Wonderboom – Rising Sun

This month WONDERboom released Rising Sun. For their fans it was a patient wait of seven years since their last studio album, but trust us it was worth the wait! Popping it into the CD player last week, we were in love with it from the first few chords. The Original Colette Carr caught up with frontman Cito to find out more.

Congratulations on the recent release of this WONDERboom album after such a long break. We couldn’t be more thrilled!

Thank you! You couldn’t be more thrilled than we are – believe me.

Where did you record Rising Sun, and who was your Producer?

We recorded Rising Sun in different places. Drums at Fourie (Smack Entertainment) Smit’s home studio. Vocals, programming and most guitars at Dog Box (my home studio) and some guitars at Martin’s studio. Oh, and trumpets on Hell at Howard Audio; performed by the man himself, Adam Howard. He also mixed Hell . The rest of the tracks were mixed by Thomas Hughes at Hissing Goose Studio. WONDERboom produced the album.

It was really awesome recording with the guys again. We did things differently this time and spent a lot of time on the album together

It has been a while since WONDERboom have recorded an album (7 years), what was it like being back in the studio with the guys again?

It was really awesome recording with the guys again. We did things differently this time and spent a lot of time on the album together. Lots of song-writing, pre-production and work-shopping the songs to get them where we envisaged them. We’ve never been so involved and engrossed with detail as we have with ‘Rising Sun’. Having Martin withdrawals; after a year and a half of seeing each other in studio, three to four times a week for our song-writing sessions.

What song are you most pleased with on the album and can you tell the story behind it?

Hard to say which one song I am pleased with the most. Some songs have overtaken others in outcome. But Hell is a personal favourite for me. I wrote it in five minutes, while my wife was in the bath. But it took three years and about five different versions and two different bands to release it. It was initially meant to be manifested through my solo project, but it wasn’t suiting the rest of project’s electro/alternative sound and Martin convinced me to let WONDERboom record it. We’ve never recorded a song that builds the way that it does. Also features Adam Howard on trumpet and piccolo trumpet. After much tweaking, re-recording and fiddling with it, I am satisfied with the result. The other songs are killer, but Hell was a monumental breakthrough for me.

‘Hell’ is actually  my favourite track on the album currently   😀

Twenty-one years in the industry. Do you ever look in the mirror and think “Where the f**k did the time go, I still feel twenty-seven?”

Although it still feels like yesterday, a lot has happened in my life between all of the WONDERboom highlights. So, I do know where the time went. I still feel like I’m 27 and, to be quite honest with you, think that Rock N Roll has kept me ‘young’. But the greys in my hair are a dead giveaway! Also can just look at my 21 year-old son to remind me of how long the band has been going! 😉

The other songs are killer, but ‘Hell’ was a monumental breakthrough for me.

On that note, what advice would you give your cocky young self just starting out in 1996?

Ease up on the drugs and focus more on the music! Record, record, record…

In the number of years in Wonderboom you have to look back on, what moment is the one you are most proud of?

I think that winning the South African leg of the Global Battle of the Bands, in 2004, then coming second worldwide was pretty much the proudest moment.

You’ll be representing South Africa at the Chengdu Cultural Music Festival in China (next to 12 other countries). How did this come about?

I was approached by Adrian Skirrow, who is an old school record industry player, now promoter, about the opportunity. He’s connected with promoters on that side and thought that we could put on a good show and represent SA. Really looking forward to it!

We obviously love our old stompers, but are very keen on the new material. I think our fans are digging the new shit too

Are you prepared? How is your Mandarin coming along?

Um, not at all! Been pumping with all sorts, so much lately that I’m not even there yet. But I know all will come together in due time. Eek!

The album release show at The Good Luck Bar was one of the best Wonderboom shows ever. Both rocking and intimate, and brought back so many great memories. This is from an audience perspective though – what was that show like for you guys?

The whole set was a blur for me. I loved every minute. I know that the guys were pleased and we couldn’t have wished for a better launch. We obviously love our old stompers, but are very keen on the new material. I think our fans are digging the new shit too. We need to have fresh music in our repertoire and ‘Rising Sun’ has been that new, loved chapter for us.

That said, watching you guys live (no matter how many times we have done it over the years) is always a treat. You have such charisma and energy on stage. How do you manage to keep that energy resilient and fresh, even after all these years?

Energy-wise… the music stimulates us and always has. I can’t imagine being still during a WONDERboom set. Not gonna happen.

Energy-wise… the music stimulates us and always has. I can’t imagine being still during a WONDERboom set. Not gonna happen

At the album launch gig you played the much loved cover of the Jaluka song ‘Africa’.
(I prefer it to the original…shhhhhh don’t tell anyone) 😉
What does Johnny Clegg think of this rock-style cover of his song?

When it first came out, Johnny gave us praise for it. It meant the world to us, getting his approval. But then I think we may have annoyed him when we played our version at a festival in Pietermaritzburg right before his set. He sound checked with it, but then didn’t play it. Looking back, that was quite assholic of us…

Where can fans get the album?

‘Rising Sun’ is available on iTunes and all other digital platforms. Physical copies available at our shows and Musica.

If people want to follow you for more information – where can they find information?

WONDERboom is easy follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instragram.

All of our tour dates, new releases and general info best to get on Facebook though.

Catch WONDERboom live on the Rising Sun album tour

1 – 3 December – Ningbo Cultural Festival – Ningbo, China
9 December – Jock, Nelspruit
22 December – Cheers Pub, Kimberley
23 December – C Beach, East London (with Prime Circle)
24 December – Knysna Yacht Club, Knysna
25 December – Music Kitchen, Port Elizabeth (unplugged)
26 December – Vinyl On Main, Knysna
27 December – Venue TBC
28 December – Brass Bell, Cape Town
29 December – Quay Four, Cape Town
30 December – Berties Mooring, Gordon’s Bay
31 December – Rumours Rock City, Johannesburg

Thanks for the chat. We wish you all the best with the album…and that it’s success rises like the sun

Interview by The Original CC
Photographs by Rob Scholtz