It was in the early months of 2010 when a rock n roll band, called Famaz Attak, exploded onto the Namibian music scene, causing a near tectonic shift in the local music industry that has, until then, been dominated by the kwaito and hip-hop music genres. Had Namibia really developed an audience for a rock n roll band? Famaz Attak didn’t care about that though and the band went on to express itself in the true rock n roll fashion of energetic performance-filled concerts.
The group has since recorded two full-length albums and received nominations for the 2011, 2012 and 2013 Namibian Music Awards (Namas), and won the Namas ‘Best Rock/Alternative award in 2012 and 2013. They also reached National Theatre of Namibia’s finals in 2012 and 2013. Then they went quite, disappearing from the music scene as the Great Houdini the magician would disappear from stage.
That is until December 2015 when they appeared on Facebook to announce the launch of their third album, Rising Sun, which was recorded and mixed in Johannesburg and mastered by Chris Bethea, from Alabama, USA. “We will be playing a live show to celebrate like it was 1969,” the band announced in December of their launch show that took place in Swakopmund.
The long silence, and the fact that there are new faces in the band, resulted in speculation that the original band had broken up. “On the contrary,” says lead singer Rene Traut who confirmed though that base player, Alexander Ray, had quit the group to pursue a military career in France. I guess the headline to that story would be ‘From a guitar-totting base player to a gun-totting soldier’.
Traut, however, says the reason the band went quite is because the men became fathers. So they had to put down their guitars to change nappies and spend time with their families. “Both our guitarists became fathers at the beginning of this year and we decided to spend some time with our families and take time to search for a new bassist,” says Traut.
But the time spent off stage has also inspired new material for the band, with Traut describing their absence as “a sign of good things to come.” “I can say, the Rock n Roll will never die as long as Famaz Attak is around. We are looking ahead for lots and lots of music to come,” says Traut.
He adds that, the band has now found a new bassist in Georg Stadherr and have lots of new projects in the pipeline. Their first and foremost show was at the Warehouse Theatre, Boiler Room, this week Thursday.
“We are already prepared for our fifth show this year, that we will be sharing the stage with our brothers in music, Penilane. Now we are re-grouping, getting our mojo back, and will be on stage to take off were we left it,” says Traut.
The band found new replacements and now consists of four members, with Traut as lead singer, Andre Joubert on vocals and guitar, Georg Stadherr a base player, and Mathias Schuckmann on the drums.
Describing their road to success, Traut says: “it has been an amazing ride. We started out with full momentum. It actually all went a bit too fast but it has been a blast so far,” he says.
Traut played for many years in rock n roll band when he was based in South Africa. Upon his return to Namibia in 2009, he decided to keep up his passion for rock n roll. He gathered a couple of guys for occasional jamming sessions and it was here they eventually gave birth to Famaz Attak. After gauging public reception to its stage performances, Famaz Attak released its first album in November 2010, titled “Famazuiticles.” They group followed that up with a second album in October 2012 titled ‘Live Fast, Die Young.’
Thus far they filmed music videos for “Drummerboy”,”Pirates”, “First Song” and “Tales from the Camelthorn Tree, and collaborated with Namibian Kwaito artists, EES and The Dogg.
They have shared the stage with South African’s contemporary rock group now based in California, Just Jinjer, South African singer, Arno Carstens, Johannesburg rock band Prime Circle, Cape Town’s electronica and dance group, Goldfish, and Afrikaans singer Kurt Darren. They also performed at the 2011 Oppikoppi Festival in South Africa.w