Killing Is the Business of Their Enemy
CoC chats with Shane Embury of Napalm Death
by: Paul Schwarz
A lot of people didn't like _Scum_ when it came out in 1986. I recall our our own CoC scribe Matthias Noll, when we were talking about the explosion of grindcore, making the comment that people in the metal world at the time felt that this new form of "music" was merely "noise". Attitudes have changed, and today Napalm Death are both respected and loved for those ripping first steps they made, and the various twists and turns their expansive career has taken since then. Though they never again quite matched the first-time unlistenability factors of _Scum_ and its successor _From Enslavement to Obliteration_, Napalm Death continued to assault our ears with records swaying in varying degrees towards death metal, hardcore and even melodicised punk, changing and developing with each successive release. Though stepping away from blunt extremity with _Diatribes_ (1996) and _Inside the Torn Apart_ (1997), Napalm Death nonetheless continued to grow, expanding their audience with extensive and increasingly prestigious live work. However, _Words From the Exit Wound_ -- which was ultimately to be the band's final album for Earache (the label with whom they had been since _Scum_) --, though a good album, was not inspiring or encouraging, and there were people who had begun to exclude the possibility that Napalm Death would again blast through all the cliches and make a record as truly great as they used to -- that's the way I was thinking, at least. A changeover of management personnel, a move to the UK's fledgling Dream Catcher label and a stomping covers EP later, and I was proved well and truly wrong by last September's release of the ninth(!) Napalm Death record, _Enemy of the Music Business_. I said as much as I needed to in my review [CoC #50], so I'll save you any more gushing here about the record and deliver you into the hands of bassist and longest-standing member Shane Embury, with whom I talked in the latter part of last year.

CoC: First of all, good record. This is the first record of yours I've really gone for in the last three years. What do you think it represents? You've called it _Enemy of the Music Business_ and it comes after a period of you going in a direction which was a little less heavy and a little more song-written, possibly a little adventurous for the early Napalm. What would you say this new album represents, with you being on a smaller label, or a different label at least?

Shane Embury: I think the thing is, with the label, it's a fairly new one, which is good for us and the guy behind it; he used to run Music for Nations, so he knows what he's doing. But, at the same time, I think it's like a fresh start for him and a fresh start for us. Obviously with the title and all that: that really just represents a lot of the crap we had to deal with. It was a bit of a weird title to pick in some ways.

CoC: It is very proclamatory and, to be honest, when I first heard it I really kind of groaned inside 'cause it sounded like a record against something, and nothing else. It didn't sound like something that would be good. But it's actually quite appropriate somehow.

SE: It is. I think on face value you can look at it and [think] we might be sparking off on some fuckin' righteous trip or whatever, but it's not so much that, really, as a case of documentation of all the shit that we went through. I mean, I like to think -- without trying to sound too cliched -- that in a way it's a lesson for other people, to be honest: not to be sort of trapped into thinking that 'cause you've signed this deal suddenly everything's a better road. It wasn't just the record label, it was the whole situation we were surrounded by, y'know. I can point to a lot of things wrong with Earache, but it's not completely their blame. I mean, we used a lot of people around us who nearly suffocated the band and didn't really push the band or like the band for the right reasons, I don't think. And I think towards the end of the last album we were basically thrown into the studio so many times that as much as we had the enthusiasm for writing songs it was just not enough time to breathe and fuckin' sort of work out where you wanted to go. And of course we had loads of personal problems between us as well, which we managed to get through, but I think this record, for us, as a band, we're all pretty much on the same level with each other now -- for the first time in a long time, probably. And it was a conscious decision for us to just go, "well fuck it, y'know, we just want this one to be a kick in the face", really. Obviously there's bits and pieces there that wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for us experimenting, so to speak, but we went back to what we felt comfortable with. I mean, I myself, I've come full circle, in a way, after doing the Lock Up album with Nick from Dimmu and stuff like that. It just, it just... I don't know! I mean, I'm just sitting here now with my four track just churning out riffs and all of a sudden they're just coming to me, y'know. Which is good because that's kind of how I was around the '92, '93, '94 period.

CoC: _Utopia Banished_ through to _Fear, Emptiness, Despair_.

SE: And as a reaction to that we made a conscious decision to try do something different, which is a learning process at the same time and of course it comes out on record as a documentation. But I think that's all mingling well with what we've done. There's elements of difference there, but I think it's more sort of pasted into all of the typical sort of extremes that we're known for.

