It’s easy to get confused once you get to meet the three members of Heandus for the first time after listening to their music. The hugely enjoyable music experience brought forward by guitar genius Phil Botha, the smooth bass lines of Ans Botha and the rhythmic brilliance of arguably one of South Africa’s best drummers Wynand Botha combine to bring you the music of Christian Progressive Rock band Heandus. The three piece band hails from Boksburg and after first introductions we got to have a sit down and chat like old friends. First impressions last with these three as I quickly came to realise that their musical brilliance is only surpassed by their humble attitudes and great affection for Jesus Christ and the message of the gospel.
They describe their sound as a mixture of old school and progressive rock with an orchestral undertone and Christian message. In plain English they are a good old rock band minus the screaming vocalist with a solid biblical message of Jesus Christ. They originally went by the name of “Messenger”, but after some research they discovered a couple of bands that already use this name. After reading the book He and I by Christian author Gabrielle Bossis they were inspired to call themselves Heandus (He and us). Apart from making music in the band they are all part of Rockin Wolf entertainment where they run a music school for guitarists, drummers and vocalists. They also do vocal coaching and band coaching for recording artists. Drummer Wynand completed his international Audio Engineering qualifications as a Sound Engineer and started up Rockin Wolf Records. Wynand’s record label is responsible for all of Heandus’ music recording and album distribution.
The Ridiculous 10 with Heandus
With the Ridiculous 10 we fire ten quick questions at the band to get their 10 ridiculous answers for no apparent reason or consequence.
1. If Phil wasn’t a guitar player, what would he be?
A: Rugby player or Ballet dancer for metal bands (He was determined to be a musician)
2. Do you guys ever refer to Wynand as the little drummer boy?
A: Yeah sometimes or big drums in front of boy (You should seriously see his drum kit)
3. Is Ans’ bass guitar taller than she is?
A: Only if it wears high-heels
4. If Heandus had a pet frog what would his name be?
A: Forest Jump
5. Would you guys consider a cover of one of Jimmy Swaggart’s songs?
A: Only if he agrees to cover one of ours
6. Rugby, Soccer or Cricket?
7. When is a braai considered inappropriate?
A: At a funeral
8. Do you think fish get thirsty
A: If they eat biltong
9. Can Phil kick out a solo on guitar hero?
A: Only when he wears a cape
10. How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
A: Are we talking about Chuck Norris, Chuck Berry, Woody Allan, Woody from Toy story or Woody Woodpecker?
Having a rich family history of musicians, brother-and-sister Phil and Ans were destined to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Ans started playing in school bands from a young age and Phil was playing with his dad and yet-to-be father in law in a band from the age of 15. They played at weddings, functions and eventually nightclubs. Phil made a living playing the nightclub scene for many years. After facing a serious throat disease that could cause him to lose his voice permanently he was forced to take stock of his life. He made a promise to God that should he recover and be able to sing again he would use his talents solely for the glory of His kingdom. His voice was restored and he has been true to his promise ever since. Needless to say Phil’s only son Wynand grew up with music his entire life, drawing inspiration from his dad’s drummer at the time he decided from an early age that music would be his way of life.
Music is not their only tool of ministering to the youth. Since they founded the band they realised the dire need for Bible distribution. They started distributing little pocket size Bibles at every venue they played. They never thought much of it until they did a calculation recently and realised that they have distributed more than 58 000 Bibles since the original inception of this idea. And the number is growing with every venue they play. Phil adds that this initiative has barely cost them anything. When people hear about the Bible distribution they are eager to donate to the cause. Their hard work in the studio has paid off too with them being the number 1 South African Christian rock band on the website Reverbnation.com and their Afrikaans song “Saadjie” still on the IMPAK top ten after more than 6 months. (IMPAK is a Christian music show on community channel Kruiskyk.) When quizzed about their musical successes they humbly reply that they are just blessed to be doing the work of God. Anything more than that is just a bonus, as long as the good news gets out.
There is a lot of excitement surrounding their second album “Jesus Code” that was released late last year; the album is available for download from their website www.heandus.com or from the iTunes South Africa store. Or you could contact them directly if you are old school and prefer a hard copy of the album. My pick would be the powerful song Mystery Man where the orchestral influence could be heard but all the songs of the album would leave you wanting more. Heandus is undoubted a class act of musicians, Jesus loving evangelists and all-round cool guys. If you would like to contact them for bookings or to get a copy of “Jesus Code” simply email them at firstname.lastname@example.org