Dead Gallows Tellby Jana du Plessis / 06.07.2011
Metal is a highly contested area of the South African music scene. Two of South Africa’s leading hardcore bands, Facing the Gallows and The Dead Will Tell recently toured with US metal legends The Ghost Inside. Generally it’s a life of partying from one gig to the next and working themselves to the bone for the love of metal alone. And while Devon Straticzuk slated FTG’s performance in Kempton Park, the response on our message boards was so strong, we thought it’d be a good idea to pin them down and have a little chat.
Mahala: OK, so can we start?
[Three band members leave the table in search of a spot in Long Street where they can smoke a joint.]
Facing The Gallows: Our answers will be better when we get back.
How long have you been doing what you love, assuming that you all love touring and sleeping in vans for the sake of bringing death metal to South African audiences?
The Dead Will Tell: Since 2006, and we only call it ‘death metal’ so people know what the hell we’re talking about. It’s actually death core.
FTG: We’ve been around for four years and it’s metal core, man, the screaming shit.
Why this death core genre then, something that obviously doesn’t attract wide audiences?
FTG: It’s a passionate genre, a raw expression of emotion. If you’re pissed off, you want to scream. So we channel that emotion into our music, but we’re all chilled people. The thing is it’s not particularly attractive music. When people hear it the first time, they think it’s like kill your cat or kill your mother. People are ignorant and don’t give it a chance.
Who comes to your shows?
FTG: Anyone can enjoy it, from 12-year-old kids to 80-year-old grannies. Bryan’s dad comes to all our gigs.
You just performed at an all-ages skate park in Stellenbosch. How did you get around using swear words in your lyrics?
FTG: We don’t give a fuck. You can’t censor swear words in a live show. Why change our songs just because of the crowd?
TDWT: Jeremy [vocals] used ‘ef’ instead of ‘fuck’, but swear words do make it sound better.
You toured with The Ghost Inside how was that?
FTG: Those guys are really famous back in the US, so we were just happy to be touring with them. And it helps that they’re all very chilled guys.
TDWT: And they like to party.
Tell me about your respective creative processes.
FTG: Bryan (vocals) writes the songs from personal experiences, observing society and interrogating our values and ideals. Then the lyrics follow. And then we all turn it into songs.
TDWT: We first write songs and fit it with the music later. Spencer (drums) is the main musical influence. He writes most of his music on his computer. He doesn’t have a girlfriend, he has a computer.
What do you guys see when you’re onstage?
TDWT: People having a good time.
FTG: Yeah, and people like us, who come to enjoy the music and hang out with their friends.
TDWT: Playing in front of a dead crowd is really hard.
FTG: As long as people are bobbing their heads, you know they’re enjoying themselves.
And what about money, are you making any?
TDWT: We all do this for the love. We’re not making any money from it, but it’s given us good exposure.
FTG: It’s damn hard work and we have to do everything ourselves; from advertising to carrying our shit around. We do it because of our shared passion for the music.
Anything crazy that happened on tour?
TDWT: A few hours into the first leg of this tour, on our way to Durban, Bryan got wasted and vomited in the van.
FTG: It didn’t happen on this tour, but at one of our gigs at Tempo’s in Joburg, when it was still open, this guy from the East Rand did a stage dive and landed on a girl’s head. She slipped a disc, but she’s fine now. We had to stop playing and help carry the girl out. It was hectic.
TDWT: We’re working on a split record with FTG, called This is Hate City, which we’re aiming to complete by the end of this year.
FTG: Yeah. And more touring.
TDWT: And a Range Rover would be nice.