Savage guitars and blow-up dolls
Kobus! are back! It’s been almost three years since they released their second album 100% Skuldgevoelvry, but lead singer Francois Breytenbach Blom assures me that after more than a year on the sidelines Kobus! are hungry, and they are hard.
“The album is called Swaar Metaal, not Pink Plastic!” says Blom. “When it came to this album we thought let’s make an album in a style that we really love and do well.
“From the album cover, to the songs, it’s clichéd heavy metal, like a parody of a metal album,” says Blom before hastily clarifying that it’s almost a parody.
Which makes sense, because between Blom, who fronted South African metal act Voice of Destruction, and Theo Crous, the Springbok Nude Girls’ audacious guitarist, there is a deep love for the head-banging genre.
“I come from a metal background and Theo is more hard rock,” says Blom.
“The whole Kobus! thing happened by chance those early songs we did just for a laugh.”
On their first two albums Kobus! were a schizophrenic sound, with their bizarre hybrid of musical styles that defied classification. Live, however, Kobus! were a demented explosion of savage guitars and blow-up dolls. Swaar Metaal sees the band creeping closer to that raucous live sound.
Lyrically, Blom has everything from evangelism, crime, patriotism, Afrikaans teenage rebellion to the plight of the white man in South Africa in his sights. Topics such as these are deeply symptomatic of the “rainbow nation” malaise.
With the outcry over crime reaching fever pitch in South Africa, it is interesting that Blom has recorded a song called Doodstraf.
“People will hear that song and go, “you see, these white people are suffering from murder, the Boere are getting murdered”, says Blom. “If you look at the statistics you will see who is suffering; it’s not just white people my friend, it’s everyone.”
Blom says like the “moerse majority” of this country he fully supports the death penalty. He says he does not buy into the argument that the death sentence is not a deterrent for crime.
“I am not interested in the deterrent part, the important part for me is getting rid of the motherfucker.”
Blom says the band is revitalised and excited about working with its new independent record label, Rhythm Records, and the new audiences it can reach with this harder version of Kobus!
“We have a record label that knows what to do with this kind of thing and they are excited about it,” says Blom. “Anyone who signs with a major is a fucking idiot.”
“You see all these laaitie bands who are inexperienced and they don’t know the industry,” says Blom. “Its like, ‘Ooh Sony is interested in us’, yeah dude, go big, become a tax write-off.”
Blom is equally scathing off the young bands that sprung out of their garages in the wake of the phenomenon that was Fokofpolisiekar.
“After Fokof there were all these little garage bands coming out trying to be Fokof and they all fucking sucked,” says Blom. “Hopefully there will be a bunch of laaitie bands coming out trying to be Kobus! and sucking at it. The more shit bands there are the better we look.”
Kobus! launches their album in Gauteng this week with a show at Zeplins in Pretoria on Saturday April 7, alongside Battery 9. They also appear at Oppikoppi in Northam on Sunday April 8. Cape Town fans can catch the band at the Mercury on April 20. Swaar Metaal is available at most good music stores