EMQ’s with DEADLINE
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Pretoria, South Africa based Old-School Heavy Metal band, Deadline. Huge thanks to vocalist, Jessy Switchblade, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Jessy Switchblade, vocalist, and frontman extraordinaire for Deadline. We are a South African old school heavy metal band formed in September 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital. We have gone through several line-up changes over the years but are comprised of myself on vocals, Dizzy Styxx on drums, Damian Dread on bass, Judge Mental on lead and rhythm guitars and the Skullprit also on lead and rhythm guitars.
How did you come up with your band name?
Our founding member Raven Chaos started the band to teach our previous bassist, Baz Steel how to play the bass guitar. It was supposed to have only been a garage band kind of project but soon evolved into what it is today. We got our name from a Testament song off the album, “The Ritual” and the rest as they say is rock n’ roll.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
The South African metal scene is a pretty small scene that has ebbed and flowed over the past few years. With the Government imposed lockdowns the scene has sadly gotten smaller as many venues have closed and bands split up. We are lucky enough to be from Pretoria which is 50 kilometres away from Johannesburg in the province of Gauteng and it currently is the biggest hub for heavy metal in the country.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Our EP “Abigail’s Crypt”. We decided to release a B-sides and rarities EP to just get some content out between albums. The whole album comprises of covers and reworked songs and it really is just a fun stopgap until album no 3 is written. It comprises of 5 songs, 3 covers and 2 reworked songs from our catalogue. We decided to record the covers we play the most often live being ‘Holy Diver’ originally done by Dio, ‘Rebel Yell’ originally done by Billy Idol and ‘Square Hammer’ originally done by Ghost. We then decided to do something a little bit braver and do an acoustic version of our song ‘Break the Silence’, a song that’s on our debut album which we wrote against child abuse and then the most daring song on this compilation is a reworked version of our heavy metal anthem, ‘High-Tops & Bullet Belts’. The song is about the glory and splendour of heavy metal and we remixed it to give it a synthwave/darkwave flavour. The irony. HAHA! By releasing something like this I guess we are telling everyone that we do not want to be a one boxed into a genre and we are not a one dimensional purely old school heavy metal band. As it stands our third album is going to be slightly heavier than the previous two.
‘High-Tops & Bullet Belts’ (Cyber-Tops & Synth-Belts Mix) (Lyric Video)
‘Hi-Tops & Bullet Belts’ (Original)
Who have been your greatest influences?
Any of the giants from the 80’s metal scene from Judas Priest to Iron Maiden, Dio to Testament, Metallica to Slayer and everything in between. Current influences include Ghost, Trivium and Hammerfall.
What first got you into music?
I was hellbent on becoming a professional soccer/football player until the day I visited my cousin in Portugal, and he played me Iron Maiden’s “Live After Death”. Life as we know it changed right there and then. I will never forget how I felt when I heard Winston Churchill’s intro speech going straight into ‘Aces High’. That song is the reason I’m a metalhead.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?
