After a wonderful celebration of Youth Day in 2016, Liefde by die Dam is back in August 2017 to celebrate South African music at Jozi’s spectacular Emmarentia Dam. This full day family event welcomes music lovers of all ages. Named after Valiant Swart’s chart-topping hit of the same name, Liefde By Die Dam is a showcase for the best in local talent. Join the groundbreaking group Die Heuwels Fantasties, revered for their unique music and their energetic live performances. Joining Die Heuwels on the mainstage is iconic front man of legend-ary South African rock bands Fokofpolisiekar and Van Coke Kartel, Francois van Coke. Whilst laz-ing under the leafy trees of Emmarentia, the beloved Afrikaans voice of Laurika Rauch will sere-nade you, followed by Afrikaans darling Riana Nel. Crowd favourite SAMA nominee Majozi returns this year with his foot stomping, electro indie rock and adding to this stellar line-up is the inspirational Tresor, and South Africa’s own rap superstar, JR. To round off this unbelievable day of entertainment are newcomer Jo Black, whose debut album already reached gold status this year, and guitar virtuoso Loki Rothman. With that said, I had a chat with the legend himself, Francois van Coke. Hi, Francois. Thanks for chatting to us. What makes Liefde by die Dam different from other shows you have done? The event has an insanely diverse line-up. Even more diverse than last year. Where have you seen JR, Tressor, Riana Nel and Francois van Coke on the same line-up? Last year was amazing cause the weather was great and people were amped. I am super excited to be there again. We can’t wait for it. What can fans expect from your performance at Liefde by die Dam? I mainly play songs from my 2 solo albums with my band, Die Gevaar. I always do a VCK and Fokof classic in the set. I will hopefully bring the joy and the party. Yes! Liefde by die Dam was named after a song from Valiant Swart, I have to ask, are you a fan of Valiant? Yeah, I caught onto Valiant a bit later. Only around 2007. He has written fantastic songs and is a great guy that always has a story to tell. Would you ever collaborate with Valiant Swart if you could? Yeah, I would love to write and sing a song with him before we get old! There is still a lot of time 🙂 Out of all the songs in your solo set, which is your favorite to perform? And why? I like playing all the stuff from the new album at the moment. It is just more exciting to play new music. Obviously the reaction for ‘Toe vind ek jou’ is massive everywhere I go and I love sharing that with people. Taking Liefde by die Dam’s line-up into account, which artist would you like to collaborate with on stage if you could… well, except Die Heuwels 🙂 I am a big fan of JR, have been forever. Would love to do something with him one day. That would be great! Can fans expect another collaboration like ‘Toe vind ek jou’ that you did with Karen Zoid in the near future? I don’t think it is cool to do the same thing twice and don’t want to try and recreate “Toe vind ek jou”, but I would love to write another song with Karen in the future. When it comes to your career in music (writing, playing and performing) what drives you the most? I make my living from performing live, but I wake up to create new music. In life there are always highs and lows, looking back on your music career, what stands out as the best moment so far? I think there are definitely more than one. Starting a band called Fokofpolisiekar with my beste mates, opening for Metallica and the massive impact that “Toe vind ek jou” had in 2015. And worst moment… If there has been one? There has been plenty of these too. I think the worst ones I can’t remember so well. I went on stage many times when I was too fucked up to play. I don’t do that anymore! Haha! What South African Music show or festival would you say you enjoy performing the most? I am a massive fan of Oppikoppi and have been performing at Koppi for 14 years straight. It is always a highlight in the calendar. If possible, which international Music Festival would you like to perform at in the future as a solo artist? I have been to a couple and really liked Pukkelpop in Belgium and Pinkpop in The Netherlands. Looking back through the years, Francois Van Coke seems more chilled these days. How did that come about, was it the family life? And how much of a difference is it with a wife and daughter in your life, as opposed to those first tours with Fokofpolisiekar way back in the early 2000’s? I have become more chilled and thank fuck I did. I am glad I don’t puke on people in the crowd anymore. I think age, family and responsibilities made me re-evaluate my life and direction. Everything is different from those early days in Fokof. I look at it with very fond memories, but would never want to be in that position again. Which artists would you say have influenced you the most in your career? The first music I really got into was grunge and punk. So, I would say Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Green Day, Rancid etc. Awesome! Thank you for the chat. We’ll see you at Liefde by die Dam. If you need tickets for the show, follow the jump! Lekker. *All photos by Andre Badenhorst.