matthew Mole, Kahn Morbee and Elvis Blue, to name a few, and underwent a natural evolution. Redinger was forced to bid her band mates farwell as she jetted off to London to pursue an international modelling career and the group, realising the possibility of a career in music, rebranded as The Capitals.
Based in Pretoria, the band adopted their name from the capital city itself, reflecting both their love for the city and honouring the place where their dream became reality.
Drummer Rics Eltze says, “We’d love to do a tour of all the capitals around the world, perform live for the people and hopefully make some new friends on the way!”
Speaking of making new friends, The Capitals do not shy away from crowd interaction, happy to mingle and always the life of the party.
Asked about their single, Rics explains, “You know that friend that never wants the party to end. Well, that’s us. We absolutely love playing music with our friends, even the ones we haven’t met yet.”
A textured patchwork of afro-pop melodies, layered with beautiful harmonies and quirky lyrics, Wake Up is an apt introduction to the band as a whole – fun and spirited in nature.
When not performing, the trio enjoy a variety of activities from Xbox to fishing and have recently started refurbishing guitars. Rics says, “It’s a Pretoria themed guitar and it is looking pretty sweet at the moment.”
Yesterday the band launched their single across six different campus radio stations across the country, solidifying their position in the SA music scene. The Capitals – not only unique in their approach, but equally compelling, will leave a definitive mark on the hearts of their listeners.
As part of an Indie Does It exclusive, I got to sit down with the band and find out a little more about them and their songwriting processes.
Indie Does It: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard it?
The Capitals: Ummm Awesome! Just kidding. Our music is such a mix, but essentially, we aim to write music that everyone can listen to and enjoy. So if we had a genre, it would be, “Anthemic Afro Indie Pop.”
Indie Does It: What do you aim to achieve through your music?
The Capitals: Firstly, we want to give people something they can relate to at any point in their lives. Secondly, to give people a live experience that we ourselves would love to watch. And lastly, to have as much fun as possible and enjoy the journey of growing with our music, with our friends and our fans.
Indie Does It: Who are some of your influences?
The Capitals: Because of our completely different musical backgrounds we pretty much cover everyone from Ed Sheeran to Coldplay, 21 Pilots to Switchfoot, Al Bairre to One Republic, Johnny Clegg to Relient K, Sting, Jeremy Loops… the list is endless. We all love different sounds and styles.
Indie Does It: Still relatively new on the music scene, what challenges have you faced in your career so far?
The Capitals: We’ve been extremely blessed in the way people have welcomed us and caught onto our dream. We do believe though that the biggest challenge so far, has been the support of South African music as a whole. We have some of the most incredible artists and the best level of music in the world. If we had to support each other the way we support our international friends, who knows how huge the SA music industry could be. Local is lekker!
Indie Does It: Do you have any professional training in music?
Travis Mellett: Yes we do. Rics is a professionally trained and studied musician having played in the Afrikaans market in the beginning of his career, whilst Conrad is basically part of a lineage of artistic royalty with his family being renowned poets, radio personality and musicians. Whereas I have officially been playing guitar for three almost fours years now and learning with these guys as I go. Its amazing how much knowledge you can pick up just by listening.
Indie Does It: What do you enjoy more, studio or live performance?
Rics Eltze: We love both hey! The challenge the studio brings is something we’ve all enjoyed and definitely fallen in love with. The thought of moulding an idea into something tangible is so cool.
But playing live, WOW! The response you get from the crowd is something extremely difficult to explain, but beyond incredible.
Conrad Rudolph: Definitely live. I like the fact that there’s no control over what happens. When the ship sails you got to hold on for dear life and that makes it exciting. My perfectionism creeps in in studio.
Indie Does It: What do you think determines a band or artist’s success?
Rics Eltze: How well they can serve the music and serve the fans. It’s important to create music you love, back it fully, and people will be attracted by your passion.
Conrad Rudolph: I think the reason behind why you’re doing it is important. If you’re in it for yourself or fame or riches, you’ll eventually give up when the challenges come, but if you have a passion for it, you’ll always be doing it. Then your definition of success would also look different. Success for me at this stage is to be able to make a living off playing music.
Indie Does It: Describe your writing sessions?
The Capitals: We have an elaborate think tank, work out algorithms as to what is popular and… just kidding.
We usually write what we’re feeling, things we’re going through, or literally as with Wake Up, it started with a line and a hook that we built upon.
Conrad, being the wordsmith, knows how to string lyrics together. Rics is an insane composer and Travis has a knack for what will get people going. Together we work out whatever we’ve been thinking and test it on our friends and family and see what they think.
Indie Does It: Are you looking to release an album at any point?
The Capitals: Definitely! Our game plan is to release an album mid to late next year, so keep your eyes peeled for more info.
Indie Does It: Do you have different roles in the band in terms of business and what are they?
The Capitals: We haven’t designated specific roles, however, we each have specific strengths and cover each others weaknesses. Travis, with his business mindset, Rics, with his musical knowledge and experience, and Conrad, with his visual ability and experience in media. We’ve done alright so far, and with what we don’t know, we’ve been so blessed to have the support system of friends and family who do, to show us how.
Indie Does It: Who is the most level headed in the band?
Rics Eltze: Conrad has always liked his video games. He views life in levels. Every year on his birthday he’ll say “Level Up” and add some random stat that has increased or skill that he’s learned in the year, so I guess he would be most level headed. And yes, he actually does this. Weirdo.
Indie Does It: Who gets the most girls?
The Capitals: Hmmm definitely Travis… his tally is sitting at one.. and that’s one more than Rics and Conrad.
Indie Does It: If you can play any stage in the world, what would it be and why?
Rics Eltze: Does it only have to be one?
Central Park in New York, Coachella, Glastonbury. Its not necessarily about the stage itself, but more about the people.
Conrad Rudolph: RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE! Hands down. Open air, majestic natural location. What could be more beautiful to look at whilst making music?