Oh oh oh, with the Pride of Africa
The mind of an average citizen thinks about Africa as a very exotic place, where they have ostriches and crocodiles breeding farms, where they go safari-ing instead of hunting, where man's only clothes is his dhoti and where woman's only garment is beads, where the sun shines and the children starve. But time is breaking the stereotypes, and with every passing day Africa is determinedly striving towards the areas, where the domination of the Old World has always been undisputable. But the sports have long ago surrendered to the attack of black runners, soccer- and basketball players, and now the time has come for heavy music. There is no doubt metal music is truly international. Metal cannot be stopped by any frontiers and it spreads on all continents. And today we have decided to speak to the stars of South-African thrash metal - AGRO and their guitar-player Daniel Lambinon.
MetalKings.com: Hi from Russia. I'm really glad that metal music has no borders and we can make this interview. My first question sounds very traditional - what stands for AGRO, what does it mean?
AGRO: Well…the band was originally called Agro Grannies… this was more of a joke so we decided to shorten it to Agro because it reflected our more serious approach to music and our aggressive attitude to the world around us
MetalKings.com: Well, my next question can look a little impolite but you have a long history and are still relatively unknown in Europe nevertheless you are very popular in your country. Do you think that the fact that you are from South Africa 'causes additional trouble? I mean that if you are from Finland and can play 6-strings somehow it's ok, but if you are from Africa, from Asia or even from Russia it looks like "c'mon guys, you can't play as good as the folks in Europe". It's a stereotype but a very strong one?
AGRO: There is no question that the music in Europe is of an extremely high quality but I don't think it is any higher than anywhere else in the world .The only difference is that us in Africa and Asia and Russia have to fight a lot harder to get recognized for the work we do and the music we make.
MetalKings.com: Can you tell us a few words about the metal scene in South Africa in particular and Africa on the whole? Can you name us some other bands?
AGRO: The metal scene in Africa on the whole is really small. I know of very few metal bands in Africa, most of which are from South Africa. At present there is a resurgence of metal with a few really good bands coming up but it will take some time for them to impact on the international market.
MetalKings.com: In 2000 you were lucky enough to participate in Wacken Open Year. What's your impression about the event? Did you worry a lot?
AGRO: The festival was defiantly the highlight of the bands career so far.We were the first unsigned band to ever play the festival as well as the first band from Africa. We all enjoyed it very much and were all a bit nervous before the show but afterwards,even though we had some technical problems, we felt great and were glad to see the crowd had enjoyed us. We made many new friendsin germany that year
MetalKings.com: Who founded AGRO and why? As I can see you're young enough but already have a 10 year history.
AGRO: Agro was formed by Shane Grant and Phil (ex-bass player) when they were still very young and wanted to make music. Cliff later joined as frontman and David "Mountain" the rhythm guitarist. David was killed in a tragically in a car acciedent in 1996. He will always be missed by us all. This was when I joined the band and in 1999 Phil got married and left which is when Robbie joined.Ayear ago we were joined by enoch on keyboards and here we are!
MetalKings.com: Why most of lyrics are dedicated to the problem of crime and violence. Is this problem is strong in Africa?
AGRO: Crime and violence are big problems here as they are throughout Africa. For us, it just seemed natural in the beginning to voice our opinions about the situation and the governments lack of interest in solving the problems. Nowdays our writing has changed where we sing more about global concerns and personal concerns as those are issues that are also important to us.
MetalKings.com: Whose idea was to make a cover out of Eagles' "Hotel California" and name it "hotel Albertonia"?
AGRO: It was actually my idea. It has been my favorite song as long as I can remember and thought it would be a great idea if we could add our own touch to it. We all enjoy taking old classics and making them agro, on our soon to be released fourth album we pay tribute to the mighty twisted sister with our version of The Price. As for calling it hotel Albertonia, we renamed it after the main hotel in the city where we live because it was a place we used to drink at and have many memories of.
MetalKings.com: How do things go with your fourth album "Forthcoming" and what's your plans for the future?
AGRO: The fourth album is almost done. So far we are quite happy with it. All that is needed now is for it to be masterd .We have some record deal offers we are currently discussing and our albums will hopefully be available worldwide very soon.
MetalKings.com: Can you name us bands that influenced your music?
AGRO: As a band we are all very influenced buy the music we grew up on like Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus and all the great thrash bands of the 80's. Currently we all very much enjoy the melodic music coming out of Europe such as Children of Bodom, Helloween, Edguy, In flames, Falconer, Gardenian, Rhapsody… basically anything metal we love…because metal is our lives
MetalKings.com: As far as I can see most of you have a lot of pets (dogs and cats). But have any of you ever had some exotic pet, for example a crocodile?
AGRO: I had many snakes as pets when I was growing up. Also some big spiders and a chamelion too. Don't think any of the rest of the band has had any exotic pets
MetalKings.com: Can you tell us some funny story that happened to you on stage?
AGRO: There are so many it is hard to single one out. We all often get our hair caught in each others guitars and sometimes Cliff, the vocalist takes off too much of his clothes when we play…..we all have such a good time on stage that nearly everything we do up there is funny!
MetalKings.com: Thanx a lot for the interview and your final words to metalheads in Russia.
AGRO: All I can say on behalf of the whole band is stay metal and hope to see all of you one day when we make it to Russia!
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