The Metalist za caught up with one of Johannesburg’s crowd favourite’s, Riddlebreak ahead of their supporting slot for the mighty Fit For A King at the end of the month.
See what they have been up to and what lies ahead.
It’s been a few years since you first took the stage. Back then you were a small act, playing very early time slots – but now we see you opening for bands like Eskimo Callboy and FFAK.
What would you attribute your success to?
(Gareth) We’d attribute our success to hard work, sacrifice and perseverance. For years we’ve given up our Saturdays for practices. Turned down nights out to gig. Said no to family trips and visits to gig. We’ve given up so much for this band and if given the chance to start over, we’d do it all again.
(Julian) Another important factor we feel is to be yourself and write music that appeals to you personally, you don’t have to write music for other people. Some of our greatest influences create music that they personally enjoy, not to please the masses. Music is a personal journey.
On this tour you’ll be playing alongside other local heroes such as Facing The Gallows, Truth and Its Burden, OneDaySky, and A Fate Like Yours.
Bearing in mind the following these acts have, and the staying power they have proved to have over the years, my question is…
How much would you pay to punch Bryan Binneman in the head?
Wait, you want US to pay for that? You’d have to pay us! Well… actually we’d do it for free!
TICKETS AVAILABLE BELOW
Every band transitions and goes through periods of growth in their sound; how would you say that you have evolved since your first album, Collapsar?
(Gareth)We’ve matured a lot since our last album, and we’re hoping our next album will reflect that. Even though Collapsar is only two years old, the songs we played there are much older than that. Jade has facial hair now, Roushan could leg wrestle a horse, Gordon doesn’t sleep with the lights on anymore.
All jokes aside we’ve had some very rough rides since Collapsar’s release and some of us have grown and changed now because of it; but one thing stays true and that’s that we’ll always put whatever we’re going through into our music. We very much accept each other despite the changes, and that’s important for people that have been friends as long as we have.
Our sound has become a bit more gritty with the down tuning and heavier guitar sounds we’re incorporating now, which in a way reflects what we’ve been going through lately.
What is your writing process like? Are there plans for new recordings in the works?
(Gareth) There is definitely some new stuff coming out, haven’t you been listening? We don’t have a fixed day yet, but we’ve been in studio recently with Clint Watts, and we’re extremely excited to get it out there. Lately our awesome guitarist Julian has taken the role of song-writing; but what’s great is that he’ll bring something to the table for us to twist and turn as we see fit until we’re all happy, so it’s very much still a group effort.
The metal scene in South Africa was quite stagnant a few years ago, with the same bands playing all the major shows, and very little new blood coming up through the ranks.
What is your opinion on the scene at the moment? Are there any local, up-and-coming bands that you have on your radar?
(Gareth) The scene implies it’s a unified entity, which may be the cause of a lot of problems. In general we don’t really concern ourselves with the ‘scenes’ problems because we believe you just got to play what you love to play. And most importantly, support as many bands as you can, be it on social media or at events.
Bands starting out shouldn’t be told what sub genre they’re in or out, because that’s putting creativity in a box and may discourage the younger guys from ever getting on a stage. There’s this huge misconception that what happens on Facebook is what happens in real life. People think there’s no new blood, but how many of those people get off their phones, go out to support a local act for the sake of it?
There’s a ton of new bands out there, and every year we witness new guys showing up. They’ll often get a lunchtime or afternoon slot, but they’re out there.
As for current new guys to look out for, I gotta say Fenris Wulf (Secunda), Till Terminus, The Tainted, Hiraeth, Hypergiant A.E., Terramarda and DeamHorth to get you started.
There seems to be an increasing trend of women in metal, with your very own Roushan even being part of the collaborative act, Sistas of Metal.
Do you feel that metal in the country is becoming more and more inclusive? Are there steps that could be taken to further widen its reach and impact?
(Gareth) Funny enough all the women in Sistas of Metal come from other bands that have been around for ages. Perhaps it’s only now that people are starting to take note, which is a shame, but then again rather late than never.
I suppose a lot of women don’t believe in themselves enough to do the band thing, and that stems from a lot of belittling and damage done by the previous male generations. We hope band like ours, Adorned in Ash and Sistas of Metal, not to mention all the other diverse bands out there, encourage and inspire women to take up an instrument and never give up what you love just because some dick head doesn’t want you to succeed or be better than them.
If you could be in a band that isn’t Riddlebreak, which band would you be in?
(Gareth) Oh my gosh, we gonna kiss a lot of butt here because there are so many great bands. Norbormide (Mozambique), Red Helen, Raptorbaby, Vulvodynia, Meek, Boargasm, Ohgod, Treehouse Burning and Pestroy! Can’t we just rotate through all of them? We love and respect these bands a lot, it’d be pretty cool to part of the line up!
Can Gordon please wear a shirt from time to time when he plays? It is winter you know.
(Gareth) It’s a little-known fact that Gordon in fact wears a shirt under his own skin. It’s gross but it keeps his reptilian body warm during performances.
If each of you could have a superpower – what would it be, and why?
(Gareth) Bullshit radar – politicians settle in to discuss some of SA’s problems – Gareth kicks the door open – calls bullshit on bullshit politicians (my power is known and loved by all) – they get fired – we elect better leaders and people to make better decisions.
(Gordon) Teleporting like in the movie Jumper, because walking to the fridge in winter is too much to ask for!
(Julian) Mine would be to instantly materialize perfectly cooked crispy bacon at any time. Bacon is life!
(Jade) This is an easy question, the ability to transform into a flying demon bear. Obviously.
(Laura) Time manipulation, it may not be the coolest but I could really use it!
(Roushan) Mine would be telekinesis, just move stuff with my mind so I don’t have to get out of bed!
What is on Riddlebreak’s agenda for the second half of 2018?
(Julian) Our goals for this year are to get into studio more and get more new material down for the next album. We’re planning to release a full album, but we’re going to take our time to make sure it is the best material we’ve released so far, which will take time.
We’re also working on ideas for new merch and of course practice, practice, practice!
Follow Riddlebreak on:
Interviewed by: Wayde Flowerday