Healthy eating tips and wild-style outfits with avant-garde musician, Thor Rixon
Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: Nick Gordon
Dressed in a nude leotard and with a head full of dreadlocks, Thor Rixon danced onto the scene doing his little jig while dishing out healthy eating tips in his song “Fuk Bread”. Shot in one take the video featured Umlilo, Jana Babez, Amy Ayanda and Matt Rightford as backup dancers, and after having his head and face shaved the video culminated with Thor having the words “Fuk Bread” tattooed into his head.”
Okay Thor, you officially have our attention.
FUN FACT! We conduct our interview in the courtyard of the somewhat notorious digs on Camp Street, which is where the video was shot. Thor has lived here ever since Alice Phoebe Lou left to go and busk in Berlin three years ago.
“I’d done a recording with Alice and I took her room when she moved to Berlin. I’m now the person who has lived here the longest. There are constantly new people coming in and out. Same as next door.”
The double-storey Victorian used to be a council house and is now filled with musicians. Because the walls are so thin everyone can hear what the others are doing and given all the instruments laying about – a line of amps, speaker stacks and drumkit in the passage and then lots of keyboards, guitars, pedals and other noisy things everywhere else – collaborations are inevitable.
Right now it’s quite quiet as the house is just waking up. Andy Islands walks over from his spot next door, rubbing sleep out of his eyes and then picks out the least damp looking seat before plopping himself down.
“I started guitar in grade five, taught myself drums a year later, and then learned trumpet for five years after that,” says Thor. “Then I stopped, but I am picking that all up again.”
Despite relearning the instruments of his youth it was probably the Ableton course that Thor studied under African Dope’s Fletcher at The Cape Audio College that contributed most to his sound.
“My mom was a big fan of his and so when she found out that he was teaching she pushed me towards that. Strangely enough, this used to be the African Dope’s offices.”
After the production course Thor studied film for two years at City Varsity where he made music videos and student films and is why he’s now busy working on a series of short films with a few other individuals.
He’s a busy guy, and because of this the highly creative creative has come up with a collaborative production agency called Naas, where he’s currently head of music and film, in order to try and keep all of his creativity in one place.
The EPs Shared Folder and Tea Time Favourites featured Inge Beckmann, Umlilo, Chantel Van T, David Thorpe, James McClure, Simon Ackerman and Matthew Rightford, and Thor’s now busy writing his first full-length album, Songs From the Bath, which has been compiled in Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Oslo and Cape Town.
“With Naas I pop in where I can. Before I was a lot more hands on but for now I’m very focused on the album so I’ve asked to step away and focus on that for the time being. It’s a group of four of us. Myself, Ian McNair, who is also in charge of Platform, which is the magazine we do on the side, and then there’s Matt Rightford who’s in charge of marketing and management and Tourmaline Berg who does bookings and management.”
Having written the majority of the album while he was travelling, Thor has been in his bedroom-slash-studio tinkering and putting the final touches on it. As something of a perfectionist, this is always the longest process.
“It’s still not quite there yet. Probably need another two to three weeks. I’ve given my ears a bit of a break and then I’ll be going back in and looking for things. What kind of things? Like maybe a melody is too repetitive and becomes a little annoying, I’ll alt that and change it so that it keeps the listeners interest.”
Thor won’t say who’s on this album, he wants the satisfaction of a big reveal, but what he will say is that he’s worked with a lot of musicians on this, especially European buskers.
“I hitchhiked from Barcelona to Munich and then from Munich to Berlin. I went over to finish Alice’s album, and then because it was my first time overseas I wanted to spend a decent amount of time there. The people in Berlin are amazing, everyone has a similar outlook and the energy is just amazing. Joburg has a hint of it, but it’s very much uniquely Berlin.”
According to Thor, Alice Phoebe Lou is on the streets almost every day and has become the queen of busking in Berlin. As part of the team putting her new independent and self-funded album together, Thor is doing a bit of producing and a little bit of writing for her.
“If you say you’re from South Africa people will say, ‘Oh, like that blonde girl on the streets?’ She makes a living, and a very good one at that, from busking.”
And in the same way that the petite South African musician stands out on those grey German streets, the 25-years old with the Norwegian name is just as novel.
A big fan of colour blocking, Thor’s equally happy to put together an outfit where nothing matches. It’s not quite taking the piss, just having a lot of fun with fashion, and instead of doing any sort of preplanned thing Thor relies on using whatever’s close at hand instead.
In the annotated diagram of Thor’s bedroom fig. 5 is marked “Swag Container”, a steel office supplies cabinet filled with everything from a pair of white crocs to several pairs of swimming goggles to that nude body suit. It's a veritable fun box filled with stuff from hospice shops that he breathes new life into with the outfits that he puts together. There's also a mason jar filled with his dreadlocks.
“Getting my head shaved in one take was an idea that I’d been playing around with for about a year. That grew into something where we were adding more and more things to make it more intense. The day came and we practiced it four or five times and then went for it just as the light was about to go. I’m pretty proud of it. I haven’t checked out any of the YouTube comments, apparently there’s some hate (Ed: Best comment, “This song is so vegan I became hummusexual.”), but when I see people in the street or people I’ve never met before they’re like, “Hey, fu*k bread!”