CoC: Absolutely. I think the last three records -- _Diatribes_ onwards -- a lot of people did start to flag off, and I was one of these people. I bought _Diatribes_ and then heard bits of the next one. It didn't just hit quite the right spot. Getting the new one, it reminds me most of _Fear, Emptiness, Despair_ in the way it's put together. I don't know why, but that's just the impression that I've got. For me, it's my favourite Napalm record and I think it'll stay that way; I don't think it's just 'cause it's the new one. You really have kind of mixed in the old and the new. You seem to have grown -through- the whole songwriting thing, but also sort of gone back to the earlier material.

SE: I think it's a learning process, yet again. From _Diatribes_ onwards it was almost a reaction to the blasting in a weird way, I guess. I always get this picture in my mind of like half of the Napalm fans running off 'cause of the black metal scene or something: 'cause it was the fastest thing around at the time. Why I think that I don't know, but it was just that at that particular time we were getting into... well, we were always into our different stuff, but I think it was just our reaction to it and of course obviously as a band it was always mixed feelings, but I think it's a learning process. I think because we've managed to stay around for the duration, we've managed to mix it well. I'm just glad that we turned around and said "right, we're gonna do something that we're known for", but obviously with all the little bits and pieces that we learned from the other shit, really. And I think that's helped. I mean, when you first try different things, y'know, it's a whole learning thing of trying to make it all fit and fit in well, obviously. Your album's documented so people sort of, the ones who stuck with us, it's killer for that but obviously, I think with this one we've probably grabbed a few people who swayed a bit on the last couple, like yourself.

CoC: You got a lot of good critical acclaim for _Diabtribes_ and _Inside the Torn Apart_. _Diabtribes_ was quite popular with Metal Hammer and a few other mags. That whole direction did you quite well, but the _Enemy of the Music Business_ title and all the problems you had with Earache and other things just seemed to sort of sway things the wrong way, in terms of how the band ended up actually being pushed out there. I think Napalm could have been a lot more popular based on the kind of sound that you were putting out with _Diatribes_ and stuff like that.

SE: Well, I mean, y'know, it all depends how you look at it. I think a lot of people into the band liked the direction and obviously we pulled a few people that never liked us before. Obviously, there were also people who said "this is not my cup of tea", or whatever. I think if we were on a different label maybe [it would have been different], but I don't think it was so much that. We just kind of were a little disillusioned at some points with everything. As you progress and all that bollocks you just want to do different things, I suppose. I guess. But with the new one, I don't know, there's just more of a combined sort of affair between all of us, I think. Even like doing the last few albums, that became a bit stale because we wanted to sort of pick the pace up more, really. And it was just like a combined thing where we just said, "well, this one we really wanna pull all the stops out if we can". And I think we were fuelled a bit more by what had happened. I mean, in sort of the middle of '98 -- it's an old story, really, now -- things were looking very doomy for us, y'know. And we were just hangin' on by a thread, really, I think.

CoC: This is around _Words From the Exit Wound_?

SE: Well yeah, we had just recorded that, but there wasn't much enthusiasm from Earache. By their own admittance, they said that they were getting stale themselves, y'know, of having the band on the label, and I'm like going "thank you very much" <sarcastically> <laughs>. A great vote of confidence considering -- not to blow our own trumpet -- but if it wasn't for us you probably wouldn't have a fuckin' label!

CoC: Absolutely. The synonymy of Napalm Death and Earache in some ways is quite scary. In the beginning and all that sort of thing. You were saying how the personal problems in the band had sort of died down. Do you think that's just the end of a long saga of all the stuff that came after _Utopia Banished_? 'Cause I recall the whole thing about doing _F,E,D_ was that Barney wanted to do faster things and that wasn't the band's opinion. Did things just sway one way or the other from that point on and have they come down now?

