Posted: April 5, 2015 in Interviews
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1 Last Autograph (sometimes shortened to 1LA) is a Nigerian rock band from Lagos. They’re fondly remembered by Nigerian rock fans for their contributions towards bringing post hardcore cocktailed with a little bit of punk to public domain, in the Nigerian Afro pop and alternative rock possessed music industry.

In this fun filled interview with Sandra Menah (Avida) of NSOR, 1LA talks about their foundation stages, their career, influences, struggles in the Nigerian rock scene, and so much more.

NSOR: Please introduce yourself and tell us what do you do in the band?

Danjuma: Well, i’m Danjuma Ndanusa, lead singer of 1 Last Autograph. I growl, I sing, I write.

Psalm: I’m Samuel Esekie or you can just call me Psalmstrumental. I am the second guitarist in the band.

Jaywalker: My name is OluwaChike Jaywalker. I play the guitar and also do backup vocals.

NSOR: How did you all come together?

Psalm: 1LA was together before I joined them so I won’t say I’ve been with them for long. But we are now family.

Danjuma: I met Jaywalker and our first drummer, Tolu at Badagry. I actually met the drummer first. We started rehearsals, just the two of us before Jaywalker came in. Tolu left and we moved to Surulere. Psalm joined afterwards and that’s when we had a full band and kicked off rehearsals for real.

Jaywalker: Danjuma and I met at a concert in Badagry through a mutual friend of ours. He was trying to set up a band and I’d just gotten out of another band. His then band, ‘Death in Paradise’ was in need of a bassist. He had a drummer already, Tolu. I had failed to make the former 1 Last Autograph with Nathmac work, so Danjuma and I agreed to work together under the name 1 Last Autograph. This was a couple weeks before the second edition of Metal and Romance in 2014.

NSOR: What is the story behind the name “1 Last Autograph”?

Danjuma: Jaywalker came up with the name.

Jaywalker: Since so many good moments in life are ephemeral, and we can’t seem to get enough of them, we use terms like ‘one last kiss’, ‘one last dance’, ‘one last sunrise’. 1 Last Autograph is like not forgetting what makes or keeps you happy in times of doubt and uncertainties – going back to those inscribed moments that bring out the best in you.

IMG_0093NSORWhat is it like being a rock band in Nigeria?

Danjuma: Hah! Trust me, it’s no fun

Jaywalker: Being in a country where a lot of people regard your genre of music as satanic is a huge moral killer. But then I was privileged to grow up listening to Blink 182 and Nickelback on local radio. That right there, my friend is a sign that we are meant to start a “rockvolution” on this side of the planet.

NSOR: What are the challenges you’re facing or have faced as a band?

Psalm: Lots of challenges oh. First, some Naija rock bands see each other as competition wanting to be better than others, forgetting that we’re all in this together to make rock music have a standing in the Nigerian music industry. Secondly, the acceptance is really low which makes it difficult for people to actually recognize us because rock is not like the regular hip hop and R’n’B songs they listen to everyday and that is a major challenge. But thank God for Audio Inferno, Naija School of Rock and other rock groups that are really working to make rock music have a say in Nigeria. Thirdly, finding the right producer to give you the right kind of sound you need to have a good rock song, if you know what i mean isn’t easy. Rock songs and sound cannot be handled by just any producer.

Jaywalker: There are inadequate platforms as most media is looking for the next Davido and Wizkid.

Danjuma: Yes, rock has no strong market here. So most guys be like, ‘no worry, when them don shout finish, dem go go sleep”. Also, there’s the issue of acquiring rehearsal space, getting the band to rehearse, money, girlfriends (laughs)

NSOR: What is your take on the local rock scene? Is the competition cutthroat or do you get help from other bands when you need it?

