Set For The Sky is a veteran South African, Cape Town based rock band. So far they have avoided typecasting themselves as a metal band in spite of their theatrical, high-energy performances. Many fans of rock are not always fans of Metal which is typified by a thick, massive sound, amplified distortion and heavy accented beats. Set For The Sky prefers to style themselves as a metal band, with a move towards alternative rock thus catering to fans of rock rather than a niche genre.
They have been active since 2013 and continue to grow in their home country. They are a surprisingly professional group with a mature proficient approach to their music setting them apart from many bands out there that start with a flourish and then disappear from the music scene. Their home base is Stellenbosch, but they perform all over Cape Town. Those interested can check out their monthly gig schedules on their Facebook page in the events tab (which they are religious about keeping up to date). Not surprisingly they have played over 60 shows across South Africa, including numerous festivals and tours. The band consists of 6 band members, four of whom perform. The other two members are an integral part of the bands success, but do not perform. They are the behind the scenes soldiers who contribute to the bands success.
James Roberts (lead singer) brings an inexhaustible high octane energy and charisma to the band with his stage performance and vocals.
Alex von Gossler (drums), the designer mastermind of Set For The Sky who not only plays drums, but expands the personality of the band simply with his presence.
Trent Richardson (guitar), is the musical driving force of the group and is well on his way to being one of the best guitarists in the alternative rock world.
Jeandre Viljoen (bass) is not only the producer and sound genius behind Set For The Sky, but also rivals James’ energy on stage with his enthusiastic vigour.
Brett Rayner (videographer) is responsible for all video footage and photography and makes sure everyone looks professional and sexy (James’ choice of words), during a show and on YouTube.
JP De Reuck (Manager) is based in the UK and is responsible for Set For The Sky’s presence in Europe.
Their sound will definitely cater to fans of rock, hardcore and progressive music. I attended the Vans Warped Tour in Columbia, Maryland in 2014 and if I didn’t know Set For The Sky was based in the Mother City I would have said they could have rocked the Vans Warped Tour line-up with the best of them with their hardcore meets alternative rock sound. Their sometimes slow relentless sounds together with growlingly aggressive guitar riffs create a heavy rock that will have fans milling in the mosh pits. Their musical influences vary widely across genres. According to James some of their sounds are based on just noises that they hear which they translate into music. Bands they feel have influenced their work and music dramatically are The Used, 30 Seconds to Mars and Enter Shikari as well as a little Linkin Park and Periphery. Each band member has a very different set of music tastes and when writing together this is evident from the bits of Metalcore and Drum ‘n Bass. Could they single out a favourite song…..? No, all of The Machine album songs they felt were great and I would have to agree, there is no one song answer to that question.
Set For The Sky write their own lyrics showing a keen intellect as well as street smarts. Their keen observance of society in general is evident if you take the time to listen to the lyrics. Their debut album “The Machine” focuses on a dystopian, imaginary society. Part Matrix part 1984, in the midst of a Rebellion. I got a very Mad Max feel from listening to their album, which is great because it speaks to us all differently, yet their underlying theme is one of a dehumanised, unpleasant society. The album plays off as a struggle between the forces of a corrupt government and a desperate resistance movement. Further into the music you begin to realise it is a reflection of a person struggling with their own bewildered psyche as they struggle to overcome obstacles placed in front of them. Very Mad Max!
“The Machine” is the result of hard work and dedication and the kind of album you would expect to hear from a band signed to a major label. I have high expectations for them, they deserve recognition, and they are good and have the talent and work ethic to become a success on the global music scene. I was not in the least surprised to hear from James that they have just been signed to the UK based publisher Domino PR. So watch this space…. I wish them luck, and look forward to seeing them out there on stage with the big boys and photographing their performance!
Photo Credit: Brett Rayner