SE: Well, I think around that point Barney was taking the lead in a lot of things -- around '92/'93 -- and some of it we agreed with and some of it we didn't. We felt that we wanted a whole band. Now, it's a situation where if you want to talk to Napalm you can talk to any member of the band; before I think it was mainly Barney. And that's fine, but we felt that it wasn't totally representative of the band and I guess for whatever reasons we all sort of went a little bit haywire and crazy having this democracy go out the window for a while, really. And I mean, of course Barn liked some of _Fear..._, but there was a problem when we were doing that. But I think at the same time he'd admit that he started to have a few personal problems himself, y'know. Just whatever. We're lucky enough through all of the years that we've pretty much stood by him and he's stood by us, y'know. And it's cool that we managed to get through all of it. I mean, looking back on it I don't fuckin' know how we did it, to be honest. You hear about these things with bands and stuff and on a big scale, and you think well OK, they're selling millions of albums, y'know, pressure this, pressure that. But there was pressure on us, I think: _Fear, Emptiness..._ was the Columbia release and that's when they started to poke their noses in and we were trying to ignore them as best we could. After that there were problems with Barney flying and things like that and all sorts of bits and pieces which you overcome. I think all that didn't help, y'know, and I think we were putting too much pressure on ourselves, mainly because I think people around us weren't doing their jobs. I think their managing, to be perfectly honest, was fucking useless. I think they were ridin' the crest of the wave, so to speak. Came in around _Harmony Corruption_ / _Utopia Banished_ where, to be honest, the band was doing well off its own name and nothing else, I think. And it's easy for some guy to come in and suddenly he looks cool because he's managing this band, but when things need to progress or move in different directions that's when he shows his worth, y'know, and that wasn't happening and the agencies really weren't working for us. And we just found out loads of things behind the scenes and that all fuelled the new one, I think.

CoC: One of the lyrics I noticed from "Taste the Poison" on the new record that I thought was quite good was: "Raise a voice? The art of making noise. Attacking stance? Fist in the face for personal choice". Is that about trying to get your music past record labels? Also, what I liked about "Raise a voice? The art of making noise" was that it reminded me of the way that Napalm is quite political in some respects and quite intelligent lyrically, but it's always been very noisy, you have to sit down and read the lyrics book. Is it anything against the people who say "what's the point in being political, you can't understand the lyrics"?

SE: I think it's several things. I mean, that to a point, and also it deals with certain factions of music where it's sort of trendy to play extreme as well. Whereas it's actually genuine in the first place, y'know, it's almost like a fashion in six months time. They could be a totally different band depending on what the label wants them to be, I guess. That's a little bit to it. But I mean, you always get the criticism of "you've got a lot of things to say, why can't I understand the lyrics", but we've always said that that's what the lyrics sheets are for, y'know, use the brain, -read-, you know what I mean. It's just like part and parcel, I think. "You've got to have some accessible voice to understand you"? I've never quite understood that, really.

CoC: I've never got it either. I think it's one of the things that works better as a statement of energy, as a statement of what it is musically. I think that says a lot, if you see what I mean.

SE: And I think people can just go "I can't understand what you're saying" and there you go, read! You just take it in, because you're going to take it in a lot better readin' it than you are just singin' along with the guy. Anyone can sing along and not realise what the person's singin', really. You look at the piece of paper and just take it in visually and go "well, I know where he's coming from" or "I don't".

CoC: What led you to work with Simon Efemey and not Colin Richardson? You went back to the old logo and some of the old sounds, so it was interesting not to see Colin there.

SE: Well I've told you the general vibe of the album, I think after I did the Lock Up album -- that was just an experience which I was really pleased about because it was just a three day, four day affair: we just blasted the shit out -- which sounded good and there was an energy captured and shortly after we'd just signed to Dream Catcher after we did the American tour and we thought, "right, we don't really wanna go in and do an album straight away, let's take some time out". Y'know, try and repair some of the damage that we felt had been done by our label and manager and stuff. We did the covers EP and Simon Efemey has been a good friend of mine for years, really. I mean the guy's a complete maniac, y'know. His sense of humour is like right on par with mine and the rest of the guys. It's just, Colin, I mean, he's a lovely guy, he's a great bloke, I've known him for years, but I think as he's got more popular, I think he almost -- without being disrespectful to the guy -- has to prove how much he's worth, y'know. And towards the last album, we were just sitting around twiddling our fingers going "fuck me, four days on the guitar sound!", y'know. We were going, "this is just bollocks!", y'know. And I was just going, "it never used to be like this" and I'm there moaning, running around, going "it never used to be like this years ago". We used to get in there, couple of fuckin' days at the most. And we just wanted a fresher approach, y'know, we were getting a bit tired. I think we/he just killed the vibe, by the time people started to record their songs, you're just fuckin' tired, I think. Simon's not like that. I mean, he works differently with each band, I think, but he likes to get things moving.

