An interview with Darren and Manuela from One-eyed Jack
“Behind the scenes are long hours and lots of running around, but it’s awesome. If you’re looking for advice, mine is: Open doors for people and they’ll open doors for you.”
One-eyed Jack is an award-winning specialist entertainment marketing agency in South Africa. Over the years, their expertise in events marketing and communications, brand marketing, launches, and sponsorship rights management, has brought to life some of South Africa’s most loved events, launches and activations. Their clients include Rage Festival KZN, the Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards, Ballantine’s, Jameson and Olmeca, VW, MINI and JOOX music streaming, Savanna, and #VWVIVOnation festival.
I caught up with Darren Sandras, co-owner, and head of the marketing and PR division at One-eyed Jack, and Manuela Dias De Deus, owner and founder of the agency, to find out more about their exciting brand, what they’ve been up to this year and what their plans are for the future:
I can’t believe we are almost at the end of 2018! Any highlights so far for you guys at One-eyed Jack?
2018 was a great year for us. We hired a great new addition and our team vibe has never been better. We won six new clients, produced a massive lifestyle festival and have had our highest revenue to date, everything seems to have fallen into place beautifully.
That’s fantastic! Manuela, you’ve founded this brand in 2011. How do you feel it has grown over the years? What has changed and what has stayed the same?
For the first few years we made a decision to stay small until we figured out what we loved doing the most and with which type of clients. Now that we’ve got that bit waxed, we’re on a drive to expand. We’ve grown from doing sponsorship and PR to being a full-service marketing communications and activation agency. Our niche will always be the entertainment sector as music and festivals are in our DNA.
And how has the live eventing space changed over the years? Where do feel it is going in the future?
There have been lots of changes which have enhanced the consumer experience. Cashless technology has taken the hassle out of direct payment, and RFID technology has made the festival experience safer. Live events and festivals are a means for people to escape the “real” world and switch off. As much as technology is advancing and making the festival experience smoother and simpler for both the organiser and the punter (online ticketing, pre-booking transport, accommodation, food and drinks, RFID), we’d like to see more festivals encourage people to go “offline” and embrace being switched off from the always-on world. Social media isn’t going anywhere – but sometimes it’s great to down tools and really just be in the moment.
Over the last 7 years, if you can single out one project you worked on, which one would it be and why?
It would have to be Rage Festival KZN. Hosted in Ballito, Umhlanga and Durban, the week-long festival sees 15,000 school leavers head to the coast to have the time of their lives. Created by G&G Productions, Rage is exceptionally well run and the production value and technical design are world-class. G&G was one of One-eyed Jack’s first clients. They’re pioneers, they’re consistent, their events are always exceptional and they’re really nice guys.
Any tips for brands on how to stand out when it comes to eventing?
Create branding that suits the environment. Our client JOOX has a small light box that they place on DJ boxes or stages at events they sponsor. It’s simple, looks premium and is so effective as it’s seen by everyone in the venue as they’re all looking up at the DJ as he/she performs. So, many brands repurpose stock-standard branding for all events such as fence-wrap panels, pull-ups and feather banners. I understand that they’re maximising cost efficiencies, but if you’re sponsoring an event, try budget for bespoke branding as it’ll have much more impact. Another way to stand out is to do something relevant and meaningful that adds value to the festival-goer’s experience. Don’t simply repurpose the same activation you do at a mall and think it’ll work at a festival. Think about what people need or want at an event and what could add value to them – and tailor your brand experience to that.
Interesting! So, tell me about your team. When looking for new talent, what do you look for in an individual? I am sure you are always looking to keeping things fresh and interesting, especially in this industry.
The team at One-eyed Jack is all completely different, we all have our own unique skill sets yet they all complement each other’s. We’re always scouting for new talent as the best hires are always people you’ve worked with and met through the industry. I (Manuela) make mental notes of nice people with a good work ethic who seem to have something to offer. When recruiting, we’ll choose the person over the skillset, as you can train someone up, but you can’t instil a culture that doesn’t come naturally. We’re a small team of seven and we’re all team players. We have each other’s backs and build each other up, that’s core to our values.
