We got to chat with Chris De Wet Bornman, the Lead singer of the South African Band Stoker. They released their Self-Titled Debut album earlier this year and released a video to a track titled Forever Drive which we proudly featured. They talk about wide-ranging issues from how the band was started and influences. Let’s not spoil the fun, get right into it.
Billy (AudioInferno): Thanks for making out time to talk to me today Chris, hope you’ve had a great day so far?
Chris (Stoker): Pleasure man. Thanks for making time for Stoker. Day’s been great. Yours?
Billy (AudioInferno): My day’s going great too. Can you tell me a bit about the creation of the band?
Chris (Stoker): Sure thing, in 2013 my brother and I (he plays bass) started writing songs together with a close friend of mine from college. We were initially a 3-piece band and played for at least 6 months until I realized I needed some help to make the loud, louder. Redge joined on lead guitar, at more or less the same time Morgan replaced our previous drummer, and that’s been the band line up ever since. *smiles*
Billy (AudioInferno): That sounds incredible. For a band that came together in 2013, you’re still a bit new on the scene. How has the journey been for you guys so far?
Chris (Stoker): Yeah I’d say we’re still fairly new to some people, especially outside of Cape Town. We’ve only recently released our first full length album so we are hoping to get on the road and play some other parts of the country in the coming year. We’ve been lucky enough to play at Festivals like OppiKoppi, RAMfest, Synergy and Up the Creek so we’ve already got bags of unforgettable memories.
Billy (AudioInferno): Cool stuff. Which of your gigs would you consider to be your best so far and why?
Chris (Stoker): To be honest, our recent album launch show that we played at Mercury in Cape Town was such a special gig for the four of us. We worked our butts off to make the album happy and we kept all 12 tracks on the album out of the set list until that night. It was the perfect evening really. Great response from the crowd and just a super proud moment *smiles*
Billy (AudioInferno): I can imagine how great that must have been. Speaking of your album, I listened to it and it’s such great work of art.
Chris (Stoker): Thank you so much man. Much appreciated!
Billy (AudioInferno): What bands/artists have influenced you guys so far on your journey?
Chris (Stoker): It’s such a broad variety of rock bands that have influenced our band. For instance, Redge, our guitarist, is the biggest Iron Maiden and Metallica fan, so he brings a lot of the hard energy to the band, I’m also big on the riff rock bands but I’ve got such a big liking to vocalists who tend to sing sweeter melodies over chunky rock arrangements. So for me bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, QOTSA, Neil Young were a big influence. My brother loves his old school rock ‘n roll and Morgan is a big fan of hip/hop, party rock music.
Billy (AudioInferno): That’s a wide array of influences. Nice. How would you describe your sound?
Chris (Stoker): I’d say it’s very much riff orientated. We like our guitars really overdriven and saturated so I suppose we do have a very stoner rock sound in some ways. Personally I think the album has so many different types of songs on it so maybe I won’t be able to give you the best answer on that but it’s hard enough for the metal heads but also mellow enough for the alternative people.
Billy (AudioInferno): It’s a good balance. I could tell from the album that you guys had a lot of fun making it. What was the creative process like?
Chris (Stoker): It really was. We recorded the album at a studio about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. We stayed at the studio for the duration of the tracking process. Also, all wanted to be there for the whole journey and that definitely made it so much more fun. Our very good friend Gerard recorded the album and knowing the engineer so well also made things a lot less tense.
Billy (AudioInferno): Who writes the songs?
Chris (Stoker): Redge and I usually bring guitar ideas to the jam room and then we’ll try to fool around with it for a bit. It usually takes us about 15 minutes to realize if it’s happening or not. If it is, we’ll play around till we have basic skeleton or structure for the song. I then record that and make the final arrangements during the vocal writing sessions.
Billy (AudioInferno): Neat! I know it’s a funny question to ask but do you have a favourite song on the album?
Chris (Stoker): Not at all. A feast is a very personal song for me. I was going through a bit of a shit time when I was writing that song and I really questioned whether it should actually make the cut. But the dudes really like it and so we worked it a bit more and now it’s actually not that bad to listen to *winks*
Billy (AudioInferno): *laughs* Let’s talk about the SA rock scene. Have you worked with any bands since you guys started?
Chris (Stoker): Touchy subject! *laughs*. We do have many close friends in other bands in Cape Town and that really helps with setting up a proper show. It’s no secret that hard rock scene it’s taking a bit of a dip but it really doesn’t faze any of us. This is what we do and this is what we love. It’s a creative outlet for all of us and we still get goosebumps playing live and writing rock ‘n roll music together. We really have to be clever with marketing and putting effort into getting the people to the shows. We know it doesn’t come easy but we’ve got so much love for this project that I just can’t imagine it slowing down.
Billy (AudioInferno): I admire that a lot. Are you familiar with the Rock scene outside South Africa (other African countries)?
Chris (Stoker): To be honest, I’m not too familiar with it. Some of my friends play in a band called Boargazm and they’ve played some really cool shows in Nigeria. But I’d love to hear more rock bands from other parts of the continent! I know just the guy who can help me with that. *chuckles*
Billy (AudioInferno): Oh, wow. I’d love to hear more about that sometime. In addition, you can always check AudioInferno for amazing bands around the continent, that’s what we’re here for. Finally, what can the fans expect from Stoker in the coming years?
Chris (Stoker): That’s awesome to know man. Will definitely be checking it out from now on! Expect another couple of albums, some more music videos this year and hopefully some shows outside South Africa! I really appreciate you taking time to chat to us brother.
Billy (AudioInferno): It’s been my pleasure man