Die Antwoord performing at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, California on 17 July 2010
|Origin||Cape Town, South Africa|
Die Antwoord (pronounced [di'ɑnt.ʋoːrt], Afrikaans for "The Answer") is a South African rap-rave group formed in Cape Town in 2008. The group's members are rappers Ninja and Yolandi Visser (often stylized as Vi$$er) and DJ Hi-Tek. Their image involves a counterculture movement called zef and the influence of photographer Roger Ballen.
Die Antwoord released their debut studio album, $O$ (2009), online for free and attracted international attention for their music video for "Enter the Ninja". After briefly signing with Interscope Records, they founded their own label in 2011, Zef Recordz, through which they released their second and third studio albums, Ten$Ion (2012) and Donker Mag (2014), respectively.
- 1 Background and style
- 2 History
- 3 Media projects
- 4 Work with other artists
- 5 Artistic inspiration for music video scenes
- 6 Discography
- 7 Members
- 8 References
- 9 Further Reading
- 10 External links
Background and style
Die Antwoord's lead vocalist, Ninja, was part of the South African hip-hop scene for many years, fronting acts such as The Original Evergreen, MaxNormal.TV and The Constructus Corporation. Ninja told Rolling Stone, "Everything I did before Die Antwoord was me experimenting, messing around and trying to find Die Antwoord . . . everything before it was disposable. It was all throwaway."
Die Antwoord observed that journalists and critics, particularly in the United States, frequently ask if their creative output is a joke or a hoax. When asked if he was playing a character, Ninja said, "Ninja is, how can I say, like Superman is to Clark Kent. The only difference is I don't take off this fokken Superman suit." They have described their work as "documentary fiction" and "exaggerated experience" designed for shock value. Ninja told Spin:
People are unconscious, and you have to use your art as a shock machine to wake them up. Some people are too far gone. They'll just keep asking, "Is it real? Is it real?" That's dwanky. That's a word we have in South Africa, "dwanky." It's like lame. "Is it real?" You have to be futuristic and carry on. You gotta be a good guide to help people get away from dull experience.
Die Antwoord is known for their cult following, in particular the unusually prolific creation of fan art by their followers. Some of their music videos have incorporated artwork by the noted photographer Roger Ballen.
Die Antwoord's musical and visual style incorporates elements of a "zef" culture, described as modern and trashy, appropriating out-of-date, discarded cultural elements. Yo-Landi said, "It's associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you're poor but you're fancy. You're poor but you're sexy, you've got style." Their lyrics are performed in Afrikaans, Xhosa, and English.
Debut album: $O$
Die Antwoord formed in 2008. Their name is Afrikaans for "The Answer" Their debut album $O$ was made available as a free download on their official website. $O$ features Cape Flats rappers Garlic Brown (aka Knoffel Bruin), Scallywag, Isaac Mutant, Jack Parow, and Jaak Paarl (aka Jaak). The album cover was shot by photographer Clayton James Cubitt. In 2009 South African cinematographer Rob Malpage (along with co-director Ninja) shot the video for their single "Enter the Ninja". The video features Cape Town artist and turntablist Leon Botha. The video received millions of views online nine months later, forcing them to move their website to a US-based hosting provider to handle the traffic. The single "Evil Boy" produced by American artist Diplo (also noted for producing M.I.A.'s smash hit "Paper Planes"), contained a verse by guest vocalist Wanga (a Xhosa rapper) in his native language, which rejects the traditional Xhosa passage to manhood achieved in part by circumcision, electing to remain uncircumcised; thus an "evil boy for life". The video has garnered over eighteen million views as of March 2015.
Interscope deal and $O$ re-release
Following the success of the video, Die Antwoord signed a record deal with Interscope Records. In April 2010, they performed their first international concert at the Coachella Music Festival, in front of 40,000 people. They then toured internationally in support of $O$. Shortly after, they joined the 2011 Big Day Out circuit which took them to New Zealand and Australia, sharing back-to-back sold-out sideshows with M.I.A. At the end of 2010, Die Antwoord won the Myspace Best Music Video of 2010 award for their debut video, "Enter the Ninja".
Interscope dispute, Zef Recordz and independent Ten$Ion release
In November 2011, Die Antwoord left Interscope Records over a dispute concerning their upcoming album and its lead single, "Fok Julle Naaiers". Visser explained that Interscope "kept pushing us to be more generic" in order to make more money: "If you try to make songs that other people like, your band will always be shit. You always gotta do what you like. If it connects, it's a miracle, but it happened with Die Antwoord." Die Antwoord formed their own independent label, Zef Recordz, and released their new album Ten$Ion through it. The release was in association with the Good Smile Company (a Japanese company that is also making Die Antwoord toys) and Downtown Records, which is handling the marketing and distribution for the record worldwide. Ten$ion included three more singles following "Fok Julle Naaiers": "I Fink U Freeky", "Baby's on Fire", and "Fatty Boom Boom". The singles included on Ten$ion began to bring Die Antwoord more into the global spotlight as they were invited to perform on American talk shows and featured in an Alexander Wang advertisement. However the album was met with average to poor reviews by many critics. Ten$Ion was followed up with a non-album single, "XP€N$IV $H1T".
