CODE 106, An Indie Grunge Gem From South Africa

I press play. A chill guitar intro makes its way into my ears. As I am obviously about to see the lead singer, I am also hit with an unexpected experience: a very young face accompanied by a very mature manly voice. And a sort of honesty that just makes you want to keep following what’s happening. No one is try-harding, no one is faking appearances, vibes that I stopped getting from the music scene ever since the likes of Evanescence and Linkin Park exited the mainstream tide. We’re talking about Polka, an unexpectedly impressive single and music video by CODE 106.

CODE 106 – Polka

The band’s current lineup comprises vocalist and lyricist Chad Abnett, guitarist and 2nd lead singer Michael Botes, bass player Anthonie Botha, and drummer Josh January. The founders of the band were the lead singer and the guitar player, Chad and Michael, who first met in a music shop and jammed together for a while before deciding to start a full band in October 2019. Being given how recent the creation of CODE 106 is, it is pretty extraordinary the conclusive sound they got to in record time! The band’s first official live gig was barely a couple of months ago in November 2019.

Chad Abnett, lead singer of CODE 106

It’s a bit funny how relevant the name is, having COVID-19 making headlines, the CODE 106 is very 2020-ish. Except one is a global epidemic and the 2nd is a lively Indie Grunge band. We’ll take the band over the virus any day. This alone is enough to spark my curiosity as to how did these guys come up with the name, and I must say, the resourcefulness is pretty high with this group: Chad was grabbing one day a bag of chocolates, that ended up costing R106.00, rand being the currency in South Africa, and it didn’t mean anything until later on that same day when Chad and Michael were trying to make up a name for the project. The receipt gave them the idea and they stuck to it.

Josh January, drummer of CODE 106

As with every artist interviewed on BRE, we get into the real deal and see how these great, but fairly fresh musicians, manage to support themselves financially in the offline world: ”I am a vocal coach, as well as a soon-to-be psychology student” – says Chad; meanwhile Anthonie, the bass player of the band, says ”I am a freelance photographer and videographer. I love being creative even when I’m not with the band”; and both Michael and Josh focus on their music career full time.

Anthonie Botha, left, the bass player and Michael Botes, right, the guitar player of CODE 106

It is not everyday that I get submissions from bands, or solo acts for that matter, from such a unique place like South Africa. Naturally, it makes me wonder how do the guys feel about their chosen genre given the location they’re physically in? ”We have no boundaries. We write Indie music. We also compose Grunge and Rock music. We have bordered as well on pop and metal. So wherever we’re at in real life, I’m pretty sure that we will stand out as a group to some extent. Our shows are like rollercoasters: ups and downs, and genre jumps like you haven’t seen or heard before”, says Michael, the guitar player and 2nd lead singer.

CODE 106 and all of its 4 band members from left to right: Chad, Josh, Michael and Athonie

With 4 personalities, 4 egos, 4 different artists and human beings, how do we get to know each one of them to their core? simple! ”If each one of you were to be a cartoon character, who would it be and why?” I ask excitedly.
Chad: ”Probably Stitch, cause he’s destructive but in a cute way.” Michael: ”I’m Dexter from Cartoon Network. Mainly because he’s obsessive over his work. And so am I. I’m just way taller than him.” Anthonie: ”Peter Griffin from Family Guy. I don’t know why, but I love him! I even have a tattoo of him on my ass.” Josh: ”Roger from American Dad. Just something about him is so funny and I feel I can relate.” Anthonie has been quiet for most of the interview only to drop a visual bomb on us at the end with the image of Petter Griffin tattooed on a butt cheek. Memorable to say the least!

CODE 106’s debut album goes LIVE tomorrow on the 14th of March 2020, named If I Said. To be amongst the first to experience the multitude of styles and audio variety these 4 amazing musicians brought together, add them to your Spotify HERE, watch their YouTube channel HERE, follow them on Instagram HERE, like them on Facebook HERE, and give them a listen on Apple Music HERE.

Note: ”Thank you to all our friends and family for their continuous support. To the fans we have – we love you! Special thanks as well to Stefan Kloppers and Cara Botha.

Interview conducted by Mariana Berdianu
Blue Rhymez Entertainment © 2020

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2 comments

  1. Absolutely brilliant album. The repertoire of Code 106 is amazing. If this is their first album I cannot wait to see what they will be giving us in the future. The music is raw and honest. Something missing in so much of the music we listen to today.

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