In the build-up to Emalyth‘s next installation of their annual Arts Expo, with this one sub-titled Infiniti, UnScene‘s Zain Domo took an interest in pursuing some of the band’s for a little chit-chat and sought out a home for it here at M4A. This is one of a series of interviews we were only too happy to indulge. Conversation between Zain Domo, and members of Cape Town power-packed modern metal band Zombies Ate My Girlfriend.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Zombies Ate My Girlfriend are arguably the hottest Cape Town metal band still in circulation today, and with a massive two years of writing, recording, merchandising, gigging and the launching of the critically acclaimed Retrocide album behind them, as well as opening for some of the biggest international bands to have graced the South African scene in 2015 (including 36 Crazyfists, Monuments and Darkest Hour), they have finally landed a spot on the multi-faceted, ever-growing 8th installment of the Emalyth Arts Expo: Infiniti at Wolmer Bush Lounge.
These guys are no strangers to hitting the road in the name of music, but I recently caught up with the girlfriend-less boys from zombie town to get their take on the expo and exactly just what this high flying troop were bringing to the table.
Zain: So 2015 was quite a year for Zombies Ate My Girlfriend. What are some of the main points you’ve taken from your experiences as a band and a “brand” representing the city of Cape Town and South Africa to a larger extent?
Adriano: It was nuts last year. Like most bands, we work our asses off to get anywhere, and most times you still get nowhere. Last year was really refreshing for us. Everything just seemed to snap into place. We couldn’t really see it building up to 2015, but we went into January with a completed album ready for the production line. SummerFest’15 kicked the year off for us and we didn’t look back after that. It was extremely validating.
Zain: You guys released an absolute monster album early 2015. Has its relative success surprised you at all?
Adriano: I think we always knew we had a good album on our hands, I’d be lying if I said otherwise. You’d like to think once you reach a certain level of experience that you’re more than capable of pulling off the goods. That being said we were obviously still quite nervous about its debut. You never know how it’s going to go. I don’t really mind if people hate it, my fear is more that it’s just underwhelming. Not even worthy of reaction.
Zain: The name of Zombies Ate My Girlfriend is relatively well known throughout most parts of the South African underground, but what do you think Zombies brings to the table that stands it out from the rest of the pack?
Adriano: There are many aspects that make up the whole Zom package. The theme that probably ties it all together is quality. It’s hard to single out what makes a band special. You really have to have your shit covered on all fronts these days. Got an awesome album, don’t know how to market it? Too bad. Technically great but stiff as hell on stage? Next! In a way it’s hard to explain, when I say “quality”, what does that really mean? Music is so subjective. We basically give it our all with everything we do in Zom, it has to all tie in. If I have to choose though, our live performance. Whether it’s getting the party started or harnessing the energy of an already insane crowd, we’re up to the task. The energy between the band and the audience is undeniable.
Zain: Less than a month ago you were opening for Darkest Hour and now you have the Emalyth Arts Expo in your sights. Quite a busy schedule, but what have you learned from your recent high profile slots and how might that translate into your local activities, including the upcoming expo?
Adriano: There’s the obvious advantages in watching professional bands strut their stuff on stage and interact with their fans. You can learn a lot if you’re open to it. This was definitely the year we got to share the stage with the most internationals we’ve ever played with. In this band or any other. It’s hard to answer this question without coming across as arrogant. But one of the things we’ve proved to ourselves in playing alongside these insanely talented bands, many of which we’re fans of. Is that we are capable of holding our own in the company of greatness. Everyone wants to open for this band or that band. But once you’re faced with the reality you quickly ask yourself, are we just going to be a side note? Will we be able to connect with a crowd that is undoubtedly there for the main course? It all boils down to self-worth. You can’t expect people to believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself. Even then there are no guarantees. We tried our best to not come across as some limp dick opener that people just can’t get into. I think we achieved that at least.
Zain: Speaking of the expo, this will be your first appearance on the lineup, but why has it taken this long?
Adriano: We were chatting a lot to Sashquita last year; we were trying to make it happen, but it basically came down to funds. But what with last year being one of our best years, we managed to build some capital for “touring” again. We try our best to run certain aspects of the band like a business. As opposed to band members being expected to fork out personal money for what essentially is a financial loss, we try to raise the travel funds through our other local shows and or merch. It works better this way. You could toilet your money into the vacuum that is band. It’ll probably get you somewhere for a while, but ultimately it’s not sustainable if you want to do this for life.
Zain: The expo is quite unique in South Africa, bringing together many forms of “alternative” lifestyles, live underground music as well as the other arts usually overlooked by mainstream media. What role do you think it plays in the local underground scenes and what keeps it coming back stronger year after year?
Adriano: This will be our first Emalyth show we’re attending – besides Marc, of course, who played the event with Suiderbees a year or two ago. I kind of picture it being this Northern metal4Africa SummerFest or WinterFest type of event. Very much like a community-based event; metalheads that have been around for ages as well as people starting to discover the local scene. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping for. I think bringing in other facets of the subculture to an event like this is an awesome idea and something I haven’t really experienced in Cape Town. Annual events like this that manage to last in the region of a decade are extremely important to the local scene. The market is extremely small in South Africa, so you really need to stick around and keep knocking it out the park before your achieve any sort of critical mass.
Zain: Any last words for the eager readers attending the event end of Jan?
Adriano: We can’t wait to meet loads of new people and check out some bands that we don’t get to see often. The show is going to be insane! come have a drink and chat.
It sounds like Zombies Ate My Girlfriend are geared, prepped and stacked with rations for the journey up to Johannesburg, and with legions of metal lovers still licking their lips from their 2015 album release, the folks over at Wolmer Bush Lounge should be in for a bloody treat.
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