Cape Town, South Africa: with the occurrence of a recent phenomenon recently taking root – that of local bands extending their reach and influence to realms beyond the oceans and African Saharan landscape into the world at large – we took some time to discuss the matter with local band Creating The Godform. The Cape Town writers are next in line for an international release from Africa via USA-based Barbaric Productions as their debut EP Odium lurks on the horizon, poised to slay the world with its arrival on 16 December.
What we gleaned from the conversation was a significant realization. The two young men who sat at the table and related their story about forming a band and describing not only the passion of energy that goes into it (after all, body ever achieved anything noteworthy by being lazy), but also relaying a natural understanding of modern technological resources and a self-assured comfort in this age of inter-connectivity; this showed us that a powerful new movement is afoot. We’ve entered a time where the young are finally seizing leadership of the industry and pushing boundaries where those of us born in the 80s or earlier have been mostly floundering about.
“Before, it was all about ‘being discovered’, but today it’s more about doing the discovering and ‘approaching’. The means are at your fingertips. If you’re interested in contact with a certain label or artist, you pretty much just do it. Back in the day it was pretty tough. There was no social media – the reach wasn’t there – whereas today, everything can be done from your phone. A lot of people haven’t really been educated in how that works.” ~ Sherlic White (guitar, Creating The Godform)
And so we did a little mining to find out more about what Creating The Godform really is all about, and how the new band have done so well as they have appeared to in such a short time. Of course, what this closer inspection revealed is that nothing comes easy, and the pieces of this puzzle have lain long on the table before falling neatly together.
The two central members, Sherlic and Thariq, had forged ties a little more than two years ago and found an instant fit in their mutual understanding and approach to music. Sherlic, a born-and-raised Zimbabwean citizen, has lived in other parts of Southern Africa including Botswana and Zambia too, before arriving in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013. Thariq is a Cape Town local from the area of Athlone, a suburb best known for it’s predominantly Coloured population. Both points of origin, interestingly enough, are not at all best known as the “breeding grounds” for heavy metal music! Although both members found themselves as part of another local band, The Alpha Sequence, they already had begun laying the groundwork for Creating The Godform earlier. The two explained a little into how recruitment began into today’s powerful band line-up which features members also from other well-enjoyed Cape Town bands Megalodon and Subject To Slaughter.
“This has been a long time coming, since before we joined The Alpha Sequence. We decided, okay, we’re going to do this project, but the issue was in getting members. We looked for local guys and nobody was interested because we both weren’t really known in the scene. But we knew that it would be difficult from the get-go, so that’s why it was important to also get Sherlic into The Alpha Sequence – we could begin to build a name for ourselves. Once we became comfortable that we know our parts in The Alpha Sequence, that’s when we could begin working on Creating The Godform.” ~ Thariq Taladia (bass guitar, Creating The Godform)
“Through playing in an active band you get to meet other musicians as well and they know what you’re capable of, so we found it a lot easier to approach other people. But it’s not like we’re just using The Alpha Sequence as means to start this band, we are still very serious about our roles in that band too; learning from it and increasing our skill from it, as its a lot different to what we’re doing with Creating The Godform.” ~ Sherlic White
Sherlic described the follow-up process as beginning to contact other musicians who the two knew would have the required experience – not only in live performing – but more so in dealing with low-end music in which 8-string guitars are used. The result was a potent gathering including Conrad Lottering joining Sherlic on guitars and Dane Canterbury joining Thariq’s rhythm section on drums. By the time of recruitment, the band was already well-formed in terms of style and sound.
“Our first demo we wrote was actually a slam song, but we saw that Vulvodynia were the first to play in that style in this country, and now we see that others want to do that. But why would we want to, if it’s already being done? We looked at beatdown in South Africa and saw that there were no bands doing that. We figured, okay, lets do something that hasn’t been done. So we took the beatdown approach where we basically halved the tempo of what we’d just done and it was heavy – so heavy! And we were just, like, wow – this is good!” ~ Thariq Taladia
For the uninitiated, Thariq summarizes the genre as basically being a super-slowed down and down-tuned version of Metalcore, though Sherlic adds to the description of Creating The Godform‘s sound with:
“Even with this music, we try not to stick to the generic type of Beatdown; we incorporate catchy time signatures and other elements to try and make it as unique as we can. We focus a lot on groove.” ~ Sherlic White
And besides a sound and style, it appears that the band are about a lot more than just heavy music. They describe their mission as more than just erring to the side of being something spiritual. The band’s name – and indeed, the debut EP title of Odium – gives a lot away as to the kind of lyrical concept and themes within the music. Anger, hatred, destruction are all of the usual suspects within metal genres, yet the approach as explained by our two protagonists is something enlightening. They see a great positive in what they do.
“So, ‘Godform’ – the dictionary meaning of it – is, like, ‘an idea of God’. Sherlic and myself spend a lot of time talking about music at higher level than what most people talk about it. We don’t always think about it as just notes and time signatures, but as a collection of feelings; something of a higher sort of power. So we saw it as an ideal, like a different kind of belief system. If we can create our feelings through our music, then we think of our music – or the creation of it – as a spiritual activity.” ~ Thariq Taladia
“We shape our belief through our music. But it’s also not about just expressing negative release, or making something that will hurt you or make you feel bad. It’s about creating something that is also enjoyable, beautiful in some way – take something really horrible that you feel and make it musically appealing. I mean, most of the day we’re very chilled, very peaceful creatures. I guess we just use this as a means of release.” ~ Sherlic White
In these matters, we see the journey of these young men being no different to countless numbers of extreme expressionists before them. However, the scales of fortune clearly tip towards them in favour when we look at the mindset towards technology and learning. For the emerging generation of musicians in this isolated part of the world, they do not see the challenges faced by previous generations. The means are available to achieve great things – the global playing field level. As with other young rising stars in the local industry, Creating The Godform are wise to global connection in as natural a way as the rest of us find breathing.
“Quality is everything. I mean, the eye sees first, so you need quality graphics right away. If you want people to listen to your music, your marketing needs to be on point. If you want to be where everybody else is, then you have to be on their standard. And with the sound as well. Especially today, where it’s possible for home producers to get production sounding as good as can be done in studio. There really is no reason to sound unprofessional. Self-education is the key.” ~ Sherlic White
Of course, many South African bands approach the problem from a point of view that they’d like to establish themselves locally first, and only then try to make an impact further abroad – the younger generation thinks very differently. With the technology available and the knowledge and culture of it’s use being so different from traditional mindsets, young musicians do not see the international market place as being something out of reach at all. Sherlic explains to us how it’s actually easier than what most people tend to think. They just need to learn the ways to market themselves effectively. Also, it’s about energy and action. The guys are constantly seeking out new bands and styles all over the world.
“We actually make it a point to discover a new band every week. Even every day actually, if we can spare more time. Connecting with international musicians is easy. People here think it’ll be hard, or just don’t try because they think they’ll get shot down, but we’ve found that most people we’ve approached for advice and sharing of knowledge are really open and keen to chat.” ~ Sherlic White
And so it is that Creating The Godform find themselves well-equipped, with their ‘Dead World’ single release already doing very well internationally, that their debut EP will become available to the world by this weekend. We continue to watch them – and others along their vein – with great interest as the metalscape reshapes itself around the current trends and time.
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