Pretoria, South Africa
FADE IN: EXT. A BEACH IN DURBAN - DAY A YOUNG MAN SITS ON THE BEACH, LOOKING AT THE SEA, NEXT TO HIM A GUITAR AND AN AMPLIFIER. IN THE BACKGROUND, PEOPLE ARE FILING IN AND OUT OF A BUILDING PLASTERED WITH POSTERS READING “FAME ACADEMY”. A shattered dream at the time turned out to be a blessing. Had Hendrik been accepted on the show that was a bit like the lovechild of Big Brother and Idols, he most likely would not have developed the healthy “I’m gonna fucking show them” attitude that is in the process of producing a fantastic album. The short and semi-sweet version of his musical past starts with some choir experiences as a kid, but soon he was told that “singing is for gays” and to rather try sports. Growing up in the Vaal, the choice of “manly” sports was clear, but even looking at him now, it would take some serious squinting and colourful fantasy to imagine Hendrik playing rugby. Other attempts at running around on fields and courts were equally unsuccessful, so it came as a nice break when he accidentally stumbled into a musical audition in high school and immediately got one of the lead roles. DRAMATIC MUSIC SIGNALLING LIFE-CHANGING MOMENT Unable to afford a guitar to follow the newly found passion, Hendrik spent a lot of time in music stores. When he eventually got his grandpa’s old acoustic, he played it untuned for months, practicing the chords. One month, feeling particularly generous, he spent 250 of his monthly food allowance of R300 on a tuner. No big deal, that’s what peanut butter is for, right?! Now equipped with more than an air guitar, lots of talent contests followed - with much success. So when Hendrik bought the bus ticket to Durban for the Fame Academy try-outs, he had no doubt that he would get in. Although that didn’t quite go as planned, it did spark the conviction that he won’t go anywhere without own songs. He started writing. His life offers enough material. The difficult childhood and having to be on his own very early on, but determined to stay true to his dream… how perfect for the image of that sad artist type! Great for marketing! Unfortunately not useable, because that image wouldn’t hold up when you actually met him: always happy, constantly bursting into song, occasionally dancing around in a mankini and already making up parody versions of his own songs. For two years, he lived in London to be “where the best come from”. A large chunk of the time was spent getting addicted to excited crowds at open mic nights. London brought new musical influences to the until then limited choice of Queen, Korn and Elvis. An own sound developed and when Hendrik got back to Pretoria in 2007, he was ready to turn the one-man project into something bigger. South Africa welcomed him back with getting robbed and having a car accident. The open mic nights didn’t have the same vibe as in London and he even thought it might have been a mistake to come home, until… ENTER CRAIG (GUITAR) …one day he ran into Craig. Hendrik said “I can sing and write songs” and Craig said “I can play the air guitar”. See? Founding a band is easy! As it turned out, Craig also played real guitars very well. He started playing at the age of ten and worked his way through several bands from his teenage years on. The first one – a cover band – even got to open for Steve Hofmeyer and with the following bands of diverse genres, he made a name for himself in Joburg while studying at Wits. Later, he studied Classical Guitar to further his passion. In 2007, he was in the process of looking for a new project. Something bold and original. His guitar skills combined with Hendrik’s song-writing made them a perfect match. And just like that, the Action Thrillers were born. They started practicing and a few months later they played in front of 5000 people at the KFC Battle of the Bands. They quickly recruited Dave and John – a drummer and bassist – to be able to play the gig. The sound at the event was awful and combined with the relative inexperience, it was quite the nightmare. Still, the songs and performance were great. They made it to second place, Hendrik won the prize for best vocalist and Craig for best guitarist. Not bad for such a hasty start. The Action Thrillers then continued to play gigs throughout 2008 and 2009, but by 2010 it was clear that there was a general confusion about where the band was going and what sound they wanted to have. Different influences were almost clashing and a better vision had to be found. Dave