The team with Babes Wodumo, taken at Vivonation festival.
For any young people looking to enter this industry, what can you tell them about working behind the scenes in the entertainment marketing field?
Behind the scenes are long hours and lots of running around, but it’s awesome. If you’re looking for advice, mine is: Open doors for people and they’ll open doors for you. If you meet someone high up in the industry, bring your A-game as you never know what opportunities they’ll create for you if they like you. It’s okay to not know everything, don’t pretend that you do, just be honest about your experience and people will end up teaching you what you don’t know. Be lekker, this is a small industry, you’ll be working with the same people at all events so try to get along.
Great advice! So, are there any South African events/brands that you feel are currently getting it right?
Rage Festival, MTN Bushfire, Ultimate X and The Annual South African Savanna Comics’ Choice Awards totally get it right. From a sponsorship perspective, Ballantine’s partnership with Boiler Room is a winner. As for brands that create their own events, VW’s VIVOnation and Absolut One Source Live are very impressive.
The team with Black Coffee, taken at Rage KZN in 2017
So, what’s next for you and One-eyed Jack? What can we look forward to in 2019?
We’re pumped to take on the world! We’ve spent the last year working on our strategy and are excited about taking One-eyed Jack to the next level. We have a clear vision and a strong focus and are launching something great within the next few months that we’re all really excited about. Watch this space…
Inverroche launches a range of top Summer Concerts
Inverroche, the pioneers of craft gin in South Africa, are set to make another pioneering move, this time in the world of South African music.
If you’re planning to visit the southern coast of South Africa this summer season, make sure you visit the picturesque town of Stilbaai! Starting this December, Inverroche will host a series of summer concerts at their Stilbaai distillery featuring two great South African artists per show. At their newly-built outdoor concert area, Inverroche will be making every concert a “double” this summer.
The first Summer Concert will take place on 17 December, with Prime Circle and Wonderboom setting the scene for a sizzling Stilbaai summer. In total, 12 concerts will run through the summer, with the final show taking place on 4 January 2019.
Limited edition gins
To further highlight the unique nature of the Summer Concerts, Inverroche will also be releasing five limited edition gins in collaboration with five of the artists.
A single batch of approximately 1200 bottles per artists will be distilled in “Meg”, Inverroche‘s trusted copper potstill and each bottle will be filled, labelled and numbered by hand and co-created by each artist.
The limited edition bottles will be on sale online and at the Inverroche distillery during the performance of the respective artist. The artists collaborating with Inverroche are Prime Circle, Watershed, Jeremy Loops, Parlotones and Freshlyground.
17 December 2018: Prime Circle and Wonderboom
18 December 2018: Jeremy Loops and Bam Bam Brown
20 December 2018: Dan Patlansky and Jack Mantis Band
21 December 2018: Watershed and Opposite The Other
22 December 2018: Arno Carstens and Ard Matthews
23 December 2018: Freshlyground and Serrotone
26 December 2018: Jesse Clegg and HotWater
27 December 2018: Parlotones and Bed on Bricks
28 December 2018: Matthew Mole and Sean Koch
30 December 2018: Refentse and Mr Cat and the Jackal
2 January 2019: Jimmy Nevis and Josh Wantie
4 January 2019: Desmond and the Tutus and Native Young
The perfect spot for amazing food and perfect views in Cape Town
“We cannot wait to showcase this incredible restaurant!” – Mike Townsend, founder of Harbour House Group
If you’re a Cape Town local, you will most definitely know about Sevruga. Before it closed down for a revamp, it used to be one of the best spots in the Mother City for sushi and cocktails. This gem recently reopened after a spectacular makeover, and has a few amazing surprises on the menu for the summer season! It promises to exceed all expectations.
