What are Sundays good for? Exactly. Discovering new bands. Hailing from Durban, South Africa comes Life Below, a blackened hardcore band who have just released their debut track ‘Cycles’. Bassist Steven, also the editor of www.noisefix.co.za, was stoked to answer some of our questions, so read on!
Please introduce yourself and your band.
“Hey, we’re Life Below. The band’s made up of Mitch Harper (vocals), James Strachan (guitar), Steven Ilbury (bass) and Brendan Meintjes (drums).”
How did you come up with the band name, Life Below?
“Truth be told, it was one of those “aha!” moments. We had been jamming for a couple of months and with the Summer of Noise show coming up we were hit with the sudden realisation that we needed a name. It started as ridiculously long list (most of which were references to Slayer and Napalm Death tracks), and that list was added to almost daily. Then seemingly out of no where someone dropped “Life Below” and it just clicked. The name itself has various meanings, a lot of which ties back to our lyrical content, but I’d rather leave it open to interpretation.”
Define your sound in three words and elaborate on that.
“Pissed-off blackened hardcore. The truth is, we don’t really see ourselves as hardcore band. During practices we make reference to a lot of 90’s and contemporary metal bands…the stuff we grew up on. If I were to box it (cue hardcore meme), it would be something along the lines of “modern hardcore with crust, grind and doom undertones.””
What’s the Durban hardcore scene like?
“Durban’s a special place. We’ve always been seen as the underdog when it comes to support for music, it’s not like we’re a small town or anything, it’s just that we aren’t as on the radar as places like Cape Town and Johannesburg. Because we’re a coastal city, centred around surfing, the beach and tourism, there’s generally a more laid back attitude with Durbanites. And sadly, with that comes a bit of an apathy towards the arts. But that’s changing, guys like Durban Is Yours and NoiseFix are trying to put Durban on the map, and I like to think it’s working (the New York Times recently placed us as one of it’s top places to visit in 2015). When I was 15 I caught my first hardcore show right here in Durban. At that stage we were at the top of the game (bands like Crossingpoint, Go! Go! Bronco and The Rising End leading the charge). At that point Durban was recognised as “the” hardcore city in South Africa, with bands from all over the country praising it as being their favourite city to play. Over the years things have quietened down. Right now We Were Arches is the only other hardcore band jamming in Durban, and James and Brendan play in that band too! That’s not to say that Durbanites don’t still love their hardcore, in fact Comeback Kid‘s secret show at The Winston was arguably their most supported and highest energy of their tour. The truth is, there isn’t really a hardcore scene as much as there is just a scene of passionate music fans. The best shows in “Heat City” are the ones where with hardcore, hip-hop, rock and punk bands on the bill.”
You just released your first song ‘Cycles’ accompanied with a sick video. What can we expect from Life Cycles in the near future?
“We actually have an EP completed, which is going to be mixed and mastered by a good friend of ours (he tackled ‘Cycles’). It’s funny, we worried about dropping ‘Cycles’ and setting a bit of a false expectation, because the rest of the EP is a lot faster and a lot heavier. Other then that we just want to get jamming, and possibly get a few tours under the belt. Our debut show is on 31st of Jan, at Summer of Noise with Ashes, Conqueror and a host of other killer bands.”