posted in: Local Interviews | 1

After a journey through three mystical seasons, RUFF MAJIK has reached their crescendo and finally ready to drop the last ‘Season’, which leaves us chasing ‘the stag through the leaves’.

Pretoria South Africa: Your own local band Ruff Majik release their new album today.

Band Members are Johni Holliday the Guitarist/Vocalist, Benni Manchino the Drummer and last but not least Jimi Glass the Bassist. This Groovy doom/psychedelic rock band are getting ready to take Europe by a storm, playing at the well glorified stoner- blues three-day Freak Valley festival in Netphen Germany, playing alongside OM, RUSSIAN CIRCLES, CANDLEMASS and many more.

A groovy melodic sound with a raw ‘kick you in the teeth’ bass tone, vocals with an electric Ozzy Osborne range, guitar licks that you could kiss and a drummer who knows what head bangers need.

The Album Seasons is comprised with different segmented pieces; The Hare and the Hollow; A Finch in a Cherry Tree, and; A Dragon and His Hoard as an additive to a singular album, leaving only The Stag in The Leaves to finalise the fulfilment of the Seasons album, thus creating an almost story like feel for fans all round.

Well, we released three songs on the turn of the season, which is why the album is called Seasons. Basically, there are three months in every season, so there are three songs on every segment of seasons. Every segment has its very own, very specific atmosphere. The animals are also to be representatives of each season. A snow white hare for winter, a finch nestled in a cherry tree as soon as spring blooming starts, a lizard (Dragon) somewhere on the rocks of a desert or beach and a stag between many autumn coloured leaves. The animals are we were thinking of each season, so we used them as album covers”. – Johni Holliday

How do you think your fans feel or have reacted to/about the sneaky release of your album ‘Seasons/ The Stag in The Leaves’? Leaving only room anticipation?

Well so far I think the reception has only been positive, but hopefully fans will enjoy the album when it’s out in its entirety as well. However, we let a lot of the previous releases go under the radar, not spending much time on the marketing thereof, as we knew the main release would garner a lot of attention – so hopefully all the new listeners will dig it too!” – Johni Holliday

Your album artwork is a charismatic additive to ‘your sound’, what would you say that the significance of life and death portrayed both within the art as well as your music is to you as a band?

“The artwork is made by my wife, Annemarie Buchner from Ale & Cake Illustration. She and the other two members of the band understand me better than most people, so I think she manages to capture what we want every time perfectly. I’ve always been concerned by my mortality, though not entirely in love with the idea of being alive – so that has always kinda bled through in the lyrics and themes of the band. And Anni just draws our sound so well.” – Johni Holliday

Are there any significant moments with either a band member or the band in its entirety that happened during the making of this album?

“I lost my father to his battle with cancer. I think that shaped a lot of the album’s sound and feel. But great stuff also happened! We got booked for Europe, I got married, some of the other members fell in love – always a silver lining, ya know? And I think that’s audible in some moments in the music too!” – Johni Holliday

What is your plan on touring your new album ‘Seasons’?

“Right now, the only touring plan is Europe actually, which is fucking crazy hahaha! We’ve never even been there! But, when we’re back, we want to do a full tour of SA, and even try and hit some small towns (even though we’re sure some “Ooms” are gonna “moer” us). We’ve been speaking to a company that does sweet tours, so we’ll see what happens.” – Johni Holliday

You as a band have been on-going for quite some time now, would you say your approach on writing an album now has changed from when you first started out?

“Not at all hahaha. We’ve always done it the exact same way. All of us stand in a room and jam until it sounds cool, then we turn that cool sound into a song. Then we take all those songs and turn them into an album. The only thing that’s changed is that we became better musicians actually.” – Johni Holliday

It is always amazing to see that purists still exist within our scene when it comes to recording, how would you say that it is beneficial to both the music and emotive of which you are aiming to portray?

“Well, I don’t know if purist is the right way to describe us. But, I think our style of recording has been very important in the creation of our sound. We record live, all at once, only one take per song – no “re do’s”. So it sounds as close to us live as it possibly can, which I think is a pretty good thing. Nobody could ever be disappointed when they see us live haha!” – Johni Holliday

Do you feel as if the minimal amount of venues in South Africa are pushing bands and artists such as yourself to tour outside of the country? If so Why?

“For sure. We live for making music, and playing it live, that adrenaline is the best drug you could get (maybe not as good as heroine, but we haven’t tried that yet haha). So it sucks that there aren’t many venues, and that they keep closing, because it limits the amounts of times we can do shows.” – Johni Holliday

As a concept album and adding the ‘feel from nature’, what would you like for your fans to take away from this particular album, both in their personal lives and understanding you as a band?

“It’s hard to say. A lot of the album is insight into our everyday lives, we just retell it lyrically by using images of witchcraft and fantastical beasts and shit, cause we’re actually really nerdy hahaha. But a lot of it is depressing, and about learning to handle the seasonal depressions and changes in your life as they come along. I guess I’d want fans to know that feeling down in the gutter is a completely normal experience that many people deal with regularly, and there’s no need to be ashamed of it. Hell, you can even turn it into an entire concept album hahaha!” – Johni Holliday

Us here at The Metalist would like to thank you Ruff Majik for your time, sending our deepest condolences to Johni Holliday and his family.

Check Them out, Click the links listed below.


Album art done by Annemarie Buchner from Ale & Cake illustration.


Feature by: Christi T. Hill

Date: 20 April 2018

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