The relaunch of Sevruga
With the launch night of Sevruga, guests were spoiled with an exclusive view of the new, fresh interior and the stunning bar, as well as get a taste of what’s to expect from the new menu.
Situated in the iconic V & A Waterfront, the new Sevruga now seems like the perfect spot for both dates with friends during the day and a fun night out.
Sevruga relaunches as a 240-seater restaurant, with a premium, yet relaxed interior. Colour and tropical prints can be found indoors, with lighter more feminine touches when you step outside to the open air dining area.
The new menu still focuses on seafood and sushi. New owner Mike Townsend places emphasis on each dish being cooked freshly: “A fresh approach is the only approach; you won’t find any frozen items on Sevruga’s menu”.
The new Sevruga also showcases a brand new bar area as well as softer arches beautifully framing the wine fridges, fully stocked with proudly South African wines. When it comes to the food offering, only the best and freshest supply is good enough for the team.
Items on the new menu
Some of the new items to look out for include a starter of seared scallops served with cauliflower puree, crème fraiche, anchovy, caper berries and salmon roe; a main meal of pan fried prawns with garlic, chilli, lemon, parsley, smoked paprika aioli and your choice of hand cut chips or rice pilaf. Let’s not forget about dessert – Sevruga will be serving a classic crème brûleè served with boudoir biscuit and fresh berries. A feast for the eyes and taste buds!
Batten down the hatches, because in March 2019, for the first time, South African Blues legends will be taking to the sea for an unforgettable cruise experience on board the MSC Musica Cruise Ship.
Blues artists such as international legend, Doc Maclean, Albert Frost, Black Cat Bones, Shadowclub, Gerald Clark, Crimson House, Wolgang Marrow, Gunshot Blue and Coelacanth will be performing on the Mojo Rising Blues Cruise for 4 days, setting sail on a carefree voyage exploring the most beautiful places on earth.
Setting sail from Durban, the cruise ship will embark on an excursion to the Portugese Islands and all the luxury resort leisure facilities on board are included free of charge!
I caught up with Crimson House, one of the artists on the lineup, to talk about the cruise:
I saw you guys have been quite busy this year! You travelled a lot: Mozambique, Swaziland, Namibia… You also released some new music. Any highlights, standout moments or shows?
Yes, our first time in Swaziland was incredible. Bushfire festival is a real beautiful example of what Africa is capable of in bringing beautiful people together.
I heard you’re also releasing a new album at the start of next year! Can you give me some inside info? Who’s working with you on this one? And how many new tracks can we look forward to?
Yes, we’ve got 11 tracks on the new album. Antonio Cencherle has been producing it. We are really proud of this new album, it’s a really different mix of songs and we have found our sound in this new one with more gypsy and afro infusion then ever. It’s a really upbeat album, every track is a banger and we cannot wait for the world to hear it.
Awesome! So, do you have a specific date yet? And will there be a launch tour?
We will launching officially on January 18th 2019. However, on new years eve we have exclusive prints available at Kirstenbosch.
You asked your fans to give their input on the title of the new album on social media. Was it a difficult decision among you guys and what did you decide on?
We spent some time thinking of a title. We’ve settled on “lets get weird” as its an instruction, as well as a good idea of what the music does to the listener.
Now over to the Blues Cruise. This sounds like a crazy experience! For the readers: what is it all about and when is it taking place?
It’s a musical festival on a cruise ship, a first of its kind in South Africa, and it’s going to be amazing. We’ve seen pictures of the theatre and it is spectacular. We cannot wait to do our show on that cabaret-style stage. It’s exactly the right fit for our style.
I can only imagine all the memories that will be made on this cruise! Have you ever been on such a cruise? What are you most looking forward to?
Never have we experienced anything like this, and we have played every kind of show you can imagine! This will be a first for us and we are counting the seconds until we are on that boat!
So exciting. What song should people listen to on repeat before the Blues Cruise? Please share a link!
Crimson House - Don't forget to Take Your Medicine - YouTube
And any other artists on the ship you recommend we see?
