Since they first burst out of the sleepy mining town of Witbank some 11 years ago, South African rock sensation Prime Circle has been unstoppable. They stormed out of the gates with their record-breaking debut album in 2003, and have followed it up with a string of massive studio albums that have secured their place as the most successful rock act in South African history.
Prime Circle’s career is an inspiration that has spawned hundreds of garage bands across South Africa, with starry-eyed young rockers hoping that one day, they might make it big the way Ross Learmonth, Dirk Bisschoff, Marco Gomes, Neil Breytenbach and Dale Schnettler did. In a country where rock ‘n’ roll is a precious but rare commodity, that’s nothing to be sniffed at.
Says lead singer Ross Learmonth of Prime Circle’s early days, “It was hard to find people who were serious about music – so I jumped at the chance to jam with guys who were ambitious musicians.” The band, all from Witbank and surrounding areas, emerged from literally nowhere to take the unsuspecting South African rock scene by storm.
Their 2003 debut, Hello Crazy World, rocketed to gold status in South Africa, with “Live This Life” (the 2005 follow-up following suit) – fairly groundbreaking stuff for the fresh-faced newbies to the local rock scene. Singles such as “Hello”, “Live This Life” and “My Inspiration” earned heavy rotation on South African radio, and it wasn’t long before crowds at Prime Circle shows were roaring their songs back to them word for word, building a fanbase that would stick with them for over a decade and more.
2008 saw Prime Circle’s signing to EMI, as well as the release of an album that would signal them as a seminal South African act. “All or Nothing” demonstrated the difference between a good band and a great one. Recorded at Bellville Studios in Cape Town, “All or Nothing” marked a turn in Prime Circle’s musical direction, moving further from their original post grunge, alternative sound to produce more anthemic, stadium rock records. The record raked in the first two Prime Circle South African Music Award nominations of their career, for Record of the Year and Best Rock Album (English).
To date, the first single from “All or Nothing”, “She Always Gets What She Wants”, has received over 789 000 YouTube hits. It is the most-viewed South African rock song of all time on the channel, and cements Prime Circle’s status as the most successful South African rock band in history. Award-winning follow-up singles from the album include “Out of This Place” and “Consider Me”.