[LOCAL INTERVIEW] Apocalypse Later

posted in: Local news | 0


The Metalist za writer Ian Gertenbach caught up with local JHB-based band Apocalypse Later , who very politely (and with an excess of class) fielded some probing questions about their existence racing on the edge of the straight razor that is the rock scene in South Africa.


Tell us about the name of the band, what is the underlying meaning behind it, if any?


We spent a good few months trying to decide on a name. We actually played our first show under the name “The Swag Bats” based on an internet meme. The very original name for the band was “The Screamy Neamies”, but someone asked if that was a reference to diarrhoea and that put us all off of it. We eventually landed on “Apocalypse Later” which is the title of one of our songs – it encapsulates the overall message of our collective philosophies. We’re also all cinephiles and Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” is a classic.

What would you say your mission statement as Apocalypse Later is; what is it that the band stands for?


We’re fed up with the growing inequalities in the world and the lackadaisical approach by those in charge. Whether it stems from gross negligence or absolute corruption – enough is enough. We allow the majority of people to languish, while a minority enjoy a lifestyle fit for a million. We don’t want the apocalypse now, let’s Apocalypse Later.



You classify yourselves as Neo-Grunge with other influences thrown into the mix; given that this is The Metalist, can you give us your definition of “heavy”, and how Apocalypse Later exemplifies this?


“Heavy” for us, is music that enters your ears, slides down your throat and grabs you by the stomach. We like distortion and turning our amps up to 11 like any other band, but even the sweetest of piano songs can be heavy. “Heavy” can be lyrics that speak to your spirit, a riff that gets your body moving or a drum beat that awakens your inner beast – that’s what we try and do as Apocalypse Later.


The group has been sharing the stage with The Medicine Dolls and ArsenLuna for a series of shows in CT, PTA and JHB; what has that experience been like? Any stand-out moments or post-show tales of note?


What can we say – those guys are the absolute best! It was such a privilege to be invited by them to be a part of their tour. Both The Medicine Dolls and ArsenLuna play with an absolute feeling that can’t be replicated or feigned. Passion is exuded from stage, felt by the audience and reciprocated ten-fold. We had the greatest time with them down in Cape Town, and then again back here in Gauteng. The Mercury Live show and The Rumours Rock City shows were definite stand-outs for all of us.

It was an oddly complimentary mix of styles and we really enjoyed the flow of the shows: ArsenLuna, who plays beautiful acid-jazzy piano and vocal vibes, would go on first and bring this really pleasant awe-struck hush over the venue, then we’d go on and blast through our set, then Medicine Dolls launched into their rampant, manic, relentless (and sometimes almost concerning) energy.

There were quite a few special moments, at some of the gigs Greg did a little guest vocal with us on one of our tunes, Chris and Andi got to do some guitar solo-ing/noise generation with the Medicine Dolls on their finale song and ArsenLuna covered one of our songs so beautifully at the final show, we nearly cried – it was transformed from a kind of sweet, kind of dumb 4/4 grunge standard to a bittersweet wistful airy 1920’s jazz serenade – we get goosies just thinking about it.

Apocalypse Later has been featured on Mixtape Mondays by Mix 93.8FM recently; how did that come about, and how did it feel to hear your music on FM radio?


We’ve been fans of the show for a while, as well as of the hosts Daniel Friedman and Lorimer Wilmot and their respective musical careers. Lorimer messaged Trev and asked that we send through “Mammal Girl” for their show – we, of course, sent it through immediately. We love that they are supporting local music in such a big way on such a public platform. Their show used to be from 7-8 PM, but we only realised that night it had been extended to 6-8 PM, so we totally missed our first time being played on the radio! They have assured us that we will be played again though, so we’ll be listening out.


Can you tell us a little bit about what the song “Mammal Girl” is about? How did that track come to be? Is there any chance the fans can see a posting of the lyrics to the song in the future so they can sing-along at your next show?


“Mammal Girl”, for us, is about the animalistic instinct of human beings when it comes to love and lust – the warm blooded and primal nature. We didn’t want to write the title down because we wanted it to be left up to the listener’s interpretation whether it is “Mammal Girl” or “Mammal, Girl”. Either way is correct based on what you take from it. The song was recorded with Evert Snyman and Louise Eksteen of Pollinator fame at their studio, The Backline. They added yet another level of primalness to the mix and we love it!  Lyrics and much more will be coming very soon.