Jaywalker: So, there’s competition? Gee i need to get out of my cave more. Well, if there is, shame on all participants including the judges and spectators because it is supposed to be we vs. them not we vs. we. Right now, our local rock scene needs a lot of work; more hands to help the rather small ship which is rock music find land in this storm which our Naija music scene has become. We have to fight to carve a niche for ourselves. The opening lines of our song ‘All or Nothing’ calls on folks society has deemed misfit because of their weird lifestyle choices to stand up for what they believe in.

Danjuma: I’d say bands have been helpful with hypes and re-tweets basically.

Psalm: Well, we in 1 Last Autograph don’t concern ourselves with competition because we are not bothered due to the fact that we are happy doing what we love and we want to be good at it. As for help from other bands, we haven’t gotten any per se but we will accept any if it comes. (smiles)

1LANSOR: There are rumors of the band releasing an album before the year ends. How true is that?

Psalm: Well as you called it – rumours (laughs). We want to keep our fans wanting more and we’ll make our EP fully complete.

Jaywalker: Let’s keep our hopes on Proxima Centauri.

Danjuma: We can release an album tomorrow if we want to, just the buck. So, we are starting with an EP.

NSOR: What is the title of the EP?

Psalm: Sickle Cell Amnesia

NSOR: Sickle Cell Amnesia? Interesting. What is Sickle Cell Amnesia?

Jaywalker: Sickle Cell Amnesia is a condition where all your past wrongdoings and mistakes and all self esteem issues are wiped away by a moment of ecstasy.

NSOR: What should Naija rock fans expect from 1 Last Autograph?

Psalm: Great songs, great music, more growling and much more.

Jaywalker: Fans can expect more songs filled with empowering lyrical content. We just want to show the world that anything is possible. Circumstances shouldn’t stop you from being all that you want to be, that it is okay to be who you are and not live someone else’s dream. That sickle cell amnesia is a condition we should embrace.

Danjuma: Simply put, the Kingdom of rock.

NSOR: What is the most fun thing about being in a rock band?

Danjuma: Hanging out. Yeah, that’s about it.

Jaywalker: We get to move around, travel, pretty girls and free food (grins)

Danjuma: Which girls? (laughs)

Psalm: Playing and jamming guitar together

NSOR: And the downsides of being in a band?

Psalm: Guitarists love jamming the guitar with their fellow mates and that gives us much joy. Without that I personally don’t see any fun or joy. Together as 1LA, we are family and we look after each other.

Jaywalker: Let’s see, arguments, borrowing money from your mates with no intention of paying back, leaving your soap in the bathroom for  every Tolu, Danjuma and Sam to use and my worst nightmare – having to share my bread and akara with them. I no dey like play with breakfast.

Danjuma: Calling for rehearsal and someone doesn’t turn up or shows up late. Hunger days when there’s no food and Jaywalker goes to the pot to steal what we have left 

IMG_0087NSOR: What are your musical influences both personally and as a band?

Danjuma: (deadpan) Daddy Showkey, African China, Idris Abdulkareem. (laughs). Okay personally, Nirvana, Vampire Weekend, The Fray, System of a Down, A Day to Remember, Of Mice and Men, Papa Roach, For Today, My Children My Bride, Blue October…yeah, this has been my world lately. As a band, A Day to Remember, Of Mice and Men and Asking Alexandria.

Jaywalker: For me personally it’s Blink 182, Yellowcard, Angels and Airwaves, A Day to Remember, Blessthefall, Escape the Fate, Crown the Empire, Owl City, Memphis May Fire, Get scared, State Champs, and The Starting Line.

Psalm: Chris Daughtry is my major role model. I don’t have a specific guitarist because all guitarist have their own uniqueness and that’s what I follow and listen to as they come.

NSOR: If you could, what is the one thing you’d change about the Nigerian rock scene?

Psalm: Stop the hide and seek thing and lets all come together and play the music for the fun and love of it.

Jaywalker: Yeah, if we could kill the competitive attitude and we could achieve so much more together rather than on our thrones.

DANJUMA: What we need now is oneness to make loud noise. Very loud noise.

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