A chat with Alex Parker from ISO

ISO Interview

We recently had a little email interview with Alex Parker, from ISO, formerly known as Isochronous.

ISO is a four piece South African band consisting of, Alex Parker (Keyboard, Guitar and Backing Vocals), Franco Schoeman (Bass and Backing Vocals), Marko Benini (Drums and Backing Vocals) and Richard Brokensha (Lead Vocals and Guitar)

They have, to date, release 4 Albums, namely: Isochronous (LP,2008), Imago (LP, 2010), Inscape (LP, 2011) and most recently Piece by Piece (LP, 2012)

noeyedeer: Okay so we all know about the name change to ISO? Was this purely to make yourselves more accessible to the general public, I mean, Isochronous was quite a mouthful, but was there any other deciding factors leading to the name change?

Alex – ISO: It was most certainly a question of accessibility. We noticed it most when touring in a place like Germany where practically no one could pronounce the name Isochronous. Many fans already abbreviated it to ISO so we decided to take a risk and change it.

noeyedeer: We managed to catch your performance at Splashy Fen this year, how did you guys find Splashy?

Alex – ISO: We had a fantastic show at Splashy. We were humbled by the raucous response we received. Every time we play there, it gets better and better. There was a lot of rain around that weekend, but it didn’t dampen the festivals’ spirit. The organizers did a great job handling it all!

noeyedeer: What/where has been your favourite gig since your inception?

Alex – ISO: Our most memorable performance was in the Berlin O2 Arena in October 2010. We opened for a German superstar, Marius-Muller Westernhagen. There were over 10 000 people there. It was a taste of what every band would like to achieve, I think. But every performance has its own idiosyncrasies and you have to treasure those as a musician. Some of our best shows have been in sweaty night clubs with only a handful of people.

noeyedeer: Tell us about your latest album cover, has a fair resemblance to some older bands, Queen, Bread and Abba come to mind, just coincidence, or hidden meaning?

photo credit: Sean Brand
photo credit: Sean Brand

Alex – ISO: There isn’t any hidden meaning really. We simply wanted it to represent how light and music interact. This theme was incorporated into the video for the first single, No Fire.

noeyedeer: As a band, what has been your biggest hurdle so far?

Alex – ISO: In the local music industry, it’s tough to find quality promoters who invest time into the marketing of their events. So as a band, it’s difficult to promote shows and still focus on performing well.

noeyedeer: On that note, what has been your greatest achievement to date?

Alex – ISO: Sticking together has been a great achievement! But seriously, the German tour was definitely the highlight so far. Then recording 4 albums and a DVD together has been a wonderful experience for all of us. We have literally grown up together.

noeyedeer: So you’re going on around 8 years now as a band (if my calculations are correct) and we have seen that you traveled to Germany in 2010. Your focus seemed to have shifted more to the Local South African scene since then, was it intentional, was there a reason for this?
Following that, as much as the SA scene seems to be growing, the big money seems to be overseas, have you made any overseas plans as yet, is it an option?

Alex – ISO: We naturally have intentions to tour overseas again. We wanted to build a really solid platform before that, because we have witnessed the strength of the competition over there. So we have been focusing on generating airplay here and then making our move once we have more leverage.

noeyedeer: You started off being produced by Sony BMG SA, this must have given you guys a huge push in the right direction, did you choose to go independent after that out of choice( if so what were the reasons), or was it out of necessity?

Alex – ISO: We have always been an independent band, producing our own music. With Sony what happened was the idols judge Dave Thompson was interested in helping getting our cd, which we had already made, into the stores. So it wasn’t a big deal like what pop stars sign where the label owns you. We have tried to avoid that. It’s definitely the more difficult road in terms of investment into the band, but it’s the sacrifice you have to make to keep creative control.

photo credit: Sean Brand
photo credit: Sean Brand

Some questions from an avid fan of yours and one of our followers, Donna asks:

Donna: What do you (the band members) enjoy doing most when you are not performing or working on your music?
1. Alex loves playing golf and reading books.
2. Marko enjoys films, books and, dare we say it, TV games.
3. Franco likes adventure.
4. Richard is an avid bird watcher.

Donna: Would you adopt me and sing me to sleep? *laughs*
ISO: We couldn’t promise to feed you, but we’d try!

Donna: What do you find harder, creating/writing the songs or recording them?
ISO: Both can be really fun depending on your perspective, but in general the idea is always the hardest thing to nail. If the creative process has worked well, the recording process can become so much fun!

Donna: Whats their favourite part of being in the music industry?
ISO: Definitely the fact that music brings people of all creeds and colours together. We have such a diverse country and in the music industry you witness that diversity at first hand.

Donna: What other musicians have they met that they admire/are motivated by?
ISO: When we toured Germany we met people who have been involved with artists like Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, Jimi Hendricks, Snoop Dogg. But these people are all behind the scenes. We have also met amazing musicians who played for Dire Straights, Paul McCartney and Bryan Adams. It was a surreal experience.

Thanks ISO!

You can go check them out at their next GIG
Where: Live the Venue, Durban
When: Friday, April 19th 2013

For more information on ISO click on over to the following links:

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