all gallows

Interview med Mark "Barney" Greenway

Napalm Death

I forbindelse med Napalm Deaths seneste soniske angreb, Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism, fik vi os en snak med vokalist Mark "Barney" Greenway omkring den nye plade, inspirationer og generelt alt andet end coronavirus.

Det ser ud til, at hvert interview i disse dage skal nævne coronavirus, så nu da det er gjort, tillykke med den nye plade. Forventede du, at det ville blive så godt modtaget?

Det gør man aldrig. Og hvis man gør, så er man måske en smule arrogant, og er sandsynligvis ude af trit med virkeligheden. Men ærlig talt, så var Apex Predator Easy Meat meget magen til, næsten identisk. Jeg så ikke rigtig nogen negativ respons til den plade, og hvis jeg gjorde, har jeg nok glemt det. Jeg kunne sandsynligvis tælle de negative ting, jeg har læst på én hånd, hvilket på mange måder næsten er foruroligende, fordi det ikke er sådan, som tingene går normalt.
Når man spiller i et band, skal man være forberedt på både godt og dårligt, men man behøver ikke være tykhudet. Personligt forstår jeg ikke, at alle er af samme mening, men jeg er ikke så tyndhudet. Jeg har tillid nok til mine evner til, at jeg ikke er usikker omkring mine overbevisninger, ligesom resten af ​​bandet. Musik er subjektivt, det har det altid været og burde altid være. Hvis negativitet virkelig går dig på, er der ikke andet at gøre end at vænne sig til det, for det er sådan det går. Hvis man vender situationen, så er jeg også negativ over for nogle bands, da der er nogle ting jeg bare ikke kan lide. Så alle er i stand til negativitet, og alle skal have deres egen mening, hvad end den er, så det bekymrer mig ikke. Faktisk synes jeg, at det er en god ting undertiden at få negativ feedback, fordi der måske er noget, som man kan lære af. Man bør aldrig være så arrogant at tro, at man er stoppet med at lære. Jeg tager det ikke så tungt, hvordan folk forholder sig til Napalm Death. Jeg har tillid til bandet, idéerne og musikken er stærk, men du kan ikke styre folks følelser; de er deres egne.

Så du håber bare på det bedste?

Du håber altid på det bedste. Hvis noget af og til ikke fungerer, er det hvad det er, det er der ingen grund til at ligge søvnløs over. Jeg har været i et band i 30 år; et sindssygt støjende band. Og i betragtning af at det stadig lykkes at interessere nok mennesker til, at vi har muligheden for at gøre hvad vi vil, hvad fanden har jeg så at klage over.

Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism er den længste pause mellem to plader. Var det et svært album at skrive og indspille?

Ikke sværere eller lettere end nogen af ​​de andre for at være ærlig. Reelt set var pausen kun fra september 2017, da det var der Shane og Dan, som startede på den første halvdel af numrene. Men med hensyn til hvor let det var at lave albummet, så er vi et meget spontant band, men vi er erfarne nok, og har en kemi der gør, at vi ved hvad vi vil gøre. Men jeg vil mene, at der ikke er to Napalm Death albums der lyder helt ens. Nogle synes måske, at det er virkelig svært at høre forskel, men for os er de ting, der kommer ud, de ting, der er helt naturlige på det givne tidspunkt. Selvfølgelig kan man gå i studiet for at tilføje de sidste detaljer, men hvad angår idéer og hvad du kan tilføje til de idéer, så er det der allerede. Men jeg føler ikke, at det er en bevidst koreograferet øvelse, hvor man har en checkliste som skal afkrydses. Fra mit synspunkt som tekstforfatter og vokalist, så kan det selvfølgelig godt tage mig tre timer at skrive en sang, og efter at skimme den igennem, tænker jeg: ”Kun tre timer, det må ikke være godt nok”. Men når jeg så for alvor ser på teksten, er det fint, spontaniteten i ​​det har betydet, at det blev rigtig godt. Men jeg kunne også sagtens bruge fire dage på en tekst, fordi jeg ikke er helt tilfreds med hvad det er. Men disse såkaldte ”vanskeligheder" er en del af processen, det er ikke markant problematisk i det stor billede.

Efter 16 plader kan man undre sig over, hvordan I fortsætter med at finde inspiration og forblive relevante.