Summer 2013 European tour and Donker Mag
Following the release of "XP€N$IV $H1T", Die Antwoord set out on a brief tour across Europe from June to July. Soon after they began touring, snippets for a new single called "Cookie Thumper!", which was to be accompanied by a music video, were released. Around the release of their new single, Die Antwoord also announced the title of their third album, Donker Mag, which was released on 3 June 2014. On 20 May 2014, "Pitbull Terrier", the second music video from Donker Mag, was released.
In an interview with Exclaim! magazine in 2010, the group revealed they have a five album plan. According to Ninja, "We'll be dropping films between each of the albums, feature films... We have one we're working on for next year called The Answer. It's like the story of how Die Antwoord started. But that's like, our power, and where our energy is at right now."
They have filmed a short film with American filmmaker Harmony Korine. The short film premiered at SXSW as Umshini Wam (in reference to the Zulu struggle song "Umshini wami") and features "furry costumes, wheelchairs, a music video breakdown, and plenty of zef slang." The film is available online.
In 2014, it was revealed that Die Antwoord would appear in the Neill Blomkamp film Chappie. In an interview, Ninja states that "Neill is, like, our favorite director, so when he asked us to be in Chappie, it was like a complete freak-out". In the film, Die Antwoord star as themselves as two gangsters, who act like the father figure to Chappie, and teach him how to be a gangster.
Work with other artists
The photographer Roger Ballen has helped design the set for their music video "Enter the Ninja". Ballen co-directed the I Fink You Freeky music video. The Erdmann Contemporary Photographers Gallery in Cape Town featured some works of Ballen from the video.
Bitter Comix's creator Anton Kannemeyer released some work featuring Die Antwoord in 2011. He described the song "Doos Dronk" with the words "if ever there were a song that sounded like Bitter Comix, this is it." During 2013 Die Antwoord turned down an offer by Lady Gaga to perform the opening act for her South African "Born This Way" tour.
In 2014, the duo sampled Aphex Twin's "Ageispolis" for their "Ugly Boy" single. In the music video, a man wearing a mask resembling Aphex Twin in blackface can be seen with a hoodie that reads "Hello, My Name Is God" and his symbol can also be seen on a hoodie worn by Yo-Landi Visser in certain shots. Aphex Twin and Die Antwoord also performed together at London Electric Dance Festival in 2010.
Artistic inspiration for music video scenes
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions|
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Album details||Peak chart
|"—" denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.|
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Album|
|"Enter the Ninja"||2010||45||37||5|
|"Fok Julle Naaiers"||—||—||Ten$Ion|
|"I Fink U Freeky"||2012||—||—|
|"Baby's on Fire"||—||—|
|"Fatty Boom Boom"||—||—|
|"XP€N$IV $H1T"||—||—||Non-album single|
|"Cookie Thumper!"||2013||—||—||Donker Mag|
|"Spectacular" (Seymour Bits featuring Die Antwoord)||2010||Seymour Bits|
|"Enter the Ninja"||2010||Rob Malpage|
|"Evil Boy"||Ninja and Rob Malpage|
|"Rich Bitch"||2011||Kobus Holnaaier and Ninja|
|"Fok Julle Naaiers"||Ninja and Ross Garrett|
|"I Fink U Freeky"||2012||Roger Ballen and Ninja|
|"Baby's on Fire"||Ninja and Terence Neale|
|"Fatty Boom Boom"||Ninja, Terence Neale and Saki Fokken Bergh|
- Vuilgeboost – DJ
- Barker, Jean (28 February 2010). "24 Facts: Die Antwoord". Channel24.
- Coetzer, Diane (30 January 2012). Die Antwoord: The Rolling Stone Interview. Rolling Stone
- Holnaaier, Kobus (22 September 2010). "Straight from the horse's piel".
- Marchese, David (February 7, 2012).Die Antwoord's Totally Insane Words of Wisdom. Spin
- Mechanic, Michael (February 2012). The Prolific Fan Art of Die Antwoord. Mother Jones
- "Roger Ballen behind the scenes with Die Antwoord". Phaidon.com. Retrieved 2012-10-17.
- "Take No Prisoners - Interview with Die Antwoord". YouTube.
- Hoby, Hermione (12 September 2010). "Die Antwoord: 'Are we awful or the best thing in the universe?'". The Observer.
- Bosch, Marius (5 February 2010). "S.African Afrikaans rappers takes Internet by storm". Reuters.
- Culhane, Dylan. "Die Antwoord - Zef So Fresh". Vice.[dead link]
- Jones, Michelle (13 February 2012). "Band have the answer to secret of success". IOL. Retrieved 2012-02-29.
- Hodgson, Jaimie (9 February 2010). "Die Antwoord And 'Zef'—South Africa's Biggest Non-Existent Scene". NME.
