South Africa is better known for its cricketing and rugby playing prowess and former apartheid laws than the great rock bands it has produced over the years. Bucking this trend is arguably its greatest rock export Seether, a three piece alternative rock act from Pretoria, who have achieved worldwide acclaim during their 12 years of existence. Bassist and backing vocalist Dale Stewart admits that it was indeed tough to break out of a scene and a country that is so far off the world rock radar, but he's ultimately very glad they did.
Yeah, it is quite difficult," he agrees, "we did end up being lucky I guess, by finding a label in the States who were willing to bring us over. Wind-Up Records out of New York City, they heard our CD which we'd released in South Africa. We'd sent it over to them, and they liked it, and they said 'we'd like to meet you guys.' So we flew over and met with them and signed a deal with them. So if it wasn't for them doing that it would have been that much harder. So it was a case of everything falling into place and falling in line, and I guess we were kind of lucky in a way.
But it is difficult to be recognised outside a country that is not recognised for its rock music or its rock bands," he continues, "so to get the recognition in the first place is kinda hard, but I will say once we got that deal, we honestly thought 'Oh Wow, we've made it! This is it, now it's plain sailing!' But we couldn't be more wrong. Now the real work began, all of a sudden we were these tiny fish in the ocean, whereas we were relatively large fish in a little pond, of South Africa. It was kind of an eye opener, but it's been a crazy ride. We really can't complain, the industry in the States and the rest of the world has been really good to us."
The band have recently announced a tour of Australia, which pulls into Melbourne on Saturday February 14th. It has actually been a relatively rare thing since their inception back in 1999, and so they are very glad to be coming back. "Absolutely, very much so," he enthuses, "we always like playing Down Under, it's not something we do often enough. So when we do it's something we get pretty excited about.
I think it's only two or three time we've been able to come down there to play," he recalls, "so it's kind of a rare occasion for us. But hopefully in the future it's something we can do a little bit more of. Every time we go down there the response has been great, we're always getting Facebooks and Tweets and emails and things saying 'hey, play down in Oz', and all this kind of stuff. So hopefully it's something we can a little bit more of in the future."
Being that it's always so long in between drinks for Seether's sojourns to Australia, it's a fair bet that many of the people who are going to check them out will not have seen them before, so Dale let us know what to expect from their live set. They promise a no-frills rock and roll show.
Yeah man, I think we're just kind of an old school rock band," he describes, "we don't generally pay too much attention, or give much time and energy to theatrics and explosions, and props and things. We just get up there and just rock out. It's three guys, we're a three piece, we just get up there and make as much noise as we can, get a bit hammered up on stage, maybe break a few things. Just rock out and make noise, it's old school. We've always said we're pretty much a garage band. We just like to have a good time, get up and play songs that people hopefully want to hear. Hopefully we don't suck, and have a couple of drinks in the process!" he laughs.
2012 promises to be an insanely busy year for Seether. They have set an almost inhuman goal for themselves for the year, so it will be interesting to see if they can attain it.
We're going to shoot for doing about 300 shows next year," he states, in a matter of fact kind of way, belying the enormity of playing almost a show a day across the entire world, "so it's going to be a busy one. But we can't complain, if people want to see you, and buy tickets and come to the show, it's a good thing. Especially in this day and age. We're just happy to be relevant after a 'couple' of years!
"After we see you guys," he carries on, regarding their schedule for the year, "from there we're going to Europe, we're going to do Russia, we're going to do a lot of countries we haven't got to do before, so that's going to be fun. Then we're back to the States, and do another tour here Stateside. And after that, there's nothing set in stone, but there's going to be lots and lots more touring."
Seether 2011 Australian Tour Dates
Wednesday 1st February Rosemount Hotel, PerthBuy Tickets
Thursday 2nd February Fowlers Live AdelaideBuy Tickets
Saturday 4th February The Hi-Fi MelbourneBuy Tickets
Sunday 5th February The Metro Theatre,SydneyBuy Tickets
Tuesday 7th February The Hi-Fi, BrisbaneBuy Tickets