Den relevante del af det er subjektivt. Om vi er relevante eller ej, kan jeg ikke rigtig svare på. Det er op til hver enkelt. At jeg fortæller dig, at vi er relevante, er skide meningsløst. Men i forhold til inspiration så er Napalm Deaths palet af inspirationer enorm. I forhold til grindcore, hvis du vil kalde det det, så ser folk det nogle gange fra en meget snæver vinkel. Det er bare rigtigt hurtige trommer, virkelig hurtige metallydende guitarer eller rigtig hurtige trommer og virkelig hurtige hardcore punk-lydende guitarer. Det er ikke for at være nedladende, men nogle gange er det alt, hvad folk ser. Hvad de ikke forstår er, at vi, ud fra Napalm Death-perspektivet, ser ekstremitet i mange ting. Helt tilbage til firserne og helt frem til i dag, har vi set ekstremitet i ting, der ikke var metal eller hardcore, men virkelig vilde støjende bands, der gjorde ting langt forud for deres tid. Det hjælper os, at bredden af ​​de indflydelser vi har, er enorm. Det er sandsynligvis også derfor, når folk kalder os et metalband, at jeg altid tænker: ”næh, ikke rigtig”, fordi det er vi ikke. Uden tvivl er der metal-elementer i musikken. Men der er også lige store dele hardcore punk, noise rock, post punk, noise pop, alle mulige ting, som bidrager til udviklingen i forhold til udgivelserne.

Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism og på tidligere udgivelser har I eksperimenteret med mange af de førnævnte støjgenrer, men også industrial. Hvor stammer alle disse inspirationer fra?

Napalm Death er inspireret af alt fra Throbbing Gristle til The Boredoms fra Japan til mange virkeligt ekstreme noise bands. Det er reelt set der det kommer fra; fordi vi ikke betragter det musikalske spektrum som begrænset til meget snævre punkter. Ærlig talt, så vil meget af den mere kommercielle orienterede musik kun gå til et bestemt punkt, fordi alt uden for dette betragtes som værende for udfordrende for lytterens sind og ører. Det er ikke tilfældet for os. Hvis vi kan finde noget, som er total irritation for trommehinderne, så bruger vi det, fordi en del af grundlaget for Napalm Death ikke kun er at folk skal nyde musikken. Det skal også være lidt irriterende. For det er hvad lyd gør. Lyd er irritation såvel som stimulation. Med hensyn til kunst så elsker jeg den slags paralleller og modsigelser.

Er det også meningen at udfordre lytteren?

Selvfølgelig. Du skal. Eller vi skal. Det er ikke alle bands der har lyst til det, men i Napalm Death har vi. Vi vil udfordre lytteren. Det skal ikke bare være en søndagstur. Se det som et interview. Hvis ethvert interview stort set bare var: "Åh, du er så god, og det nye album er så fantastisk, og bla bla bla", så undrer jeg mig om jeg overhovedet behøver svare eller i det hele taget sige noget. Det er rart, at folk siger noget pænt om albummet, men reelt set at lave et interview, hvor man bare siger, hvad man tror intervieweren vil høre er meningsløst. Det er ikke alle som har samme synspunkt i forhold til musik, men jeg vil gerne gøre ting, der grænser til hvid støj, for det er det jeg kan lide at gøre. Jeg kan godt lide ekstremiteten. Jeg kan godt lide at have den tilgang, at man skal rammes af en mur af lyd.

I forlængelse af denne ekstremitet, så er det er ingen overraskelse, at I er et meget politisk aggressivt band. Kan du fortælle lidt om temaerne på det nye album?

