An Interview With Truth & Its Burden
Truth & Its Burden talks about their upcoming tour
Johannesburg hardcore veterans Truth & Its Burden is about to kick off their Iron & Fire Tour. The tour will include all major South African cities in support of their 2017 I Labour full length release. The Iron & Fire Tour also features support throughout the country, including Facing The Gallows, Red Helen, Bottom Feeder, Write-Off, Life Below, With Dawn, 13th Empire, A Fate Like Yours, Blood Ret and Thorns Of Ivory.
I caught up with vocalist Ashley De Beer to find out more about the tour, the new album and their future plans:
How has life been since the release of I Labour last year? Any major highlights?
Life’s been good overall, but musically nothing really to report back on other than our new bassist, Sean Gaisford who has recently joined the band to take over from Niekie van Niekerk, so we’ve really just been sorting all that out.
And why the long recording silence before the release of I Labour?
Besides moving to Cape Town and getting married and then moving back to Johannesburg to have our baby and re-settle, we spent a year writing a demoing the album before actually heading into Watts Productions with Clint Watts to record the album. Recording the album was riddled with guitar issues that just also set us back quite a bit. Calvin also got married in between all of this while Matt was focusing on opening a music school and his other band, Red Helen.
Lots happening! That’s great. So, you’ve been around for many years. How has the writing of new music changed over the years and through your albums? And what can be said about your transformation as a band when looking at the new release?
We’re just more of a mature band now. Earlier releases were trying too hard to be musically brilliant, rather than musically audible and enjoyable for the listener. We failed to hit the mark on previous releases and the new album definitely showcases a mature approach where the song needs to shine, instead of the musician. The result is a more enjoyable live show because our audience can actually engage and there are just a lot of good hooks in the mix that previous efforts lacked.
That’s awesome! You’ve been making music for more than a decade and the local music scene can be quite tough at times, what do you attribute your success to so far?
You have to love what you’re doing, you have to want this. If you love something, you nurture its good qualities and you discard its bad qualities. It’s difficult to sometimes distinguish but you try your best to make the right decisions and hopefully that leads you to a longstanding career as songwriters working together for a greater cause other than just yourself.
I read that you guys are “constantly thinking of new ways to cement a positive attitude in the hearts of any person attending (your) shows”. What are some of the things you do to make this happen?
Hahahaha, I talk – A LOT between songs. Lyrically our message has a positive direction and I delve into these topics between songs. It’s not always easy to engage with an audience on heart felt ideas enough to change hearts and minds, but I try and make life lessons relatable. People can spot fake a mile away and the topics we discuss are real, so the conviction is real.
Hardcore for me has always been about the in-between song exchange of ideas, yet bands today just wanna rush the show and make it purely about the music. Punk and hardcore exist to be different.
So, you are all about positivity. What are some of the challenges with this for a metal band?
I think the challenges remain the same for any band, but maybe for us we’ve just been better equipped with a “positive mental attitude” to actually accept hardship and move beyond it. I know personally what I struggled with, and probably still do to some extent is jealousy. We’ve worked hard at what we do since the very beginning and then some new band would get an opportunity we’d never get. That would always cut deep for me personally, but to be fair I think anyone’s moral code takes a beating with stuff like that.
I had a dream from a young, 12-year old kid of being famous in a rock band. Sounds far-fetched but that dream was real and I worked at it almost at any cost. I think a lot of guys in bands would know this struggle in a very real sense. Never quite reaching that mark despite all your hard work is a bitter pill to swallow, but sometimes you have to face the reality of the hand you’ve been dealt. We may not be the Metallica the 12 year old me had hoped for, but we toured the world with our small band, and that’s huge in itself. It was something I had to accept and deal with, in order for me to also fall in love with music again, for the right reasons so to speak. This maybe also speaks on your previous question about the space between our last album and the new one. We had to heal as people and as a band.
That’s pretty amazing. And I think many young bands and artists have to walk the same journey. So, tell me about the upcoming tour – any venues/cities you are specifically excited about? And are some of the supporting acts joining you on the road?
There are 3 new venues we’ve never played before so these are really highlight spots we’re most excited about. We’re also really privileged to get one last show at ROAR before they close their doors. ROAR was actually one of the very first venues we played at when we first started touring as a band, so for us it’s great to pay our final respects so to speak. Getting that show booked was also the starting point for actually booking this tour.
Facing The Gallows are playing two of the dates with us and we’re pretty excited about those shows too. It’s been quite a while since we’ve actually shared the stage and we’re both older bands from the yester-years so we’re looking forward to that too.
And how do you guys keep the spirits high after so many shows and all the travelling?
We get together with a few bottles of whisky, get a fire going and either braai or make a potjie, relax and hang out like every other South African would. It’s good to regroup your thoughts over a few tasty beverages and good food.
You’ve also toured overseas quite a bit. Can your international fans expect another one soon?
We are working on European touring for 2019. Our focus this year is definitely about rebuilding our local fan base, but next year we have every intention of returning to Europe for summer.
Great! So, what’s in store for the rest of the year?
As soon as we’re done with this tour and the FIT FOR A KING tour, we will be working on an EP release. We also have plans for filming a new music video, and finally another much larger nationwide tour.
12.05 Johannesburg /// Rumours
18.05 Cape Town /// R.O.A.R
19.05 Cape Town /// Surfarosa
25.05 Johannesburg /// Sundowners
26.05 Pretoria /// Aandklas
01.06 Durban /// The Winston Pub
02.06 Ballito /// The Hive
Images by Duane Smith