• Interview with the pioneers of hard rock and heavy metal in Botswana: Metal Orizon

    Dear readers of my blog!

     

    A few days after the detailed interview with ex-Iron Maiden singer Blaze Bayley, here comes another intriguing interview with a rather exotic band. I’ve contacted Dumisani “Rock Dawg” Matiha, the guitarist and singer of the pioneer heavy metal band of Botswana called Metal Orizon. He told me how hard it has been to be a rocker in his country, how the band reorganized after the tragic death of their first guitarist and singer and how they want to spread some hope to their African brothers and sisters who are living in countries shattered by conflicts and ignorance. Read the entire interview below and discover a new exotic face of the fascinating globalization of the heavy metal community.

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Hello from Canada and thanks for accepting this great interview occasion. First of all, would you mind to introduce your band Metal Orizon as well as your current and past band members?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “To start with let me apologise for the late response. I hope you didn’t lose hope on us. Metal Orizon is a rock band that usually converts African and particularly Botswana rhythms into heavy metal riffs to get a sound that is metal while at the same time maintaining that African feeling. The original members are the late Jarona Spencer Sekwababe on lead vocals and guitars, Bophelo Santos Thabakgolo on bass guitar and Selaelo Slaizah Selaelo on drums. I, Dumisani Matiha, was asked to join Metal Orizon as a guitarist after the lead singer/guitarist passed away in 2003 but later I took over the lead vocalist role as well since there was no one else willing to stick to that position. Metal Orizon’s second guitarist Gabriel Rampefe joined us in early 2009 to assist me with guitar work.”

     

    The current line-up of Metal Orizon

    The current line-up of Metal Orizon from Gaborone, Botswana

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Your band hails from Gaborone, Botswana and you have been a pioneer band of your country. How did you discover rock and metal music in the beginning and what’s the essence of these genres to you?”  

    Dumisani Matiha: “For me, I really don’t have a very specific answer to that question. I can only tell you that I remember when I was young there used to be this law officer and metal fan who would bring AC/DC’s “The Razor’s Edge” album to my parents’ bar and would leave it there so he could listen to it every time he would come back. I just liked the sound of that album and as I grew up I ended up learning how to play guitar myself.”

     

    Metal Orizon’s “I cry” from the “Metal Örizon” album (2009)

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Let’s take a closer look on all of your three records. “Ancestral Blessings” was released back in 1999. How were the recording sessions in your country and how would you judge your first album today?”  

    Dumisani Matiha: “To be clear on this one, I don’t have any contribution whatsoever with all the three albums but back then it was tough to record or even have a gig so Metal Orizon did its first recording in South Africa, in the city of Mmabatho that is now a part of Mahikeng. The recordings didn’t materialise though until a change of studio occurred inside South Africa. In Africa nothing is easy except war so it was difficult and it’s still difficult to date. The album is still driving us crazy and this is especially due to the fans that like it more than the other two records.”

    Sebastian Kluth: ““Ancestral Blessings” includes a lot of lyrics concerning social and economic issues. You talk about the South African Development Community for example. Tell us more about this organization please.”

    Dumisani Matiha: “There was a competition to write a song about SADC in our country and that’s how and why we’ve created this song. The lyrics were inspired by the objectives and promises of the organization and the fact that our first president Sir Seretse Khama was the founder of SADC.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “The song “The Eagle” talks about corruption and lies. Do you think that the situation in your country has become better over the last years? According to you, how could one deal with these issues and make this world a little bit better?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “A lot needs to be done. We seem to be very happy through the eyes of our leaders but we need new faces and fresh ideas. People get too comfortable after being elected into powerful positions.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “You also have a song entitled “Jehpfah” on your first record. What is the sense behind the lyrics of this track?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “The lyrics were written by Metal Orizon’s former manager who even ended up singing on this song. It’s some kind of a prayer for metal and it asks for some blessing to go through tough times.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “Your second album “Myopic… Enslavement” came out only two years after your first record. How comes that you were able to release a successor to your first strike so quickly?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “If you love what you do there usually is nothing to stop you. Look, even up to now we play in front of maybe ten people at our gigs but we still enjoy it and we believe one day we will make sense to someone out there.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “In “My Beautiful Land”, you talk about tribal wars that shattered your country. Please give us some more information about that historical topic. How would you judge the situation today in 2013? Is there any hope for improvement in Botswana?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “Honestly, Botswana is one of the best countries you can ever think of. We live peacefully together in this country even though people are from different tribes. In our country are African brothers from other countries as well as white people or Arabians. You don’t see a Muslim brother and think of anything negative here but our brothers from other African countries can’t think of anything other than killing and raping their own people and that’s what the song is all about. We hope there will be peace in Somalia, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of the Kongo), Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mali and so on one day.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “What does your song “The Unknown” is about? Who are the unknown and uninvited ones?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “They are those that come to take the little that we have away. It’s about those that feed us with guns so we can kill each other.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “You’ve released a radio version of your song “Bitter Life”. Does your music get some airplay in Botswana? How do people react to your music in general? Are you able to earn some money from your works and what are you doing for a living in your real lives?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “It’s very sad but our music is only occasionally played on Saturday at midday on national radiowww.rb1.gov.bw(rocktimes) on a show that comes in for only one hour. Other radio stations rarely play our music. Thanks to Radio Botswana and the program’s host Brooks Monnaanoka we get at least some minor attention and appreciate the little they do for us.”

