Picture four guys dressed up in a wardrobe that includes sombrero hats, a striped blazer, a light blue turban, and a pastel decorated windbreaker, dancing in a dark field to the buzz of a heavy dub beat with watermelon sized grins splitting across their faces.  Now go and watch Sun-Do Q’lisi’s new music video on their Facebook page and see your imagination broadcasted on the computer screen.  As I looked across the table at Thor Rixon, one of the members of Sun-Do Q’lisi, it became increasingly more difficult to place him among the whirl of unorthodox costumes that I had seen in the music video.  With his hands folded in his lap and a friendly smile spread across his face, he seemed too calm and collected to be one of the convulsing dancers in the video.

At the center of Sun-Do Q’lisi’s music is the desire for creativity and the pursuit of fun.  Unlike many young bands that seem desperate to find a niche or well founded outlet for their music, Sun-Do Q’lisi dares to avoid being confined to any label.  It may not be out of rebellious defiance, but simply out of the pursuit of groundbreaking and thought provoking sound: “We don’t place ourselves in a genre, we kind of just take bits of everything and mash it up with all of the different guys in the band and their different influences and all of the different genres that they like.”  Sun-Do Q’lisi uses whining synths, high pitched samples, and a heavy dub beat to create a sound that creeps into your joints, creating dance moves that you never thought existed.

One would think that an electronic band with four members would be a constant battle for control of the mixer, but in reality the different perspectives allow Sun-Do Q’lisi to express a new sound.  This is also in part to the band’s heavy emphasis on improvisation.  When asked about the pros and cons of improvisation, Thor responded, “Sometimes, there’s usually a lot of cuck.  But we find the stuff that we think is kiff and then we just work on that.”  Again, Sun-Do Q’lisi’s eagerness to experiment with new combinations of music as well as their pursuit of musical inspiration may set them apart from many other local South African bands.

Although Thor admitted that he dreams of one day playing in front of thousands of people, at this point his music is driven by pure enjoyment: “It just makes me feel like a kid again.”  As I rapidly fired questions at him, challenging the plausibility of Sun-Do Q’lisi’s funky music being accepted by a mainstream audience, Thor responded by saying “Obviously, we want to make this our career, but we don’t really have a plan like in two years time we want to be here or there.  Lets put as much effort and time into it and see where it takes us.”  As he left the cafe to attend a film class, guitar slung over his back, the English equivalent of the Xhosa word Sun-Do Q’lisi finally made sense, “full flex free form.”

By Duncan Lowe