MP3 Tristan Waterkeyn - Hay Day
Mellow, thoughtful and aurally pleasing, a hammock-style hit waiting to be discovered. Acoustic guitar and jazzy rhythms complement lyrics both darkly humorous and poetic.
12 MP3 Songs
EASY LISTENING: Soft Rock, JAZZ: Jazz Vocals
“Hay Day” is the kind of CD I’d want to have accompany me on thousands of kilometres of sailing. It’s a “lie back in your hammock, look at the horizon and let the movement gently rock you” sort of album. It’s melodies spin themselves from lyrical yarn, the instrumentation’s brightly colourful and it’s all woven closely together by a silky smooth voice. Poetic, ambiguous words and jovial, sometimes theatrical play on instruments are an invitation to delve into layers of meaning. And it’s all taut... a nice taut mainsail to pull you along...
Tristan Waterkeyn’s been around. Born in Tanzania, moved to Kenya, then to Zimbabwe, where he went to high school. He learned to play the guitar to escape the rigid institutionalism of boarding school, and made appearances in Harare for a band called “Substitute Parachute”. After that he spent three years backpacking through Asia and sailing thousands of kilometres (yes, with guitar in tow), before returning home to Africa. To Cape Town, to be exact, where he studied philosophy and comparative religion at University and soon found a group of people to share his passion for music with.
Having finished his degree and having found himself more involved in the live music scene than anything else, Tristan saw a need for a more unified community in South Africa ‘s diverse music industry. He formed “Overtone”, a company dedicated to building up the music industry of South Africa.
Overtone provides every South African band and artist with access to its rapidly expanding online community with easy access to the music industry via its directories. For fans and the industry, it offers a monthly gig guide and newsletter, as well as access to information on different sectors of the industry in South Africa - from bands themselves to live venues, stores, labels and industry news. As a resource for artists, Overtone is to offer all the facilities that they would normally have to source from multiple individual companies. It also offers facilities and help for musicians to record and produce their own albums.
This brings us back to the new album “Hay Day”. It’s taken a considerable amount of effort, time and coordination - a testing of the Overtone system - to arrive at the finished article, and here is Tristan’s (and Overtone’s) seamless debut album.
Biography and Interview by Anthony Boyd 2007
Tristan Waterkeyn is 26; a tall, dark and passionate young man with a flair for all things musical. He’s a talented singer, songwriter and guitarist who’s about to release his debut album, and he’s also the brains behind https://www.tradebit.com Overtone is a South African music website; an online oasis in the desert that is too often the local music industry. It’s a place where local artists can sign up and make themselves known, fans can check out what’s happening and score free tickets to gigs, and club owners can get their two cents’ worth. Overtone is basically a keenly designed free marketing resource, with a bunch of additional resources and features, which will include recording assistance and facilities in the near future. In fact, Tristan is test piloting the system with his album Hay Day.
Hay Day is a laid-back listen; an album that’ll take you to your own private island in the middle of the ocean, ease you gently into your hammock and let you relax as you watch the waves lap against the shore.
Tristan strums his acoustic guitar effortlessly, blending beachy sounds with jazzy rhythms; his deep, smooth voice melting it all together. “The mood is very uplifting,” says Tristan, “and at the same time comforting; picture yourself hanging out with your friends in a field, drinking wine and having a picnic, just having a really great time.” “It’s very easy to write negative songs”, he says, but that’s not what he wanted to do here. “I want my music to make you feel safe, at ease in this fast-paced life. Music is life comfort food, and I wanted my album to be a kind of ‘get out of jail free’ card when you’re feeling down.” It’s all summed up in the album’s title, he explains; “I want people to realize that their hay day, their glowing moment, is now.” There’s a definite thread which runs through all of the tracks, a kind of warmth.
Some are light and fun, like “Kathrin”; a song to thank the dreadlocked traveller from Germany who mucked up Tristan’s hair on a beach one tipsy afternoon on the coast of Australia. Others touch on more serious themes, though subtly, so that the vibe is always a positive one. “Time” explores the state of the South African music industry, while “Inner way” is more of a ballad, a layered song about the paradoxical nature of love - how it can connect people, or break them apart forever. “The Mack”, in a quirky vein, is a take on an aging mobster, a sketch of a senile ex-Don. “I love playing with words, metaphors, character sketches and observations”, says Tristan. Lyrically and musically, everything is composed carefully and deliberately. “When a guitar comes in, it’s not by accident”, he says, “It’s sketching the character”. He rolls humour, sometimes dark, sometimes tongue-in-cheek, with philosophy to create lyrical layers, which are mirrored musically. Each listen to Hay Day yields something new, builds on the experience and entices, inviting you to unravel the sonic tapestry a little more.
Tristan’s influences are drawn from around the world. He’s a seasoned traveller, and though young in years, is mature and energized with life experience. Born and bred on the African continent, his childhood was very much an African experience, tempered by his British family life. After living in England for a while, he ran away to Hong Kong, backpacking around China, Thailand and Bali; teaching English and working odd jobs until he could afford to move on somewhere else. He sailed down to Perth and worked in coffee shops and a mental asylum, saving up for a van and then selling shares in it before road tripping round Australia. “We only hit one kangaroo”, he admits sheepishly.
“I’ve seen a lot of different cultures, and I think that everything influences you a little bit”, he says. “I travelled everywhere with my guitar, and was meeting people, writing songs…you really pick up new styles when you jam with people.”
Tristan’s rich experiences add up with his passion and sincerity to create a richly layered album that goes way beyond debut expectations. The “vintage new” sound he describes is appealing in elements which might be familiar from a childhood, as well as in its fresh styles of instrumentation and fusions of sounds. “The overall sound is fresh, but it feels like it’s been there for a long time”, Tristan says. Its familiarity adds to its warm, light feel, making for a great listen.
Feature Article by Carey Finn 2007