Kenya in East Africa is a country most would associate with safari parks, sandy beaches and the Maasai people. Few would associate it with rock and metal music, even more so Punk Rock. Leading the African Rock movement for Kenya is Powerslide, a band of three brothers-in-arms who stand for what they believe in. They're no Sex Pistols nor are they any flashy wannabe punk rock band of late, they create music true to their heart, but as the vocalist / guitarist Willy Ojiro goes on to explain, the rock/metal scene is more or less still in it's infantile stage and has yet to reach the burgeoning levels witness in Europe, North America and Australia.... this is their story.
"We have a Government owned station (Y254) that has a Rock show ('Rock Tour')... the only Kenyan show that promotes the local scene"
For those who have not heard of Powerslide, could you give us a brief background of the band?
"Powerslide is a punk band comprising of Willy Ojiro (vocals/guitar), Timothy 'Qreed' Wafula (drums) and George Zuko (bass). We have roots in Punk Rock, but we use elements of everything from Metalcore to Indie. Taking inspiration from bands like Blink 182, Nirvana, NOFX, Black Flag, Architects and While She Sleeps just to name a few. We all skated together for years before any of us were musicians but in 2015 we decided to form a band. Our goal is to spread love and positivity through our music and to change the world one pair of ears at a time."
Your debut album is out this year, what will you be doing to promote it?
"Our debut album 'Cheshire Grin' is almost out. For promotion we have a bunch of music videos in the works and have released 2 so far, as well as TV appearances planned. We also intend to tour to the extent of our capability. If everything goes well we'll be touring Germany in the summer."
Tell us more about the Kenyan rock and metal scenes, what is it like? Do you have bands from neighbouring countries come and play?
"The Kenyan Rock and Metal scene is extremely small, but extremely vibrant. Most Kenyans don't even know that a scene exists. But when bands from around the world come down here to play they're always stoked on how intense the crowds here are. There's an incredible sense of community in the scene. Yes we have a few bands from neighbouring countries that come through like Vale of Amonition from Uganda, and Norbormide NMD from Botswana."
What is the Government's stance on rock / metal music?
"I don't think the Government has given two thoughts about the scene lol. But we have a Government owned station (Y254) that has a Rock show ('Rock Tour). That's the only Kenyan show that promotes the local scene. The station has invited us on twice in the past 2 months, cheers to them."
For rock / metal fans visiting Nairobi, what sights / attractions could you recommend?
"Nairobi has a bunch of attractions tourists could visit. Kenya's first national park, Nairobi National Park which has a huge array of animals such us lions, cheetahs, rhinos, gazelles, elephants, buffaloes and more than 400 species of birds. We have the Bomas of Kenya with is an open air museum featuring traditional tribal villages with indigenous crafts, performances and music. We also have the Giraffe Center which Stray From The Path visited during their tour here.
We were blessed with the chance to share the stage with them in June at the Hardcore Help Foundation's 'This Is Africa Fest'. Stray From The Path is my favourite Hardcore band and getting to go on stage and perform with them was a mind-blowing experience."
What do your parents think of your choice of music? Are they musicians themselves?
"Neither of my parents are musicians but they are both huge music fans (unfortunately not of rock). They have shown me nothing but support as I pursue my music. I might even go as far as saying they are more supportive than all the parents of the musicians I surround myself with. And for that i will always be grateful."
With the end of 2018 drawing closer, what can fans expect from Powerslide in 2019?
"In 2019 fans can expect us to play more shows than ever, in more countries than ever. We will also be releasing a 2019 album which we have already started writing."
Are there any greetings, hello's, etc you wish to send out?
"I'd just like to give a huge thanks to everyone that's given us a chance, everyone that's come to a show, everyone that's taken time to listen to our music, everyone that's believed in us, we appreciate you."
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