Napalm Death (en)

“I appreciate and I feel quite proud of what I’ve done without any prior musical training or nothing like that. Am I proud of that? Of course. But, it is not what I strive for…”
“I will say this: my purpose generally is to make people think and understand these things. I’m not trying to be … [make people believe] in everything that I believe. It doesn’t make anybody a less of a person, of course, that they don’t believe what I believe, in my eyes. But I just want people to stand up and think.”
Check out this interview with the amazing Napalm Death’s lead singer, Mark “Barney” Greenway!!!

interview Napalm DeathYou guys have been touring a little bit everywhere this year: Europe, Japan and now North America. How have the tours been so far?
It has been great. I mean, it’s hard (for me at least) to make a distinction between different countries because people like the music… it’s pretty uniform, their responses, pretty positive you know? So, it has been good.

We managed to get out and play at new places and there are more places to come. I mean, we want to go to some new places around the world where bands don’t usually go because it is interesting for us. And also, I think it is nice to be able to go and do something in countries where bands just don’t go to… it is nice to say: giving to the people there.

Any specific plans/places?
Well, just an example: we go to Russia quite frequently (more frequent than most band). Usually bands just do Moscow, St. Petersburg and maybe one or two [other cities], a stretch. But, we do 10, 12, 13 shows.

We are looking to get into some of those old Soviet Republic, which is difficult but, we may be able to go to Kazakhstan. So, we may be going to play over there. Hopefully! I’d love to be able to do it. Again: principally to give something to the kids there and stuff, you know?

How have the fans been receiving the new material, from your latest album “Utilitarian”?
Really good! No complaints. It’s gone down well.

Talking about the album, for the fans that haven’t heard it yet, could you say a few words about it?
You will know its Napalm Death, you know? We’re (I think) 14, 15 albums in now and you can trace sonically a very definitely lineage back to even the first Napalm album which, I think, is a good think because we have the core of what made the band, specially in the first place, still there.

So, it holds those elements but also some more ambient elements, some more ambient influences that are not always the first things to be talked about when people talk about Napalm Death. Bands like Swans, My Bloody Valentine and that sort of stuff… that’s in there as well. We’ve done that for a good few albums but this time we directly kind of put that on top of our traditional fast attack. It sounds different but it works.

When we did it in the studio I wasn’t really sure that it was going to work, you know? But it did. It was a bit of a relief really (laughs). So, it has different flavors on it but it is still totally Napalm. Those different flavors certainly don’t dilute the frames, the approach that we have towards playing.

You said you weren’t sure that it would work when you went to the studios. So, how did that process work?
In terms of preparedness, of going into the studio, personally I like to be, as much as I can, like, 100% prepared. I know it’s not always possible and some singers like to do it differently and like to do most of the work, actually, when they are in the studio. But I don’t. I can’t work that way. That would be too stressful for me, you know? So, I have to make sure that all the preparation work is totally correct.

So yeah, it worked… luckily. Otherwise I probably would just have had to shuffle a few things around.

About the summer festivals: any favorites this year?
There were some smaller ones that were really good, that were probably run by one guy or something [like that]. And that’s always fun because I think it is really important to support those [festivals] because the big festivals thrive. Now, there are so many festivals, it is so saturated so it is nice to see that you have a contrast between these really big festivals and those small independent ones. So, we played some really good ones like that.

Of the bigger ones, Summer Breeze was really fun because it’s quite loose; the whole organization is quite loose. It’s nice not feeling bureaucratic, because some of them… [are bureaucratic]. So, you know, that was fun.

You guys have released a video for the song “Analysis Paralysis”. How was that done?
We actually did that at our guitarist’s house. He shot it all himself because he’s got a degree in Film and Media Design. He kind of worked it out, it’s what he wanted and we just kind of did it.

It has some weird imagining…
Yeah, some stuff in that video works and some of it doesn’t. Looking back at it, some things we would have probably done differently. Videos are tough! Making music is actually far easier in many aspects than making videos because, you have to have a real “eye” for making videos. Not everybody has it even though people think that they do (laughs). And it is difficult… but I think that Mitch [Harris] did the best with what he had to go on and it’s alright. It is certainly not the worse video in the world you know?

