Year of Dogs

Year of Dogs is based in Cape Town. Image: Supplied

#MusicExchange: Rapid-fire Q&A with indie sensations Year of Dogs

Year of Dogs is a four-piece, new wave, indie pop band from Cape Town, served on a fresh bed of funk and with a smooth hint of Sade.

Year of Dogs

Year of Dogs is based in Cape Town. Image: Supplied

Year of Dogs had its origins as a duo formed by long-time friends Nic Van Graan (vocals) and Themba Bosch (guitar). The pair started experimenting with music in 2018, while they lived and taught English together in Vietnam. 

After a few years of grinding the two-man show, the pack was completed in 2020 by brothers Alex (drums) and Dillon Birns (bass). The Birns brothers also feature as the drum and bass section of Cape Town-based band Ben Dey and the Concrete Lions.

The apple does not fall far from the tree and some will recognise the surname Van Graan. Nic van Graan’s father is the acclaimed playwright, cultural activist, commentator and academic Mike van Graan.


Year of Dogs
The four members of the band have been impressing with their fresh sound. Image: Supplied

The new decade means?

New things, new methods, new opportunities and new experiences.

Fame is about?

Hmmm… getting free things!

Retirement will happen when?

When we’re deaf. Just kidding — Beethoven didn’t stop!

We don’t do?

Life too seriously!

What does music mean to you?

Expression, refuge, healing, passion and inspiration: It’s everything.

Our music is about?

The highs, lows and mids in between through a little lens of cheeky.

We would love to co-write with? 

Kevin Parker, Bernie Taupin, Alex Turner and Mark Ronson.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of your work?

The creative process of writing a new song and the thrill of performing on stage.

The song you must do in every show?

Our debut baby, Sweet Red.

Watch the video for Sweet Red here:

Any funny moments on stage?

One time we were encored by a very drunk crowd in a howling wind that almost blew the speakers (and us) over.

Your heroes?

Our parents.

Your style icon? 

Nic, the front man of our band.

Which living person do you admire most and why?

Keanu Reeves. He’s a G.

What is your most treasured possession?

Each other.

It’s your round: What are you drinking?

While alcohol was banned our favourite was DOPE’s Pineapple CBD Sparkling Water.

Dream gig to do?

A livestream from the International Space Station — we are accepting money to crowdfund this project from now!

What makes you stand out?

Our desire to learn and grow.


The Dogs, Doggos and Good Boys.

If you were not musicians, what would you do?

Learn to play music, duh.

Pick five words to describe yourselves?

Cheeky, authentic, optimistic, proactive and fluffy.

Five favourite South African albums of all time?

  • Oink! by Hog Hoggidy Hog
  • Bad Hair by Nasty C
  • Paper Castles by Alice Phoebe Lou
  • Nomvula by Freshlyground
  • eVOID by eVOID

Greatest Movie Ever Made?


What song changed your lives? 

Our own song Sweet Red. It really brought us together and is beginning to open the doors to so many beautiful opportunities.

Who do you love?

Our family, friends and pets.

What is your favourite word?


Favourite Fashion items? 

Our bucket hats.

Give us some real, proper slang and what it means?

Flaketownians — a semi-affectionate term for fellow Capetonians who have the tendency to cancel plans last-minute.

Top of your bucket list?

To play live gigs again.

Your greatest achievement?

So far… the release of our first single Sweet Red.

What do you complain about most often?

Food from a restaurant or takeaway, but we’d never complain to them directly.

What is your fear?

Not reaching our potential.

Happiness is?

Looking forward to the next day and being excited to wake up.

On stage you tend to?

Gyrate uncontrollably (some of us).

The best life lesson you have been taught?

You don’t find yourself — you create yourself.

Do you get worked up while watching a sports game on TV?

Of course as we’re South Africans.

Where would you like to be right now?

At the top of your favourite Spotify playlist.

Do you do charity work? If yes, what do you do?

Not yet, but we have some ideas for when lockdown eases. Also, if there’s anyone who would like to do something along these lines with us, please reach out.

Wishes and dreams?

To make a sustainable living while doing what we love… and world peace!

Catch Year of Dogs’ new tune on YouTube, Spotify and Ditto. Follow them on Instagram @yearofdogs_ and Facebook @yearofdogs


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