Trawling for Kenyan metallic, the listener will quickly discover that the majority of that land’s hanging bands-of-heaviness function the presence of Martin Khanja and/or Sam Karuga. We’re speaking Lust Of A Dying Breed, Irony Destroyed, and The Seeds Of Datura. The vast majority of Nairobi metallic bands function inside a traditional heavy metallic perimeter, however Khanja and Karuga are set on heading out to this point that they not acknowledge the “guidelines” of rocking.
Singer Khanja is usually often called Lord Spike Coronary heart. Karuga marshals excessive frequencies by way of bass, guitars, and electronics, with Khanja additionally including to the unfold of the latter. This pair have these days been performing and recording as Duma, releasing their eponymously titled debut album on the Ugandan label Nyege Nyege Tapes.
Nyege Nyege is usually famend for its catalogue of progressive digital music, whether or not beat-orientated or aggressively summary. Duma crouches nicely among the many roster of this Kampala imprint, because the pair now concentrate on a type of excessive rock that doesn’t sound prefer it’s grown from strings. Khanja could nicely ship his most terrifying subterranean growl as if fronting a combo of riff-flooding guitarists, however Duma’s precise sound-palette arrives extra from the realms of business black noise, any precise axeman origins coated with excessive results, sounding like a minefield tabletop of knob-twiddling menace relatively than a fuzzed-string Marshall-skyscraper outpouring. Even so, the structural vocabulary is usually descended from that of trad metallic doomcore. Duma means “darkness” within the Kikuyu language of the Kenyan Bantu folks.
“I first met Sam in early 2010, at rock exhibits in Nairobi,” Khanja recollects. “He was at all times hanging round in bands, enjoying the bass, or within the mosh pit of the gang, method again within the day. Then we ended up being in numerous bands, however all of us met at our good friend’s studio in Tigoni.” That’s a verdant space within the Nairobi suburbs, exterior the built-up density of town.
“We fashioned Seeds Of Datura collectively,” Khanja continues. “He was doing bass, I used to be doing vocals, and making an attempt to do some synth stuff. We have been speculated to go to Botswana for its Winter Metallic Mania Competition, however a few of them didn’t have visas in time, so I ended up getting this name from Nyege Nyege to do this type of sound from my earlier single that I’d launched in 2016, referred to as “What The Hell.” It was electronics, heavy with metallic vocals, a collaboration with Layzy Murk.” Murk performs with Lust Of A Dying Breed.
“We ended up coming to Uganda. At that time, we weren’t doing something musical in any respect, so we had time, and ended up in Kampala due to Nyege Nyege. It was a deliberate effort,” says Khanja, outlining their newfound emphasis on electronics.
“It’s actually tough to type a correct metallic band in Kenya. You might want to be at all times speaking to musicians, coping with band dynamics. Typically they wouldn’t be accessible, otherwise you wouldn’t be accessible. It additionally occurred by probability, as a result of we needed to do the whole lot in a sure method. It was principally deliberate, however the primary factor was the vibe, y’know, to simply make metallic with the little now we have. The music scene in Nairobi is a bit conservative in comparison with Kampala, the place it doesn’t cease, and it helps native artists. Every metropolis has a distinct vibe.”
On the 2020 debut album, Khanja surfs an oppressive blast throughout “Corners In Nihil” switching his vary as a line calls for, steadily attaining a throat-singing, multi-stacked variance, Karuga’s electro-beats and riffs turning into virtually a single entity. Sure textures arrive from dance music, however are scarred virtually past recognition. If a lone Khanja isn’t deemed sufficiently intense, he’ll overdub an much more evil twin, voices racing alongside ridged and decaying wind-tunnel interiors. There’s a unusually malformed ragga underbelly to “Omni.” Khanja generally has a free, spontaneous facet, however as soon as the fast-grind launches, as with “Kill Your self Earlier than They Kill You,” he heads out on a focused larynx-missile mission. Speeds fluctuate, as stuttering beats tackle a mechanoid hysteria, with Khanja usually contrasting the tempo of his personal supply, establishing slowing tensions, on the run.
Duma even have a music, “Cape To Cairo,” on L’Esprit De Nyege, the label’s epic 48-track double-cassette sampler from 2020, working within the duo’s extra digital zone.
Khanja talks about Duma’s methodology of songwriting: “It simply occurs by itself. I wouldn’t say there’s a technique of development, it’s by us amassing sounds, the brainstorming of an idea, even conversations that occur in our lives, the soundtracks of our lives. We simply make it occur the way in which we really feel on the time. We get completely different vibes someday after which the following day, completely different moods. We make the observe from scratch and continue to grow it and rising it. Improvisation comes into play, to make it extra expressive. We aren’t robots, we’re sentient beings. We morph and alter.”