Hovedformålet med pladen var at tale om “de andre”, marginaliserede mennesker, dehumaniserede mennesker, grupper af mennesker i samfundet hvis situation skyldes år, årtier og århundreder, hvor de er blevet behandlet som andenrangs-væsener. Det er der ikke noget nyt i, men grunden til, at jeg ville skrive om disse ting nu, er, fordi vi har haft et markant skift i de seneste fem år. Vi har regeringer, der bruger denne dehumanisering og marginalisering til at cementere deres egen magt. Det klassiske eksempel er, og jeg afskyr at nævne det, fordi det er et oplagt mål, Trump. Det er en del af hans taktik, og det understøtter det meste af det, han gør. I Europa har vi også et par lande nede i Syd- og Østeuropa, der bruger den slags taktik. Bare for at give dig nogle eksempler der er ligetil for at tydeliggøre det, så er den ene flygtninge eller mennesker, der migrerer fra andre lande for at søge et bedre liv, hvilket vi alle fortjener. Værdighed, fred og noget der bare ligner et liv. Jeg tror, ​​at den måde, hvorpå disse mennesker bliver omtalt og behandlet af andre af verdens lande, er frygtelig modbydelig. Det er medmennesker vi taler om. Hvis støvlen var på den anden fod, hvis situationen blev vendt, er jeg sikker på, at du ville forvente en slags værdig og anstændig behandling. Det andet eksempel, jeg bruger, er LGBTQ + -samfundet. For selvom man kan argumentere for, at der har været nogle markante forbedringer af deres stilling i det generelle samfund i de sidste par år, så fører nogle regeringer en politik, som marginaliserer dem endnu mere. Trump har gjort det. Og der er en regering i Europa lige nu, der stolt basunerer, at de nu har homoseksuelle frizoner i landet og forsøger at udforme politikker, der vil fjerne LGBTQ + samfundet helt. Konsekvensen af ​​det er, at de bliver angrebet fra mennesker, som er blevet formet og hjernevasket, for på en eller anden måde at tro, at LGBTQ + er giftige for den overordnede struktur af det samfund, de lever i. Så nødvendigheden af at sætte disse ting øverst på dagsordenen, var det faktum, at hvis vi tænker tilbage på 1930'erne, var dette den taktik, som meget karismatiske mennesker brugte til at cementere deres greb om magten, og i det tilfælde førte det til massemord. Men selvom folk måske tror, ​​at situationen er anderledes nu, så er den det aldrig, da disse førnævnte ting altid kan udvikle sig til den slags situation. Verden er ikke immun over for diktatur og mord, og vi har set det i nyere tid, at folk, som tager kontrollen i et land, var mere end villige til at myrde deres egne borgere; så dette er ikke eventyr, det er ganske sandsynligt.

I nyere tid har Rage Against the Machine og System of a Down, som også er meget politiske band, haft fans, der nærmest var chokerede over, at disse bands er politiske. Er dette nogensinde sket for Napalm Death?

Det er der ikke noget simpelt svar på. Jeg forstår hvorfor folk kalder Napalm Death for et politisk band. Personligt så har min dannelse og hvad der generelt har tiltalt mig været venstreorienteret. Når det så er sagt, forstår jeg også, at hvis politik ikke tjener alle mennesker og levende væsener for at befri dem, så er det værdiløst. Så jeg vil også mene, at Napalm Death er et upolitisk band, fordi vi sætter menneskerettigheder og levende væseners rettigheder over enhver politisk orientering, fordi det endelige mål er, at mennesker og andre levende væsener generelt set skal frigøres. Når det er opnået, så bliver politik meningsløst. Men selvfølgelig har vi stadig folk der siger: "Hvad snakker du om, vi lytter bare til musikken", og hvis det er enkeltpersoner, der kommer med den udtalelse, så er det overhovedet ikke et problem. Hvis du vil gå ind i Napalm Death for musikken alene, skal du endelig bare gøre det. Jeg skal ikke diktere, hvordan du opfatter din musik. Men at sige, at bands med politiske idéer ikke burde eksistere, er noget vrøvl.

Du virkede lidt tøvende med at bruge ordet tidligere, men hvordan tror du, at grindcore-scenen har ændret sig, siden Napalm Death startede, og hvad mener du om denne ændring?

