INTERVIEWS: NADINE LAGGAR AND MELINA MELETAKOS

PHOTOS: KOBUS BARNARD, BRAD DONALD & ELEANOR HARDING

SEETHER

 What’s it like to be back in South Africa performing, John (Humphrey)?

This is great. This is my fourth time here. We’re staying at Sun City, where I’ve never been before and doing this festival, it’s my first time. But I’ve had some of my greatest experiences here. In 2006, we did shows with Metallica here. My first year joining the band, New Years’ Eve 2003/2004, was spent at St Francis Bay doing a show and ringing in the new year there. It’s one of the perks of being in this band with Shaun and Dale. Every album cycle we are guaranteed a trip back here. I hope to bring my family one day.

What was the response like to your shows in Durban and Cape Town?

In Cape Town and Durban it was just insane, it was great. We did an encore in Durban. We don’t even do those in the States. They just wouldn’t let us go so we came back and did Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box” and we did an old Saron Gas song called “Beer” and it was great. I’m looking forward to tonight. It’s sort of a homecoming for Shaun and Dale, so it’s great to be a part of it.

How is work on the new album coming along?

When you’re in touring mode (which we have been – we’ve already done more shows between January and now than we did all of last year, which is when the album came out) it’s kind of hard to write. Whenever we soundcheck we kind of jam some ideas or we’ll be at dinner and Shaun will be like, “Give me your phone,” because I have one of these apps that you can record with and he’ll sing something. It’s kind of hard to really write or demo, we usually go home, take a break and then we start sending stuff to each other and getting ideas started and then we’ll meet up, rehearse and go from there. So, right now, nothing is really done or in the can, we’re just kind of in touring mode right now. Hopefully, I would say mid to late next year.

How would you say your music has evolved from when you first started out to the music you are making now?

We hope, as musicians, we become better songwriters, better at our craft and better at our instruments. We do hundreds of shows a year and I’ve been with the band nine, almost ten years so that’s thousands of shows, you know. We’re not really that methodical. Anything that Shaun starts jamming or if Dale has an idea, we’ll just start kind of working it and somehow, when it’s filtered through the three of us, it sort of sounds like Seether. The band’s always had songs like “Gasoline”, a heavier song, or “Broken”. Now we have songs like “Fur Cue” and “Here and Now” or “Tonight”, so the band has those melodic elements and heavier stuff and ballads. Of course, the foundation of it is Shaun’s voice and his lyrics. Those very intelligent and emotional lyrics have always been the basis of the band and his style. I think that those elements are still there. I just hope we have become better and the songs have become stronger. I’m not even on Disclaimer but it’s still some of my favourite stuff. Even though I’m not even a part of that and it’s going way back.

You were nominated for an award for Best Live Act at the 2012 Revolver Golden Gods Awards. What do you think goes into making a good live performance?

You know, that was amazing. We were up against Judas Priest and like these legends, you know. I thought it was great because we’re just a rock band. We don’t play with backing tracks or any supplementary sound. The sounds that you hear are from the three guys that are up there on stage and for us to be in that category with those guys, just to be nominated, was pretty awesome because we pride ourselves on being a live band. We tour, we’ve always toured and toured hard and we do take some pride in it. We like to have fun. We like to put on a good show.

 EAGLES OF DEATH METAL

Jesse, you’ve just gotten off stage, how was the gig?

F**king amazing.

How does the South African audience compare to other countries you’ve performed in all over the world?

Oh, it doesn’t compare. That’s it. No it’s not, that’s not it! [Laughs] This place is like no place else on the earth and I never even knew we had fans here. It never occurred to me. And everyone that [had] never heard of [us], they were kind of like the most amazing [audience] to play for. The kind that is like, “Let’s see what you’ve got”. But then if you’ve got something they give it up. And I saw titties. I mean … [Laughs]

You guys have other projects on the go like Boot’s Electric. Do you ever feel like you’re spread a little too thin or will there always be time to perform as Eagles of Death Metal?

Eagles of Death Metal is like the special motor for the garage. So it’s like something we all fall back on. I mean, even right now we have Claude Coleman from Ween playing drums. We don’t ever feel stretched thin, that’s how it is that we keep going. You’ve got to keep training. You can’t just take a year off and then go to the Olympics and run a race. It’s the same thing with rock and roll. You have to be in practice with the devil.

You’ve said before that Eagles of Death Metal will always be about two friends having the best time together. Do you think this is how you make the macabre and sexy sound so damn fun?

Well that’s what’s supposed to happen. The only rule is that we want to make the best songs we can make. Joshua is the most unique person in the world. One of a kind. The only person I know of who can go through the vanity splits for rock and roll and be able to allow a dude like me to take the forefront. Know what I mean? Because there’s no side project in the world that ever lived. We’re not a side project anymore. We’re like a band in our own right. It’s because we’re loving this, we love each other so much, we grew up together and we have great mothers. Like, if my mom says Quentin Tarantino likes classic rock radio, it puts a smile on my face.

Your moustache is quite impressive. Is that how you gain creative control? Whoever has the thickest and longest moustache wins?

I’m actually a year older than Josh and, um, I’m kind of like the man behind the curtain in a lot of ways. It’s my moustache that gives me power. Definitely.

Like Sampson, but concerning facial hair?

Definitely Sampson. When you look like every girl’s dad when they were, like, three, you have a slight advantage over anything. You know what I mean? It’s called the “paging Doctor Freud”.

Can we expect a follow-up album to Hearts On?

Yes, in fact Josh and I are recording it when I get home this summer, in about a month.