Apocalypse Later is set to play The Freakquency Transmission on the 30th March at The Good Luck Bar. What with all the freaky sideshow entertainment going on at the event, do you have any similarly bizarre tricks up your sleeves for fans to look forward to?


Ooooh! This is a big one that we can’t wait for! We might have a few additions to our set and stage to keep things appropriately freakish. Don’t want to give too much away, you’ll have to come and experience it for yourself!


Despite being somewhat “newish” to the scene, Apocalypse Later have made quite a splash of late, what’s your secret? Any advice for fledgling bands in getting to this level?


We have enjoyed a huge amount of support from friends, family and the many people involved in the industry. From venues, photographers, writers, designers, other bands (big shout out to Pollinator, Casey Bliss, The Cosmic Strange, Ruff Majik, The Goldilocks Effect, Polar Dust, The Medicine Dolls, Willie and Henk van der Schyf and Gifford Peche ) – everyone has been extremely supportive of us and we are so massively appreciative!. We still consider ourselves a fairly fledgling band, and the best advice we can offer is go out, watch gigs, find bands that are on a similar mission as you and help each other out as much as possible.

Speaking of the scene, how do you feel about the state of rock/metal bands in South Africa? Is there a quantifiable audience to tap into, and if not, how do you think we can work towards growing one?


There’s definitely a massive rumbling in the Rock underground that’s even started boiling into mainstream spaces. We first started perceiving it around the end of 2015 and beginning of 2016, with Pollinator, Hellcats, Black Math, Ruff Majik, Make Overs, The Cosmic Strange there was this little renaissance of distortion pedals and new bands popping up, not just in Johannesburg and Pretoria, but all over. There’s currently almost too many to mention and it’s almost starting to feel like a new Seattle. On the metal front there’s also very exciting and inspiring things happening, like Boargazm hitting South America and Vulvodynia hitting Europe. In general, it feels like things are going and growing strong

Are there any plans for an album or EP release in the future?

We’re hoping to get another single out within the next few weeks before we head out to Mieliepop Festival. We plan on having our EP recorded in the next couple of months and a full album before the end of the year.

While we wait in rabid anticipation for that, do you have any merch that fans can get hold of in the meantime?


We should hopefully have some stickers and shirts by March.



Are there any unsung artists or bands (local or otherwise) that you think are worth checking out?

Definitely! A lot of these bands have been a little bit sung, but can never be sung enough. We highly recommend Pollinator, Hellcats, Black Math, Ruff Majik, The Goldilocks Effect, Strait Jackal, The Moths, MakeOvers, The Medicine Dolls, The Cosmic Strange, The Sweet Resistance, Scarlotte Will, Julia Robert, KilKil (from Reunion Island), The Tazers, Cortina Whiplash, Angry Violent Vultures (our drummer’s other band), ArsenLuna, Slippery When Wet, Dali Sins, The Mean Streets, Penny Vagrant, Miagii, Sol Gems, Young Hands, The Dandies, Mouse, Them Dirty Shrikes, Die Horries, Polar Dust, Theatre Runs Red, Red Helen, the list goes on and on and on.  

Polarising question, what do you feel about the issue of music piracy? Is it justified for the sake of publicity or is it killing artists?

Like it or not, piracy is a reality and it’s not going anywhere. We’re lucky to also live in a time when recording has become infinitely more affordable, as has distribution, which mitigates a lot of the “damage”.  Also, we see a lot of reports indicating that live music is booming. As long as the pirates show up to the gigs, they’re welcome to sneak some tunes. Trying to police piracy will have draconian consequences that will leave society far worse off. We should embrace streaming, licensing and above all playing live.That being said, with services like Deezer, Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple Music and Google Music, it’s so easy and affordable to get legitimate music these days. Our philosophy is, if you can afford to pay for it, you should – if you can’t – do what you have to, but do your part to promote the artist!

Do you have any aspirations or plans for playing overseas in the future?

There will always be aspirations to get our music to as wide as an audience as possible – we’d love to play the entire globe! For now though, we are looking to hone our craft and build a support base here at home.

Thank you so much for your time, is there anything you wish to add, or any shout-outs you feel are owed?


Shout out to all our friends, family and fans! And a massive shout out to The Metalist!

\m/ ( `◉ _◉´) \m/


Interviewed by: Ian Gertenbach

Photos by: Chris Preyser

Date: February 2018



 Facebook   instagram    YouTube-logo-full_color