Jeg er ikke tøvende med at tale om det: Vi talte tidligere om metalmærkatet, og jeg synes grindcore er et bedre ord for det. I tilfældet af, at du ikke ved det, så er udtrykket ”grindcore”, og hvad det refererede til, blevet opfundet af den tidligere Napalm Death-trommeslager (Mick Harris). Han fandt på det, og folk begyndte at bruge det. Og så stak det af. Så selvfølgelig da vores slags musik blev mere kendt i den store verden, blev udtrykket mere udbredt og brugt. Mickey refererede dog til alt, der enten var latterligt hurtigt eller dræbende langsomt, så det er et meget bredt mærkat, og grundet ekstremiteten i ​​Napalm Death synes jeg stadig, at det er det mest korrekte mærkat. Med hensyn til selve scenen, så er den vokset eksponentielt; der er mange flere forskellige elementer i den, som man ikke finder i Napalm Death, og det har jeg har et meget neutralt forhold til. Bare fordi Napalm Death var en af ​​de første i genren, betyder det ikke, at vi er det altseende øje. En scene er summen af de bestanddele, som flyder meget frit, og derfor er det op til de mennesker, der kom før, efter og imellem os, hvad de vil gøre med scenen. Igen er det ikke fordi jeg skal diktere, hvad folk gør med deres musik. Så jeg har en meget neutral holdning til det. Der er nogle ting i grindcore, som jeg virkelig kan lide og elsker, og der er nogle ting hvor jeg tænker: “Hmm, måske ikke”. Men det er som alt andet. Grindcore er virkelig ikke anderledes.

Nu har I været et band i næsten 40 år. Har du nogensinde tænkt på, hvilke bands der vil bære grind-faklen, når I er væk?

Nej, slet ikke. Jeg har nok at se til og tænke over hvad Napalm Deaths næste skridt er. Det er op til opfindsomheden hos de bands, når den tid kommer, at føre genren videre. Så jeg føler mig ikke ansvarlig for scenen som helhed. Hvis scenen dør om et par år, så er det den naturlige udvikling. Nogle ting ophører med at eksistere i denne verden, udelukkende på grund af naturlige processer; det er det samme i musik, som udvikler sig naturligt, og nogle gange forsvinder det naturligt.

Så forhåbentlig er der ingen risiko for, at Napalm Death forsvinder snart?

Vi tror, ​​efter vores bedste overbevisning, at vi, når koncerter kommer tilbage, stadig kan udgive udfordrende musik. Når det måtte være, er vi stadig overbeviste om, at vi kan lave interessante koncerter. Så længe vi føler det, og vi ikke er entusiastiske over for nogen del af det, er der ingen tidsbegrænsning for, hvor længe vi kan fortsætte. Alle disse ting om, at bands er et par årtier gamle og tænker: "Måske skulle vi bremse ned", er noget jeg ikke er interesseret i; Det er ikke min måde at tænke på. Jeg er stadig lige så undslippelig nu som da jeg var 25 år. Jeg føler mig ikke begrænset af tidens begyndelse.

Men du tænker aldrig over, hvad du vil efter Napalm Death?

På den lange bane har jeg nogle interessante ideer. Måske går jeg tilbage i den akademiske verden. Jeg var altid interesseret i sovjetisk historie; jeg er en slags amatør sovjet-historiker. Alle aspekter af det, psykologien og æstetikken har altid interesseret mig voldsomt. Jeg er meget fascineret af den måde, hvorpå hele systemet fungerede. Jeg har ofte tænkt på at gøre enten det, eller min anden store plan var at studere evolutionær biologi, hvilket dog ville være ganske komplekst. Man skal sigte efter stjernerne, og jeg lægger ikke begrænsninger på mig selv. Hvis jeg vil nå et mål, prøver jeg i det mindste at komme derhen.

Næste år er bandets 40-årsjubilæum. Har I planlagt noget for at fejre dette?

Du har måske bemærket, at Napalm Death ikke laver jubilæer, og det er der et par grunde til. Jeg synes, det er lidt arrogant at gøre et stort nummer ud af at sige: "Se på os! Se hvad vi gjorde!". Hvis andre folk vil sige noget godt om det Napalm Death har gjort, så er det fint, og det er rart at folk gør det. Hvilket fører mig til min anden pointe. Vi er ikke et hyldestband for os selv. Folk talte om Scum og Enemy of the Music Business, og selvfølgelig er de meget vigtige dele af Napalm Deaths historie, men vi er et band der kigger fremad. Så den ene ting, vi altid har været forbeholdne med, er når promotorer sender vores manager en e-mail og spørger, om Napalm Death vil være interesserede i at spille dette album; for svaret er nej. Fordi vi alligevel ville spille disse sange i sættet, da vi har 15 andre plader af hvilke vi vælger meget bred ud fra. Folk ville nok kaste penge efter os for at gøre det, men det er ikke en afgørende faktor. Vi er et band der ser fremad, og hvis vi skal være kreative i den henseende, vil vi hellere gøre mere kunstneriske ting end blot at være et glorificeret hyldestband.

