They had presented all documents including return flight tickets and a guarantee from their social worker. The Federal Foreign Office and the German Embassy refused them entry on the bewildering grounds that they were “not sufficiently economically rooted in their homeland, which is why an intention to return could not be recognized. Too poor to trust them? Even a petition signed by more than 10,000 people could not convince the authorities.
The festival organizer with his crew and the band with their Swiss social worker Timon Seibel remained stubborn. With success. Now one thing is certain: the band will receive a visa for the WOA 2019. They are allowed to come and perform on Friday, August 2nd, at 10 pm on the Wasteland Stage. There will also be a warm-up in Hamburg’s Kaiserkeller. Under the motto “United Metal Nations” they will give a concert there on 27 July together with “Slave To Sirens” from Lebanon, “Trainwreck” from Bangladesh and “Valley of Chrome” from the Philippines.
The grown-up in the shade of the garbage mountains
The band members Theara, Vichy, Hing and Pic are orphans and come directly from the slums of Cambodia – raised on what was once Phnom Penh’s largest dump. The district is called “Flying Shit Town” – the city of flying shit. And this is neither a joke nor a metaphor, but a mere reality: there are no toilets. People do their business in plastic bags and then throw them out of the window. Hence the name.
Over 10,000 children live on the street in Phnom Phen. They collect usable garbage, deal drugs, many prostitutes themselves. On the garbage dumps, dogs are kept like cattle, they do not get a name. One day they are eaten or sold. If the four-legged friends are not too emaciated, restaurants pay up to 20 US dollars. Horrible slum reality. In the midst of these catastrophic conditions, the band members spent their childhood as homeless. “But Chkae” means “dog’s life”.
Valve against aggression, hopelessness and disappointment
They were lucky in misfortune when Theara, Vichy and Hing one day stayed in a children’s home of Moms Against Poverty and were looked after by social worker Timon Seibel: When Simon met the children, they were irascible, sometimes full of unpredictable aggression, then lethargic again. On some days he simply didn’t know what to do. Then came November 11, 2014. Timon took Vichy, Theara and the underage Hing to the city centre for a concert of the deathcore band “Sliten6ix”. It should be an extraordinary experience, the kids were immediately infected by the metal virus.
Already the next day they informed themselves about similar bands like Slipknot on the internet. Almost daily they reacted with metal in the music room of the home. And completely contrary to their previous behaviour they started to rehearse consistently and disciplined. The merciless hopelessness had become a goal.
Just in time: The new desire for Khmer Metal
First small appearances followed, quite fast Doch Chkae was also mentioned in the press. You have to know that Death Metal was forbidden under the death penalty in Cambodia for a long time – because it was too western. Probably also because they sing Khmer in their national language, Doch Chkae hit the nerve of their compatriots. Already now they are exemplary for others who want to escape misery with metal. The boys from Doch Chkae have long since encouraged many other children and young people to make life a little better with music. In the meantime, they have even founded their own label.