I seriously never thought I will ever be able to get an interview done with a Durban, South Africa based band. I recently got this precious chance and interviewed a four piece death metal band called The Overmind. The band is young, founded in late 2013, and in February this year they will be having their first ever live performance. Year 2015 will be quite big for The Overmind. Besides their first time being on stage in front of a (hopefully) massive crowd, they will be releasing their debut EP, start working on their full length album and maybe even film a music video. I can not go into more details now, so scroll down and enjoy reading.
One more thing I need to point out – guys, I would really love to try the bunny chow!
1. Who are members of The Overmind, where do you come from and when did you form the band?
Wojtek Starzak is our vocalist, on guitars we have Deven Phillips and Jethro May and on drums we have Brynn Huxtable. We all come from various Durban bands and each bring our own styles to The Overmind. We think we have created a professional sound that many people will be able to enjoy. The band was formed in late stages of 2013. Jethro and Deven began jamming and writing some riffs and we had a song or two quite quickly. Jethro met and spoke to Brynn one night about music and jamming, who then came over to the band room for a jam which turned out to work really well. In no time at all we were jamming and writing new songs. Wojtek came along to add his vocals and here we are today!
2. Who were founders of the band and what made you start a death metal band?
Wojtek and Jethro who were originally in Stellawood Decapitation talked about forming a new band for a while after Stellawood broke up. We spoke about what we wanted to do and who we thought would be good candidates to jam with. We all love death metal and we wanted to create something brutal, heavier than anything we had done before, yet still melodic enough to appeal to even the most critical of extreme metal fans.
3. I read quite an interesting story behind the name The Overmind. Do you mind sharing it with us?
We are all gamers and we spoke about wanting to write a concept album quite a lot, something which not many bands do these days.
Having played many science fiction games we decided we wanted to create a story about alien life in an almost apocalyptic scenario which would develop as the band releases further songs.
4. January, 2015 is just around the corner and so is the release of your EP. How excited are you about the release and how long did you spent on writing music and recording? Any big challenges/mistake in the way?
We are extremely excited to release our debut EP, we spent most of this year (2014) jamming and working on material for the band and we are even more excited to get back on stage again as we all miss it! Recording has been quite a long process because we all have many commitments, so we spent a good portion of this year recording everything ourselves when we had some free time. The biggest challenges we faced with were mainly just finding the time to record during our busy schedules.
5. How and when did you get into metal music? What band got your into death metal?
Jethro: The first band I listened to which was considered heavier than most bands was Metallica. I then heard Slipknot and from that point on I slowly, but surely, started discovering and listening to heavier bands!
Wojtek: I was around 13-14 and I listened to bands like Coal Chamber, Pantera and Fear Factory. Eventually moved onto heavier bands. The band that got me completely into death metal would either be Vader or Behemoth.
Deven: I have been listening to metal for the majority of my life, but only started playing the style at around 19. The band that got me into death metal was The Black Dahlia Murder.
Brynn: I got into metal music when I was in high school. I got more into death metal when I started playing in metal bands in 2006 – I guess bands like Fear Factory, Slayer and Chimaira pushed me to listen to heavier stuff like Nile and Decapitated. Been a death metal junkie since then.
6. Who writes songs and do you ever play covers?
Deven and Jethro both come up with various different riffs, which we then try and see if we can put them all together. We don’t play covers. We might do one one day but we haven’t got any plans to do that just yet, only original material!
7. How strong is metal scene, specifically death, in Durban?
The metal scene in South Africa is quite small compared to other parts of the world, but it is a growing scene and most kids don’t get exposed to metal here. Death metal is quite popular in South Africa, there are many bands worth checking out. Most metal bands that come out of Durban have a tendency to lean towards death metal, so there definitely is a following for it here. The Durban scene has gone through quite a few stages, it has been quiet for the most part up until recently with old bands returning and new bands appearing. The fan base is starting to grow again. Without the fans there would be no scene, so we hope we can help contribute to making the Durban and South Africa scene stronger than ever!
8. Which are your top three South African metal bands?
Jethro: Bleeding Spawn, Contrast The Water and Theatre Runs Red. If you don’t know who they are, you definitely need to check them out!
