Foundation date: 2008
The country: South Africa
Town: Cape Town
Yolandi Fisser (vocals)
Photo: Die Antwoord
Biography Die Antwoord
Die Antwoord is a musical rap group from South Africa known for their extravagant style. The band members are unusual in everything: from appearance to sound. They became famous outside their homeland after the first album and continue to remain true to the initial principles, despite the newfound success.
South African band Die Antwoord
History of creation
Prior to working together, Ninja, Yo-Landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek were also involved in music and were looking for their true selves.
Watkin Tudor Jones, aka Ninja, previously had many pseudonyms and collaborated with a whole string of colleagues from different musical directions, although hip-hop was always in the first place for him. Jones is the initiator of the creation of the group, he also considers all previous projects to be experiments and childishness, and only “Die Antwoord” is a real creativity and a serious matter.
Evolution of Watkin Tudor John
Yo-Landi Vi$$ (Yolandi Fisser, birth name Henri Du Toit) began making her way into show business at age 16. The meeting with Ninja’s future husband made it possible to take a qualitative step forward in terms of creativity. Ninja was delighted with her unusual vocals and offered to cooperate.
Die Antwoord means “answer” in Afrikaans.
The date of birth of Die Antwoord, which is translated from the Afrikaans language (a mixture of Dutch and English, which is native to 6 million Africans, including South Africans) means “answer”, is considered to be 2008, although before this project, Ninja and Yolandi together worked on the project “The Constructus Corporation”, then founded the group “Max Normal TV”. Ninja had even more musical experience, having rapped with The Original Evergreens in his youth, famous for their song “Puff The Magik”.
Yolandi and the Ninja from Max Normal TV
The third member of “Die Antwoord” is officially DJ Hi-Tek (also called Bit-Boxmonster). However, his personality is shrouded in a veil of secrecy: he does not appear in the clips and does not appear as a media person. In all the clips of the group, his face is hidden by a mask. However, in the end, fans figured out what the DJ of their favorite group looks like, and were greatly surprised by the discrepancy between his stage and real images.
Fans of the band think that DJ Hi-Tek looks like this
Before DJ Hi-Tek Die Antwoord was Leon Botha, a creatively gifted young man with progeria. Patients with this disease age an order of magnitude faster, and few of them live to be 13. Leon lived to 26, remaining in memory not only as a DJ, but also as an artist and musician. He appears in Die Antwoord’s music video for “Enter The Ninja”.
Die Antwoord’s first DJ died of progeria in 2011
The main stages of creativity
The musicians released their first album in 2010. The “$O$” CD has been released online for free download. The song “Enter the Ninja” especially attracted the attention of the public, for which a spectacular video was shot. The listeners were delighted with the gloomy video sequence, Yolandi’s unusual accent and the appearance of the soloists.
The demand for the team has increased dramatically, as well as interest in their personas. Ninja and Yolandi began to be called the progenitors of the new Zef-Rap style, close to rave and hip-hop, but with its own distinctive features. Translated from Afrikaans, “zef” means “ordinary, dirty, boring.”
Zef is when you are poor, but fashionable and sexy. You don’t have money, but you have style.
From the first days of its existence, the band members played up their African origin. In addition to English, the lyrics of the group’s songs also use languages typical for the inhabitants of South Africa – Zulu and Xhosa. For the song “Evil Boy”, the lyrics were written by the Xhosa musician Wanga. The song touches on the topic of circumcision, traditional for this people: the lyrical hero refused this ritual and remained an “evil boy” for life.
After the success of the record, which debuted at number 37 on the UK National Albums Chart, the band was signed by Interscope Records, but the collaboration was short-lived. The producers insisted on softening the group’s provocative image, in particular, on altering the lyrics of the song “Fok Julle Naaiers” (already one name from Afrikaans sounds unprintable – it can be translated into English as “Fuck You Fuckers”). The musicians were categorically against interference in the creative process and in 2011 broke off relations with the label.