Most probably Nergal from Behemoth or Tobias Forge aka Papa Emeritus from Ghost. They are two of the most forward-thinking entertainers currently in the metal scene. I suppose for a young Jessy it would always be James from Metallica or Bruce from Maiden.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have been to 15 international metal fests which for a South African residing in South Africa is a big thing so ultimately, I’d love to play at one I have been to so either Hellfest in France, Graspop in Belgium or the mecca, Wacken Open Air in Germany. Gun to head, most probably Wacken because of its rich heavy metal culture and history.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Well…a gentlemen never tells. HAHA! To be honest I have received so many great gifts from fans from custom Deadline M&Ms from a fan of ours living in the Netherlands to a custom-made glow in the dark Venom mask from a friend and fan back home in South Africa. Fans really get imaginative, and it is humbling that people actually take the time to give/make us gifts.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
The message always remains the same, we did not create heavy metal, heavy metal created us so treat the music, the culture, and the scene with the respect it deserves. (I said that in a Dio voice) 😊.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Dammit, why only one???? 😊 That’s a tough one but I’d most probably settle on Cliff Burton. Thought I’d never bring back a bassist but there you have it. With Alexi Laiho’s recent passing, he is another that was taken too soon that I would most definitely consider bringing back. Ah crisis, and Chuck Schuldiner of course. How could I forget Chuck??? Ok, there you have it, a whole 3. 😊
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I absolutely adore playing live. Being a part-time band, it can sometimes get taxing and tiring trying to make it all work out but once I get up on stage everything just makes sense in life. I was born to entertain. As for what I hate, not much really. I am very thankful and blessed (hate using that word) to be doing what I do at my age, in my country as a hobby. What I can say is sometimes the writing process can be frustrating and I often arrive home angry and irritated but that is such a small facet of what we do. The haters, the long nights, the sore back, the bad knees all get trumped by the exhilaration of playing live. It is a chicken/egg thing cause the aches and pains are caused by my energetic stage show.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I could write a thesis but being from a country where heavy metal and live heavier music is general isn’t supported well, I’d ask for more fans. We had a very healthy underground rock and metal scene in the 90’s/early 2000’s. I wish people would invest more in live music.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“Ride The Lightning” by Metallica! AKA the thrash metal bible!!!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
All of the above. 😊 There is a time and a place for all of them. I actually use all 4. For years I was against online consumption of music, but it really just makes life so easy. As long as good heavy metal is playing from all 4 mediums, I’m happy!
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
There’s been a few memorable ones but one that sticks out in my mind was in Cape Town at the beginning of 2018. We played at a festival called Metal4Africa’s SummerFest. It is very well supported and everything we did that night just turned to gold. That show had such a proper flow about it and it was one of the first times the Cape Town metalheads got to watch us live. We were hounded by fans after the show. The closest I’ve come to feeling like Nikki Sixx.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Well, I’m currently an acquisitions banker with a law degree, so I guess that’s what I’d be. I think the question here is ‘if you weren’t a banker what else would you be’? A rock star baby, a rock star. 😊 If both failed, a WWE superstar of course.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Nergal, Tobias Forge, Triple H, Rachel McAdams and Stone-Cold Steve Austin. 😊 Rachel cause she has the best nose in the world.
What’s next for the band?
After “Abigail’s Crypt” and the promo around it, it’s back to writing. We have completed 2 of the songs that will be on our next album and we have 3 or 4 half written ones we need to continue working on.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Well Wikipedia says biscuit sized cakes. 😊 I’ll go with really sneaky cakes trying to make it big in the biscuit world. It’s tough living but a cake has gotta do what a cake has gotta do.
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Nope, just a big thank you for taking the time to conduct this interview and running an article on us and the release of our EP, ‘Abigail’s Crypt’. The scene is very reliant on online mags, bloggers, vloggers like yourself and we are very thankful for that. HAIL & THRILL!
Jessy Switchblade – Vocals
The Skullprit – Guitar
Damian Dread – Bass
Judge Mental – Guitar
Dizzy Styxx – Drums
Formed in September 2014, DEADLINE are on the forefront of the New Wave of South African Heavy Metal (NWOSAHM) and mix elements of traditional heavy metal, thrash metal, power metal and hard rock in their music. DEADLINE are known for their passionate, energetic stage shows and have a loyal fan base all over South Africa known as the DEADLINE Heavy Metal Crew (DLHMC).
The DEADLINE debut album, “Black Wolf City” was released worldwide on 14 October 2017. Their subsequent single ‘Before I Die’ was released on 19 June 2020, followed by the release of their sophomore album “Cathedral Point” on 26 June 2020.
Best Newcomer – South African Metal Music Awards 2016
Best Live Band – South African Metal Music Awards 2017
Best Old School Metal – South African Metal Music Awards 2017
Best Old School Metal – South African Metal Music Awards 2018
Best Old School Metal – South African Metal Music Awards 2019
We are metal! We are fire! We are legacy! We are energy! We are power! We are Deadline!
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.