Facing The Gallows will be performing at the already sold out Wacken Open Air in August this year. It will take place in the village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany, which is 80 kilometers northwest of Hamburg. This festival has grown from a small festival with 6 local German bands back in 1990 to the biggest metal festival on earth with around 80,000 attendees and 6,000 staff members. We had a little chat with our guys…
Howzit guys, the last time we featured anything about Facing the Gallows was a year ago when you supported Fit for a King at Arcade Empire in Pretoria. We also did a review of your latest album, Dead Mindset earlier that year. Pretty damn decent tunes! Bryan Binneman had just left the band and it was the end of an era, I guess. Sometimes new line-ups work. Sometimes they don’t, mostly because the chemistry of the band members can go either way. What would you say makes your current line-up work?
Thank you dude! To be honest, we’re just cut from the same cloth. I think all the planets just happen to align and we all clicked when we needed to and haven’t looked back since. We also have a family mentality, even with the OG members. We’re all in one super group on Whatsapp. There’s a good energy about this band and it ripples through all of us.
For the Watkykjy readers who don’t get metal (ag shame!), what kind of metal do you play and why do you play this kind of genre? I meet a lot of people who (incorrectly) think I listen to metal because I’m angry all the time. Nothing wrong with blowing off a bit of steam, but what is the value of playing metal for you guys?
Whenever I describe our band I always say hard rock, so don’t listen to me on genres, hahahaha. We’re a rock and roll band with more distortion! Why metal? Why a favourite colour? It just connects, the feel, the sound, the power. When you get it, it’s like you’re a part of something bigger. A world with endless range to express yourself in, or as listener connect too. That feeling of creating something that has no limits. There is so much power with Metal that I don’t think you can find that anywhere else, bar some really tasty or dirty hip-hop. But that’s lyrically powerful. With metal it’s an onslaught of energy from the music, instruments, lyrics and vocal execution. It’s like being able to look at the sun without squinting.
Facing The Gallows won the Wacken Metal Battle’s South Africa leg of the international competition last month and you’ll be heading off to Germany later this year in August to compete in the finals at the Wacken Open Air Festival. Congratulations! Excited, much?
Stress levels are maxed out, to be honest but we’re insanely excited and so grateful to have an opportunity like this. The stress is more because we want to do this right, you know? We want to be able to come back from this with the ultimate tour formula – something that we can share with every single band in SA and help as many locals get overseas as possible. At least on a DIY level. To me it’s more important making South Africa’s mark on Europe, than i guess our own. Obviously we want to rip it but we want to build that a bridge for SA.
Is playing more international circuits something you aspire to do? Have you found and played some already? Do you think competing at Wacken will open more doors for you?
Unfortunately financially we’ve never been in a position to explore those possibilities. So we’ve been pretty clueless on costs. But we’re discovering now that in some cases, bar the initial plane flight, there’s no difference between touring Durban in terms of cost than it is Poland. We definitely want to tap in on the international circuit though. We want to see the world, explore and share our music as far as possible. So hopefully this opportunity will give us that chance to kick in the door and make things happen!
Locally, what’s on the cards in terms of live performances? I see Ramfest is back next month?
We’re at the moment trying to book as many shows as possible between now and Europe! So if there’s any venues out there keen on an epic show give us a shout! We just want to raise as much money as possible to cover anything that we need over there. We’re jamming Sundowners on the 7th June, insane line up! 16th is Ramfest which already looks like it’s going to be sold out. Jozi bar on 29th. So a few to keep your eyes peeled for! But we need more…
We loved Dead Mindset and it received great reviews. What is next in terms of recorded music? It’s the part where you just spend money and not earn any! But fans need it?
The public need the music man! Nothing you can do about the climate and market. Spotify pays minimally but it’s better than pirating. Dead Mindset was already getting torrented before we released the album. Which is a downer, to be fair. We’re not a band with skyrocketing sales. Just local dudes trying to make things happen. But you have to do it, you need the songs, need crowds singing and interacting, music videos. We’re busy with our EP at the moment and we’re finishing vocals this week. Pretty excited to get this wrapped up and get everyone buzzing about “The Blackening” – if you know, you know… that ending!
There’s a lot of interest in metal again on social media and overseas, although the market is much bigger in the States and Europe (East and Western). Having said that, I attended a sold-out metal concert the other night at Platteland with Jinjer headlining. Apart from the top international hard rock and old school metal acts like Metallica, Iron Maiden and Guns and Roses, who are still drawing large crowds? What is your view of the growth of the more niche kinds of metal in SA in 2019? I know it has grown from when I was a teenager, that’s for sure. But looking to the future? Will the newer generations take the bait?
This question has waaaaaay more layers to it than you might think! Those who know me, know I’ve been harping on about the younger/newer generation and how to get them in to this. Locally we’ve done very little to reach out to those kids. A lot needs to change – high School shows, varsity tour runs and all aged events. Once FTG gets back from Europe, there’s going to be a lot of effort and ground work put into this. Also rounding up an army of bands on this too. We all got to step up and start shaping this scene into a business. The internet is helping keeping things in the limelight. But we need to bring back that brick and mortar approach into to music. Bands at ground level generating a new flow of younger fans, especially the ones who dig sneaking in. Like where did that disappear too??! It died on a Facebook wall and sits as event invites with your 35 year old friends with kids. Times have changed, crowds are older and we need to step things up. There’s an abundance of possibility here, for every genre. We just need to build it up.
At the Fit for a King gig I thought I was safe as a wheelchair user. I mean, it was a predominantly Christian gig, but holy shit, I got caught in a tricky mosh. There was stage diving all around me. Two chicks got into a fight. All hell (or heaven) broke loose. It was insane… and fun. Have one of you ever stage dived, and no-one caught you? Or have you seen it happen? Where was the most hectic mosh you have ever seen?
Hahahahaha! Sounds like one of our gigs. I love it man, LOVE IT!!! I don’t like people getting hurt, at all. But chaos… it’s awesome! The amount of shoes that have scraped my face from a stage diver or a mosh pit spewing all over the stage, my gear getting wrecked and unplugged. Its the best! I love our fans and crowds so much with how much energy they throw into a gig! They bring the thunder, always. One dude from Pretoria got 7 stitches in his head after one of our pits. Lorkan the high flyer wiped out a chick and put her in hospital. There’s been some rough ones for sure. I crowd sailed in an inflatable boat at Oppikoppi and got pushed out. That was both insane and unbelievably scary. The last time we played at Roar in Cape Town, that crowd was hungry for us. It was carnage! All as one moshing in the same direction, the entire crowd. We’ve recently had a dude fractured his foot somersaulting in to the crowd (Krazy Kyle. People are MAD!! Please don’t stop!
Shot, brasse! Thanks for the quick chat! Keep on facing the gallows, but don’t loose your heads!
Thank you for taking the time to speak to us! Watch this space, things are changing in SA. Exciting times ahead.