Albert Frost, Doc Maclean, Black Cat Bones, everyone of the acts really, they are all unique and brilliant in their own ways.
Finally, where can we see you perform live next to warm up for the cruise?
New Years eve at Kirstenbosch Gardens, with Jeremy Loops.
MOJO RISING BLUES CRUISE | MSC MUSICA | 22 – 25 MARCH 2019
Come and live life on the water, singing the Blues under enchanting clear skies on the Mojo Rising Blues Cruise. Kids under 18 sail for free and tickets start at R4 545,00.
PAY OFF PLAN – BOOK TODAY!
Pay Deposit of R3000 only!
Final payment is required no later that 60 days before departure.
“Our business started off because we were having fun. It’s always about the fun first…” – Annie Sowden, UTC Founder & Owner.
The countdown has begun to one of my favourite festivals: Up the Creek! An impressive lineup has already been announced, with the promise of more amazing local artists being added soon (watch this space!). To make the weekend even more exciting, Up The Creek, taking place from 7 to 10 February 2019, vows to bring lots of amazing surprises! Think celebrity weddings, pop-up riverside opera performances, musicians playing on a Pied Piper-like jam van’s rooftop and ballet on the beach.
Every year the team behind the Up the Creek festival works really hard to bring us a top-class experience. I caught up with Caitlin Hanley (festival director) and Suné Halderman (artist liaison) to find out more about what they do and what we can expect at next year’s event.
I have to ask, how long does it take to plan each Up the Creek and how big is the team behind the festival?
Caitlin: We work on Up The Creek year round. As soon as it finishes, we start with the website rebuild, ticketing, sponsors, etc. Our team consists of five people, along with another five who work on it a few months in the run up, or have only very specific roles, for example, publicist or the bar manager.
What process do you follow to choose the lineup every year?
Suné: We have a golden rule at Up the Creek when we first sit down with the lineup – we don’t book an act before we’ve seen it live. Other than that, there are a few factors that come into play when creating the shortlist of acts to place every year: content release, social media engagement, audience interest, etc.
Caitlin Hanley (Festival Director)
The festival has been running since 1990 – how do you keep things fresh?
Suné: We’re lucky enough that our artists and bands in the industry are inspired enough to keep breaking borders and creating new and fresh sounds, so they do half the work for us. In general, we take feedback and constructive criticism to heart. Without the Creekers coming back each year, we don’t have a festival. It’s theirs as much as it is ours.
So, how will you describe Up the Creek to someone who has never been there?
Caitlin: Up The Creek is a festival for people who like music and want to have a good time; it offers a fantastic food court with many varieties, you can bring your own drinks in, or buy from our bars, there are no queues, hot showers and flushing toilets for everyone! Pitch your own tent, sleep next to your car or book in at the Heartbreak Motel! It’s really a festival that we’ve designed for everyone, with a broad age group who attend the festival, from 18 to 60.
The line-up is curated to keep everyone entertained, introduce new, bring back the old, and that’s no easy feat with a wide range of ages to keep happy. And the numbers… it’s a selling point for everyone, capped at 2500 attendees! Our motto is that everyone’s a VIP, no artist is more important than any festival goer. Creekers can roam wherever they want, no area is off limits. One way to describe the festival? Have you seen a river with 2000+ lilos floating in it?
Suné Halderman (Artist Liaison)
What was the biggest challenge that you have had to overcome at an UTC festival?
Suné: 2017. It started pouring down on the Friday morning – there was absolutely no way that we could continue with the River Stage that morning, so we had to combine our Food Court Stage and River Stage. The rain was coming down worse than it had in 20 years – the entire team was running around pulling generators, moving gear out of the rains way, ensuring the punters had a safe place to be – it was probably one of the most exhilarating experiences, and reminds us how the team truly is a family.
