Wednesday, April 13, 2016

interview: Lust of a Dying Breed

Lust of a Dying Breed
Support this band! Lust of a Dying Breed is an extreme metal band from Kenya. If you ask them, they won’t hesitate to tell you that they play metal. There is something brewing in Kenya and Lust of a Dying Breed is a good example of the interesting things happening there. This publication sent them ten thousand questions, more or less, and they were very gracious and gave wonderful and full answers. Alright then, let’s do this, let’s roll.
Here in the U.S. we don't know much about your country and your country's metal music. Tell us about your city and the metal music scene there!
I don’t think it’s possible to speak for or about this country, so we’ll just be giving our perspective on what this country means to us. We’ll also try and represent it in the best light possible, but we won’t lie.
First of all, Kenya is a country on the East Coast of Africa, we border countries like Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. We have a very vibrant culture here, we speak as many as 40 different languages. We love sports, politics and we work very hard. Our history as a country has been mixed. We’ve had some tough times, politically, socially and economically. But we are an optimistic people with a fighting spirit! So we try and make changes, slowly. In the end we hope to be more tolerant and inclusive.
Our metal scene is young and small. We do things independently: recording, merchandise, promoting shows, the whole lot. There is no record label, instruments are expensive and hard to find, but we do what we can.
We have a couple of bands, ourselves included and others like Last Year’s Tragedy, In Oath, Irony Destroyed, Mortal Soul, Void of Belonging and so on. Very few bands are active now and even us guys are coming from hiatus. But the fans give us lots of support, they are very passionate and relentless.
Our culture as Kenyans, especially those of us that have grown up in the city, hasn’t really been ingrained in us. We’ve grown up listening to Western Music, and a lot of our bands will sound like bands from the States and Europe. But ever since we discovered we can play metal, we have also decided to show what our country can offer. There is a richness of culture, folk-lore and aesthetic character that our indigenous communities have to offer. And we have a duty as musicians to discover those roots and bring them to the world.
How is life for people that love metal music there? More specifically, how was it for you when you began to get into metal music?
Metal lovers are misunderstood here in Kenya and it was the same situation back when we started the band. Society has a strong disapproval for this kind of music because they do not understand it. People associate it with violence, drugs and the devil. We are even less open minded now than when the band was started. Obviously metal isn’t strictly anti-authoritarian and extreme, but the media has made that its focus and that is the only face people see. As a band and as a scene, I don’t think we are really looking for approval from society. As things stand, the law is on our side since the constitution has changed and I hope this will allow younger people, people that are about to join our scene can be allowed to express themselves.
Can you give us a history of your band?! When you did start? Was it at school? Was it easy to find other people that think alike? Did you have a clear idea how you wanted to sound?
We started the ensemble back in July of 2010, it was a azcrazy idea that was pushed to me, by the bassist Tim Opiko.
I had always wanted to be in a metal band and since didn’t know how to play any instruments back then, I took up the vocalist job. It wasn’t easy finding like-minded artists. But the bands were so few back then that we helped each other by filling in guest spots and doing a few shows, we got a full line-up by February 2011.
How much material do you have recorded? Is it a good representation of your sound or the sound that you want?
So far we have a full EP out and two other songs that we have released separately that will also be featured in the new project we are working on (a new EP called ‘Pyramid Entities’). As artists we always seek perfection. We do our extreme best when doing a song. So far we are satisfied with the sound, and we want it to evolve. Change is always a factor. When we did our first record we worked with Leon Malu, our producer who is also a musician himself, and he understands our sound and what we are trying to achieve. We realized and proved both to ourselves and our own scene here that we are capable of playing death metal. At this point we are just looking to improve on what we’ve built, taking in the experiences we’ve had over the years and come up with better material, stuff than can speak of our nationhood and the sights and sounds of East Africa. We want to enrich heavy music, and that will be our contribution to the world.
What kind of music is on the radio in your city? Do you like it? Is metal ever on the radio?
