Purple Rage brings unique psychedelic rock flavour to the local scene

Purple Rage, is bringing the sexy seventies back with their Afro-inspired psychedelic rock. From left to right are Wouter Moller, Tumi Zeli, Jan-Meyer Verhoef and Johan Viljoen.
Purple Rage, is bringing the sexy seventies back with their Afro-inspired psychedelic rock. From left to right are Wouter Moller, Tumi Zeli, Jan-Meyer Verhoef and Johan Viljoen.

A dash of soul, a pinch of psychedelic rock, a sprinkling of the 70s and a good heap of local African eccentricity are just some of the musical ingredients found in the recipe of Purple Rage.
Purple Rage is a Potch-based four-piece Psychedelic Afro-rock band. They are bringing something different to the live music scene with energetic performances, a tight stage presence and talented musicianship.

*Who are Purple Rage?
Tumi Zeli (singer and lead guitarist)
Wouter Möller (drums)
Johan Viljoen (bass guitar and backing vocals)
Jan-Meyer Verhoef (keys)

When you first hear Purple Rage perform, you would think that these first-year NWU music students have been performing together for years, never mind four months.

It all started when the lead singer and guitarist, Tumi Zweli bumped into the bassist, Johan Viljoen when he auditioned for the NWU Music School last year.

‘Johan and I spoke and shared our love for guitar and music and, in passing, we said we should meet up again and start a band. During orientation week, I met up with Johan and was introduced to Jan-Meyer (keyboardist) and there we realised that we all shared a huge love for psychedelic rock. Johan, Jan and I then started playing together and eventually got Wouter to join as the drummer.’

‘Our first practice together was an experience we will never forget,’ says Tumi.
The great thing about Purple Rage is that they are all talented musicians in their own right and can play a variety of instruments. Every member has a unique background and, when they combine forces, they create music as it’s meant to be played – unfiltered, raw and straight from the heart.

‘I would say our sound could be described as an African approximation of rock. Literally, what African rock would sound like,’ adds Johan, who is a local.

‘We are a fresh sound and we are trying to bring back the sexy seventies. No one has explored ethnic African sounds into rock – an SA interpretation of rock and roll. We feel our name is also an indication of our music with purple being a soothing colour and rage emphasising the heaviness of our message, even though our musical style is not heavy,’

Music is the soundtrack to their lives
Tumi’s musical background started mainly as a result of his father’s influence. During the Apartheid years, his dad went to Malawi and started listening to 70s rock bands of the time like Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy and Bad Company. When he came back to SA, he exposed Tumi to rock music but still leaned towards jazz guitar as his natural playing style.
Johan, on the other hand, listened to a mix of Abba and Nirvana and then leaned to more acoustic, natural sounding melodies as his musical tastes progressed. Furthermore, Johan also produces music, adding to his multi-talented musical background.
Wouter picked out a keyboard as his toy of choice at age 6. His musical talent then grew and he was playing six instruments – the concertina, cello, clarinet, piano, guitar and recorder – in Gr. 4. He started playing the drums for his matric final exam as it was easier than musical scales on the piano.
‘I have been on stage my whole life and that is where I flourish. It helps that I play a lot of instruments and it is especially versatile for a band,’ he says.
Jan-Meyer, originally from Paarl, has always dreamt of becoming a pianist and replicating the same atmospheric sounds of Pink Floyd. He played the organ in Gr. 11 and then invested his time with keys before joining the NWU Music School this year. Purple Rage has played around 10 gigs since their inception, winning the ‘Original Composition’ of Pukki Talentfees 2018 for their song ‘Everytime’. Like most of their lyrical content, they aim to bring a solid message with their music.

‘Our songs focus on things that we have experienced. The song, “Sugar Rush”, for example, is about being addicted to a woman even if you know she is bad for you. She gave me a lot of energy and excitement – like a sugar rush in your head. It’s a song with a multifaceted interpretation, both lyrically and musically,’ he added.

‘We make an effort to create a live organic sound and we feel we have so much passion when playing. I believe Potch needs to appreciate art in its truest sense and give us the platform to truly give a full live performance,’ says Tumi.

‘It is difficult and you have to write exceptional music to compete with electronic music. But we have had good feedback so far so we are hoping this is the start of something big,’ emphasises Johan.

According to the band, they are planning to record an EP this year and they have lots of songs to choose from. They are also open to various gig opportunities.
At the end of this interview, Purple Rage performed two songs with absolute power and I felt myself being transported on sexy, soulful and authentic musical waves. This is music that makes you feel. This is Purple Rage.

Purple Rage, is bringing the sexy seventies back with their Afro-inspired psychedelic rock. From left to right are Wouter Moller, Tumi Zeli, Jan-Meyer Verhoef and Johan Viljoen.

Purple Rage, is bringing the sexy seventies back with their Afro-inspired psychedelic rock. From left to right are Wouter Moller, Tumi Zeli, Jan-Meyer Verhoef and Johan Viljoen.

Purple Rage. Photo: Preju Lekaota: Design Oroha Media 

*Check out Purple Rage on Facebook and Instagram.
Contact them via email: [email protected]

 

  AUTHOR
Wouter Pienaar
Sport Journalist

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