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Shane Embury (Napalm Death)

Interview with Shane Embury from Napalm Death
by Rena Karam at 07 February 2009, 4:13 PM

British legends NAPALM DEATH are returning with their 14th full-length album Time Waits For No Slave to prove once again that Grindcore never dies. Shane Embury talks to Metal Temple about the band's past and present, giving the chance to the fans to learn a few things further about their personal convictions.

Interview with Shane Embury from NAPALM DEATH

Hello! Welcome to Metal Temple. Let's start with a small introduction to your last album Time Waits For No Slave. This album reminds us who NAPALM DEATH is: Fast and aggressive tracks with conscious lyrics once again. Could you please describe us the recording process and what a response has so far from the fans?

Well the album doesn't come out for another couple of days but typically you can download it. We recorded the album at Foel Studios once again and also at Parlour Studios with Russ Russell, who we have worked with since 1999. He understands us as a band and is more like a 5th member. We recorded the record and mixed it in 3-4 weeks, which is something usual for us.

You are one of the few bands that seems they never get bored of releasing a new album, the average pause from the one to the other is almost 2 years, a time necessary of course to compose the songs, record them, design the artwork etc. Don't you have any other pressure from your personal lives or when the music starts everything else gets it's rest for NAPALM DEATH?

I personally write a lot of music when I have spare time and I file it away or work on it until I feel the time is right to place it on a NAPALM DEATH album. Some of my compositions for this record actually date back to 2003 and the first track on the record, I began writing just after we had finished our last album Smear Campaign. Mitch is also very productive and Barney always makes notes of prospective song titles.

Most albums on your career, from Scum to Words From The Exit Wound were released by Earache Records before signing a contract with Spitfire and now with Century Media Records. What made you part ways with your first label?

They lost sight of who they were at the beginning since we were first there. It's like a stale marriage - time for a break and a new start.

From the Enemy Of The Music Business CD and then, a few ideas from crust to more grind parts have become obvious on NAPALM DEATH's music. Was the new label one of the reasons this happened? Are you keeping it that way to your following works?

We felt released after parting from Earache and more motivated as we got new people involved with us like Russ, our long time producer and this was encouraging.

In the late years you started a few great co-operations with different style artists such as Jamey Jasta, Jeff Walker, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Jello Biafra and there were quite different reactions from the fans especially in the case of Anneke where many said that her voice is totally irrelevant with your songs but others said it was a killer. Were you influenced by the negative opinions? Shall we expect any new co-operation for the following album?

This new album has no guest vocals although Barney has tried some different vocal approaches and I have done more backing vocals alongside Mitch. Anneke was great and totally relevant to NAPALM DEATH as a band, people should remember we have always experimented with grindcore and have never trapped ourselves as some other bands do.

Was that a typical working proposal to the above or you were already friends with them? I remember reading that Jasta was booking shows on behalf of you so you already had a few relationships. What about the others?

Something like that.

There are a few people (luckily not much) who have this really stupid opinion that NAPALM DEATH died after Scum (??) because the music differs much from Scum to the next releases. I truly believe that these guys have never listened again any other NAPALM album. What do you think and what would you say to them?

I was in the studio when the A side was recorded and a massive fan before I joined. NAPALM became more intense after Scum. I have always had the core of the band at heart. Alongside a few other friends, followed NAPALM DEATH before anyone even knew them. I am great friends with Nick Bullen, the original member of the band who appreciates how we have moved forward and Justin from the Scum album thought the band got better after Scum. It's always people's opinions and everyone has one but I will state this for the record: If NAPALM DEATH died after Scum then why are we still here 28 years later???? Vary narrow-minded people in my opinion.

Despite the fact that Scum seems to be an album that you have worked less than any other before releasing it, it is one of the reasons that helped you to be that popular. What made it so special? Do the lineup changes mean that at first you were a kind of a project?

It was a great combination of many ideas at the time and no one had really heard to such a degree. It also helped that John Peel, a very famous indie presenter for Radio 1 embraced the band and helped the band appeal to a different kind of audience as well.

How did you react when you've heard about Jesse Pintado's death? What would you tell him if you had the chance to meet him again for a few minutes?

I was friends with him since 1987. He made his choice in life I guess and I told him this before he passed away.

Barney did some vocal session with our Bulgarian hardcore neighbors LAST HOPE. How did that happen, did they contact you and you just replied no problem, did you know each other or what? What should a band do to convince someone of you participate in their next album?

Barney is friends with the guys, I guess they were happy.

 The Great And The Good was the song with which you participated in the Tsunami Benefit split. Why did you chose that song and was that for you a kind of a goodbye to the people that were lost there like Mieszko from NASUM?

There was a need we felt to do it, that was just chosen as Jello was on that song and it made it more special. Mieszko was a dear friend of mine.

It was January 2007 when I attended a live I'll never forget. Finally I was about to enjoy a NAPALM DEATH show when I heard that Barney had an accident and he was about to get on stage about on crutches. When I saw the rumors were real I thought: This guy has balls, who wouldn't just cancel the show in that situation?! How did that feel for Barney and were there any worries about a possible bad stage set?

You do what you have to do, Mitch broke his foot at the beginning of a tour we did with NASUM and he was on crutches for 7 weeks, if we can still make the show happen, we will. It was hard for Barney though.

So name the reason you would cancel or have cancelled a show in the past. I don't mean something like the cancellation in Mexico where this was not your fault. Depends on the situation, I can't think of something right now.

In The Silence Is Deafening video you have a woman-interpreter of the sign language for the deaf. It was not that you were thinking that a deaf person would see that, right? Which was the reason you decided to include that in the video? (by the way the part with the blood covering the woman's hands is really one of my favorites).

That was Mitch's idea, I think it was a play on the deafening aspect of the song title.

NAPALM DEATH are recognized as one of the bands with the strongest political id. Would you consider your music as a form of anarchism? What is your opinion about the political parties nowadays? Do you think they differ the one from the other? Do you vote?

I don't vote and I am not really interested in politics. Barney is very motivated in that direction but we see a need to use lyrics in positive ways.

Any plans for the third Leaders not Followers? Which song would definitely be a part of it?

At some point, but I am not sure when we will have the time. We had a bunch of songs left over that we didn't manage to do on the second one.

What about your playlist at home?

Right now I don't have much of one as I am busy with touring and have been pretty tired lately.

As a musician with a past but a fan as well, I'd like to hear your opinion about the following names/bands/releases.


I liked them up to the Black Album. The Black Album was great as well.

b) Jello Biafra:

I liked DEAD KENNEDYS too.

c) TERRORIZER' s last album:

I didn't like it.

d) Philip Anselmo:

I never liked PANTERA.

e) Ozzy Osbourne:

I love the Randy Rhoads albums.

Do you have any often used quote/moto?

No, I don't.

There are a few European tour dates announced. Any promise to the Greek fans for a return to our country?

I think towards the end of the year or maybe over the summer.

Thanks a lot Shane, it was really nice having the chance to talk with you. We hope to see you as soon as possible again in one of our venues.


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