Indie band Henry Ate release new single after 22 years

Karma-Ann Swanepoel from Henry Ate. Picture: Areo Rodriguez

Karma-Ann Swanepoel from Henry Ate. Picture: Areo Rodriguez

Published Apr 2, 2024


South African iconic Indie rock band, Henry Ate, are back on the music scene after more than two decades.

Band members Karma-Ann Swanepoel and Julian Sun just dropped a brand new single after 22 years titled, “You Were My First Everything”.

The song is a poignant journey through nostalgia and reminiscence, capturing the essence of the band's signature sound.

“I’m really happy with the result. I’ve probably listened to this song more than anyone. And I still go back to it,” said Swanepoel.

Adding that the hope is for it to spark joy in fans.

“Jules likes it, too. I hope it sparks joy in Henry Ate fans and delivers them the same gift of youthful reminiscence and nostalgia I enjoyed that Saturday morning while writing it.”

Swanepoel recalled every detail of how the song came to be.

“It was a Saturday morning. June 11, 2022. I was feeling pretty excited about a dance party I was going to later. My friend and I were texting back and forth about our plans for the evening - figuring out how we were actually going to stay awake to make it to the party!

“I was super aware of the feeling of excitement. I recognised it. It reminded me of my life back at university when similar plans were being made.

“I took a moment to reminisce. The memories came flooding in. Something sparked and I wanted to put that feeling into a song. I don’t plan songs. I just pick up a guitar and see what happens.

“I do recall wanting to see if I could pull off putting the words ‘90s rave’ into the lyrics. ‘You Were My First Everything was finished by that afternoon.”

Later, she called up Sun and the two spent over a year recording, mixing and mastering it with the help of Kevin Leicher.

“I loved the idea of having the original Henry Ate line-up, which was just the three of us, work on this song. Kevin did a fantastic job on guitars and mixed the song as well,” she said.

Since they came to fame in the mid-1990, the band have given their fans songs like “Hey Mister, “Just” and “Henry”, that offered a visceral experience, making them hard to forget, despite their absence.

According to a statement, the new single is everything you might imagine a new Henry Ate song to be.

“A striking opening verse describing a scene that is universal with an instantly memorable chorus, all wrapped in soaring pop hooks and layers of acoustic and electric guitaring.”

According to Sun, the song is pure “nostalgia”.

“From Karma’s plaintiff lyrics about 90’s raves, to the acoustic guitar, to the electric guitar hooks, to the final mix itself, it could’ve come straight out of the ‘Slap in the Face’ sessions.

“When I first heard the rough mix, it was like being transported back in time to when Henry Ate first started and that provided pure inspiration for the vocal harmony.

“I’m so happy with how it’s turned out. It’s quintessentially Henry Ate and a gift to people who’ve been fans of the band since we first started.

“It allows for both them and us to reminisce about the good old days - ‘when we were beautiful’ - while getting to experience the first new Henry Ate song in years.”

Listen below: