Daniel Löfquist of CriticalMass.se recently conducted an interview with NAPALM DEATH bassist Shane Embury. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
On frontman Barney Greenway doing some experimental vocal stuff on the new album:
"We're all big fans of a mid-Eighties band called SWANS and we've tried in the past to emulate their impressive sound a bit. We came pretty close but I think that with 'Morale' from the last album we came very close. So this time around we thought we'd try to get even closer and I really think Barney perfected it. I love that stuff, I can listen to that stuff all day, you know. Actually, Barney and I talked about doing some sort of project with just all that kind of stuff. So maybe when we get some free time maybe we'll construct some tunes around that kind of basis. When you have an album with a lot of really fast grinding material and you mix that heavy type stuff in there it just make the sum of it all that much more impressive."
On how the band's lyrics have evolved over the years:
"I think that throughout all of the albums we've always had a strong political message. I think that with us, even though we've gotten older and matured, we still have a quite stark look on the world around us. The new album is probably as close as we've ever come to a concept album, because pretty much every song on the album deals with religious oppression in one way or the other. Again we're looking at the world and just seeing what's going on with Israel, wars in general, sexual oppression and things like that you know. The theme of the record more or less is the question about religion in our world today — is it really solving any problems and providing a sanctuary for people? Or is not just the opposite, creating many of the problems the world is facing today? You know, we're intelligent creatures. Do we really need some religion to tell us right from wrong? So I guess in a way our lyrics have gotten more mature, it's not just 'fuck the government' and all that anymore. It's gotten quite a bit deeper than that. And just by watching the news or reading bullshit headlines in the media and seeing that it's complete fabrication a lot of the time just gives us an endless source of inspiration too. With the endless amounts of information available to people these days, it can all certainly spark ideas. Take 9/11 for example; when it happened me and Mitch [Harris, guitar] totally just looked at each other and went 'It's gotta be the CIA that's behind it!' There's so much lying and deceiving going on and we don't buy all this bullshit at all. There are powers at work orchestrating things like the media and so on."
On people downloading music without buying the albums:
"You know, for me, I was a tape-trader, you know, back in Eighties. I had the first DEATH and POSSESSED albums before they were released. But once they were released I went out and bought them. But back then you had probably forty bands to choose from, when nowadays you probably have like four thousand bands to choose from, you know. If I was eighteen years old today and, like I was back then, with limited pocket money and there was this band that I just got to hear and couldn't afford to buy, I'd probably be downloading it. The technology is there for you to be able to do that, you know. The people that are moaning and groaning the most about this MP3 issue are the fucking record companies, but still most of them [are] directly sponsored Sony, Panasonic or some other company that makes MP3 players. It just kills me — it's ridiculous, you know. It's like, yeah buy a DVD burner, but don't burn any DVDs. That's just stupid. I look at it this way, playing in a band, from my point of view, growing up with tape-trading, I think also kids can't buy everything, you know. Maybe they download one of our albums and think it's not that good. However the next album they might download and like and the go out and buy you know. Or they'll at least come to our shows and buy a T-shirt or something. So hey, I think it can work out that way instead. So I just say, 'Fuck it,' you know."
Read the entire interview at CriticalMass.se.