The Metal Hustle: Soweto rocker-rapper Triz, co-founder of Metalfeast and lead singer of Jozi rock band 11th Hour
Musa ‘Triz’ Mntambo a.k.a. ‘Moose’ is a busy man. Lead vocalist for rock-rap band 11th Hour, driving force behind the Metalfeast music event, co-founder of the SA Metal Music Awards, purveyor of Heavy Metal Hot Sauce and producer of beats for up and coming rappers, among many other hustles, the Soweto-based artist is a bundle of creative energy. blunt slowed him down just long enough to find out more about the man, his musical creativity and the various music projects he is involved in.
Q&A by bluntEd. Photos courtesy Triz.
Tell us about Metalfeast, what’s that all about? How long has it beeng going, what’s its history and how did it come to be in 2023?
Metalfeast has beeing going for 10 years, this is our 10th year now. So we decided we have got to have a 10 year anniversary show. How it started was about having bands and a lot of food and friendship, apart from the ordinary show you go to, and how it started was a typo. It was supposed to be Metalfest and I sent it as Metalfeast to my friend, Brandon Bernado, and he was like, ‘dude, Metalfeast, that is the one’. And from there it took off, we spoke to Fred (Otto) from Rumours about it, and ever since then it has just been going bigger and bigger and stronger, and the fans love it.
How did you bounce back after COVID. Is the hangover from that still affecting the SA music community?
Covid did hurt a lot of people, a lot of bands and a lot of people’s pockets. It really fucked up a lot of people’s shit. It was a slow process of bouncing back, we had to take a lot of risks, because we could have stayed home and played video games all day, and that’s cool, but you wanna go out and see friends and see bands. So we took steps. Let’s just do it, whatever happens happens. And it happened and it was a great response and people were still scared and fragile, but we had to keep it going and the people really helped us, the reception was amazing, so we are going to keep going because of that.
“Metalfeast 2023 is going to be raucous like Woodstock ‘99, but at least the water will be free (laughs) and there won’t be feces all over the ablutions, and I will not try to cause a riot and surf on plywood, like a certain friend of ours did (laughs). But they know it is all about beer, music, great food, great company and great atmosphere all around.”
Are you involved in organising it or is it a bit more like a community effort anyway?
Yeah, definitely involved in organising it. I am pretty much the head honcho when it comes to organisation of shows, I have been doing it since 2003. It’s had its ups and downs, but like many other promoters will tell you, someone has got to keep it going.
What can fans expect at the show?
More raucousness. It’s going to be like Woodstock ‘99, but at least the water will be free (laughs) and there won’t be feces all over the ablutions, and I will not try to cause a riot and surf on plywood, like a certain friend of ours did (laughs). But they know it is all about beer, music, great food, great company and great atmosphere all around.
What do you love about playing live?
Everything. Just basically reaching out to your fans, and being there especially when you are in the mosh pit there with them, depending as a vocalist if you have a cordless mic. I just love the camaraderie. I just love being around people. I just love basically rocking out on stage and everyone is there having a great time. It’s the best thing next to selling records, even though selling records is a thing of the past since Napster came into the picture, but live shows, that is what it is all about man. Making the kids happy, people jumping up and down, having a really great time, as long as nobody gets hurt, I am happy with that.
What is your real name and where did the artist name Triz come from?
My real name is Musa Ntambo. Triz is just something I got from some magazine explaining what a three step Russian problem solving method was, also besides it being a firecracker in the US. I know it sounds weird but I liked the name, so I decided to go with that.
Check out Triz’s latest rock-rap release ‘Topic’:
What is your personal origin story, where are you from, how did you come to be an artist?
I am from Soweto, but I was born in Kensington in 1984. I grew up watching Good Morning South Africa back in the day, and they would play a lot of Nirvana and Offspring. I grew up watching wrestling, I grew up with skateboarding and rollerblading, graffiti. Street culture basically and I always watched my role models and thought, man I wanna do that one day. I became a vocalist out of necessity, my parents couldn’t afford to get me a guitar back then, so I was like, whatever, if I cant play it I am going to sing it. And since then, I started singing and rapping. I grew up listening to Tupac, Biggie Smalls, Cypress Hill, The Offspring, NOFX, Bad Religion, and it got worse and worse – or should I say better and better. I started watching wrestling, my favourite was The Undertaker, and you start getting older in your teens and listening to bands like Limp Bizkit, KORN, Cypress Hill and Deftones and it just got more inspirational, and it was like, I gotto do this man, this is so cool and I started doing it. And then boom, fast forward to 2023 and here we are. Still doing it, still kicking it and I hope to do this for another 20 years. It’s been a rough, crazy and beautiful ride all in one package.
What kind of bands did you listen to as a kid? What influences your sound now, local and international?
