Robert Mugabe inspired my bandÔÇÖs name - Rene

Tell us about yourself.
I’m a self-driven, energetic and down-to-earth guy. I love soccer and even tried for Bath City Football Club but I sustained an injury, so I no longer play it as much. I’m a huge Manchester United fan and have been since I first saw David Beckham play.
Who are some of the local bands or artists you like?
I’m a big fan of Penilane. They’re good friends of mine. They’re also the only band that has stuck around, besides us. Most come and go. I like Ees as well, I went to school with him.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I have loved Metallica since I was 11 years old. I have bought all their CDs and DVDs and the way they have kept their band together for so long is such an inspiration.
How do you come up with your songs?
I write 100% of our lyrics. I come up with the basic idea, stuff from everyday life, which I present to the band. We then fine-tune the content and see how to perfect it all.
Who came up with your band name and what does it mean?
We came up with it together. We wanted to have a name that could be related with locally. While reading a newspaper one day, Robert Mugabe was quoted talking about farmers who had been attacked. And right there, we just changed the spelling to ‘Famaz Attak’. In fact, it can either be taken as Famous Attack or Farmer’s Attack.
Would you say rock is big in Namibia?
The rock music industry isn’t as big in Namibia as it is in some countries but I think it’s doing well. We peaked within two years of existence but that’s understandable, as we don’t really have any competition, compared to an upcoming artist competing with Gazza or The Dogg. We have had two NAMAs in a row so far, which is so cool.
And what’s your opinion on the state of local music in general?
It’s pumping. I think it’s really doing well, except for rock music. It doesn’t appeal to everyone, as it’s not the kind of music you can dance to like, say, kwaito. The fact that it’s a so-called ‘white people’s music’ also places a very limited audience of between 14 and 25 year olds. But we’ve had some really good shows here in Namibia.
What’s been your biggest challenge, as a band, to date?
Band politics. It’s like any other relationship with anyone, you know? Getting four guys together who are sometimes in different moods can be difficult for any band. Arguments are forever but we always sort them out by communicating with each other. You just have to figure out where the next person is coming from and understand their perspective.
What’s an average day like in the life of Rene Traut?
Music cannot financially support me, so I have a day job. I do that for most of the day then around 8.30pm, I join my band mates for practice and then go to the gym. But it only gets really fun over the weekends, as that’s when I party hard.

And what’s the wildest party you’ve ever been to?
In 2002, I went to London for a gap year, just to get some work experience. One weekend, I went to a rave in Brixton where there were about 15 000 people in a triple storey building, just having a good time. I will never forget that night.
How much time do you spend rehearsing before an upcoming show?
About four to five hours a day. But it usually depends on the show; the bigger the show, the more time we spend on rehearsals. I mean, we treat all shows as equally important but some are just more important than others. For example, we spent four weeks rehearsing for the previous October-fest.
How old were you when you first had sex?
Ever had a crush on a local celebrity?
Michelle McLean. I once saw her in a club when I was young and just thought, ‘Damn, she’s really hot!’
What are you currently reading?
Nothing. To be honest, I’m not a book lover. The last book I read was in school. It’s an antisocial hobby. I’m more into newspapers and magazines, things that are informative.
What do you think heaven is going to be like?
If I’ll ever get there [laughs]... I think it’s a peaceful place. I know it’s nothing like the images we see on TV with people in white robes on clouds. TV can corrupt your mind, hey. But it’s not really something I think about. I don’t know what happens when you die but I hope there are no wars or cell phones and hope to have a rock band there.
How was the experience with the Hishi Papa and Dice collaboration?
It was awesome! Everyone in the band really loved it. Dice approached me with the idea and we took about four to five weeks preparing for the NAMAs’ performance.
Are you going to do more of those types of cross-genre collabos? With who?
Definitely. But it can be difficult because some people aren’t really serious. They say they want to work together but never make any effort to get anything off the ground. We’ve already worked with Ees but I think our next collabo will be with Gazza. We’re already in talks with him and I think it’s going to be easy, because we’re going to be under the same management soon.
Your favourite beer?
Windhoek Lager but I also like Dab. It’s a beer from Dortmund available at Fish Mongers. It’s really nice.
What are you currently working on?
Our third album. We don’t have a title for it yet but we’re changing styles a bit. Musicians always have to evolve and this album is going more rock electronic. Still using live instruments but also working more with computer-generated sounds.
Where’d you want to be in the next five years?
A director of my own company, making millions, hopefully. Also, hope the band will still be together, doing music for the love of it.