Far From Who We Are Q&A
South African band Far From Who We Are have recently released the excellent 'Sleep In Shadows' EP - five tracks mixing emo, alternative rock and melodic dark metal to fine effect. Guitarist / Vocalist Johan took some time to answer a few questions for the BBMATB about the EP, the band and the current state of gigging and the rock scene in South Africa - see below.
Far From Who We Are are Johan Heyns (Guitar, Vocals, Synths), Maarten Heyns (Bass) and Kyle Williams (Drums)
'Sleep In Shadows' is available on all the major digital sites or from their record label Hopepunk Records. You can also pick up singles, 'Sleep In Shadows', 'Rise', 'Living A Lie' and 'Hollow' from those same sites.
Hi Guys, thankyou for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with Far From Who We Are, could you give a short history of the band?
We are a melodic hard rock band from South Africa that started in 2015 under a different name, there was a band somewhere in the US with the same name and in 2017 just before we released our debut album we changed our name to Far From Who We Are. In 2018 we parted ways with our previous drummer and a couple of months after that we met Kyle and the rest is history.
And who would you say were the main influences on Far From Who We Are?
I am a massive Muse fan but we draw inspiration from other bands such as Sevendust, Karnivool, Tesseract, Nothing More, just to name a few.
You've recently released the 'Sleep In Shadows' EP - do you feel it is a step on from your debut release in 2017 and previous singles?
Definitely, especially since Kyle came into the picture. He is an incredible musician. He definitely pushed me to be a better writer, player and singer. I also think our production quality increased quite significantly since our first album.
You have your own recording studio but did COVID hinder you in recording and putting the EP together?
Yes, we have a little studio set up and our drummer also has a home studio where he recorded all of the drum tracks for the EP, so we got everything done remotely.
Being in lockdown since last year March definitely gave us more time to focus on writing and recording new material. We do miss playing live and hopefully we can get back on stage and play some of these songs soon.
Do you have any favourite tracks off the EP and if so why? Any tunes that didn't make the cut which we might hear later on?
It's hard to pick a certain track. All of them came together in a unique way. Collaborating with other artists on two of the tracks is also something we haven't done before which was exciting.
We had quite a few riffs and ideas that didn't make it onto the EP that might be worth revisiting for a future release.
You're signed to HopePunk Records - how did you come to be involved with them?
I worked on one of the HopePunk artists, Headfury's EP and that's how we became involved. They have been amazing to work with and really helped us reach a bigger audience.
Do you have any forthcoming live shows coming up that you're looking forward to playing?
Unfortunately not, this whole Covid mess makes it almost impossible to play live. At the moment all social gatherings are banned and it is unclear when the ban will lifted.
And did you try any webshows / podcasts during lockdown? If so, how did it feel doing those and are they something you'd consider continuing with once live gigs have fully returned?
We haven't no. We were so busy focusing on the EP and doing everything ourselves (recording, mixing and mastering) is pretty time consuming. We didn't really have time to look into online shows etc. It's definitely something we would consider, especially with the current ban.
Do you feel there is a good rock scene in South Africa at the moment? Any bands / artists from South Africa you'd particularly recommend to readers?
There definitely is a good rock scene in South Africa but unfortunately there is only a handful of people supporting it, especially the heavier stuff. There are so many good rock /metal bands in South Africa but here are a few to check out: Sunken State, Facing The Gallows, Sundergeist, Headfury, HOKUM.
And finally what plans for Far From Who We Are for the rest of 2021 and beyond?
For now we will continue writing and putting ourselves out there while waiting patiently for the day when we can play live again.