- Davis, Andy (3 July 2010). "15 Minutes with a NINJA". Mahala.
- Bonner, Sean. "Die Antwoord $O$ album cover revealed". BoingBoing. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- "Die Antwoord - Enter the Ninja Music Video". Dont Party. 3 February 2010.
- Jardin, Xeni (3 February 2010). "Die Antwoord, S. African zef-rap, and Progeria survivor Leon Botha". Boing Boing.
- "Die Antwoord - Evil Boy (Explicit Version)". YouTube. 2010-10-11. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- "Die Antwoord". Watkykjy.co.za. 2010-04-18. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- [dead link]
- "M I A and Die Antwoord announce intimate BDO sideshows in Sydney and Melbourne". the AU review. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- "M.I.A with Die Antwoord - Big Day Out Sideshows 2011 - M.I.A at Metro Theatre, Sydney, NSW on 28 Jan 11". Liveguide.com.au. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- "Featured Content on Myspace". Myspace.com. 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- Fairbanks, Eve (26 January 2012). "Johannesburg's Most Wanted". New York Times. Retrieved 26 January 2012.
- Jardin, Xeni (7 November 2012). Die Antwoord leave Interscope, will release "TEN$ION" on their own new indie label. Boing Boing
- Hughes, Josiah. "Die Antwoord Reveal 'Donker Mag' LP, Share New Video". http://exclaim.ca. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "Die Antwoord - Pitbull Terrier". YouTube. 2014-05-20. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- "Die Antwoord, l’interview exclusive : “Nous sommes notre propre Etat indépendant”". Les Inrocks. 2015-02-21. Retrieved 2015-03-23.
- Dart, Chris (August 2010). "Die Antwoord". Exclaim!.
- Chris Bosman (2011-03-16). "See The Die Antwoord Short Film 'Umshini Wam' | Prefix". Prefixmag.com. Retrieved 2014-07-13.
- "Alexander Wang Employes Die Antwoord For His New Video Campaign". Refinery29. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- Vince Mancini (2015-03-04). "Ninja From Die Antwoord Was Allegedly A Huge Pain In The Ass While Filming ‘Chappie’". Uproxx. Retrieved 2015-03-14.
- Jonathan, Beggs. "New Hollywood villians". Mahala.co.za. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Roger Ballen directs Die Antwoord video". Phaidon. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Review: Roger Ballen / Die Antwoord". Whats on in Cape Town. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Anton Kannemeyer talks about Die Antwoord". Jack Shainman Gallery presents. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Die Antwoord takes cue from Butcher Boys". Channel24. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Die Antwoord Trailer Pulled Over Copyright Issues". 2oceans vibe. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- "Die Antwoord – Fatty Boom Boom (official music video)". WatKykJy.co.za. Retrieved 10 February 2013.
- Peak chart positions for albums in Australia:
- Except $O$: "Discography Die Antwoord". australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- $O$: "The ARIA Report: Issue 1093 (Week Commencing 7 February 2011)" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. 7 February 2011. p. 6. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Discografie Die Antwoord". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Discographie Die Antwoord". Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Die Antwoord – Chart History: Canadian Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Discographie Die Antwoord". Hung Medien (in German). charts.de. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Discografie Die Antwoord". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Discography Die Antwoord". charts.org.nz. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Discographie Die Antwoord". hitparade.ch. Hung Medien. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Die Antwoord – Chart History: Billboard 200". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Die Antwoord – Chart History: Dance/Electronic Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Die Antwoord – Chart History: Independent Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Die Antwoord – Chart History: Rap Albums". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Discographie Die Antwoord". austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- "Die Antwoord" (select "Singles" tab). Official Charts Company. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- "Die Antwoord - Enter The Ninja (Official)". Google. YouTube. 14 January 2010. Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "EVIL BOY". Vimeo. 8 December 2010. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "Rich Bitch - Die Antwoord". Vevo. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- ""FOK JULLE NAAIERS" by DIE ANTWOORD (Official)". Google. YouTube. 7 March 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "'I FINK U FREEKY' by DIE ANTWOORD (Official)". Google. YouTube. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "DIE ANTWOORD - BABY'S ON FIRE (OFFICIAL)". Google. YouTube. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "Die Antwoord - "Fatty Boom Boom" (Official Video)". Google. YouTube. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "Die Antwoord - "Cookie Thumper" (Official Video)". Google. YouTube. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
- "Die Antwoord - "Pitbull Terrier"". Google. YouTube. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 20 May 2014.
- "Die Antwoord - Ugly Boy". YouTube. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
- "Die Antwoord Bio" (PDF). 28 February 2010.
- Claire Scott (2012): "Die Antwoord and a delegitimised South African whiteness: a potential counter-narrative?" 26:5, 745-761
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Die Antwoord.|
- Official website
- Watkykjy Website which covers Die Antwoord and related culture.
- Die Antwoord Interview with ION Magazine, July 2010
- Analysis of the $O$ album from South African magazine Mahala
- Roger Ballen/Die Antwoord exhibition