A bunch of people. From Xhibit, Method Man, Wu Tang, Eminem, Bubba Sparxxx, still KORN, still Limp Bizkit; SA bands like Pestroy, Wickhead, Not My Dog. I love that kind of vibe and it still rings hard in my brain, even today. I could go on, there is a lot of good music out there, especially the older stuff. I am not a big fan of what is happening today, especially in hip hop and rock. Everyone is whining about dumb shit and I am like, whatever. But as far as music is concerned, it is still the stuff I grew up on and most of the artists are still alive and doing their thing, so I am grateful for that.
How would you describe 11th hour’s sound to an alien?
If I had to describe 11th Hour’s sound to someone who knows nothing, I would tell them that it is a roller coaster you have never been on. Basically, if you love any form of rock music, even if it is heavy or any form of hip hop, especially if it is from the early 90s, then you will love 11th Hour. We are pretty much a hybrid of all of that, a rap, alternative, metal band. And we don’t give a fuck, we just do what we do. We play shows, and we just rock out, so yeah.
“I am influenced by a bunch of people. From Xhibit, Method Man, Wu Tang, Eminem, Bubba Sparxxx, still KORN, still Limp Bizkit; SA bands like Pestroy, Wickhead, Not My Dog. I love that kind of vibe and it still rings hard in my brain, even today. I could go on, there is a lot of good music out there, especially the older stuff.”
What are your ambitions with the band? Would you say you are quite underground, do you wanna break out of that?
We formed in 2005. We stayed underground for a while, I am not going to say we are now MTV famous, but we are bigger than what we were. As soon as we release our first album in 2010, called ‘Between Guilt and Innocence’, we got a bit of a fanbase happening, started touring with guys like Fuzigish, Pestroy and Chromium and it just went crazy from there, but I dunno, maybe you could call us “mid-fame”? I don’t know how you would even say that. I don’t know, like I guess when it comes to a commercial sense, we are underground. Only the people who run in our circles or the fans know who we are, in regards to the sound that we do and what genre we play. I wouldn’t say that people that listen to house music or kwaito know who the hell we are. Probably not (laughs). But we are a little bigger than we used to be, and now we are back, we are bringing the beat back and it’s gonna be insane.
Do you have diehard fans or groupies yet?
We definitely have diehard fans and we definitely have groupies. I had to move once, when people found out where I lived, it got too much with my ex-wife, it got way too much. She couldn’t handle it, so we had to move. It was crazy dude, it was one of those situations, like, oh man. I am not even on MTV level but it is already crazy. But yeah (laughs) we definitely do, from people throwing panties and bras, yep, that still happens. I thought it was an ‘80s Motley Crue type of vibe, but that still happens!
What about your side projects, what do you do, produce, rap, guest collab? What have been some of the highlights of that side of things?
Yeah, I definitely have side projects. Myself and Brandon started the South African Metal Music Awards, we are doing the Metalhead Hot Sauce, I produce a lot of beats for up and coming underground rappers, I do guest vocals, collabs and voice overs, voice artist work. I do a lot of stuff, sell a bit of blunt on the side. You got to as a rapper, but I am a rapper-rocker. So yeah, it’s been a crazy ride, and I am glad to be involved in all of these things. You’re lucky if you are, because a lot of people don’t get those opportunities, and I grab it every single time it knocks, I answer the door. Honestly, I don’t care how sketchy it is, I don’t care if Pablo Escobar had to ask me to do something. I’d probably be like, okay, I am in. Just don’t kill me though, because I know you are crazy.
“We definitely have diehard fans and we definitely have groupies.I had to move once, when people found out where I lived. I am not even on MTV level famous but it is already crazy. But yeah (laughs) we definitely do, from people throwing panties and bras, yep, that still happens. I thought it was an ‘80s Motley Crue type of vibe, but that still happens!”
What else inspires you in life, art / sport or anything else?
A lot of things. Life itself. It can be cruel, it can be insane, but it still inspires me. A lot of friends inspire me, a lot of stuff I see inspires me. Skateboarding inspires me especially, I’m not Tony Hawk, or Kareem Campbell or Rodney Mullen, but I love getting on my board and just feeling free. My mom’s death inspires me, because it is like, what could have been, if she was still alive doing her thing, because I don’t want to waste time. AKA’s death recently, it messed me up, but it inspired me to, you know, no matter what, you gotta keep going. So there’s that.
Any last words?
My last words to anyone out there, dead or alive, or not even on planet earth, I just say, be yourself, be true to yourself. Don’t give up on any aspirations or dreams you may have. Chase it, you have got to pursue that. Because that is you, that is all on you. Don’t blame anyone for failure or whatever, you have got yourself to blame. And remember it is you, vs you. Fuck what planet earth has to say, you do you. You are obviously alive and on this planet for a reason. You have just got to figure out what it is, and you will, and once you do you gotta go full force, because you never know who is out there watching you or listening to you. That person will probably be inspired by you.
Purchase tickets for Metalfeast 2023 here.
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Check out 11th Hour’s blistering track ‘Blame’ on YouTube: