Hey guys, how are you doing? Which are the latest news on NDT’s front? The latest I know from you is the release of your last EP past year. How has been the response regarding that release so far?
Hey, well the latest news is that in December we're embarking on our most ambitious tour yet...Australia, Japan and SE Asia, 3 months, dozens of gigs, gallons of booze, it's gonna be amazing!! Our last release was the Total Annihilation EP, which people have gone crazy for, and I'm fucking glad cos it's by far our best material so far. The best songs we've written without a doubt. Still has the simplicity we like but mixes things up a bit in terms of structures, more original vocal sound and phrasing, better lyrics, much better leads and more interesting riffs, and the best production we could hope for. Humility!? Not me. Just saw the January 2010 issue of MRR for the first time this morn and we got in two top 10 lists plus a great review of the EP so, alongside preparations for the Total Nuclear Annihilation Tour, that's probably why I've finally gotten around to answering this intie!
Let’s start tracing a bit your career, if you don’t mind. In 2005 you release the “Plague Bearer” demo tape. How was it received from Crust fans and in which way did it open doors for NDT? By the way, your label has the same name, is it runned by a member of the band or was it born under the same monicker to spread NDT’s music?
Actually the demo tape didn't have a title, just 'Demo 2005'. Plague Bearer is a raw punk/crust label from Copenhagen, which puts out bands like Martyrdöd, Disclose, Skitkids, Besthöven, Nightmare, etc. After seeing our live shows and then driving us on our first tour Jakob offered to release the tape on his label. Amazing response, sold out reallty quick and got us a good reputation, though it did admittedly leave us wishing we'd put more time into finding a good name... Jakob did a great job on the tape so we've been happy to stay with him for every vinyl release since.
Then came the “Nuclear Death Terror” LP, my favourite release of the band, which should be a must for anybody into the old Extreme Noise Terror and Doom, but showing some raw Metal influences near the very first Bolt Thrower or Stockholm stuff. That LP had a great packaging, including a poster, and a fantastic layout, like all your releases. You seem to take care of all the visual aspect of the band. How much important is it for you? Don't you think too many bands/labels do shitty releases without caring for giving a something worth paying for and then complain for not selling them?
[Actually the LP came after the demo so I'm gonna swap Q.3 & 4 around.] Yep, you're completely right with the ENT and Doom comparison, with added influences from Bolt Thrower and Antisect type stuff. Had some good songs but the production wasn't quite what we wanted...ended up having to use weak Marshalls after both our Laneys fucked out a few days before the recording. Yeah, we're very conscious of the packaging and artwork. Mid did a fantastic job for the album, some of my favourite crust artwork of all time. These days too many bands are in a hurry to 'be a band' rather than actually take time to make a good release with decent artwork, lyrics and actual songs. Everyone wants to do a label, go on tour, make a t-shirt and get some scene-fame. Whatever, fuck off. Do it proper or not at all. 21st Century consumerist hell.
Your next release is the “Ceaseless Desolation” EP, which includes three new tracks, with an improved, fatter and more aggresive sound, and including a Celtic Frost cover, “Morbid Tales”. Don’t you think that EP is like the starting point for the sound you have nowadays, fatter and heavier than on your demo? Why did you cover that song and how was it received among the Crust audience?
Yes, this is the core of the sound we have now. More of an early Sepultura/Autropsy sound added to the crust framework, and a lot more thought in the lyrics. We covered that song because Jonas (our drummer at the time) suggested it and we're all Celtic Frost fans and thought it would be a good cover. It was fun to do and it opened us up to a different style of structure and song composition. Celtic Frost are pretty much revered in the crust punk scene...Hellhammer were as much a punk band as a metal band, and Celtic Frost are the logical progression.
From your album covers to the titles and lyrics of your songs, all in NDT seems to have a relation with dark apocalyptic and war subjects, related to social or political struggles, as well as some touch of violence and population control. How far do this subjects go in your lyrics as a representation of your inner thoughts and view of our world? Is there a solution for all the mess we see everyday?
There is no solution, humanity is chaos and struggle, what we see is the war between the wills of various powerful individuals and clans who wish to mould the world into the shape which most benefits them. From the ancient days of the warrior and priest castes, it's never changed, and I see no reason why it ever will. Rather than struggle for a better world, I see any political struggle as a means of preventing a slide into an even more authoritarian restrictive reality. Alas, it continues nonetheless. The lyrics echo what concerns us from year to year. The early years of the band had a focus on the rage and anger we felt at the world and the way it's organised, in addition to vocalisations of the very real activism and political struggles we were then involved in. The last couple of releases took a step back to view the larger picture and sought more to paint a portrait of the hellish world we live in, and also focussed a lot more closely on the nihilism, drug abuse and hopelessness of ourselves and close friends. Generally, things that truly make us feel the anger and hopelessness that defines crust.
Your opinion about:
- September 11: An intensely cynical and insidious exercise by the global elite; we'll never know the truth of exactly what was or was not known to the U.S. government prior to the attack, but if there's anyone who still thinks that this went down as was portrayed in the mainstream press, they've very naive. The catalyst for a darker world.
- Kurt Westergaard and his caricatures: Funny and disturbing. I don't subscribe to the common PC view of pandering to Islam due to fear of being branded intolerant or racist. I think it's a vile, hideous faith, far worse than the other dominant world religons in its ignorance. I'm utterly opposed to any form of censorship and curtailment of freedom of expression. Why is it okay to vehemently complain about and castigate Christians for their intolerance and ignorance while it's considered xenophobic or worse to do the same in relation to Islam, or, for that case, Judaism? Fuck that shit. The kind of Islamism I see here in Europe is a regressive, masochistic throwback to the ignorance of 300-400 years ago. There are many problems with it, but even just based simply on its accepted treatment of women, I would happily see it wiped out. I work as a teacher in London and I've had many Muslim students; many of the religion-based attitudes I've come across are shockingly retrograde, at best. The next century is going to see bitter strife and serious social upheaval as Islam takes over and the Eastern world begins to exert its influence. It's going to be interesting as reactions to the influence of Islam cut across many lines of typical conservative or liberal thinking, leading hopefully to a more concerted, less dichotomous view of the world. (this is my own personal opinion, I dunno if the others in the band would completely agree) In terms of Westergaard himself, I'm sure you heard of his attempted murder by a Somali Muslim who broke into his house earlier this year? Because of a cartoon? Please...
- Obama: A distraction and a shallow joke of the establishment. A further reminder of American vacuity.
How would you place yourselves when it comes to a political orientation or ideology and it's relation with the music you play? Is it something vital to have that ideological part when you play Punk related music? On the counterpart, is it something that can be restricting in some moment? I think you're quite active into the danish scene, as I read on another interview, isn't it?
The closest any label comes to describing us is anarchism. I don't think it's vital to punk music unless you want it to be. Anarchy as violence and chaos is just as valid to punk as is anarchy as love and tolerance. It can be just as restrictive as it can be liberating. When you're younger and you discover that other people question the lies which comprise reality, it's intensely liberating. It's like a flash of light -it's not necessary to accept police control, or sexism, or work, or rent, or homophobia or racism or all the other things that drive intelligent young people crazy with depression and crippling guilt. When you get a bit older it can easily become the opposite...you figure out how you really feel about the world and issues which were incredibly affecting to your younger self become passé, taken-for-granted. And at that stage it gets very tiring to have 18-year-old crustie clones lecturing you from the punk rock rulebook about veganism or drug use or sexism...as my grandmother used to say, you can't say "sexism" without saying "sex is mmm!". I would get into serious trouble for saying that in certain parts of the Northern European punk scene...so naturally it becomes very amusing to wind such people up. Immature, yes, helpful, no, but fun, definitely yes. We've all been very active at one point or another in politics and activism, but nowadays less so. Some of us are still extremely active.
The eighties Hardcore scene of the UK was the starting point for a brutal, dark and raw crossover of the most extreme musical styles which ruled at that time, Punk and Metal. That mix was not only a fodder for a lot of good bands, but the influence of a lot more which appeared in different scenes of our planet, from the north of Europe to Brasil. How much important do you think bands like Amebix, Sacrilege, Hellbastard, Deviated Instinct or Extreme Noise Terror, among others, were, as a union of those styles and breaking the borders?
I think it was a natural progression, as within punk and metal in separate scenes all over the world we see similar strains of hardcorepunk developing. Then again, in places like Finland, Japan or Brasil we see simlar genius popping up due to the influence that bands like Disorder and Discharge had when their records arrived there. I think thiose bands were important, but I think the bands which came before them were even more important...the holy trinity for me is Black Sabbath, Motorhead and Discharge.
That scene seems to be harder than ever since the eighties, with especially a lot of bands from the US recording great albums, like Hellshock, Sanctum, Stormcrow, Instinct Of Survival or Alehammer, among others. Do you know/like these bands?
Yep, I'm a big fan of all those bands, though I.o.S. are from Germany and Alehammer are from the UK. I like a lot of the crust stuff from the last decade which steered away from the influence of Tragedy and From Ashes Rise, but personally it's the more raw and distorted stuff coming primarily from Japan that really excites me.
Still about that subject, it seems Denmark’s scene, just like Swedish one, has no problem between Punk and Metal. Appart of you, who have clear influences from both, we’ve seen crustie guys playing pure Death Metal like in Undergang’s case, which released a fantastic first demo/LP. Is your scene mixed or are there still some differences which can't be solved? Could you name us some good bands we should look for?
There's not much of a mix but there's certain key people involved in the behind-the-scenes organisation of concerts and labels that have a strong influence on other people's tastes, and thankfully the majority of them are open to metal just as much as they are to punk. A lot of punks have silly ideas that metalheads are ignorant, sexist or involved with nazism. I frequently get snotty comments, strange looks and occasionally threats for wearing t-shirts of black metal bands which are deemed anathema to the prescripted punk mindset. Very silly behaviour from people who profess to be open-minded. Anyway, I don't even know where to start with the bands that cross the punk/metal divide...from Japan, Effigy...from Sweden, Martyrdöd...from the U.S., Bone Awl...there's hundreds.
I saw some pictures of you playing in Bremen covered in corpsepaint, really similar to the one some Black Metal bands use. Are you into these style of was it some kind of mockery against it? Your thoughts about the orthodoxy or lack of evolution some bands defend for their thoughts and music? Isn't this, in some way, similar to some Punk menalities?
It was just for fun because it was Friday the 13th and the guys putting on the show were having a horror party. Personally I play in a black metal band and often find myself listening to black metal more than other styles of music. I think it's very, very similar to the punk mindset, musically. I love the orthodoxy and rawness, but the advantage BM has over punk for me is the expressiveness and level of experimentation which actually works well in it as a genre. Take a listen to the recent releases from bands like Jumalhamara, Raspberry Bulbs, Altar of Plagues, Lonndom, Deathspell Omega, Lustre, Arizmenda...the sheer scale of experimentation which goes on in BM is staggering and infinitely fascinating.
What do you think about the last albums of these bands?: Discharge, Celtic Frost, Hellbastard, Extreme Noise Terror, Driller Killer.
The ENT/Driller split was great, and both the Celtic Frost Monotheist and Triptykon Eparistera Daimones albums were absolutely amazing. Had a brief listen to the new Discharge and Hellbastard and it's not bad but I don't really care.
Between 2005 and 2008 you've toured almost all Europe, and then toured Mexico between December 2008 and January 2009, together with Antimaster, if I'm not wrong. How has been all that touring experience? Best and worse moments?
Fucking amazing. Touring is the best thing in the world, there's nothing I'd rather do. The first couple years of the band saw us constantly playing and on tour, but now due to myself living in the UK and our drummer living in Australia aswell as various personal commitments and recent prison sentences, we're not able to tour so much, just a period of intense NDT activity for about 3 months of the year. Worst moments were our UK tour back in 2005 and Scandinavian tour in 2006. It fucking sucked...in the UK, someone brought their partner along who caused a lot of trouble and bad feeling and it's probably the closest we've come to breaking up, and in Scandi one of our members' drug abuse had reached its height and basically fucked everything up. Best was either our Eastern Europe tour in the middle of winter a few years back or the Mexico tour. Basically it gets better with every tour. And now, finally, Japan!! Fuck yeah!!
Did you find a lot of differences between the places you played, not only from Europe to Mexico but inside our continent? Where did you find the better audience or kinder people? How well organised were the scene from the rest of countries you visited, compared to Denmark? Best bands you saw live?
Yeah, big differences. Mostly positive but occasionally you do get the odd show where the promoter's a fucking dick without a clue. No typical audience or people. We had equally mental fucking gigs between Mexico City and Berlin, it doesn't really have any impact. People in Mexico were more impressed with us for being foreign and exotic, which was sort of funny for us. Endless requests for photographs, autographs and loads of boys and girls demanding kisses. Hilarious! But annoying after a while. Germany always takes care of the bands well with food, drinks, sleeping arrangements etc. We're happy to play anywhere, whether it's to 800 people or 80 people, but the best shows are always the small ones, packed with people and with small, low stages. Always.
So, I think we could close this letting you give us some news about the coming future of Nuclear Death Terror. Are there any new recordings/releases planned? Maybe a new LP? And, by the way, tell us your current playlist, if you don’t mind.
The future is this tour I mentioned, and we have half a new album written. It's hard to find time together for wiritng, but I think we're going to hold on to all our new songs to work towards another LP. Due out 2016. Current playlist...well, right now it's Triptykon Eparistera Daimones after being inspired by your question! Already today I've listened to Trioxin 245, Germ Attak, Gloom, Kriegshög, and Anti-Bofors. The last few days I've been listening to a lot of Craft, Watain, Armagedda, Bone Awl, Destruktions, Nolla Nolla Nolla, Disorder, Necrowretch, Nihilist, GBH, 13th Floor Elevators, Antoine Dodson, Busy Signal, Dr. Dre and all sorts of other nonsense...
Thanks a lot for your time, I hope to see you live somewhere soon. If you want to add any other thing you forgot, do it now.
Thanks for the interview, crash the pose and have as much sex as possible.
Gia Thanatos is a webzine dedicated to music for the apocalyptic times. No matter the scene or genre it comes from, and mainly chosen according to its author's taste.