It’s Valentine’s Day. I’m single. It’s Windhoek, Namibia. Where does one go for a fun night? I made THE BEST choice by going to a Valentine’s gig of the band, THE HUNT FOR HIGHER GROUND, with a… wait for it…. ZOMBIE THEME!!!
The Night of the Loving Dead was a gig organized by the VERY talented hard rock band, THE HUNT FOR HIGHER GROUND.
From Windhoek Namibia, The Hunt for Higher Ground, is a 3 piece instrumental rock band. With their progressive playing style and their melodic approach, they aim to push their playing to its limits and to bring something new to the ever-growing Namibian rock scene.
Since its inception THFHG have played a number of shows including the sought after Radiowave 96.7 FM birthday concert as well as Namibia’s first true rock festival, The Tafel Lager Namrock Festival 2013, all to great reception.
“The Hunt” was the original choice for the band’s name, but since every conceivable word has been used after the word “The” for a band name, “The Hunt for Higher Ground” was chosen. It basically means ‘searching for something bigger and better’.
Okay, so I’ve NEVER been a fan of metal or CRAZY HARD ROCK. And when I think of METAL music, I think of the heavy vocals that comes with it. THFHG does not have vocals. The best way to label their music would be Instrumental Progressive Metal. Because they are instrumental and a 3 piece, ALL the instruments have to take the lead.
Who is THE HUNT FOR HIGHER GROUND?
Jacques de Vries (Guitar): “I just want to play guitar and write music! Any way I can! And to keep pushing myself to be the best I can be. I only work the 9 to 5’s to support what I truly love doing.”
Ramon le Roux (Bass): “Life is not short, it’s just the right length to have the time of your life doing things you love, like making music with your best buds – that’s pretty much my outlook and how I live, life is too short to miss out on the good stuff!”
Adam Kirby (Drums): “My life is music I love mixing, writing and playing it. It is what I live for”.
Jacques started the band as a solo project in March/April 2013, just with the intention of getting his own music on the net to whoever would listen. “We used to play in a band together and through us still hanging out together and always talking music; we decided we should turn the solo project into a full band”.
At around 14:30 I arrived at the Warehouse Theater where the guys were busy with sound check. They invited me over to take some “behind the scene” shots before the Valentine’s Party later that evening. I’ve only listened to their songs online, but hearing them LIVE – DAMN!!!!! I was so impressed and so very excited for the party to start!!
What is the music scene like in Windhoek and Namibia?
Adam: “The scene that we are in is still very small, but i think that by adding the right production value to our gigs it is slowly building.”
Ramon: “The scene might be relatively small when compared to bigger places, but everyone knows everyone else in the scene which serves as quite an awesome perk. You get to jam gigs with your mates in the other bands, and rock out with friends in the audience. You bump into people all over the place, from the gent who runs the studio you’ll be recording at in a few weeks, the photographers that shot the last gig, or the awesome guy who helped design your band shirt – the list goes on.”
Jacques: “As far as rock and metal are concerned, it’s pretty small. But the great thing is everyone knows one another somehow! So with things like gigs, whether you’re playing, working or attending. It’s essentially a bunch of friends and soon-to-be-friends hanging out having a good time!”
The band doesn’t play live as often as they’d like. In terms of venues in town; Dylan’s and the Warehouse are pretty much it in terms of professional and established venues that will cater for the heavier bands. But there are events every now and then outside of town like Namrock and Viper Rally which are always great to play. I will DEFINITELY try not to miss any of THFHG’s gigs in the future….
THFHG try to at least get one or two practices in a week. Usually it lasts a couple of hours involving learning new songs, running through the old ones, talking out the “business side” of the band and screwing around. Mostly screwing around…apparently!!
How accepting are Windhoek and Namibia to your type of music?
Adam: “Even though we are playing metal I think it’s the harsh vocal that puts people off, but we don’t have that. We are also extremely melodic and try to be different from what people have seen here before and so far the response is awesome.”
Ramon: “We were quite curious to see how the locals would react initially too, but so far there’s been a pretty awesome response. Our gigs are filling up, which is always a good sign, especially when you’re an instrumental band!!! Seems to be working for some reason though.”
Jacques: “I don’t think we really knew how people would receive a heavier form of instrumental music but so far it’s been really great! We see the crowd get a little bigger at every gig! I think things like crowd interaction and ourselves having a good time while we’re playing a show, play a big part. Apart from trying to put out good music, we try to treat those that support us, the best we can, whether we’re throwing out merchandise at a gig, giving away free tickets or just having a drink with them after the show. Without support we wouldn’t be able to throw these gigs, so a huge thank you to all of you!”