Tak for din tid. Forhåbentlig ser vi dig i Danmark, når turné bliver en ting igen.

Vi ses forhåbentlig. Alt det bedste.

It seems that every interview these days has to mention coronavirus, so now that I have done that, congratulations on the new record, did you expect it to be this well received?

You never do, and if you do, then you’re perhaps a little bit arrogant, not necessarily living in reality. But I mean in all fairness though Apex Predator Easy Meat was very similar, almost identical. I didn’t really see any negative feedback for that record, and if I did, I probably just forgotten about it. And I could probably count the things I’ve read on one hand, and that’s almost unnerving in a lot of senses, because it’s not the way things go usually.

As someone that plays in a band, you have to be prepared for both good and bad, but you don’t have to be thick skinned about it. Personally I understand not everybody’s the same, but I’m not that thin skinned, I’m confident enough in my art, that I’d live and die by my own decisions, as does the rest of the guys. Music is subjective, it always has been, and always should be. If negativity really throws you off, you just need to get used to it, because that’s the way it goes. Let’s be honest about it, if I turn the situation around, privately, I’m negative about some bands, because some stuff I just don’t like. So everybody’s capable of negativity, and everybody should have their own opinion to whatever way that goes, so it doesn’t worry me, in fact I thinks it’s a good thing you get negative feedback sometimes, because there might be something in there that you can learn from. You should never be arrogant to think you’ve stopped learning. I’m very easy about the way people deal with Napalm Death. I’m confident in the band, the ideas and the music is strong, but you can’t guide people’s emotions, they are their own.

So you’re just hoping for the best?

You always hope for the best, if sometimes things don’t work out, it is what it is, there’s no sense in losing any sleep over it. Fucking hell, I’ve had 30 years of being in a band, a fucking noisy band, and given that the fact it’s still managed to interest enough people, for us to be able to do things, then what the fuck have I got to complain about.

Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism represents the longest gap between to records, was it a hard record to write and record.

No harder or easier than any of the rest to be honest. In real time the gap was only between September 2017, because that was when Shane and Dan began putting down the first half of the tracks. But in terms of the ease of making the album. We are a very spontaneous band, we’re experienced enough and the chemistry’s there, so we know what we want to do. But no two Napalm Death albums really sound the same I would argue. People might think it’s really difficult to keep up, but for us the stuff that comes out is the stuff that’s perfectly natural at that point in time. Sure, you might go in to the studio to add a bit of icing to put on the cake, in terms of ideas and what you can add to the ideas that are already there. But I don’t find it to be a deliberate choreographed box-ticking exercise. Speaking from my point of view as the lyricist and vocalist, of course it could take me three hours to write a song, which when I look over it and I think: “only three hours, it must not be good enough”. But then I look at it, it’s fine, the spontaneity of it has meant that it turned out really good. But then I could also spend four days on a set of lyrics because I’m not quite satisfied with what it is. But those “intrinsic difficulties” it’s all part of the process, it’s not markedly problematic in a big sense.

16 records in, how do you continue to find inspiration and stay relevant.

The relevance part of it is subjective. Whether we are relevant or not, I can’t really answer that, that’s up to people on the outside. For me to tell you that we are relevant, that’s fucking meaningless. But with the inspiration. The influence palette of Napalm Death is huge. In terms of grindcore, if you want to call it that, sometimes people view it for a very narrow prison. They just thinks it’s really fast drums, really fast metal sounding guitars or really fast drums and really fast hardcore punk sounding guitars. I don’t mean to patronize anybody, but sometimes that’s all people see. What they don’t understand is, that from the Napalm Death perspective we see extremity in many things. Going back to the eighties and all points in between, in things that aren’t metal or hardcore, but are really savage ambient bands that where doing stuff far ahead of it’s time. That helps us, that the breadth of the influences that we’ve got is huge. And that’s probably why, when people call us a metal band, to me it’s always like nah, not really, because we’re not. Sure, there’s definitely metal in the music, but there’s also equal parts hardcore punk, noise rock, post punk, noise pop, there’s all kinds of stuff in there, and it helps us keep moving along in terms of the output.

On Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism and previously you’ve experimented with a lot of the aforementioned noise genres, but also industrial. What is the origin of all these influences?

Napalm Death is influenced by everything from Throbbing Gristle to The Boredoms in Japan, to a lot of noise bands, really extreme ones, that’s where it comes from. The fact that we consider the music spectrum to not be confined to very narrow points. Which, let’s be honest, a lot of the more commercial orientated music will only go to certain places, because anything outside of that is considered too challenging for the listeners minds and ears. For us, that’s not the case. If we can find something from somewhere, that’s complete irritation on the eardrums, we will use it. Because part of the thing for Napalm Death is not only for people to enjoy the music, it’s also to be slightly irritated by it, because that’s what sound does, sound is an irritant, as well as a stimulator. In terms of art I love that sort of parallel and contradiction.

Is it also meant to challenge the listener?

Of course. You have to. Well we have to. Not every band wishes to but Napalm Death does. We want to challenge the listener; we don’t want anything to be an easy ride. Think of it like an interview. If every interview basically was: “Oh you’re so great, and the new album is so great, and blah blah blah” it’s like: “do I even need to speak or respond, because you’re saying it for me?”. It’s nice that people say nice things about the album, but basically to craft an interview, so you’re just saying what you think the interviewer want to hear, then what’s the point? That’s not everybody’s viewpoint on music, but I want to do stuff that borders on white noise, because that’s what I like to do. I like the extremity; I like the wall of sound kind of approach to things.

To go along with the extremity. It’s no surprise that you’re a very aggressive political band. Can you tell a little bit about the themes on the new album?

The main thrust of it was to talk about “the other”, like marginalized people, dehumanized people, groups of people within society that are basically that way because of years, decades and centuries of being treated as second class beings. It’s nothing new, but the reason why I wanted to cover this stuff now is because we’ve had marked shift in the last five years. We’ve got governments who are using that dehumanization and marginalization to cement their own power. The classic example is, and I loathe to mention it, because it’s an obvious target, but Trump uses that. It’s part of his tactics, it underpins most of what he does. Also, in Europe, we have a couple of countries down in southern and eastern Europe that use that kind of tactics. And just to give you some easy examples for the purposes of illustration, one is refugees, or people that are migrating from other countries to seek a better life, like all of us deserve. Dignity, peace and something resembling an existence. I think the way those people are refereed to, are treated by other countries in the world is fucking disgusting. It’s fellow human beings we are talking about. If the boot were on the other foot, if the situation was reversed, I’m sure you would expect some kind of dignified decent treatment. The other example I use is the LGBTQ+ community, because, while it could be said that there have been some absolute improvements on their status in general society over the last few years, some governments are using language to marginalize them even further. For example Trump has done that, there’s a government in Europe right now that proudly trumpets to all who are interested that they now have gay free zones in the country and are trying to craft policies that make the LGBTQ+ completely separated out. And the consequence of that is that they suffer attacks from people who have been conditioned and brainwashed to somehow believe that the LGBTQ+ are toxic to the general fabric of the society that they live in. So the real urgency to talk about this stuff at the top line, was the fact that if we think back to the 1930’s this was the tactic that very charismatic people used to cement their grip on power and in that instance it led to mass murder. Whilst people may think that the situation is different now, it never is, because these aforementioned things can always develop into that kind of situation. The world isn’t immune to dictatorship and murder, and we’ve seen it in recent times that people who took control of countries where quite willing to murder their own citizens, so this is not fairy tale stuff, it’s a possibility. So, I just thought it was really important to cover this stuff on this album, and simply for Napalm Death to be the antithesis of that.

In recent times Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down, who are also very political, has had fans that were almost shocked that the bands are political. Has this ever happened to Napalm Death?

There’s bit of wider of an answer to give you on that point. I understand why people call Napalm Death a political band. Me personally, my whole formation, and what, generally speaking, has guided me is from a left perspective. That being said, I also understand that if politics does not serve all human beings and other sentient beings, and liberate them, then it’s worthless. So I would also suggest that Napalm Death is an apolitical band, because we put human rights and rights on sentient beings above any political label. Because that’s the endgame, the endgame is for human beings and other sentient beings overall to be liberated. Once you’ve achieved that, politics become meaningless. But of course, we still get people saying: “What are you talking about, we’re just trying to hear the music”. And as an individual that’s making that comment it’s not a fucking problem. If you want to go into Napalm Death just for the music alone, go for it. It’s not for me to dictate to you how you perceive your music. But to say that bands shouldn’t exist with political ideas, that’s just nonsense. It’s like me talking about Little Richard shouldn’t have existed because of his lyrics, it’s meaningless.

