By Underground Press
Published Friday, 27 October 2023 09:38
Shameless are a trio from Soweto, South Africa, where they are one of a small but growing number of rock and alternative bands. Their music is influenced by the music they grew up with, they have dubbed their sound Nkabi Rock/I Rock Yase Kasi (Assassin Rock/Rock from The Township, in isiZulu).
They describe their sound as “an extension of rock” which fuses metal, blues, kwaito, mbaqanga, isigxaxa and a smattering of jazz. On the 27th of September, they will release the second single from their upcoming album “Nkabi Rock” (to be officially announced soon).
Their new single 'Nakhu Ses’Fika' begins with a marching pattern on the snare & kick, broken by a short fill and the entrance of the thundering bass & distorted guitar; it sits somewhere between doom & punk. The driving riffs are broken from time to time by clever little melodic pieces that the whole band plays together and that gives the listener a second to catch their breath before diving in again.
The opening lines “Nakhu Ses’Fika Kau, Siyajika Lento Kau” (which means “we’ve arrived and are going to change things/turn them on their head”). In some ways this sentiment is an introduction to Shameless, a warning to anyone not paying attention—they're coming in hot.
As with most other Shameless songs, the band focused on the music first, jamming through various versions of the song to find the sweet spot, letting the lyrics flow naturally. This laid-back approach to writing demonstrates how comfortable and confident the band is with their creative voice and message.
According to his lead singer and guitarist, Musa “We didn’t form the band, the band formed itself and we just keep following the sound of Nkabi & Kasi Rock”. Fiercely proud of being South African Rock adds “We’re keeping it at home and making everyone in South Africa feel proud to be South African.“
“We didn’t form the band, the band formed itself and we just keep following the sound of Nkabi & Kasi Rock”
'Nakhu Ses’Fika' was recorded with & produced by long-term collaborator Hugh Davison, with the sessions filmed by Discovr TV. The session was quick and easy, according to Thabang “The Recording was flawless because it was a properly planned session, which is rare for us; we were finally recording our album and it felt like a dream because during COVID we all thought we would die in the Kasi”
The band have a strong desire to be heard, not just their sound but their message too. They want to show the world that Africa can and does make fresh ‘Western-styled’ music in an original & unique way. Musa adds, “We are at a point where we want to distribute our music to the world, tell people our stories, and let them understand where we actually come from.”
The band members (Thabang Khonje, Musa Zwane & Thabo Masina aka Rock Ruler Live) met on stage at a local, community jam session called Sawubona Music Jam, where they instantly “knew they had fire and a musical connection like the holy trinity”.
They played their first shows without a name, but with their first batch of original songs. As the need for a name grew, they looked at themselves and their surroundings; rock music is very rare in South Africa, especially in the so-called eKasi (townships) - segregated neighbourhoods where black people were forced to live under apartheid.
Full with the energy of their music they realised how shameless they are to be mixing two cultures—western rock music and African eKasi street culture. They are called Shameless Band on DSPs and Shameless Band SA on social media; you can call them Shameless.
Now in 2023, their 6th year as a band, they have achieved more than most rock bands could expect in South Africa. From a Converse advert to the main stage at the Afropunk Festival and the most notable stages & festivals in between. They released their first EP "Impicabadala,” in December 2021 with the lead single “4 x 4” which has since become something of a cult anthem in South African alternative communities.
Their electrifying live show has seen them play all over the country to audiences that never quite seem to get their fill, despite the encores, the fans want more. This has made Shameless a darling of local promoters, who all know how to fill a room: simply book Shameless.
The band has come a long way since their very DIY beginnings, recording their debut EP Impicabadala and playing every small stage or room that they could find. They have now signed an exclusive deal with von Plato’s DiscovrMe (DiscovrTV’s indie label), which is underwritten by Tic Tic Bang.
The combination of these two organisations and the producer means that three big fans of the band—Hugh Davison, Finn MacKinnon, and Julian von Plato—have stepped into management, production, and label roles with the combined goal of growing Shameless’ audience both in South Africa and in international territories.
According to Musa, “This year was a year of getting our shit together. We’re slowly getting there and looking forward to getting back on stage to celebrate the release of the new music.”