Johannesburg, South Africa: trans-genre project, AmaDjentz, has revealed itself with a trans-border collaboration between SA-based instrumentalists ‘Metal Money’ and ‘Si-Drive’ with Zimbabwean vocalist ‘J Nova’. The first single appeared last week when the band released ‘Look Within The Flesh’. The project explores a hybrid between Djent Metal and Hip-Hop.
“We’re from a place where we market our poverty and commercialize our pain.” ~ J Nova (vocals, AmaDjentz)
Zimbabwe is known as a place with a relatively high education standard, yet lacks in employment opportunities owing largely to a notorious system of government. Various laws also tend to isolate it’s musician community. Finally, in recent years we have begun to hear more from the land-locked nation. Speeding this process along is a growing networking ethos between the South African and Zimbabwean musician communities.
“In 2014 I bought an 8-string at a sale and I really wanted to jam on it, but I also don’t have a lot of time. So I needed to dedicate the 8-string jamming to something that had a direction. It was around this time that I noticed a UK-based band, ‘Hacktivist’, which combines chav Brit rap with Djent. That inspired me to create some Djent-genre mashup, but for me it needed to ring true to our African roots. Si-Drive and I met up with Dean Mpehla and some of his crew towards the end of 2014 to discuss the possibility of starting a project. At the end of 2016, the decision was made to record some material and use it to gauge interest. If it takes off as we expect it should, then we’ll gig and record more tracks.” ~ Metal Money (guitar, AmaDjentz)
Exploring roots so as to seek out growth
In South Africa, Metal music creation is influenced by the West to a point of overwhelming dominance. However, a hunger to explore new sounds and localized styles is beginning to gain traction. With African roots only sparsely explored in South African metal (such as in the 1990s with Umtakati, or the 2000s with Ill System), more recent years have observed a growing consciousness where years of talk is beginning to explode into action.
“There’s a saying that you can’t please everybody. But there’s nothing stopping you from trying to appeal to a broader audience. Why not explore and experiment? Life’s too short for boxes” ~ Si-Drive (bass guitar, AmaDjentz)
The single, ‘Look Within The Flesh’, extends the collaboration beyond musicians only. Manager Dean Mpehla and visual artist Drenyc also from the Zimbawean side of the border. Vocalist and lyricist J Nova had a few words to add on the release:
“‘Look Within The Flesh’ is a record I very much enjoyed working on. The story behind it is mainly about belief and looking beyond the surface of any situation. I received the instrumental which was composed by ‘Metal Money’ from a friend of mine, after having mentioned my eagerness to work with rock musicians. With that said: to be the best you gotta look within the flesh.” ~ J Nova