The musical careers of two southern suburbs brothers have taken them up and down – with a recent climax being the establishment of a multinational band, signed under a Danish record label.
Kyle and Darren Petersen grew up in Retreat but now live in Diep River and Southfield, respectively.
“I would not say I’m currently living anywhere,” 27-year-old Darren, a drummer, percussionist and producer jokes, referring to his frequent travelling.
The Southern Mail caught up with the musos by telephone in Johannesburg, where they are both working on separate projects. Prior to that, they were in Australia.
Kyle is a musical director who has already worked with several South African artists, including Danny K, Toya Delazy, Blackbyrd, Chad Saaiman, Elvis Blue and Zahara. “It’s been nuts, it’s been crazy but very good. There’s been lots of opportunities and stuff, which I am very grateful for,” he said.
A classically-trained pianist and singer, by the time Kyle was 16 he had performed in nine opera productions with principal roles in two of them. By 18 he had completed 14 years of classical piano and vocal training.
Explaining how the band, called Life, came about, the 31-year-old said: “Basically, I get a phone call from Mick (Evans, an Australian music producer). He called me and said, ‘I’m going to send you tracks for this one song. Do your own take on it and get back to me; see what you come up with.’”
Mick was in Sydney with pop-rocker Rebeka Rain.
“I did that and sent it back to him a couple of days later. Then I get a phone call, at like 3 o’clock in the morning or something, because they are eight hours ahead, and he said, ‘Just get on the next plane you can’.”
So Kyle hopped on a plane and flew to Sydney where he lent his vocal talents to several of Rebeka’s songs and completed a few duets with her.
“Then out of nowhere he said I can record one of my songs as well,” Kyle said.
After recording his pop song, Easy to Love, Kyle hung around in Australia, working on various projects, including a documentary about suicide, before heading home again but there were more surprises in store.
“One duet suddenly started charting in Germany,” Kyle said of the single, Another Chance, “And then London, and then San Francisco, and the song that I did got heard by this record label in Denmark, and they contacted Mick and said, ‘Right, this is what we want. We want you guys to put a band together. We’re gonna produce it internationally, touring Europe, Japan,’ blah blah blah, all that sort of stuff and so last month, myself and my brother, and Rebeka and Mick, we worked together in Australia for about two and a half weeks, putting this album together, and things have just gone so quickly. It’s crazy.”
Kyle describes the album as a collaborative effort of original songs, with lyrics and production coming from all four members but the vocals are by Kyle and Rebeka.
Darren said: “The main focus now is just to finish off, to mix and edit and bring these songs forward and make it our best product and to see in terms of what journeys they take and how the market responds to them, depending also on which market we are focussing on. The European market through the Danish record label is the main focus.”
Darren is the baby of the band in terms of age but in no means by musical experience, with nearly 19 years in the industry.
Yet he says he has learned a lot from the ensemble.
“There was a lot for me to learn from experienced guys such as Rebeka, Mick and Kyle, from a song-writing point of view, composition, production.
“So it’s exciting. It’s amazing. The time we spent in Australia together for those two weeks, we could feel the synergy between us. There’s just a good synergy between the four of us.”
Kyle said: “It’s been great, it’s been awesome but there are a lot of sleepless nights and things that go with it.”