     

    Metal Orizon play “I have found” (from “Metal Örizon” (2009)) and “We are rolling” (from “Myopic... Enslavement” (2001)) 

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Your third record “Metal Örizon” came out in 2009. How comes that it took eight years to release a new album?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “Immediately after everything was finished with high hopes, the lead singer and lead guitarist Jarona Spencer Skwababe died so everything crushed. We were mourning and then we had to look for a replacement and so on. You know in Botswana it’s not easy to find a well trained musician so it took quite some time.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “Why did you choose to give your record almost the same name as your band name?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “This is a tribute to the late Jarona Spencer Skwababe.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “You re-recorded a couple of songs from the past for this third album. Please tell us the differences between the old versions and the new arrangements.”

    Dumisani Matiha: “With the help of the producer Ron Goudie we thought it was the right time to honour some of the best songs from the past. We’ve re-recorded them since we had an opportunity to record with a professional producer.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “Please talk also about the new songs from this third album and the evolution between your first two records and your newest release.”

    Dumisani Matiha: “The new songs are kind of motivating and giving courage to whoever might be in need of it when listening to our music.”

     

    Metal Orizon on the road

    Metal Orizon on the road through Botswana

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “People don’t know much about the metal scenes in African countries. Please tell us more about the metal scene in Botswana. Are there any famous concert venues or festivals? Are there other promising metal bands? Do you think that metal music is becoming more popular in your country and why did it take so long until that genre arrived in Botswana?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “The genre has been there dating back to the 70’s just that by then guys didn’t have access to studios since it was nearly impossible to go to South Africa because of the Apartheid system. People thought that anyone who plays rock music in Botswana was sick-minded. It’s because you’ve simply played rock music that a lot of things would not work. Even your girlfriend might have dumped you because of this. Public fans are really rare and people often think they are wrong but they are in fact good inside. It’s though funny enough that some people secretly love metal but they won’t come out or come to the shows and declare themselves rock music fans.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “What are your favourite metal bands from Africa and all around the world?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “Ha! Ha! I think our favourite bands are bands from South Africa who spend their money and just come and have fun with us. These are bands like the power and thrash metal band Agro, the futuristic death metal act Bleeding Spawn, the death metal and hardcore band Boargasm, the metalcore act Facing The Gallows and the heavy and southern metal band Jauggenut. We must also underline the importance of the white community in South African for always promoting the small Botswana metal scene.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “What are your plans for the rest of the year 2013 and the year 2014? Are you working on a fourth album and what could it sound like?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “We already have some new material. The problem is to gather enough money to get into a real studio since we don’t want to take any shortcuts.”

    Sebastian Kluth: “What are your dreams and hopes for your band? Is there a special place where you would like to give a concert? Is there a band with whom you would like to share the stage?”

    Dumisani Matiha: “We would most definitely love to do things in a professional way and tour European countries. We would love to share stage with someone who just loves metal like the bands Gwar or Screamer. Those guys are easy to talk to. I mean, imagine talking to Jamison Land of Gwar for example, they are very welcoming guys just like us I guess. Other than that we would love to share the stage with any band, popular or not \m/.”

     

    Metal Orizon on stage

    Metal Orizon, accompanied by two female dancers, always give their very best on stage, even in front of very small crowds

     

    Sebastian Kluth: “Thanks again for your precious time and this great interview occasion. I hope you carry on with your great and inspiring music. The last words to our readers from all around the world are yours!”

    Dumisani Matiha: “We want the whole metal world to listen to and hear about us so if there is anyone willing to work with us on a professional level please don’t hesitate to contact us. Thank you very much for taking your time to talk to us as Metal Orizon!”

    www.facebook.com/metalorizonband 

    www.reverbnation.com/metalorizon  

    www.facebook.com/dumisanimatiha 

    « “In Africa nothing is easy except war” - An interview with Dumisani "Rock Dawg" Matiha from Metal OrizonGreen Army - Reborn Of The Blackened Phenomenon (2013) (6,5/10) »
    Partager via Gmail Delicious Technorati Yahoo! Google Bookmarks Blogmarks Pin It

  • Commentaires

    Aucun commentaire pour le moment

    Suivre le flux RSS des commentaires


    Ajouter un commentaire

    Nom / Pseudo :

    E-mail (facultatif) :

    Site Web (facultatif) :

    Commentaire :