When can we look forward to it being released?

In about four or five months.

Have you thought about an album name?

Um, I don’t know. We’re batting around, like, Stylus Interrupted or a name like Ladies Only, or Ladies Night. And then I was thinking that the cover could be, like, a long line of ladies going to club and Josh and I are dressed in drag trying to get in. And it’s odd because I have a moustache, whatever, but just like really horrible drag, because that’d be funny and a good reason to get into a dress.

You guys have played a couple of shows now in South Africa. What has the tour been like so far?

Linda: Awesome. For me it’s the first time in South Africa. [Mathias] has actually been here before – [he has] also played Oppikoppi with another band. So I think it’s kind of a different experience for each of us and also a new one because it’s different for you (Mathias) now, right?

 

ENTER SHIKARI

 You guys released your third album earlier this year, A Flash Flood of Colour and you’ve just finished your world tour. How was the response to the new album?

Rob: Good, yeah, it was fantastic. We’ve never really written any music for anyone else other than ourselves. So when we find that other people really appreciate it and like it … it’s been an overwhelming response to both [the] band and the critics, the recorded stuff and live as well. Yeah, we couldn’t have asked for anything more.

You’ve performed in Cape Town and now you’re here at Oppikoppi. How does the South African vibe compare to the other countries you’ve performed in?

Liam: It’s been amazing. I think I speak for everyone here that we’ve had the most amazing experience so far. The food’s been great and everyone has been really friendly. The landscape and everything’s been good.

Rob: We’ve seen monkeys. [Laughs] And zebras. Driving through, it’s pretty much exactly what I imagined it would look like.

How would you say A Flash Flood of Colour differs from your previous albums, Taking to the Skies and Common Dreads?

Rob: There’s been three years between each album and I think you can really hear it in the music. It’s a bit more mature and progressed.

And a bit more verve.

Rob: Yeah.

Liam: I’d say more zef. [Laughs]

Do you think the rise of electronic and dubstep have had an influence in your international popularity?

Rob: Electronic music is really spreading out a bit more and I guess, you know, it has opened it up to a few more people. But I think the thing with us that we’ve always found is that wherever we’ve been we’ve just had to play lots of shows. We’ve never been able to go to where’s its popular and we’ve always had to put a lot of hard work in. And occasionally places we’d go to, like South Africa for example, we haven’t been here before and people are quite excited about it. That’s always really quite mind-blowing because we’ve never been here before, so how can they know so much? I guess for us it’s always been a case of working hard.

What’s your number one item you couldn’t survive without at a festival?

Liam: Beer.

Rob: Well, I don’t know what’s it’s like at Oppikoppi but at the UK festivals: toilet paper. You’ve got to bring your own toilet paper.

 

 

BOMBAY SHOW PIG

 You guys have played a couple of shows now in South Africa. What has the tour been like so far?

Linda: Awesome. For me it’s the first time in South Africa. [Mathias] has actually been here before – [he has] also played Oppikoppi with another band. So I think it’s kind of a different experience for each of us and also a new one because it’s different for you (Mathias) now, right?

 Mathias: Yeah, yeah, we’re depending on people here a little more. Our budget is, like, really small so we have to ask everybody to help us out and so this way we meet a lot of people over here. It’s like a very personal view of South Africa. So that’s a lot different to the last time I was here. But that’s really good and I like this way a lot better than the other way.

Linda: And Oppikoppi is already a great dessert. We haven’t even played yet and I think it’s going to be awesome, the vibes going to be amazing.

How has the response been to your music over the tour?

Linda: Awesome. We sold so many CDs [that] we have no more CDs left so we had some extra flown in. We’ve been at 5FM and all kinds of radio stations and, yeah, they’re playing our music. So for us it’s been very successful. Even now when we’re walking [through] the festival we’re getting, “Woo! Bombay Show Pig!” and we’re here for the first time so this is insane, it’s awesome.

How does performing in South Africa compare to performing back home in the Netherlands?

Mathias: All the venues here are like a bar first and then a music venue second. Back home you have a lot of music venues, so people come out because they want to see you and over here you still have an element of surprise because people are going there to drink and if the band is nice they’ll stick around. If not, they’ll go away again. It’s a bit more harsh than back home. It keeps you on your toes.

How do you think changing from a trio to a duo has changed your music?

Mathias: I think our music is really pure. We have a lot more energy as a duo than when there were three of us. It feels more focused in a way when you’re playing as a duo.

Linda: And it’s really handy that you just have to call or text one person to get where you’re going.

Mathias: We toured South Africa in a really small car and we fit everything in.

What surprised you about your visit to South Africa?

 Linda: How cold it can get at night. [Laughs] Back home it’s summer right now and here it’s winter, so I was like, “Oh, I’m packing all my short skirts,” and then I was like, “Ah!” But today was nice. But musically we saw a few cool bands we played with and we’re still listening to this CD of this guy we met in Johannesburg.

Mathias: I’ve never been to Cape Town before. So last time I was around Joburg and Pretoria. But this time we went to Cape Town and that’s like a whole different world. So now my whole vision of South Africa has been flipped around again. I liked it before but now I see how diverse it is.

Perdeby heard you were making a music video from footage of your South African tour.

Linda: Yeah, actually one of our songs is going to be released when we get back and we’re also going to [release] it here for the radio stations. So we thought it would be fun if we could use all of the gig footage and also this footage (footage of interviews and backstage). Yeah, we’re going to make a video out of it. It’s a cheap and fast way but also like a goodbye.

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