I am not of course referring to the actual English alphabet, but rather the garage rock band based in Jo’burg. The four-piece band consists of Adam Edwards on vocals, Justin Gent on drums, Hugh Hunt on bass and Phil Klawansky on guitar and vocals.

High on Fire by DeadAlphabet

Having started out in 2009, Dead Alphabet has evolved a dirty rock sound with a hint of garage and punk, and throbbing riffs and prodigious lyrics; they have climbed steadily in popularity and swelled their fan base. The band credits electronic music for re-shaping the way they see rock music and pushing the walls out with regards to what instruments they use to create their sound. Most recently they were nominated in the 2012 MK Awards under Best Rock Video category for the ‘Eat You Alive’ music video.

The Kill by DeadAlphabet

When asked how they felt about the nomination, Adam Edwards the vocalist and visual creator of the video explained, ‘It actually feels really great, we were selected as a defining video and song in a calendar year full of bands and artists trying their mightiest to be rock ’n roll. We would also like to have the opportunity to win something other than a beer drinking competition or the genetic lottery.’

So how did the actual video come about? ‘I went to the band with an idea and we all piled our cash together on a bed. After we were done throwing it in the air and slipping 10’s into Phil’s jockstrap we hired a forest and some rather fancy looking equipment and started shooting us playing a show in the dark.’ The cinematography was done by still photographers, Paul Shiakalis and Huw Morris, and Adam along with a colleague, Philip Davies, approached the visuals with trippy animation and kaleidoscopic effects in mind. I had to enquire about the inspiration for the lyrics. ‘It’s a story of dangerous courting and the promise of even more dangerous sex.’ The end result was a video focused on a live performance which engaged, entertained and used visuals to tie into the lyrics. Adam added, ‘This is no revolutionary idea, hopefully people think it looks cool and they listen to the song long enough for the subliminal messaging to do its work.’

Even though 2012 is not even at the teething stage, the band has not been resting on their laurels or recovering from any New Year’s benders, they are in the final stages of editing a music video for a song recorded late last year entitled ‘Blood on My Fist,’ due to be released as a single on radio and television with the video featuring footage of their recent European Tour. They are also currently booking a tour in the United States in June, ‘The U.S. is an exciting prospect because it is such a massive market with plenty of venues and a hunger for rock ’n roll.’ Accompanying them will be the shows unofficial extra band member and their very own paparazzo, Hanro Havenga, who was responsible for filming and photographing their European tour. Adam describes how his photographic work really captures the nuances of being on a tour and gives people a sense of what it’s like to live with them day to day.

The band is completely D.I.Y, with Adam on visuals and Philip controlling the engineering and mixing the recordings and the logistics and organization. ‘Phil likes to think he‘s in charge so he is quite good at that. Hugh and Justin buy the beer. This cannot be underestimated.’ Adam is quick to add that on a more serious note everyone contributes to the music. I had to ask if he could ask any musician a question, who would it be and what would he ask? ‘Lady Gaga. You show me yours, I’ll show you mine?’  Follow the band on their Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/#!/DEADALPHABET
Lick Yourself Clean by DeadAlphabet

Produced by Dead Alphabet, recorded live at the SABC. Co-engineered by Graham Klawansky and Kyle Sutcliffe. Featured in South African horror film Rancid


Rancid preview


Rancid First Look from Kamikaze Motion Pictures on Vimeo.



Words: Angelique Redmond

Photography: Mr Hanro Havenga