CoC: Absolutely. I mean, you did this whole album in two weeks.

SE: Pretty much.

CoC: That's a pretty short time for a band on their -- god, what is it -- eighth or ninth record.

SE: Yeah, I mean the other guy Russ Russell who produced it with Simon, he's our live sound engineer. Which is great, because I think he incorporated in his own way what he tries to get live. He tried to put that in the album and I think it's a very live sounding album as well.

CoC: Absolutely, it is, it's got a lot of bite to it.

SE: Which I think a lot of bands try to get. I've always wanted that. I think that's maybe been a missing ingredient for a few years: that you put it on and it feels exciting. And that's really the main reason, plus, with the guys down the studio, it was not just like recording an album: it was fun, y'know. And that had been missing for a couple of albums; let us get on with what we're doing and the other people can worry about what they've got to do. As opposed to us just trying to sit in the studio and stress about fuckin' everything else at the same time, y'know.

CoC: Yeah, you can't be the band and the manager and everything.

SE: Not really, no. So we have people with us now who are extremely enthusiastic and know what they need to do and it's great. It's a weird, bizarre thing, because we've all sort of come together as a team of people and they themselves, before they got involved with us -- y'know, Russ, Simon, Rudy Reid who's our manager and Jez who's our manager or whatever --, they were saying that years ago they really wanted to meet some fuckin' crazy people and all of a sudden after this shit hit the fan you just got the other. I'm not one for fate or anything like that, but it just seemed kind of <he pauses> well timed, y'know. So I think all that sort of throws into the bag and makes the record what it is.

CoC: Touching on the idea of _EotMB_ as a protest record, I just wanted to quote something out of the review in Terrorizer of the album. "If _EotMB_, as the title suggests, is a protest record, it's one that manages to make its case by the force of its existence. Right now I couldn't give monkeys about the push and pull of trends, marketability, any kind of discourse you might drum up to put Napalm Death in their place. This record lives by its own rules and that feels to me like the whole of the law." Do you think that is where you've tried to put _EotMB_: outside of progression and trends and all this sort of thing?

SE: There is an element of the record there, y'know, that we just fuckin' -- not for any particular other reason than what it is: we're just sick and tired of some of the music scene. Whether we're old bastards I don't know. I sit there and think: am I getting this? And some new bands come along and I do think they're fuckin' good. It is a whole different scene. I am not trying for fuckin' people to be like "they're the mods, they're the fuckin' rockers", that kind of thing, y'know. I am not crying for that again, I just think that music's so intertwined with each other that people don't know where they're going or whatever the fuck. And I just think people are just... people don't search for music anymore, they are told what to buy. And obviously with marketing this record in magazines people are going to see Napalm and they might check it out because they think that's what they've got to get, y'know, but at the same time we just wanted a record that says "fuck all that shit, we are what we are and we're outside all that". We make no bones about it. Some of it we don't know where it comes from. Some bands we think, "well yes, that's genuine, that's good and they've started something", but the copious thing just seems ridiculous to me to an extent. We just wanted to see something that people either like it or they won't, really.

CoC: I mean the shirts you guys wear on the album are quite indicative of that: Possessed and Venom. But I noticed that in some of the interview shots your wearing Nasum shirts and stuff like that. Are there a couple of bands like that out of the music scene now who you think -are- doing something worthwhile and you might -- it sounds a bit cheesy -- ally yourselves with?

SE: Yeah, I mean the Nasum thing is just... I think the first time I heard them was during the _Words From the Exit Wound_ and they just gave me a kick in the ass, to be honest. It was staying fresh, to me. I mean, it's nothing really original, but it's just staying fresh. I just think it sounded like they were doing it with conviction whereas some bands who do that, don't. I don't know, but I'm a great believer in the idea that you can -hear- fuckin' integrity on records. I'm sure you can.

CoC: I think so.

