This band really needs no introduction, but recently ThrashHead had the honor of getting a few words with NAPALM DEATH mainstay Shane Embury.
ThrashHead: How and why has NAPALM DEATH stayed so relevant for SO long? What are the tricks to the trade? How do you continually keep it interesting and keep yourselves interested?
Shane: Fuck if I know mate. We are good friends, argue like fuck, but see each others' point of view in the end. We have great faith in each others' capacity to do what is the best for the band. All of us have given a lot to the band-- we have great respect for where the band came from and we feel we have to keep the core of it intact, but we are all looking in the same direction as to where we want to go, musically. We are all big lovers of music still past and present, and we give it our 100% every time and never take it for granted
ThrashHead: ND has always managed to keep the interest of the metalheads, the grindcore dudes and even the crust punks. What is it about ND that enables the band to draw support from so many different corners of the extreme music world?
Shane: We like different kinds of music. We remember our roots, I guess. We are just normal dudes at the end of the day.
ThrashHead: Explain "Occupy Napalm" and thoughts behind it. With the winter months on hand the Occupy movement has all but been quieted. Oakland remains a hotbed of activity with just over this last weekend 400 people being arrested. What do you think needs to happen within the movement to carry it forward?
Shane: The Utilitarian artwork coincidentally had a lot in common with the Occupy Wall Street, etc. movement. A few people picked up on this, and that we are a band with a message that encourages equality, free speech, and that sometimes non-violent actions speak louder than words. There is a message in our lyrics and ideology that has a lot in common with the views shared of those currently or not currently occupying any targeted areas. What it will take to keep the movement running is for the governments to continue to operate as they are, and people will continue to show their loyalty to the concept (weather permitting), until the point where change is achieved. Look at all those countries that have overthrown their governments in the last 5 years and continue to force change, for better or worse. It's an achievement, whether they will eventually benefit from their successes is yet to be seen.
ThrashHead: Mitch Harris made the video teaser for Utilitarian; is that correct? Are the visuals all his idea or did the band pitch ideas?
Shane: The visuals where his idea but he knew we would be into it. He is a big conspiracy fan and came up with some great visual ideas based on what he saw from artists around the world.
ThrashHead: ND has made some very visually moving videos to support the last several releases. How important of a tool is video today?
Shane: I think it helps a lot, especially with YouTube now. The whole way video is put out there is cool and refreshing as it can be low-key videos as well that are getting seen. You don't have to spend a fortune to get them done-- just good imagination.
ThrashHead: With the new album coming out, it will most likely be victimized by illegal downloaders. What are your feelings on that subject? How can bands and labels combat something like this? Do think that better packaging / a better overall product could encourage fans to buy the release versus just ripping off the songs?
Shane: I guess labels are coming up with better ways of keeping the record out of downloads for as long as they can--and also packaging the album better--but there are so many bands. As a fan of music, how are you supposed to keep up with it all? I don't know.
ThrashHead: What are the plans for the record? It comes out in late February; will there be a vinyl version released or any special packaging options?
Shane: There will be a vinyl version with an extra track that is not on the main album, and I think later on a picture disc.
ThrashHead: Can we expect a US tour to support the album? Any idea on who tour support might be? You better come to Denver!
Shane: Yeah, we haven't really been to the US for a long time. We have the MDF coming up in May, but we will for sure be coming over to support the record.
ThrashHead: ND has been very consistent with putting out albums that top the previous one and keeping a rigorous tour schedule. How do you keep up such a frantic pace?
Shane: I just carry on writing in between records and don't really think about albums per se. It's been such a big part of my life that everything I do relates back to the band, and things that I hear or see influence me to create music for the band. I guess this goes for the rest of the guys, and maybe this keeps the flow and momentum going from album to album-- and in some way, makes each record better. I have to be thankful for that!
ThrashHead: At this point in your career what have you not accomplished that you would still like to be able to do with the band?
Shane: Play with Metallica, ha!!! Fuck it, why not ? Would be a laugh getting bottled off the stage!
ThrashHead: Surprisingly Stick from DOOM was a big cat lover. Are you a pet guy? Dogs or cats?
Shane: I love dogs and cats. I have four cats here who are fucking crazy-- I love them!
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