Another ‘crisis’ we laugh about (only afterwards), was this year (2018) when on the Saturday the river rose overnight and we were worried that it would flood the stage! So, with the last act, the festival director, Caitlin, and myself stood at the edge of the stage asking the festival goers in the water to not splash and dance in case the water went up and over the stage – quite literally the opposite of what we wanted everyone doing!
Haha! That’s insane! And, tell me, are there any traditions at Up the Creek?
Caitlin: So, for a few years we had a wedding set up happen at each festival, and then 5 years ago the groom got stood up by his bride and left at the altar. It was truly heartbreaking to watch! But good news, he’s getting married again next year March, so all’s well that ends well!
Wait, what!? That’s so crazy! Poor guy. Let’s talk about this year’s festival. How many stages are you planning for UTC 2019?
Suné: We’ll have four official stages, Jägermeister Main Stage, Savanna Late Night Stage, Gordon’s Gin Food Court Stage and the Savanna River Stage. The Gordon’s Gin Food Court Stage hosts up-and-coming artists during the day, and for the first time next year, a rock heaven for those who only want live music after the Jägermeister Main Stage closes.
Awesome! And what are you mostly busy with on the festival weekend while everyone is having fun?
Suné: I am quite privileged to have a very experienced team behind me – my hard work all happens with the run up to the festival! But you’ll usually find me giving the stage manager a beady eye when a band looks like they’re going to run over their allocated time – I am known as quite the party-pooper in the office!
Lastly, you are planning more environmental awareness actions for the 2019 festival, tell me more about this?
Caitlin: Every year we add to these plans, little by little we want to make the festival a sustainable weekend where we aren’t adding too much to the landfill or damage our beautiful river. Last year we cut our plastic cup consumption from 12,000 down to 3,000 which was a fantastic feat! Next year we hope to use even less.
At the 2019 festival we are also introducing a three-bin set up to control food wastage and help us separate out the recyclable from the compostable. We will be putting out more cigarette ‘stompie’ bins than we did this year. And we’ll only be using eco-friendly cleaning products throughout the festival, making sure any product running back into the ground is of the kinder type; in our bathrooms, bars and all food vendors! Small changes for a small team.
Up the Creek 2019 lineup (so far)
The Black Cat Bones, Femi Koya, Grassy Spark, Gerald Clark and the boys from Prague, Stoker, Jackal and the Wind, Crosscurrent, Lo Ghost, Stone Jets, Koos Kombuis, BRYNN, Bam Bam Brown, Zengeance, Piet Botha, Greg Georgiades & Ultra Natives, The Steezies, Diamond Thug and Money for Bali.
“…most people did not think I could pull this off. But having the final product done and getting great response to it makes it feel even more rewarding.”
Jason Oosthuizen, renowned South African drummer and musician, has just released the debut album, ‘Who Cares What You Think’, for his solo project Oooth. In July 2018, Jason also launched his own signature snare drum range, entitled ‘J.O Drums’, as well as his own apparel line named ‘Oooth Clothing’ and a coffee brand called ‘Oooth Coffee’. He is one of the most talented drummers to come out of South Africa (not to mention a really busy entrepreneur!).
I caught up with the man behind the music to talk about the new album, his other projects and his future plans:
Congrats on the debut album. It sounds amazing! How does it feel to finally have this project out? And how has it been received so far?
It is pretty amazing, especially as most people did not think I could pull this off. But having the final product done and getting great response to it makes it feel even more rewarding.
Awesome! You’ve written, recorded and produced most of the aspects on this album. Tell me about the journey in putting this amazing piece of work together?
It’s been a whirlwind of mixed emotions, but mostly exciting. I have also just contributed drumming to previous projects I was involved with, but to be able to do most aspects by myself was thrilling and nerve-wrecking at the same time. Ultimately though, I love the final product and I enjoyed spending time on it.
So, when was the seed planted for Oooth and where do you want to take this brand ultimately? Perhaps internationally?