Wojtek: That is an extremely hard question because we have so many great local bands, but I’m a proud home town supporter of Contrast The Water, Theatre Runs Red and Vulvodynia.
Deven: Deane Crescent, Contrast The Water and Theatre Runs Red.
Brynn: Haggis And Bong, Scroll Of Thoth and Divine Plague.
9. Do The Overmind have any advices for fresh metal bands promotion-wise?
Send your music to anyone you can, social media is the key for networking and getting people to hear your music all around the world.
10. If you could form a “dream band,” which living or dead musicians would you pick?
Jethro: Vocals – Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder), lead/rhythm guitar – James Malone (Arsis), lead/rhythm guitar – Ryan Knight (The Black Dahlia Murder), Bass – Alex Webster (Cannibal Corpse) and drums – Tim Yeung (Morbid Angel).
Wojtek: Vocals – Scott Ian Lewis (Carnifex), lead guitar – Sergey (Abominable Putridity), rhythm guitar – Dino Cazarez (Fear Factory), Bass – Dominic Lapointe (Beyond Creation) and drums – Dave Astor (Pathology).
Deven: Definitely Chuck Schuldiner.
Brynn: Chuck Schuldiner on guitar and vocals, Vitek from Decap on drums, Alex Webster on bass and Vogg from Decap on guitar.
11. I saw that Durban has some amazing foods to offer. What would you say is the one food that represent Durban the most?
It’s a tough one because there are so many traditional Durban foods, but we would have to say the bunny chow!
12. Outside metal, what music do you like? (Bring out all your secrets)
Jethro: I listen to many different styles of music. Rock, blues and a lot of instrumental stuff. I do enjoy the more electronic stuff too, haha.
Wojtek: I’m a big underground hip hop fan, not the radio sh*t, but stuff that has some intellect and feeling.
Deven: Mostly instrumental pieces, but very much progressive rock.
Brynn: I love classical and shred stuff – also enjoy alternative stuff like Radiohead and Muse. I enjoy some jazz though it’s not a favorite – and I’m a big lover of hard rock and grunge stuff like Alice In Chains, Mudhoney and Soundgarden.
13. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Jethro: I spend a lot of my free time gaming and wasting away too many hours of my life on YouTube.
Wojtek: Game, drink, party and be lazy as f**k.
Deven: Playing games and hanging with mates.
Brynn: I love jamming and composing – I also love horror movies and literature, especially Lovecraft and Barker. I’m especially fond of short-stories and have written several myself.
14. Finish this sentence: If I were Corpsegrinder…
Jethro: I would have said come and play a show in South Africa, but Cannibal Corpse will be here next year at Witchfest 2015!
Wojtek: If I were Corpsegrinder, I would change over to alliance? Haha, I dunno man.
Deven: I would donate my neck muscles to the Rock Hall Of Fame.
Brynn: I’d cum blood from my erection?
“We promise to put on a crushing performance filled with high energy and intensity.”– The Overmind
15. You said you will start gigging in February, 2015. How are you preparing yourself for the first gig, where can we see you and why should we be there?
The Christmas period has been crazy for all of us, but we are going to be in the band room whenever we can to make sure we are as tight as possible.
At the moment we haven’t decided where out first gig will be, but we are hoping to organize a huge home town show, followed by various tours around the country. We are all extremely excited and we hope that everyone else is too.
We promise to put on a crushing performance filled with high energy and intensity.
16. Besides releasing EP and gigging, do you have any other goals for 2015 that you would like to achieve? Maybe music video?
We have spoken about filming a music video and it is definitely on the agenda for 2015! We also plan to begin writing a full length album this year, but we will see what happens!
17 Would you like to add anything to this interview? Anyone special you’d like to wish Happy New Year?
Jethro: Watch this space we have big plans for this year! Happy New Year to all!
Wojtek: Thanks to everyone who’s checked us out so far and Happy New Year to the whole of The Black Dahlia Murder, maybe some chance they’ll come across this and be like, yeah man I like you!
Deven: Happy New Year to all my friends, family and to you guys at the TheBlekGoat.com.
Brynn: Not really – just hope you guys like the EP and that fans will be at gigs in 2015 and beyond. We’re going to hit the stage soon and bring some proper heavy shit back to Durban!