Outrageous musicians did not comply with the requirements of the labels
In the same year, the musicians went on tour in support of the reissued album, and also presented new songs at concerts. In 2012 they released their second album Ten$ion. He was accompanied by a number of concerts abroad, mostly in Europe. By the way, during the group’s concert in St. Petersburg in 2013, the guys from Little Big performed as an opening act for them – for them it was the first concert in their lives.
Die Antwoord VS Little Big
Between the albums Donker Mag (2014) and Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid (2016), Die Antwoord starred in the feature film Chappie (2015) by their compatriot Neil Blomkamp. They played the main roles – in fact, themselves. Their heroes take custody of a lost intelligent robot and save it from its former owners.
Die Antwoord became the stars of the action movie “Chappie”
In 2017, Yolandi and Ninja’s daughter Sistine played the lead role alongside Jack Black in the short film Tommy Can’t Sleep. Fisser acted as a director together with a longtime friend of the band, Roger Ballen, who helped them even during the preparation for the shooting of the first video.
Collaborations with other artists
- “Wat Pomp” (feat. Jack Parow)
- “Wie Maak Die Jol Vol” (feat. Knoffel Bruin, Isaac Mutant, Jaak Paarl and Scallywag)
- “My Best Friend” (feat. The Flying Dutchman aka Ne0SA)
- “Doos Dronk” (feat. Jack Parow and Fokofpolisiekar)
- “Rat Trap 666” (feat. DJ Muggs)
- “Shit Just Got Real” (feat. Sen Dog)
- “Gucci Coochie” (feat. Dita Von Teese)
- “Wings on My Penis” (feat. Lil Tommy Terror)
- “U Like Boobies?” (feat. Lil Tommy Terror)
- “Rats Rule” (feat. Jack Black)
The eccentrics from “Die Antwoord” constantly get into some kind of ambiguous story. They boast of poverty, post questionable, according to the public, photos on Instagram, and also attract attention in all possible ways.
Frame from the clip “Pitbull Terrier”
So, in 2012, the group released a video for “Fatty Boom Boom”, where the central part of the plot is occupied by a rather evil parody of Lady Gaga. They spoke about her work in a negative way before, but now they went on a frontal attack. But the singer ignored the “collision”. Three years later, Yolandi repeated her attempt to drag the American singer into the showdown by posting a collage of her and her photos online, hinting at imitating the style. But at that time, Gaga refrained from commenting.
Yolandi thinks Lady Gaga is copying her style
Ninja and Yolandi take matters of individuality very seriously. They jealously ensure that no one even indirectly tries to copy their appearance or simply be like them. In 2016, following the release of The Suicide Squad, artists erupted in criticism of director David Eyre, who allegedly adopted some details of the group’s style. They even referred to confirmation of this by Cara Delevingne and Jared Leto, although they did not speak about what happened in the press. Die Antwoord did not dare to defend their opinion in court, limiting themselves to several posts on social networks and a video on this topic.
Jared Leto as Joker and Ninja
The release of the song “I Don’t Care” – a translated and processed version of “If I went on the road with a friend” by Russian composer Vladimir Shainsky could have ended in scandal. He did not sell the rights to the composition to artists from South Africa, although Ninja mentioned the opposite in a 2013 interview. Perhaps the musician’s poor health and advanced age were the reason for his unwillingness to wallow in litigation for several months, so he dropped the lawsuit.
- $O$ (2010)
- Ten$ion (2012)
- Donker Mag (2014)
- Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid (2016)
Die Antwoord now
In 2018, Die Antwoord continued to work on their fifth studio album, which was originally announced for a 2017 release but pushed back several times. Information appeared in the press that it would most likely be called “The Book of Zef”.
In 2018 Die Antwoord were working on a new album
One of the latest video works of “Die Antwoord” is the video for the song “Alien”, where Yolandi appears in an alien mask. In an interview in 2018, Ninja hinted at a possible transformation of the group after the release of the fifth album. He did not specify whether these will be changes in sound or composition, but emphasized that without movement and change, development is impossible.