Thank you for taking some time out to do an interview for Air Guitar! Beeldenstorm is a Dutch word; the band also fronts itself as an Afrikaans metal band. Can the band elaborate on why this original approach especially to the readers abroad?
The word ‘Beeldenstorm’ directly translated means ‘iconoclastic fury’. As you have stated it is indeed a Dutch word. It refers to a movement that occurred throughout Europe during the 16th century. Mass random protest and unrest manifested itself in the destruction of catholic art and statues. The majority of the members in our band are Afrikaans and we are all descendants of European settlers. Afrikaans, being a very young language, picked up negative connotations due to its use as the ‘language of Apartheid’ or a language of oppression. The constant negativity towards the language since this era is causing a decline in the use of this language or at least a certain guilt for speaking it. Our generation did not realize what apartheid was as we were growing up. In the years following apartheid we as a country became a proud and unified ‘rainbow nation’. Unfortunately we all know that this unity is being threatened by political and social powers which seem to be (at the moment at least) pulling all South Africans apart. We think that a proper socio-political revolution is necessary in order to prevent the repetition of past atrocities. As for the readers and open ears abroad… we are trying to break the stigma associated with this language as well as those associated with our country. We yearn for change; we preach change and seek to unify South Africans under the umbrella of music.
For those readers, who don’t know who Beeldenstorm is, please tell us a bit about the band. How did the band form? Why the need to create metal and where does the influences come from?
We are all metal heads so the choice in genre was inevitable. The attitude, aggression, sound and following sets the perfect mood and scene for our subject matter. Assembling members for the band the aim was to find members who share a connection, passion and perseverance. Being close friends as well as sharing the same influences and socio-political views is a priority. We are all at peace with each other and work together as a team. It sounds lame doesn’t it? A band cannot function if (like so many other bands) internal friction brings the vibe down.
The track on the facebook fan page, “Uhuru” is deeply rooted with distortion yet still has a brutal rage. Tell us more about the track. Where did the concept for the track come from?
Lyrically the song is meant to have a sarcastic tone. The lyrics reflect on a paranoid myth of pending genocide by our government which will supposedly take place in the event of Nelson Mandela’s death. In reading the novel ‘a grain of wheat’ by Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o, an African write, I (Waldi van Hunks) felt that the title ‘Uhuru’ would be ideal. The Kenyan people have their national day of Uhuru (independence). This is the word borrowed in order to name this local myth of genocide. Paranoia in South African society has become a widespread phenomenon since ‘the struggle’. Crime and corruption has become a constant (for all South Africans) in our society and has lost its controversial appeal. What we are trying to say is ‘people should not be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of their people’… we say it without wearing masks.
Can the public expect any EP’s or albums from Beeldenstorm in 2012?
Currently we are busy organizing gigs. Trying to make ourselves known and earn our stripes as a live metal band. We are planning to release a four song EP. We will put it up for free download and will have the album available as a product at our shows. We have no dates planned yet but we are looking forward to doing it this year. Due to our little raw recording of Uhuru the majority of people anticipated a black metal vibe. One of our friends described our style as ‘groove-black metal’. Perhaps the new recordings will change this opinion, maybe it won’t. We enjoy getting random feedback. It helps us to further define our style and hopefully this will be visible in the production of the EP.
What are Beeldenstorm’s future plans – in specific to events, shows/gigs and maybe touring?
We are planning on organizing more shows of course. Right now it is all just a matter of which dates and at which venues. As we are still a fairly unknown band we are planning to first release the EP and only then will we start planning a tour. We think it is important to first build a fan base in the area you want to tour. This is one of the reasons for our decision to put the EP up for free download.
According to a review on Metal4Africa, Beeldenstorm is quite a beast on stage! What makes the band’s performance so special?
Unlike most of the other bands in the South African metal scene that focus on intense technicality in time signature and chord progression we focus on melody. We want the crowd to comprehend the music from the get-go. We want people to spontaneously head bang. This is why we often describe our genre as ‘lekkir-metal’. Just good ol’ neck breaking metal.
It must be mentioned that Beeldenstorm has a female guitarist in the band. Very rarely are woman seen in metal bands let alone playing a guitar! This question is for Lea (Aus Nord), how does the metal audience treat you once you take to the stage?
I must admit that initially, it was slightly intimidating. But I have become comfortable, and I experience the same liberation on stage that all musicians share, doing what they love. The metal audience has been very welcoming and supportive, and it feels fantastic when a random guy comes up to me after a show and says, “I wanna shake your hand! That’s what I wanna do!”
Heavy Metal music is still developing in South Africa and in the past five years there has been a grand surge in alternative bands from all parts of the country. What is Beeldenstorm’s perspective of the current scene? How does the band rate it against an international metal scene?
The scene is small in general, however, it does have a dedicated following. Johannesburg’s metal scene is bigger than that of Cape Town but all in all we think that Capetonian metal bands have started defining the ‘sound’ of South African metal. The only thing keeping the scene from growing is the lack of proper venues as well as the lack of professionalism in band and event management. The people from metal for Africa put on a great show twice a year and they set a standard all venues and organisers should meet. Metal in our country does not get enough exposure unfortunately compared to other countries but the tables should be turning soon. Bands like contrast the water and V.O.D. have proven that the ‘outside world’ is accepting of our unique brand. All we have to do is work hard and persevere.
Is there any South African Metal bands that Beeldenstorm would love to play with or share the stage with? If so, who and why?
Definitely Mind Assault, KOBUS!, Bulletscript, Strident, Contrast The Water and Juggernaught. We would like to play as many shows as possible with as many bands as possible. It would be great to play with any and all as we love being part of the South African metallic brotherhood and we want to encourage unity throughout the scene. The bands we have played with (and would love to share the stage with again) such as The Warinsane and Suiderbees have been very supportive. These bands are true ambassadors of the attitude and spirit which exists in our scene.
And finally, does Beeldenstorm have any last words?
Thank you Air Guitar for giving us this opportunity \m/ keep supporting metal!!! Check out our Facebook page and listen to our track. See you at a show soon… Ons is BEELDENSTORM en ONS FOK ALLES OP!!!
Catch all the awesomness of BEELDENSTORM on Facebook!
Raise the Horns to Beeldenstorm!