SE: And I think that's what I heard in them, and it definitely sparked the Lock Up thing with us. Fuckin' 'ell. I mean, we were talkin' about it anyway and it just mutated from there, really. And I think that's when we decided that the next Napalm album should be a right kick in the ass, y'know. There are a lot of good bands that are out there. Unfortunately my ear's not as to the ground as it was. I used to tape trade years ago. I've got an Internet now so it's a bit easier, but the fuckin' time to sit down and write letters has never been my greatest thing lately. But there are a lot of good bands out there, but they especially did sort of spark some of this, y'know. I don't think it's fuckin' a case of we're like 30+ or whatever. We just look back at our own scene that we come from and we just think, "but then, people, they craved, fuckin', the music and they went out, they went to find it."

CoC: Yeah, I think definitely the late-eighties grindcore and the early nineties death metal scene had a lot more of that because it hadn't become an industry yet. I think that's the case now with some of the emerging musical styles. Like American noisecore isn't really trend-oriented yet. If you've heard Botch, and The Dillinger Escape Plan...

SE: Hm <acknowledging>.

CoC: I think they're a little more out of that whole system, but yeah, death metal releases now are marketed to shit, marketed on poor ideas, but because they have a very solid fan base people keep, seemingly, buying the same records over and over again. Which is very strange, I find, because originally it was such an interesting musical style. When all that stuff came out it was new and fresh.

SE: Well, I think it's like anything after a while. It just gets copious and then it explodes and then all of a sudden it's deemed the fuckin' wrong thing to be playing, y'know. We've always tried to mix a shitload of different ideas from different areas. I mean Napalm's not just a death metal band, it's a hardcore band, it's got fuckin' industrial influences, it's got all kinds of stuff. And I think maybe that's where some bands fall short. I mean, the black metal thing's getting -- well, has been -- swamped to fuck now. I don't know where that's gonna go next.

CoC: I don't know. It seems that the main bands of it seem to have sort of almost killed it themselves intentionally, by making sort of odd, very right-angled records, which is a bit different. A lot of the death metal bands went a bit Roadrunnery about '94/'95, where the black metal scene -- Emperor, Ulver, Mayhem and others -- have just gone a bit weird. But still there's the melee of keyboards and Cradle of Filth guitars which is selling the same sort of way that the SOD reading faction of the death metal crowd does. I was wondering what you thought of the whole Napster revolution and the whole Emusic revolution which Earache is taking part in?

SE: The whole Napster thing's a bit weird. Strangely enough I was just lookin' on that site today because some guy fuckin' wrote into the website we've just started ( just saying how he purchased the Lock Up album off Napster and I was like, fuckin' bastard! I've mixed feelings about it in some ways. The idea essentially is good, I think, but I know that for small bands it could be a pain in the fuckin' arse.

CoC: You think for small bands?

SE: Yeah, I think so in some respects. It depends on how you look at it. For very, very small bands it could be good, but I think when you've got fuckin' bands on a sort of ten, fifteen thousand selling basis or they've got some fuckin' record label who're stingin' 'em badly, it could really fuck them over. No-one intentionally does this for money, but for some bands -- going back to how we signed our record deal with Earache, I know that in the early days our royalty rate was not the greatest, y'know. You've got Napster putting the record out and in essence it's killer, but you've also got a fuckin' label puttin' the album out who're just fuckin' the band over twice as hard in a way. It's not particularly -their- fault. There's a million ways to look at it, I think. Essentially it's a good thing, I think. I don't know whether it affects bands' sales that much anyway, to be honest.

CoC: To be honest, I think at the moment it has very little effect, because of the number of users who use it and how many of them are fans of small bands. I think a lot of them are older, better off people with computers. I think most of the worry about Napster is gonna be for the future: in ten years, where will people be buying CDs, and all that sort of thing.

SE: I mean, that's the only thing that I would say, if a band was signed to so many albums for a label and they had a shit fuckin' deal, it would really affect them -- maybe not so much now but maybe in three or four years time, y'know what I mean, if a thousand kids download the album or whatever.

CoC: For some bands that is a good proportion of their sales. On the other hand, it depends how much people keep their honesty. I use Napster and I use the local university network to get music and stuff, but I never keep anything on MP3 and don't buy it, that I would keep. In the end, if I want something I'll buy it, because I feel some sort of debt to the people who made it. Even if that money doesn't necessarily go to the band directly, every sale tends to make -some- sort of difference as to whether they get another deal or whatever. But for bands from where Napalm were coming from -- when Earache started and that sort of thing -- in theory Napster is a really good place to discover music. Like you were saying about people just buying what was out there and not going and looking for stuff, one of the things about Napster is you can just go and look and download one track of anything out there that someone's got on a computer somewhere. That's one of the serious advantages. What do you think of the actual sales on the Internet? Do you think that's in some way gonna dehumanise CDs and music because, for example, the bands you covered and bands like Possessed and Venom and that sort of thing came from the vinyl age when everything had a lot of character, it had two sides and it was big: there was a whole image to it. If it goes digital, do you think that will die and bands will sort of become just sounds?

