“Keep on keeping on” (Xander Ferreira)
Gazelle is an South-African electro-roots “Lim Pop” group from Cape Town. Combining elements of funk, disco, reggae, 80′s electropop and traditional African sounds, Gazelle’s music creates a whole new genre. Music, life, color, energy, great style, hope – all of that makes Gazelle. Its frontmen are Xander Ferreira and DJ Nick Matthews. What very few people know is that Xander Ferreira is a professional photographer who started his music career as a reggae singer known as the “White Lion”. I’ve met Xander first time in Milan, where he shot me for “Blonde” Magazine. We were immediately on a vibe and had lots of fun. Not liking Xander is impossible – he is witty, charming and a gentleman.
Sussan Zeck: Xander, who are you?
Xander Ferreira: I’m a man of mystery that over-involves himself in too many things, but cannot stop creating in different ways. Too many days, I say wow! I should try to do that and then move on to manifest my vision…
Sussan Zeck: What characterizes you?
Xander Ferreira: I guess it is my fanaticism in everything I do… whether in my music, my photography, my art exhibitions, my film work, or my design work – they all are my priorities in life.
Sussan Zeck: Tell me about your most significant career steps, how did you start working in the fashion industry and later in the music industry?
Xander Ferreira: Well, I started off working in the film industry and ended up as a photographer, which I still do, before I really started having success with the music industry. It was my meeting with the Inoue Brothers, my partners in our brand Ubuntu that made me really get into the fashion industry. First, I worked as photographer for their label shooting the collections they did in collaboration with Comme des Garcons and then later we decided to do a clothing brand together, unifying The Inoue Brothers and Gazelle.
Sussan Zeck: What does Gazelle stand for and how does it sound?
Xander Ferreira: Our motto is “Pimping on a low budget and hustling on a high level”. We try to be more than a band, we would rather be a brand looking at different ways to use whatever skills we have to create. In our music, we mix so many different genres and cultures and as a result so many different people. Music is an important tool to us that places us in a position with huge responsibility, therefore we strive to share the knowledge we have or to deliver comments on what we feel is of importance.
Sussan Zeck: What fascinates you about music, which influences and tendencies?
Xander Ferreira: The power of music is extreme, its life can be endless. A message or meaning can be passed on from generation to generation through music. It is a powerful weapon that has changed minds, hearts, beliefs and politics before. We believe that artists should take more responsibility with the power they receive. Our heroes were people like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley, not artists rapping about their cars, money and vices. We admire those who realized the gift they were given and used it for something important.
Sussan Zeck: Do you think music and fashion are assimilated?
Xander Ferreira: Yes, in many ways. Through the ages you can look at how what musicians were wearing impacted fashion trends to the extreme and cultures as a whole.
Sussan Zeck: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Xander Ferreia: Keep on keeping on.
Sussan Zeck: Any insider tips for people interested in the arts in London?
Xander Ferreira: I think London is definitely one of the centers of the world and will always be. I would say, don’t just look at the underground, cool cutting edge happenings but enjoy the rich culture of age-old established museums and galleries too.
Sussan Zeck: Who is your creative role model?
Xander Ferreira: There are so many, in very different fields, that it would be too hard to single someone out. As much as I like to look back at mentors from the past such as Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Guy Bourdin and Jean Paul Goude, I like to look at contemporary artists and creatives that share their time to inspire those around them.
Sussan Zeck: Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
Xander Ferreira: Probably still looking for my next project. This year, we will be sharing a very special album we have been working on for the past 3 years, called THE RISE AND FALL OF AN EMPIRE. We hope it brings a great message and inspiration to all.
Sussan Zeck: Xander, thanks for this wonderful conversation and for being inspiring to so many listeners! May you have a bright future ahead, you deserve only the very best in life. We can’t wait to listen to your new album- “keep on keeping on”…
9 February 2012 1 Comment