Haha that is a very interesting question. First of all, metal is NEVER on radio. The general audience here, still doesn’t understand metal and there is no way in hell that mainstream media will play our music. Radio needs something that is easily digestible, something people can sing along to and something that can be played over and over again. It will take lots of balls for any media station to promote metal, because they will obviously face backlash from religious organizations, parents associations and even the government.
The music that is played ranges from pop, rap, reggae, gospel and lots of Nigerian music. We listen to everything because as artists it is important to appreciate all forms of art. The only shame is that the radio doesn’t played a wider variety. We hear the same songs day in day out.
Are you in school or do you work full time? Is it easy to find jobs? Do your friends have problems finding jobs? How does the economic situation affect your band and the future of the band?
All of us in the band are either in school or have full-time jobs. Jobs aren’t easy to find here because there is a large skill gap because of the way the education system is structured in this country. The economic situation isn’t ideal and as such looking for occupation is a tricky task. We’ve had problems finding jobs, but the most important thing is keeping those jobs. As musicians we try to balance professional lives and our music. We need to keep our jobs secure because it is our only source of income since music doesn’t pay. On the other hand, it is also disillusioning because our day jobs tend to consume us and a lot of times we don’t find time for the band.
Economically, we are plagued with the problem first of all of securing a place where we can practice as a band. We don’t have our own equipment, because quality equipment is hard to find and is expensive. The economic situation has also made it really challenging for us to record music. We have also wanted to record music videos, but those plans have had to be shelved at the moment until such a time when we can be able to afford it.
When did metal music start in your country? Do you know? What were some of the earliest bands that call themselves metal? Is it your generation?! Are you the pioneers?
The first bands we heard was when we were in high school, the likes of ‘point of vertigo’, ‘Blakastonian Redemption’, ‘Narcisisstic Tendencies with Delusions of Grandeur’ and those bands really inspired us back then, the sound was raw as fuck. We loved their energy and creative release that comes with metal, it is pure freedom.
How can people support your band? What do you want people to know about your band?! What is your band all about?
We always appreciate support from our fans. We’ve also received tremendous support from friends in other Kenyan bands, bands from across our continent and online magazines like AudioInferno and Metal4Africa. The support we need most is for people to turn out for shows and enjoy themselves. We need feedback on what they want us to give to them because that is the only way we can improve. Also since we need to record and make a little money on the side, support by buying and sharing our music and merchandise will be incredibly helpful. We are on Soundcloud and ReverbNation that is where guys can locate our music.
Lust of a Dying Breed, first and foremost, is a death metal band. Our sound and personnel is evolving. The sound we are bringing and constantly working on seeks to bring in the distinctiveness of African culture, things we are trying to uncover to tell ourselves, our people and the world at large, who we are and where we are coming from. The themes in our record also tell of where we come from as a band and where we are headed. We have gone through a lot of struggle, individually and collectively. We have experienced life altering moments and we want people to see that in our story and we are going to tell it through music.
Lust of A Dying Breed is about the Divine experience told through the story of material reality. We are spiritual individuals. As such we take the blueprint of the principles of the universe, divine laws, and we correlate them with the day to day experiences of ordinary people, in the material universe. These tales are told through the brutal and visceral medium of death metal because the human experience, though divine, is a harsh one filled with toil, pain and anguish. Going forward we are accentuating those hard and bleak features of death metal with some melodies and African perspectives.
What are your plans for 2016 and the future? Have you played in other cities in your country or in other countries in Africa?
We have only been able to play in Nairobi and haven’t left the country as such. We hope that as we resolve the personnel problems that we have had in the past, touring may become a reality in the future.
For 2016 we hope that we can finish writing material for the EP ‘Pyramid Entities’. It isn’t an easy task, but we want to focus all our energies on this. A graphic novel will also accompany the record. We are doing it in house, with a little help from collaborators within our rock scene.

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