About 10 months ago the project was kicked into gear, but it has been an idea of mine for quite some time. Also creating my own brand as a whole was something I have been working on for the past year. The brand consists of Oooth Music, Oooth Clothing and Oooth Coffee and who knows, there might be some more exciting avenues coming soon. Taking Oooth Music internationally is definitely the plan and I am already working on this.
Amazing! You’ve played in a couple of SA’s biggest rock bands. Why did you decide to go solo too?
I am still playing in big bands and my current projects and doing everything like I have always done it. I have just decided to take on an extra challenge really.
And tell me, how was it to take the guitar and be the frontman for a change?
It was something I definitely looked forward to, but again it was quite intimidating in the beginning. Practicing and rehearsing with the band obviously assisting in getting comfortable not just with the guitar, but also being the lead singer now. I am definitely ready for the launch, first time live, and look forward to this new spot on stage.
So, when did you start playing the drums and why did you decide on this instrument?
I grew up in Cape Town and my grandad was a banjo player who then got my dad into drumming at around 10 years old to which he would end up leaving school early to play professionally. I was born in the height of my dad’s career and pretty much grew up on stage from around three months old next to my dad and behind the Marshall stacks. At the age of 4 I played my first song on stage with my dad’s band while sitting on his lap as I couldn’t reach the pedals, which earned me more money than him on the night in tips and, right there and then, I made my career choice. In this industry it takes just one good moment and you’re hooked! I kept drumming and at age 15 I decided to leave school and go play professionally at Sun City. Since then I have toured most of Africa and quite a lot of the world playing music.
You’ve launched your own signature snare drum range earlier this year. What do you hope drummers will get from this product and what advice do you have for young drummers in SA?
I created the snare drum purely for myself and my love for drums, plus my addiction for snare drums collecting. After creating it, I felt it was just too cool not to share. All the products created so far is to my taste, what I would feel most comfortable playing with and the look and feel I like. All I hope is that other drummers can get that same feeling from them. It is a completely unique, niche product, one-of a kind and even though there are more than one of each item, each one is still handmade, so they get to have their very own, unique product.
My advice for young drummers is to be 100% in it for the love of what you do and give more than 100% everyday. Not everyone can be a musician, not everyone will stay a musician and not everyone keeps on doing it purely for the love of the music. If you can stay true to yourself, give your best and not sell out, your success is measured in your own personal goals and achievements and not what others think of you or how much money you make. Money will make you happy for a while, music keeps you happy till the end.
I’ve heard that you are launching a drum company in the USA in 2019. Tell me about that?
J.O. Drum was launched In July 2018, with my own signature snare drum range. It is the first of its kind in Africa where everything besides the skins on it, have been made from scratch in one place. The J.O Drums are 100% handmade from start to finish; their focus the production of a snare that connects with the player who purchases it. It’s about the craftsmanship and connection you get when owning one. J.O Drums also recently launched a Bass Drum Beater, Hi Hat Clutch, PK Drum and Acrylic Snare Drum and plan to launch a full J.O Drumkit in this year still, all firsts for Africa. The plan is to take J.O. Drums to NAMM, the largest Music Equipment Distribution Expo in the world. This is still in progress, but will hopefully be finalised soon.
You have an album launch tour coming up. Any specific shows you are most looking forward to?
The album launch kicks off the tour on 26 November at Barnyard Rivonia. Entrance is free for all, but there are some limited VIP tickets available with some exciting goodies. Of course this will be the show I am most excited and nervous about. For the coastal tour in December, I guess each show and venue will be unique to the town and crowd so excited for all of them in their own way. I had the privilege of touring the coast 2 times in the last month with my tribute shows and must say although the road is hard, it is so rewarding playing for the amazing people along the coast.
Finally, what are you planning for 2019?
Getting J.O. Drums to NAMM.
Touring with Oooth across SA and the globe, especially the UK and some other countries already in the pipeline.
Touring with my 3 tribute bands more often.
Pushing the Oooth brand as a whole with Oooth Clothing and Oooth Coffee still growing.
Just making as much music as I can and playing as often as I can, while I can.