SL’s second episode spotlights Edward Banchs, author of Heavy Metal Africa: Life, Passion, and Heavy Metal in the Forgotten Continent (Word Association Publisher, 2016). Banchs holds an MA in African Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. His research on rock and metal in Africa has been featured in several publications, including The Guardian, O Globo, This Is Africa, and FactsMag. In August 2017, he was interviewed by Jonathan Capehart for “The Leonard Lopate Show” on WNYC.
In this episode, Arlan interviews local metalhead Edward Banchs about his book, Heavy Metal Africa: Life, Passion, and Heavy Metal in the Forgotten Continent. Banchs, a self-proclaimed metalhead since elementary school, was brought up in central Pennsylvania although he and his family spent time in both Spain and Puerto Rico as a child. As a result, he was always interested in how other people around the world lived and in his mid-twenties he became obsessed with the continent of Africa. He consumed whatever media he could get his hands on: books, movies, documentaries, etc, and focused his political science undergraduate work around African topics even though there was no African Studies available at the time.
This obsession led him to start working on what eventually became Heavy Metal in Africa. Originally, Banchs planned to just write an article about the metal scene within Africa. The idea expanded into a book of travel essays focused around the stories and lives of African metal bands in six different countries on the continent. Tying their stories together is Banchs’ experience living and traveling with the bands while he interviewed them for the book.
In this episodes Banchs discusses
- When his love for heavy metal started
- How his mother influenced his view of the world
- How he become obsessed with the continent of Africa
- His graduate studies
- What started his research into the heavy metal scene in Africa
- How the book took shape
- Why traveling to Africa to interview people in person changed the book
- What countries he focuses on and they were chosen
- How long the writing process took
- The intended audience for the book
- What has changed in Africa, with the countries visited, or the musicians’ situations after his visit
- What’s next for him and Heavy Metal Africa
Mentioned This Episode
- “Music became the gateway in. I thought that – learning about politics teaches you certain things and you study political history and what not. But that really only teaches you about the history of the country. Really to me, I felt the best way in was a way I never even knew I could enter a country or enter a country’s culture was through music.” – Edward Banchs
“It’s nice to see that metal fans are the same all over the world.” – Edward Banchs
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