SE: There is a danger of that, I think. But I don't know, I think in some ways it's interesting to us because especially in years to come we're definitely thinking about where it's gonna be on the Internet in five or ten years time and where we as band could just like totally control our own output as well. I think there's a million ways. The whole vinyl thing's pretty much dead, unfortunately. Well, I suppose it's there to a point, but it was always great when you bought a record you could see that you got value for money, so to speak. But it's interesting that for some bands in the years to come you could have total control, which is good, y'know. I mean, I don't know how far it's gonna go because you are gonna need, probably, a really good distribution as well. We've been talking about this quite a while. In five years time, I think, probably.

CoC: It depends, but with Internet use going up at the rate it is, there will be an obscene amount of people on the Internet. It's ironic that someone like Metallica have been so hounding of Napster's phenomenon considering that they come very much from the tape trading circuit. One of the things that could be good with Napster if it gets to a bigger audience is that it could become like tape trading. A buzz could go around about a band -- like it did with yourselves or Morbid Angel -- before their album came out.

SE: With Metallica, I don't understand that, because they're so fuckin' huge anyway. What's the big deal, y'know? That was my only complaint -- what I said before -- with like certain bands on certain deals where it could potentially affect them. I mean I would see how that would piss -those- bands off: a) we have a shit deal; b) we're not recouped yet... and Napster's selling our album. That's the only way I would look at it at that point; as regards bands who press their own CD, it's a killer way of getting their name around. But on the spectrum of bands as big as Metallica I can't even see the point in getting worried about it, 'cause they sell so many bastard million albums anyway -- why get stressed? They're fuckin' beyond millionaires or whatever. And as you say, you know, the whole process of their first album came about through tape trading.

CoC: Absolutely, through _No Life 'Til Leather_.

SE: That's the one that's responsible. I mean in some ways the Internet reminds me of tape trading because since I've been on it I've talked to the guy from our website in Brazil and a few other people. Spoke to a guy today who wants to license our album in Russia. OK, it's not a great deal of money, but who gives a fuck: it gets out there and, y'know, the kids can get the record, which is the main thing. And you know, hopefully we can get some gigs out there. It just reminds me, all of a sudden I'm starting to keep in contact. It gives me something to fuckin' do again, y'know, it's great during the day. That's something that's been lacking a little bit, it just reminds me a lot of tape trading. I mean a band called Hirax who were one of our favourite bands years ago, all of a sudden they were reformed and I got an e-mail out of the blue like, "hey guys, blah, blah, blah", and it's killer. And in a way I think it is -good-. It definitely is a damn site easier than writing a fuckin' letter, y'know.

CoC: Yeah, e-mail has become a really, really good thing. One of the things about the Internet -- it's very obvious from Napalm that you're not 100% there with Capitalism -- is that it's quite an egalitarian thing in principle. Though maybe it'll stop being so in practice. But in theory the idea of something like Napster is that anyone can get it, and just say, for example, that there's some way of paying the artist, or some way of keeping him in the business -- that's one of the things I do like about the Internet, that it doesn't sort of say that if you don't have any money then you can't listen to good music. One of the things about the underground music scene that's annoying and difficult is that the records are often difficult to get and expensive when you find them. If you wanted to get Dying Fetus albums you more or less had to import them from the States until recently. You have to have a very sort of close knit sale thing, and I don't know where Napalm are financially at the moment, but a lot of the bands I've talked to over the last couple of years -- Cryptopsy, Vader and others -- spend Monday till Friday practicing and working -- running their lives to run a band -- and that's quite a commitment. If the Internet could in any way alleviate that, it would be great.