and John left the band and Hendrik took a year to write songs. The results were well worth the wait and in 2011 the story continued! ENTER CHRIS (BASS) Hendrik met Chris at a music store and after exchanging the usual pleasantries of musical influences and preferences, they joined forces for open mic nights. Chris’ attitude to music is that there is no limit to it and that people shouldn’t restrict themselves with genres. You kind of have to have this outlook to have his musical history: it ranges from acoustic to metal to the soul/funk outfit Menage A Trois. Chris joined the Action Thrillers, because he felt something in the songs that he could relate to and saw the opportunity to try himself out, since the music is influenced by many different bands and genres. He seems to have found his place in music with the bass, even though it wasn’t even his first choice. Unfortunately, the drum kit was a bit too much for his parents’ ears and living space. That’s lucky for us though, because Chris wrote all the bass lines for the Action Thrillers songs and adds a fantastic depth to them. At one of the open mic nights, Hendrik and Chris were discovered by Rudi from Crow Entertainment and were later offered a management deal. Time to get serious. Together with Craig, they started recording the first songs and began looking for a new drummer. INT. A TINY BACHELOR FLAT IN A BIG APARTMENT BUILDING IN SUNNYSIDE – NIGHT A DRUM KIT TAKES UP ALMOST THE ENTIRE SPACE ENTER CHRISTO (DRUMS) Hendrik walked in to audition Christo. When he looked around a bit confused and asked about the neighbors, Christo said “Fuck the neighbors, I pay rent too”. That pretty much got him into the band before he even lifted a drum stick. Christo studied jazz music and played in numerous bands during his studies. His influences are mainly soul, blues and jazz. Although music seems a pretty safe way to rely on a steady income, he is currently studying drafting as a Plan B…but everyone knows that Christo will become world famous anyway, so let’s just disregard that. He decided to join the Action Thrillers because of the unique sound and the instant connection with the other members. The attitudes toward music meshed well and Christo’s happy nature fit in quickly. EXT. A DIMLY-LIT STAGE, WAITING FOR THE MUSICIANS – NIGHT A MOVIE FANFARE STARTS SOUNDING OUT OF THE SPEAKERS; THE BAND WALKS ONTO THE STAGE, LED BY A “CLOCKWORK ORANGE”-LIKE MAN WITH A BOWLER HAT; THE SHOW STARTS Every Action Thrillers concert is like a movie. Characters, story, soundtrack. Semi-insane perfectionism with a shot of creative chaos produce a show that gets worked on for months into the last detail. Almost along the lines of Freddie Mercury’s statement that a concert shouldn’t be the live rendition of an album, but a theatrical event. Each band member has his own persona. Christo with his eerily Irish red hair and moustache, for example, would make a great robber type – but the costume would be wasted on him after the first song when the shirt comes off. Of course this will have to be adapted once the Action Thrillers venture into colder territory overseas… The album will be equally as epic. Hendrik describes the theme as a Quentin Tarrantino movie shot in space. The image is that of a raw wasteland. Solid guitar tracks and synth beats set the scene. They create a world unknown and yet the music seems to come from a very familiar place. Songs that you can sing and dance to. The songs are all based on Hendrik’s life and have been written over 10 years. The topics range from the South African political system, over materialism, to lots of heartache. Never whiny, always strong. Somewhere in there we can all find ourselves. The only cover on the album is Boots which got the honour because of its “me against the world” attitude. A few songs already wait in the pipeline for the next album. What will it be? A Scorsese movie shot under water? Spielberg on top of a mountain? Hendrik hints at a fusion of danceable beats and old school rock n roll. Either way, exciting stuff is coming up. CAMERA, LIGHTS, ACTION !!!FADE IN: EXT. A BEACH IN DURBAN - DAY A YOUNG MAN SITS ON THE BEACH, LOOKING AT THE SEA, NEXT TO HIM A GUITAR AND AN AMPLIFIER. IN THE BACKGROUND, PEOPLE ARE FILING IN AND OUT OF A BUILDING PLA... read more.
Video Award Gold - Awarded for a high quality original video with good production values.
Song Award Gold - Awarded for a well written original song.
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