Bloemfontein, South Africa: rising to some acclaim this year in not only their home city, but in nearby Gauteng as well, is the post-harcore band Hope Is For Heroes. The last twelve months has seen them tour to Cape Town, then to Gauteng with Cape Town bands Atlantic South and With Dawn, and then to frequent Gauteng for shows such as Krank’d Up music festival and more… a band on the rise for one which has only been going for only just over two years.
This weekend, Hope Is For Heroes and Bloemfontein cohorts All Will Fall journey up to Gauteng together to feature back-to-back on the Main Stage at Facemelt Fest – a national event concept hosted by To The Stage on behalf of their affiliated The Metalist‘s 2nd birthday – and we caught up with them to arrange a little bit of an introduction to our readers.
“We’ve actually just turned two, so you can say we are in our third year, and what a ride its been so far. Milestones you say… Well to name but a few, other than all the great mates we made and shared a stage with, performing at Krank’d Up 2016 was insane! Especially because the guys from Norma Jean and Peter Manion (The Metalist) were in the crowd and actually invited us to hang out afterwards. Then getting to tour a bit with the guys from Facing The Gallows and Atlantic South. ~ Etienne ‘Meatlips’ Grobbler (vocals, Hope Is For Heroes)
Yet the band’s name seems mildly prophetic, considering it’s city of origin. Bloemfontein – in spite of being the traditional heart of the country, and crossing point of most major national transit routes – remains somewhat isolated since the advent of air travel. It suffers a legacy of disappearing bands, cheated only by a few such as aforementioned fellow band All Will Fall which has clocked a whopping ten years of existence. Etienne describes part of the challenge as being that people often need to leave to other cities to pursue studies or work opportunities elsewhere. Nonetheless, these factors only push bands to make a bigger impact when given half the chance:
“Being from Bloemfontein is hard, man; half the band is scattered between Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Bethlehem and Johannesburg. It makes things very interesting and super complicated. We reckon the guys from All Will Fall did great. Not many South African bands have over a million views on youtube. Being from Bloemfontein makes things hard because promoters, although definitely not all of them, tend to overlook us. So when we do get invited, we make it count.” ~ Etienne Grobler
Of course, the isolation means another thing too; that being a starvation of gig opportunities within home city boundaries. But the attitude exhibited by Hope Is For Heroes reflects their namesake by a strong sense of determination and action.
“In the past year, most of our gigs actually all happened in Gauteng. We are privileged enough to have made a lot of friends in the Gauteng music scene which has helped us to book a lot more shows there. We use every show as an opportunity to build a fan base. I definitely believe that we will see a lot of familiar faces at Facemelt Fest as our fan base keeps growing day by day. ~ Morne ‘Beefmaster’ Swanepoel (guitar, Hope Is For Heroes)
Added to the go-getter attitude is a band who pays attention to their counterparts and expresses a desire to build meaningful relationships within the industry. Morne describes a strong belief in supporting other bands.
“We have already seen most of the bands we’ll be playing with, although there is always one or two that is new to us. Normally we would rock up before the event even starts, grab ourselves a beer, and then we will try and watch as many bands as we can. We always try and make new band friends everywhere we go. I am really keen to see All Will Fall, since the last time they played a show was March this year.” ~ Morne Swanepoel
The final challenge faced by the band is the fact that recording expertise in their limited home environment is hard to come by, but overcoming difficulties is just another day in the life. We are told that an album is coming, although no date has been committed to as of yet.
“We have been writing a lot of new music and throwing ideas around. We want to get into studio as soon as possible, but we are still looking around for the correct people to do it with. We really want to do something unique that emphasizes the Hope Is For Heroes sound.” ~ Morne Swanepoel
In the meantime, the band has it’s focus on expanding that all-important support base and developing an electrifying performance. Hope Is For Heroes will also be joining All Will Fall and State Society on Friday night at Rafterz in Vanderbijlpark before moving on to Johannesburg for the big one on Saturday at Facemelt Fest. Mr ‘Meatlips’ had one final offering to entice audiences at this weekend’s highlight show:
“Facemelt Fest, we have got a trick for you! Its called an ass kicking in THE CIRCLE PIT OF DEATH!” ~ Etienne Grobler