SE: I mean, the four of us, four of the band, we share a house together. We have our own little squat, so to speak. Barn, he writes for Kerrang! and reviews computer games for Kerrang! as well. We don't have to do the whole nine to five thing, but saying that, there are times when -- you know at moment -- it's all a bit scarce, really, to be honest. When it's good, it's good, and when it's bad, it can be bad. It's just one of those things. I think things are picking up a bit, obviously: we're gonna be on tour this Sunday for seven weeks, so that gets us out of the rut, so to speak, and playing the songs live, which'll be good.

CoC: Which political system between the US and the UK do you feel is more detrimental to people, which one do you think is better one way or another?

SE: I don't know... neither, probably. I am a bit of a doomist on that kind of thing. Barney's probably the person to answer a question on that, really. I am a bit more of an end of the world type fuckin' nutcase, y'know what I mean?

CoC: But not quite an anarchist, then?

SE: Not really. I'm more like, "they're all fucked basically and anyone who comes in doesn't change things anyway". Speaking for England, it just seems to get worse anyway. I don't pretend to understand the political designs or anything, really, I just look at it in a face value and try to use common sense and it just seems to me like things get worse anyway.

CoC: Would you say that's not the case with music or would you say you're just trying to combat that?

SE: What d'you mean?

CoC: Well, in the sense that a lot of what you said, a lot of what seems to be part of Napalm Death, is that you're not obeying to musical conventions, but in the same way what's popular and what's getting the most money and the way that the music industry flows is quite difficult to affect, but on the other hand a band like Napalm Death, back in '86/'87, no one would have expected it to make as much impact as it did, but it -did- make that much impact.

SE: That was quite a surprising thing, really, but I mean we never tried to play to people's whims, I suppose. I don't know. I mean, it's a surprise. I get surprised still, surprised that I'm still around after all this time, really. I never really thought I'd be here still doing music at this age. It's a bit of a surprise. We never tried to fit in, I don't think. We get a nice, weird kick out annoying people, I think.

CoC: Is it or is it not ultimately your hope that people do get into Napalm and do get into better bands than they sometimes might do?

SE: Yeah, I mean, you know, obviously if no-one liked as at all we'd probably cease to exist except for very infrequent gigs or whatever. I think obviously you want people to like you. But I don't know, I read a great Queens of the Stone Age thing in Kerrang! last week -- or some magazine -- and they said that if you want people to like you, pretend to have a secret that people wanna get into. So you cup your hands and when people come near you, you just tell them to fuck off and get away: it's not for you. I quite like that because in some ways it makes people think, "I'm intrigued, I've got some curiosity here", y'know. So in some weird way, I think maybe we do a similar sort of thing; it's just a case of can you really sort of handle what we're about, y'know.

CoC: I guess that's kind of what _Scum_ did. It was right angled. It didn't say come and listen to me, it said don't ever listen to me.

SE: We've got a little thing on our website -- Steven Welsh wrote it for us -- which just gets to the point where it just tells people to log off right now, remove yourselves. Which is a similar kind of thing in some respects. I mean with the new one, as I say, we're completely into it and we've just got to the point now where if people like it, great, and if they don't, we're just not really bothered anymore. This is what we want to do.

(article submitted 10/1/2001)

1/30/2009 J Smit Napalm Death: Silence the Tyrants
9/12/2006 J Smit Napalm Death: Blunt Against the Cutting Edge
5/13/2005 J Smit Napalm Death: Cause for Alarm
1/17/1996 A Bromley Napalm Death: On A New Plane of Existence
1/23/2009 J Smit 10 Napalm Death - Time Waits for No Slave
8/22/2006 J Smit 9 Napalm Death - Smear Campaign
4/7/2005 J Smit 9.5 Napalm Death - The Code Is Red... Long Live the Code
7/29/2004 J Smit 8 Napalm Death - Leaders Not Followers 2
6/23/2003 J Smit 9 Napalm Death - Order of the Leech
11/20/2000 P Schwarz 9.5 Napalm Death - Enemy of the Music Business
5/19/1999 A Bromley 8 Napalm Death - Words From the Exit Wound
9/1/1998 A Wasylyk 8 Napalm Death - Bootlegged in Japan
5/13/1997 A Bromley 8 Napalm Death - Inside the Torn Apart
2/5/1997 A Bromley 8 Napalm Death - Breed To Breathe
12/13/1995 G Filicetti 8 Napalm Death - Greed Killing
1/16/1999 P Azevedo Cradle of Filth / Napalm Death / Borknagar The Smell of Napalm in the Dark
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