In 2004 the Indie Rock ‘n Roll landscape in SA music changed with the birth of TheHellphones. The band played their first ever show at an RBF Emerging Sounds Battle of the Bands, winning all 3 rounds to get into the finals, where they eventually won the event and secured a record deal with Sheer Records.
Their debut album was recorded during the cold winter of 2006 at the SABC studios with the “god-like genius” of Dave Birch behind the desk, in just over 2 weeks. Entitled “This is How”, it garnered overwhelming response, enjoying local airplay and achieving local number ones in the charts on Tuks FM and Kofsie FM.
The Hellphones has played every club, pub, and toilet in SA. From Johannesburg to Pretoria, from Durban to Bloemfontein, to Cape Town and everything in between.
The experience and memories that the members gained from being in this band has been priceless and life-changing. This was the start of a whole lot of opportunity in the eye of the hurricane.
The band continues to play gigs around the country, doing various tours with great bands and playing all the major music festivals and events around South Africa.
Great news is that the band has been celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of their first studio album since July 2016.
I recently had a chat to the Hellpones about a few things, this is what they had to say:
Where does the name “The Hellphones” come from?
It’s a bit blurry… But we think it was derived from a cellphone sticker which said “Satan inside”. Or something like that.
What have you been up to lately?
We’ve just put together a small 10 year Anniversary Tour around JHB and PTA – to celebrate 10 years since the release of our debut album “This is How”.
The tour kicked off in Benoni in July and continued to a main stage slot at Oppikoppi. The tour continues at Hatfield on Saturday the 10th of September with Cortina Whiplash and Martin Rocka and the Sick Shop and ends at The Good Luck Bar in Johannesburg with Cortina Whiplash and Martin Rocka again, as well as New Academics and Florida Lake.
Your performance at Oppikoppi this year was pretty electric, how was this experience for you?
It was really great. Our 3rd time at Oppikoppi over the past 10 years, and this gig was the best. Great crowd, sound, and we just had a ball on stage. Tenn was definitely channeling his inner Bruce Dickinson.
What is the funniest thing that you’ve experience on stage?
Fredriguez’ (Lead Guitarist) glasses came off during a song at one of the old Woodstock gigs back in the day. The glasses landed under the drum rise so he climbed under to fetch them. A few weeks later, we read the review saying along the lines of “Great band but kinda sucks seeing the guitarist puking between songs”.
What can we expect next from The Hellphones?
Well this tour was really just to get the old crowd back together one more time, so we don’t have any real plans for the future beyond the tour. But maybe something comes along… who knows?
I’d like to thank the Hellphones for this quick interview and I wish them all of the best with their upcoming musical endeavors.
Check out this video of them performing “Miss Molly” in Nelspruit in 2007:
If you’re in Pretoria / Johannesburg, make sure that you catch them at one of those shows in September 2016.
Watch this space for regular updates in the Music and Interviews categories on Running Wolf’s Rant.