You seemed a bit hesitant to use the word earlier, but how do you think the grind-scene has changed since Napalm Death started out, and what are your thoughts on this change?

I’m not hesitant to talk about it at all, we were talking about the metal tag earlier on, and I think grindcore is a better way of putting it. If you don’t already know that the whole term grindcore, and what it referenced was invented by the previous Napalm Death drummer (Mick Harris). He came up with it, and people picked up on it, and ran with it, and then it was obviously once our kind of music became more known in the wider world, that’s when it started to be used. However, he was referring to anything that was ridiculously fast or painfully slow, so it’s quite a wide parameter and I think for the extremity of Napalm Death I still think it’s the ideal terminology. In the terms of the scene itself, it’s grown exponentially, there’s many more different elements of it, that aren’t in Napalm Death, and I’ve got a very neutral outlook on it. Just because Napalm Death was one of the early movers in the scene, it doesn’t mean that we are the all-seeing eye. A scene is the sum of it’s parts, it’s very free flowing, and therefore the people that came before us, after us, in between, it’s up to them what they do with it, again it’s not for me to dictate what people do with their music. So, I’m very neutral about it. There are some things in grindcore that I really like, I love, and there are some things that I think: “hmm, maybe not”. But that’s like anything else, grindcore is really no different.

Now you’ve been doing this for almost 40 years, have you ever thought about what bands will carry the grind-torch, when you’re gone?

No, not at all, I don’t. I’ve got enough on my plate, thinking about what Napalm Death is going to do, let alone other bands. That’s down to the ingenuity of the bands that come at any point, that will take it into the future. So, I don’t feel responsible for the scene as a whole. If the scene where to die in a few years, that’s like natural evolution of the world around us. Some things will cease to exist in this world, purely by natural processes; it’s the same in music, it’s a naturally evolving thing, sometimes it’s also a naturally disappearing thing.

So hopefully there’s no risk of Napalm Death disappearing any time soon?

We believe, in our opinion that we can still put out challenging music when gigs come back around. Whenever that might be, we are still confident that we can do interesting gigs. As long as we feel that and we are not unenthusiastic about any part of it, then there’s no time limit to how long we can carry on. All this stuff about bands being a few decades old thinking: “Maybe we should slow down” I’m not interested in that, that’s not my way of thinking. I’m still as escapable now as I was when I was 25. I don’t feel restricted by the onset of time.

But you never thought about what to do after Napalm Death?

In the long term I’ve got some interesting ideas, I might go back into academia. I was always interested in soviet history; I’m kind of an amateur soviet historian. All the aspects of it, the psychology, the aesthetics always held a great interest for me. I’m fascinated by the way the whole system operated. I’ve often thought about going into that, or my other grand plan was to do evolutionary biology, which would be quite a complex thing to do. The sky is the limit, and I don’t put constraints on myself. If I want to do something, I’ll at least try to get there.

Next year is the bands 40th anniversary, have you planned anything to celebrate this?

You may have noticed that Napalm Death doesn’t do anniversaries, and there’s couple of points to it. I feel it’s a little bit arrogant to banging the drums and going: “look at us, look what we did”. If other people want to say good things that have been done by Napalm Death, that’s great and it’s nice that people do that. Which leads me to my second point. We are not a tribute band to ourselves. People talked about Scum and Enemy of the Music Business, and they’re very important parts of Napalm Death history, but we are a forward-looking band. So the one thing we have always resisted is where promotors will send our manager an email asking if Napalm Death will be open to playing this album alone, and the answer is no. Because we would play those songs in the set anyway, and we’ve got like 15 other albums of which we do a widespread. People would throw money at you to do it, but that’s not a determining factor. We’re a forward-looking band, and if we’re going to be creative in that respect, we would rather do more artistic things, than just be a glorified tribute band.

Thank you for your time, hopefully we will see you in Denmark when touring becomes a thing again.

Hopefully, see you, all the best.

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