Stoker is South Africa’s new rock legends in the making and is made up of two sets of brothers hailing from two small towns; Chris Bornman (Lead vocals & guitar) and Jurgen ‘Borrie’ Bornman (Bass & backing vocals), Redge O’Kennedy (Guitar & backing vocals) and Morgan O’Kennedy (Drums).
They released their EP, Fox in a Hole in 2014, and have now recently released their debut self-titled album.
Festivals caught wind of this exciting band, which led to stellar sets at Oppikoppi (2014, 2015), Up the Creek (2015, 2016), Ramfest (2014), Synergy Live (2011, 2014) and Zeegunst (2015).
I spoke to Chris Bornman about this exciting new band and their new album.
“We started out as a three piece band a couple of years ago and played as many shows as we could (pay or no pay!) But it wasn’t until our drummer at the time left the band and the O’Kennedy brothers joined the band, that we really found our sound and started to play the festival circuits.”
Is it easy ‘working’ with your brother/a family member; not everyone can work with family – elaborate on your experience?
“I think what makes it easy is there’s a real sense of honesty about everything we do, which obviously also causes tension at times, but because we are two sets of brothers, we’ll always say it like it is and that way we know that the songs we write and compose, are to the best of our abilities.”
Why did you choose this style of music for the band?
“We all grew up listening to rock music and the O’Kennedy brothers have been playing in rock bands for years! I don’t think it was ever really something we thought about to be honest. It’s what we’ve been influenced by all our lives, so it comes naturally to us to write and play rock music.”
“We’re Rock’n’Roll band with dirty guitars and catchy vocal melodies, loud enough for head-banging and groovy enough for seductive dancing.”
Which Stoker song best represents the band and why?
“I think a song like Radio Comedown really ticks all the boxes. We are all about dirty guitars and loud drums, but at the same time we all love a catchy vocal melody!”
Let’s talk about the songwriting; how does it all unravel and what inspires the band – refer to your album as well?
“The writing process usually starts with Redge and myself. We will work on a guitar riff that one of us came up with, and the other one would add parts to compliment the arrangement. I then take the guitar melody and work towards a theme for the song, as well as a basic melody for the verse and chorus sections. Once that is in place the whole band gets together and from there the process is really effortless and exciting. For the album we wanted to get out of the chaos of the city and went away to my parents’ house in Rawsonville for a couple of weekends to gel all the parts together.”
Why was it important to release Forever Drive as your first single?
“Forever Drive was probably the song that was the most effortless during the writing process of the album. All the parts came together so naturally and the melody, pace and energy of the song had us all feeling very excited about. We played it to a couple of close friends and the response made us realize that it’s a no-brainer as to which song would be the first single on the album.”
Plans going forward?
“We’ve got about 5 singles on the album which we’ll be releasing accompanied with a music video across the course of this year. We’ll also be supporting our album at shows and festivals across the country and we cannot wait to play all the new material to the fans!”
If you were marooned on a desert island and could choose one album to listen to for the rest of your days, what would it be and why?
“I think each member would have a different album but if we’d have to pick one as a band to listen to, I think Led Zeppelin Remastered!”
Buy the album on iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/za/album/stoker/id1198249046