Did you have any specific messages that y
interview Napalm Deathou wanted to pass with it?
As a band we are very contemplative. But, I think sometimes you can over analyze things and that was the whole premise to the lyrics… just over thinking stuff until your head explodes and then you become ineffective, you know? So, that was the whole idea.

We tried to reflect that in the video but again… it’s hard. Did it come across? I think it did. But, for other people to judge that, I’m not sure.

About this tour with Municipal Waste and Exhumed: how have the North Americans responded to this lineup so far?
It has been great. It brings different audiences in. I hate to separate people out like that but there are definitely crowds that come to see each band individually, that have come together. And those crowds, from particular bands are also appreciating the other bands. This is a difficult thing to do.

Also, we are bringing in bands (classic bands), that we feel should never been forgotten. You’ve got Attitude Adjustment on these gigs. They are old California hardcore punk band from the mid 80’s and one of their particular albums “American Paranoia” is a classic…big influence on Napalm certainly. So, we brought them in.

We are rotating these classic bands. We had Repulsion yesterday in Santa Ana [California]. We had Dayglo Abortions in Canada, tonight we’ve got The Dwarves… They are not a direct influence on Napalm but it is definitely something that fit with the general “area” of what we are doing.

Since you are here, in North America and that you have always been a “political” band: what is your perspective about the American election results?
There is a couple of ways to look at it really. I mean, a lot of people would rightly feel that elections are a waste of time. I say that because a lot of people see politics as token, gestures and not much action. And for what really matters to people that have nothing in society: what has been done for them and other such things? So, a lot of people would be quite… justifiably cynical [about politics/elections]. But I think: You know what? Society is very fucking unfair… the whole structure of society is not good. Until that system changes, we are kind of stuck with what we’ve got for now, so you’ve got to make the best of a bad situation.

In my opinion, the re-election of Obama, giving what I just said, is the best thing that could have happened. For several reasons:

1) Domestically (in America): you have things such as abortion, which to me is critical that it is maintained. The woman’s right is nobody else’s business to interfere with her body or her choices. That’s one thing.

2) Probably the health care system. What Obama built right now…. to give health care to those who don’t have it, a socialized health care system. That absolutely has to happen for America to even become remotely fair and balanced, you have to have that.

3) Also, Obama will, more and so, protect people’s jobs you know? Employee’s right to work, to be unionized, to be organized… he will protect that. That’s a good thing.

And overall, America needs to become a more fair place, for everybody… not just the few that “have stuff”, you know? So, that is a good thing.
On a foreign level, I can tell you, from an opinion point of view: when Obama got re-elected, 99% of Europe breathed a collective side of relief (laughs), you know what I mean? Because, I think:

A)Europe, for the most part, is quite liberal; it’s very very open minded. So, there’s obviously where we see our parallels.

B)And this is really important: there is something going on right now where the lunatic Israeli’s prime minister wants to attack Iran. And he is waiting for the endorsement. I think Obama told him that he would not support an action like that, which is rightly so, because if you are retrying to improve international relations, you don’t go doing what’s been done over the last 15 years. You have to learn your lessons. To provoke that part of the world right now, especially Iran, is not going to be a good idea. And I think that if Romney would have got in, he would have giving the green light.
That is something underneath the surface that leads me to believe that he would’ve allowed an attack on Iran. Probably Ryan more than Romney. There is this belief about Israel, about Megiddo, this religious lunatic theory about the final battle being over Israel, the town of [Tel] Megiddo where apparently the armies of good and evil are going to… converge and you know: it’s all nonsense. And that’s really worrying. Nobody wants that… really, nobody wants that. So, that’s another good thing [about Obama being re-elected].
There are certain things that I don’t agree with Obama [on]. Again… if you want to improve international relations, you don’t send out man drones into the Middle East and allow women, children and other people to be killed indiscriminately. I don’t get why he supports or continues to support those drones? War fest, you know? That to me, hopefully, he will learn a lesson and that will sto
interview Napalm Deathp.

Talking now about the involvement of some politicians with big corporate: as an animal rights supporter, do you think that if that happens (politicians getting involved with big corporate), some of the animal’s rights can be endangered?
If you are talking about the drug companies and stuff…

Food industry…
Yeah, food industry. That’s kind of a separate issue. I don’t think it should be a separate issue but it is by default, purely by the way animals are regarded, you know? Yeah, obviously pressure is going to be brought.

We have some good stuff that has been speed headed in the UK, which of course was the primarily point for animal protection and animal rights. It’s been adopted across the world now. So, we’ll see how that goes really. Obviously that needs to move on somewhat.

You would think that here in California (because we have so many vegetarians and vegans) we would have more laws to protect animals but every time that I have seen propositions (during elections) to protect animals, people never vote for them.
Yeah, because of corporate interests. All this stuff that we have dealt with in time, the one thing I do acknowledge is that things don’t happen over night and that they are a long term fight sometimes. I think that the general thing to say is that the general corporate stronghold needs to be broken on all aspects of society whether it is what you just talked about or I’m going back to the health issue: health companies have been allowed to dictate when they treat people and when they don’t. That has to stop, that has to be broken.

Since you are a lead singer of a metal band and you are an “idol” to many people, do you think that by talking about animal rights, people will be more aware about this?
Am I [an idol]? I don’t know about that (laughs).

Well, you could apply that question across the whole raft of things that we talk about, not just animal rights. I will say this: my purpose generally is to make people think and understand these things. I’m not trying to be … [make people believe] in everything that I believe. It doesn’t make anybody a less of a person, of course, that they don’t believe what I believe, in my eyes. But I just want people to stand up and think.

Well, yeah… animal rights. I want people to understand. Look: how would you like it if a human being was put in this position? And we know the tortures used across the world… and we don’t generally like torture. So, where does the human race got thinking it has control over animals? That was never dictated or decreed by anybody. So, it’s all parallel. All this stuff is all parallel. You just have to keep, sort of trying to get things through to people and educate people (I suppose) and hope it sticks.

About your career in general, as a musician, what makes you feel more accomplished: your development as a musician or more, like you said, your ability to put these messages out the public?
You’ve got to remember this: I’ve never joined Napalm Death to be a musician. Being a musician was never on my “agenda”. I was working as an engineer before I did Napalm and the next week I was in a band. So, I don’t have these feelings to try to become musically superior, if you like. I don’t.

I appreciate and I feel quite proud of what I’ve done without any prior musical training or nothing like that. Am I proud of that? Of course. But, it is not what I strive for. I would put the whole thing a little more far reach, I would say that I am extremely proud to been able to travel the world, been able to spread thoughts (positive thoughts in my opinion), and we, as a unit, have been able to make it last this long because it ain’t fucking easy, let me tell you that. I’m not saying that playing gigs every night in different places is the same as digging a road or something like that but, you know what? The hard part of this, the psychology of sticking with 5 or 6 people in a metal tube [tour bus] day after day, after day, after day… that can get quite testing. It is quite a nice little social experiment, really. So, that’s the tough part I suppose.

About next year: any plans? Any other places you want to tour at besides what you have already mentioned earlier?
Humm… just some stuff in Europe right now. Russia is going to be in again next year. Apart from that, I can’t really say right now. Album wise we won’t be doing anything until the year after [2014], probably.

Any messages to the SOM readers?
I always end up saying this but, thank you for your support, whoever you are, wherever you are. We are back in the States after 3 years and we did not know what it was going to be like because I know concerts are kind of suffering right now. But, this tour, has been packed out every night, you know? And you can’t ask for more than that, really. So yeah… it has been good.
Interview done by Deesse_de_la_nuit

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jeffff - 02 December 2012: i'm waiting your come back in Europe during january 2013
thanks Napalm death & thanks Deesse_de_la_nuit
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