Alternative Series: HOKUM (South Africa)

The Past
When I was a teenager growing up in the SA live scene I fell in love with a band called Marlowe. Their complex sound and mammoth stage show entranced me and I followed them around almost religiously. I saw them for the first time in a small pizza place/beat bar and watched them grow into one of the most legendary rock bands in South African history.
Their single Babies Breath shot them to stardom and became a number 1 hit on South African radio and I even saw their video on MTV, which at the time, no other South African rock band had done.
Their first album Lines from a Broken Telephone was one of the best albums of its time and still holds its ground as a classic album.
Drummer Rory Mayne departed from the band leaving Scott Wareham (Vocals, Guitar) Conrad de Jong (Guitar) and Jason Jackson (bass) with a choice, and they chose to head back to the rehearsal studio and craft something truly special.
And Hokum was born. 
Jason moved to Drums, and all three of them became more involved in the production, synth based low end and sound design that would help them redefine a digital (almost industrial) piece to their complex puzzle.
A few years have passed and now and they are ready to introduce their beautiful, intense and chaotic sound to the world. More Intense, more melodic and more brutal than ever.
Don’t just take my word for it, there are demo’s from the beginning of Hokum on their Soundcloud listen to the Demos they made of Kiss the weapon and the light that never ends to get an idea of how awesome this band is. 
The Present  
The Money Eaters is the debut album of Hokum.
We have been working hard on this album for more than a year now, so far the singles Touch Power, The Emerald and most recently Converse have been well received so far. The Emerald peaking at number 3 on The SA Alternative rock chart (5fm)
For me, this is a dream come true. I am working with the people I most looked up to as a teenager. The songs are amongst the best I have ever heard, and I am doing everything in my power to bring out the utmost best in this project.
It is a great honour to be a part of this. 
          DYLAN ELLIS  (Rock Producer/Engineer/Mixer)
Click HERE to find out more about Dylan Ellis

Hokum, thank you – for taking some time out of your daily lives to do this interview with Air Guitar Blog. The band was previously known to South Africans as Marlowe! How has things changed since then? In particular reference to the members as well as musically?

Marlowe was an amazing experience for us as we got a taste of fame due to a song called Babies Breath but this was also a curse in a way because from that song we were almost expected to go that route in song writing which started to confine our creativity and push ourselves to find what we were looking for. When our drummer decided to part ways we decided to leave behind the name Marlowe. Our bassist became the drummer and we started to program bass tracks and backing sounds using a laptop. We are still the same band but a basset as a drummer (which he is first a drummer at heart) and a new name HOKUM but now with a blank canvas and no one telling us what and how to do what we think we do best. As HOKUM we have complete freedom to do what we like but we did sacrifice a lot of fans who do not know who we are now and that little bit of commercial success we had, but we are far happier now in doing what we do.
Scott Wareham on guitar and vox, Conrad de Jong on guitar and Jason Jackson on drums is our line-up as HOKUM.

Does the band name, Hokum have any particular origins or was it chosen as arbitrary with no reference or meaning?

HOKUM was the name of one of the last Marlowe songs written and it felt good to have that small link into the new project. HOKUM meaning sentimental nonsense
Hokum has been described as having an “Intense, more melodic and more brutal than ever.” by Dylan Ellis. How would the Band describe their sound to a new audience?

Describing a sound is very difficult if one has not heard it. We try to find an aggressive tight easy to follow but hard to play riff around songs, we never force anything but let it grow into a piece of music then mold it into a song. We try to not get to complex in the sound but due to doing it for a while what we think is not complex is pretty weird and difficult to understand to most victims to our sound. Melodic force seems to be a common end for most songs.
Tell me more about Hokum’s last release. How did the concept come about for The Money Eaters? What was it like to work with renowned producer Dylan Ellis?

We have been working on our sound for a few years now and a full album of songs went unreleased and into history, we have now a defined sound which is HOKUM rather than a bit of Marlowe bleeding in. Dylan being an ex fan and now an amazing part of the team knows our sound and what we want from it. We have released three tracks with him in the driver seat and we are pleased with what is happening. Touch Power, The Emerald and Converse and very different songs but have a connection that is still HOKUM. He is getting a very clean full sound for us with smoothness mixed in but still very powerful. We look forward to continually working with him one song at a time. We are very slow at studio work so we conceptualize a look we want for each song, do a new photo shoot (with photographer Guy Standley) for the look of the band and song and realize it as a single. This has kept hype up and interest up in us which we are enjoying while we slowly creep toward a full length album release.
How important are the lyrics for Hokum? Who writes them and what kind of themes inspire the lyrics?

Scott Wareham writes the lyrics. Once a piece of music is complete he works on the lyrics and turns the music into a song that has meaning and purpose. He grabs inspiration from everyday occurrences from small insignificant situations to theories that only a few could grasp. He has a wide range of common sense and is open to challenge most thoughts so his writing style is very much true to him and not trying to please.

What are Hokum’s latest projects? Any shows or gigs planned for 2012?

We are always playing, always writing, always recording and always releasing we are one big project and 2012 is the year we are in.

What are the biggest surprises, musically, that have come out of the year 2011 for Hokum?

We released two exceptional singles, Converse and The Emerald. The Emerald is for us a masterpiece in power and force and to hear the support we received for it was grand.

What is Hokum’s take on the South African Metal music scene? Is there a limited scene or is it the Artist who creates the scene?

The music scene is a wave. We are in it doing what we do if people wanna join in then do it. Do not blame the scene, just enjoy.

Does Hokum have any last words?

We appreciate the exposure and chance to answer your questions. You can download tracks from Soundcloud and Facebook and Twitter

A big thank-you to HOKUM for agreeing to do this interview!
Not to forget Dylan Ellis for the kind words and for sharing Hokum with us.


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