THE HUNT FOR HIGHER GROUND is planning on heading down to South Africa for a few shows, for now just in the Cape area. And they said that they definitely want to play more in Namibia. “We’re also planning on heading down to Swakopmund some time. We want to keep pushing The Hunt For Higher Ground to its limits”. They’ll keep putting music out on a regular basis and they’ll keep trying to give people something to enjoy. Whether it’s the music itself, the merchandise or the live shows…
So around 20:00 I arrived at the Warehouse Theater after getting my “makeup” done by my friend, Merike. I thought we looked pretty awesome (and gross at the same time) – I was ready to have good time!! I went backstage to take some shots of the guys getting their ZOMBIE “grove” on…
What does it take to put a night like tonight (a gig) together?
Adam: “Well it’s a lot of effort to plan it all find an opening band with so few to pick from already, we luckily work at the venue which makes it easy to play there but still means it’s our job to do sound and lights as well as trying to keep up with Jacques on making shirts posters decor and all sorts but at the end of the day its worth it.”
Ramon: “There’s a lot that goes into a gig, and not only from our parts. We come up with an idea, book a venue, design a poster and flyers, rent sound and lights, set it all up, then do soundchecks usually on the day. There is also band ‘merch’ that needs to be printed, and the flyers need to get handed out at some point… You need good technicians running your show as well, not to mention a good photographer, who as I’m sure YOU will know, spends hours on the night, and many more hours later! (God bless you lovely people!)”
Jacques: “It’s quite a bit; sound and lighting equipment, an opening band, a venue, flyers, posters, soundcheck, merchandise etc. But then the upside to it all is having good people who are always willing to help out! The guys running the equipment, all the amazing photographers capturing the event, the venue owner Mike. Big or small, every little bit of help makes it easier.”
The band We Stand Alone opened the night with some heavy metal songs…. and the crowd gathered around. Smoke filled the air, the lights started flashing and the head banging began!! I was in awe of what was going on around me. The heavy metal vocals coming from We Stand Alone was a bit much for me, so I was pretty excited when THE HUNT FOR HIGHER GROUND came on stage!!
AND THEY WERE AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!
The crowd kept getting bigger and bigger and the music was hauntingly beautiful!! I didn’t do a lot of head-banging myself as I was holding two cameras, but the other “zombies” went nuts and they made for awesome photographs!!
How do you get your music out there?
Adam: “So far we have been using Soundcloud, but our new approach is to play as many gigs as possible because I believe the proof is in the pudding.”
Ramon: “We started by putting our stuff on Soundcloud, and will continue to do so, but our primary focus now is definitely gigging. It’s the quickest way to get your “full product” out there – enjoying a song live will always trump a song on your headphones. And recording an album along with a video or two is a work in progress.”
Jacques: “Soundcloud is the easiest place to find our music, but we’re definitely focused on gigging more. A recording can’t capture the vibe of seeing something live, be it nature, sports or in this instance music.”
What are your musical dreams as a Namibian artist?
Adam: “Haha well that is a good one, I think any musician anywhere would love to be touring all the time , but in Namibia its a bit of an issue but we do hope for the best, you know: ‘Reach for the stars land on a cloud’.”
Ramon: “I think every musician wants the same thing, and it doesn’t really matter where or when – just as long as there are people out there rocking out to your tunes and having a good time at your gigs.”
Jacques: “To start gigging more frequently. And to have more people attending and having a good time! And then to try to get our music out to the rest of the world, lets see where we can take this.”
The band was encored a few times – the zombies wanted MORE!!!!! Oh, AND, I caught a band SHIRT!!!! Which I LOVE wearing, even though it is a man shirt! I met some cool people that night and really had a great time. I also find myself listening to THFHG’s music on a daily basis. So now that I am a FAN, you can surely catch me at their next gig (which will be in March or April).
Are you a metal fan?? Have a listen to THE HUNT FOR HIGHER GROUND‘s music and comment below what you think of it. You can also let the guys now on FB – they are always up for a chat…
Contact Jacques on 085 279 2421 or at email@example.com to book them for gigs or private parties.
You can check out their music on Sound Cloud and PLEASE go LIKE their Facebook page to see what they are up to and when they are playing LIVE!!!
View more photos of The Hunt for Higher Ground on Lourika Reinders Photography.