‘Sometimes its better to be heard, than to be paid’ – Wat Kyk Jy? interviews Filth

In Watkykjy Interviews deur Chopper Charlie

(foto’s deur The Image Engineer)

Ek is onlangs pleasantly verras deur ‘n solid rock debuutalbum wat vir my gemail is. Die band is Filth en hulle album se naam is ‘Dirty Laundry’ wat heeltemal gratis (soos in betaal nul fokken Rand!) beskikbaar is hier.

Gesels ek toe mos met hulle bassist Zack Emmanuel. In Engels.

How would you describe your music?
Dirty, raw, alt, grunge and hard rock are words that have been thrown around, so let’s go with that.

Interesting choice of band name. Who came up with it? Is there any special significance?
Ah… band names, where do we begin? We had several working titles for the noise we make, some of which included Those Heathens and Bleach.
The name Filth was a happy accident. Gareth, our vocalist, would always text me potential names at ungodly hours. “Hey man how about [insert band name here]? #justsaying.” Haha… This went on for months, because it was important that everyone in the band felt and identified with the name.
Anyhow, I posted a pic online of a new bass I modded with a luthier and technician, with the caption: I hope everyone is ready for the Filth. Gareth said: “That’s it… Filth.” It was short, memorable and it described our sound, so it stuck.
filth 1
Some of your songs seem to be dealing with kind of heavy issues, one could say casting out demons. Would this be accurate? Why is this and what are some of the issues dealt with?
Gareth and I write most of the lyrical content, so I can’t speak for him. Some of the stuff is mine, some his, others are an amalgam of our ideas. I feel that the best lyrics come from personal experience.

Thematically the songs are about: redemption, love, hate, war, sex, death, addiction, religion, struggle, oppression, control, social ills, consumerism and so on and so forth.

Some people would call this dark or heavy, but I truly believe that music should reflect society and deal with real issues; there is not much of this going around these days. Music is Art, and Art is a Weapon.

As you mention, most of the songs are also quite personal. What is the story behind ‘Born on a Saturday’?
It’s story of a young Sicilian girl (my grandmother), who comes to South Africa on holiday, falls in love, and then gets pregnant.

She returns home with a secret, and leaves the child behind, as her parents and the church would not approve. She makes a pact with a friend to look after the boy ’till she can come back. On her return she finds that her friend’s family have raised the child as their own, and refuse to give him back…

Wow. Incredible story. How long were you playing together as a band before going into the studio?
We were together for about 8 months or so, before we went in to make that record. We banged it out in 3 weeks.
filth 2
Fuck, that is good going. Where did you record and who produced?
The drums were tracked and produced by Brendyn ‘Rusty’ Rossouw at Heritage Sound Studios. The rest of the album was tracked at Coffee Stained Vinyl studios. It was produced by TeeJay Terblanche and Rian Loubser. Rian mixed it as well.

And they did a damn fine job of it too. How did you get to play Synergy as one of your first gigs?
Rusty runs Heritage Sound Studios out of Marshall Music in the City.
While we were doing the drum sessions I guess they heard some of scratch stuff, and they invited us to play.

I see. Let’s chat about the cover. Who designed it and what is the significance?
I designed the album cover. When looking for a way to graphically represent the music, given our name and our genre, one would naturally gravitate to making things dirty.

The songs have all those heavy themes and are quasi-confessional, so the concept of “dirty laundry” came to mind, as in airing your dirty laundry. The provisional band name Bleach was the inspiration…

I thought, lets make it clean instead… and started sketching washing powder boxes in my notebook, pitched it to the guys and it stuck.

Interesting. I found the cover design quite surprising for some of the heavy content matter of the lyrics. Was this intentional?
Yes. The idea was to launch a fake washing powder and play on that idea. To proverbially wash the stain of pop music away, so to speak.

The physical album packaging is Filth washing powder boxes.
Ah, okay. Clever. Your album is released for free? Why this decision?
Yip, we decided to release it for free. Partly because we are a new band, and we just want to get our tunes out there, share it with as many people as possible and play more live shows. Sharing is caring, and we feel that ideas that spread tend to stick around longer.

Furthermore, people do not consume music the way they used to. Seriously, when last did you actually buy a record? There’s the old: “I download music off the internet, but never ever local stuff” – that’s bullshit, let’s be honest.

I know it, you know it and so do the labels.

What do you think of the local market and consumer appetite for heavy music?
I really think that there is some really good “heavy”, less mainstream or alternative bands flying the flag in the local scene. The word “heavy” is very subjective, and within any genre, there is a spectrum.
One man’s heavy is another man’s indie.

As for the market… Just listen to local terrestrial radio, of all the local stuff that they play, how much of it is “heavy” – that’s a pretty good indicator.

But, something tells me that all the boys and girls in these “heavy” bands don’t really give a fuck about radio airplay, markets or consumption –  a beautiful thing really – sometimes its better to be heard, than to be paid.

What is next for Filth? Any particular ambitions?
Play, play, play… Nothing beats playing live or experiencing live music, for me as a fan. We have much to do – videos, we are looking to tour a bit, we are writing new stuff, and reworking the songs for an acoustic set. Lots to come from Filth in the future.

Looking forward to it. Rock ‘n fuck ‘n roll!

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Chopper Charlie‘Sometimes its better to be heard, than to be paid’ – Wat Kyk Jy? interviews Filth