Skip to main content

INTERVIEW with Riaan Smit of Crimson House

| Interviews

We recently had the chance to catch up with Riaan Smit of Crimson House, to discuss their latest offering, 'Bounceology' just on time before they hit the road to do their album launch tour. 

By Frederic Egersdörfer

Published Tuesday, 03 September 2019 16:55

So, 8  members in the band. How did you all meet?

It’s a long story with many timelines, you’re talking 6 core members and uncountable collaborations that make up the circus that is Crimson House. Our core members such as Drummer Christoph and myself met when we were 12, our second time hanging out we were in a band together, a punk band at first. Our guitarist Arno was a mutual friend of ours from the metal scene. Our original bassist before Andre who we met via Ann Jangle was Jacques who I met over a decade ago when he filled in for a show for my Metal band at the time. We met our horn boys Nick and Gareth in the circus when I was a ringmaster, Nick brought Tim in when he decided to put the horn down, and Tebogo I met a lifetime ago through a mutual Korean friend. And then there’s Nhoza who I met a lifetime ago through my sister, she’s like a sister to me.

‘Unicorns’ seems like a fun song. What inspired it?

Realizing that people put very little thought into what other people are doing, we’re all too concerned with our own lives. It’s a lovely sobering thought actually, because you can a unicorn, stand out of the crowd, and if people want to talk, give them something to talk about. I identify as a Unicorn, if you identify as a toaster then that’s your business, I won’t judge you.

How did the ZZ-top influence come about into ‘On The Prowl’

I’ve been baptized in the blues since I took my first breath, my father was an avid blues and rock listener, waking me up at 2 am to listen to a riff or a lyric. Thing is for me it’s not Zztop that influenced that song, it’s John lee hooker, and he influenced ZZTop. I’ve always jammed that kind of riff at a million shows, after all this time I decided it was time to solidify that jam.

Each song has its own uniqueness. Was this the plan from the beginning?

Very much so, besides the fact that we have an identity crisis, we also have so many tricks our sleeve it’s boring for to stick to one genre, we don’t really like to filter ourselves if it feels good to play, then that’s what matters.

It’s nice to hear a mixture of brass instruments again. The sound is fun and catching. There aren’t many bands in South Africa that do this. Who were your influences?

SA bands are masters of the brass, our influences locally were definitely Nomadic Orchestra, Bomb shelter Beast, Grassy Spark, the Rudimentals, Hog Hoggity Hog,  Fuzigish, too many to say! But we have killer horn players in this country, some of the best I have heard.

How often do you jam together?

In the beginning, every day, as time goes on we definitely gig more than we rehearse, and jam, well we jam every show, we have our set planned, but there is always an element of improvisation in every show. When we write it’s hours of jamming to come to solid ideas.

What is the best venue you’ve played at?

Impossible to say, so many amazing venues, I’d say Kirstenbosch gardens is up there in the top.

What can everyone expect on your upcoming Tour?

A lot of bouncing for one. It’s a cardio work out for the crowd and us. We give our all at every show, and for anyone coming through to one of our shows, we guarantee a smile and a good time. We would love to guarantee that everyone will get laid but that all depends on your game, we’ll definitely set the ambience to get you going in the right direction. 

Updated on:
>> Wednesday, 28 September 2022 10:42

Gypsy Rock

Want more interviews? Check out our essential articles below...


Buy Stream Crimson House on Spotify

  • Gypsy Rock

About Crimson House

Crimson House is multi genre gypsy rock band that combines several styles including ska, Afro blues, hip hop, blues & rock. Originally based from Cape town, South Africa, the band is comprised of Riaan Smit (guitar/vocals), Nick Becker (alto sax), Arno van Zyl (lead guitar/banjo), Christoph de Chavonnes Vrugt (drums), Jacques Jansen van Rensburg (bass) and Gareth Harvey (baritone sax). They have become a festival & club favourite with their high energy interactive live performances becoming that of legends.

Also Available on