South Africa Metal: WILDERNESSKING

(The Writing of Gods in the Sand)

Writing of Gods in the Sand, Vinyl Gatefold Art by Murray Fraser 
Wildernessking has been a super busy band over the past couple of months. A lot of attention from abroad has given the South African metal scene a good name. Can the band elaborate on the need to change its name from Heathens to Wildernessking? Why the change and where did the new name originate?

We felt that it was necessary to change our name as we started to take things seriously, both sonically and aesthetically. The music evolved and became more of a conceptualized vision than before.
We wanted an original name, one that summed up who we are as people, our thoughts and outlook on life. Wildernessking is the most suitable banner for the sound we’re creating and the visual elements that accompany that sound.

Where did the “metal” start for each of the band members and how much of an influence from metal bands abroad has had an impact on Wildernessking?

As teenagers and like most fans of the genre, we started with the lighter, safer side of alternative/rock music, and worked our way towards the heavier stuff, streamlining our diverse tastes along the way.
 In terms of musical influences, only bands from abroad have influenced our sound, both metal and non-metal.

What was the concept behind the full-length debut release “The Writing of Gods in the Sand”? Is the band satisfied with the release?

The concept behind the record was an attempt to capture the travels of a group of people in search of the ideal world. Spanning one day, we witness the journey from discovery to exploration and finally to fulfillment.
With most albums there are going to be small things one wishes could have been different, but we feel that this album is an accurate summation of our early sound, and stands as a testament to becoming musically accustomed to  each other and finding our feet.
To us, the record is more than the recorded output. It sums up the writing and recording process, the trials and tribulations, the setbacks, the great memories, and we feel that it’s an apt symbol of that period.

Could you please elaborate on the process of creating “The Writing of Gods in the Sand”? How easy or difficult was it to get the debut made? Do tell our readers about the mixing and mastering.

Most of the album’s writing took place at The Shed (Dylan’s little home studio). We would spend one week working solidly on the material, to an entire month or even months of no activity. All of this took place sporadically between September 2010 and March 2011.
The songwriting process is our favourite stage in the birth and life of a record, so in creative terms it wasn’t difficult at all. There were some minor issues (that seemed major at the time) regarding the recording, production and financial side, but those were solved fairly quickly.
The album was mixed over a month long period by Dean Bailey at Cloud Studios in Cape Town, and mastered at The Vilhelm Room in Stockholm by Magnus Lindberg.

The full-length debut contains some awesome artwork by Reuben Sawyer of Rainbath Visual. What was his intentions behind creating those artworks – was it a collaboration between artist and musician or a “free to do as one pleases” project?

It was a collaboration. We sent Reuben a brief, loosely based on the lyrical concept and instructed him to have fun, knowing that his distinct style and attention to detail will shine through. The intention was to capture our sound in an artistic format, and we could not be happier with the result.
The band has been actively playing gigs on the music scene. Are there any particular highlights and low-lights that you would like to mention?

Shows that stand out include War at the Warehouse (Heathens’ debut EP launch in May 2010), Klein Libertas (July 2010), Mercury Live (May 2011), and Kimberley Hotel (June 2011).
Every show we’ve played (so far 18 in total) has been a learning experience, so to say that there have been low-lights would be a lie. We’ve taken something valuable away from every gig.

Antithetic Records are running a DIY Kickstarter through the end of the month for a 2x LP pressing of our début album! What has it been like working with Antithetic Records and tell us more about the DIY Kickstarter.

Shawn from Antithetic has been truly remarkable, passionate, supportive and enthusiastic. He noticed us very early and believed in what we were doing right off the bat. We can’t thank him enough for all that he has done for Wildernessking.
The DIY kickstarter was an idea of Shawn’s. It is difficult to churn out release after release being an independent record label, so the kickstarter is a way to help fulfill Antithetic’s 2012 roster, with great incentives for those who plan to contribute.

Tracks of the album, Rubicon and Utopia, have made some waves and caused a stir abroad. In fact, there have been some awesome as fuck raging reviews about Wildernessking from newsworthy metalheads. How does the band feel about this?

We are extremely happy with and truly grateful for the way the music has been received abroad. Now we’re 
ready for album number two and to tap further into an international market. This has only spurred us on to create better music and keep raising the bar for ourselves.

A lot of the time, people across the borders ask – what is the South African Metal scene like? How would Wildernessking describe the current metal scene? How does the current scene affect the band?

We can only speak for Cape Town, as we are yet to travel the country.
The current local scene is by no means a bad one. We have some great bands that have solid followings, and are definitely keeping the scene alive.
As metal bands, we are limited to a handful of venues and are not taken as seriously as non-metal bands in the scene. We can only hope that this will change as more local metal bands are recognized globally. The internet is a great platform to help kick-start this much-needed change.

What can we expect in terms of music from Wildernessking in 2012?

An EP, a split release with Young and In the Way, and album number 2!

So, lastly do you have any words that you would like to add especially to our readers from abroad?

Thank you for the support and taking the time to check out our music. And thanks to Shawn Sambol and everyone who has helped us out so far. To all the blogs and music websites that have said nice things, we appreciate all the exposure. Here’s to a fantastic 2012!

Thank you to Wildernessking for agreeing to do this interview!
Get all the Wildernessking details at Facebook!


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