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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Shane Embury Napalm Death – Interview
The Rockpit interviews
SHANE EMBURY
NAPALM DEATH




What's left to say about the legendary grindcore band that is Napalm Death? Their blistering shows are a spectacle to watch and their music is as brutal as anything that's out there and has been for over a couple of decades now. With a new album out "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" and a tour down under with fellow UK metallers Carcass, we caught up with Shane Embury to discuss all that is happening with the band.

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Andrew: So how has 2015 been for the band so far?

Shane: It's been cool, we started up pretty early. Middle of January we went out on tour in the States with Voivod, Exhumed, Iron Reagan and a few other bands. Cool tour, we only got back a couple of weeks ago so it was a good long one. Good response and just enjoying a little quiet time at the moment before Australia.

Andrew: Awesome! Yeah it's great to see you coming back to Australia, last time you were here was around 2010 I believe?

Shane: Yeah it's been a long time actually. I mean it doesn't seem that long but yeah it has so it's nice to be coming back really.

Andrew: And you are coming with Carcass as well which is another great band so this is a great metal package here. What can we expect on the tour?

Shane: Well it's been a long time since we played together. We're all friends obviously so it's going to be fun from that aspect. I think it's going to be some good, solid music [so] hopefully a couple of surprises here and there but it's going to be cool. Extortion is opening the shows and they are a great band so it's going to be good! Good, heavy riffs going on...blast beats, Discharge beats...you name it, it's all going to be flying around so it's going to be cool.

Andrew: Now you have a new album out "Apex Predator - Easy Meat" which is a great album. I guess you will be playing a few tracks from this album on the tour?

Shane: Yeah it's always tough to pick a setlist. On a recent U.S. tour we were doing variations from night to night but since we haven't been down to Australia for a while, obviously we are gonna play a few songs from the "Utilitarian" album as well and we're going to try and mix it up. Hopefully there will be quite a varied setlist for everybody, there will be some new ones of course but I'm not sure what the set times are going to be but I think we're probably going to be play for 65-70 minutes maybe. Hopefully we'll squeeze a lot in.

Andrew: Obviously you guys have been around for a long time now so how difficult is it to pick out a setlist?

Shane: I wouldn't say it's difficult, we have no problem picking a setlist. It's just [trying to] squeeze it all in to a timeframe that works. Usually we say 'Right let's go for this' and the setlist is ridiculously long and some people want to see Napalm for 90 minutes and I think that's too long and a bit boring for the nature of what we do. So we have to streamline it down and there's an awful lot of songs we want to play live but I think in the last 18 months we've been trying to vary it up. But it does get tough because there's certain portions in the set so to speak that is always based on the first album. We like to play the early stuff as well so it's hard to balance it at times but it's also a fun effort as well.




Andrew: Are there any songs from your back catalogue that you have never played before?

Shane: Another guy asked me a similar question but yeah I think for sure. There's been a lot of songs that we have never played live over the years. To try and pinpoint it now would be pretty tough but I think there's a lot of songs that we've never played. There's a lot of albums and I'm pretty sure from "Fear, Emptiness, Despair" just off the top of my head, we haven't played "Fasting on Deception", I don't think we ever played the song "Throwaway" so there's quite a lot of songs really. But I'm sure if I sat down and thought about it I could come up with a pretty wierd setlist which would be interesting to play.

Andrew: Is there any particular reason you never played those songs or is it simply because you got so many other songs that you need to kinda play all the time?

Shane: No particular reason I don't think. I think we kinda have all these songs that get stuck in your head as your favorites I guess and so you tend to naturally go for them and sometimes you can leave out other songs. It's a wierd thing where what you perceive to be the best songs are not always what everybody else thinks so I guess all you can do from your perspective is these are my favorite songs from the album so I wanna play these and then you say the reason why and then you try to compromise between it all. And so some invarioubly get left out and there's no real rhyme or reason to it, it just happens I think.

Andrew: What is your personal favorite song to play live?

Shane: I enjoy playing "When All Is Said And Done", Suffer The Children" is always a nice one to play. If the gig is going a bit ropey, that one is going to save your ass maybe haha! Those 2 in particular are fun to play, there's been some nice ones off the new record which have been going down well which is cool.

Andrew: Yeah so how is the new album playing out live? How are the reactions from the fans?

Shane: It's been pretty good! In the States it was tricky in some respects because we started the tour as the album came out which is good from a promotional point of view but also people aren't familiar with the songs. But there was some nice moshpits going on for some of the new songs and that's cool. Song like "Cesspits", "Adversarial", songs iike that which were going pretty well so it was cool. They were getting the reactions which was nice to see so I think the general feeling is that the new record is right up there with the rest of them so that's cool.

Andrew: I would definitely agree with that! So looking back on your career, do you find touring is still as much fun as when you first started or how do you still feel about it now?

Shane: It's a different thing really for me. Spent a long time touring and I don't shy away from the fact that in the earlier years there was a lot of partying involved, a lot of crazy shit and hanging out with buddies in the States or wherever and that was kind of part and parcel to what touring was. Me, Mitch (Harris, guitars), Jesse (Pintado, former guitarist) and friends across the world just hanging out but recently I quit a few years ago, I had to stop drinking due to some liver problems so that doesn't happen anymore really for me. Not that it was the be all to end all of it but it was a big part of having fun I guess so touring for me is a little different. But I still enjoy it because it's kinda different, I have a little daughter and it's hard being away from my family and also not being the crazy, drinking, manic maniac that I used to be. So to look at touring from a different angle you have to see a few places that you never normally would, you look at things in different angles and it's still fun. So I'm enjoying it, the last tour we did was a hell of a lot of fun. We shared a bus with Voivod and we're both in a similar age group really so we were quite reflective in our older years and where we see ourselves going as bands and it was pretty cool touring together really, I enjoyed it.




Andrew: So what do you remember from the last tour you did in Australia back in 2010?

Shane: They were good shows, we had fun and had some decent turnouts. I remember eating some great food and meeting some people and they were energetic shows. I've always enjoyed it down there, I hadn't been there in a long time. The first time we went I think it was 1996 and it was a long time until we came back after that but I've always enjoyed it down there, the shows have always been good. Decent memories, seeing some of our friends down there. I'm expecting this trip to be a lot of fun actually.

Andrew: Yeah I think it's going to be a great tour, I think pairing up Napalm Death and Carcass together is a great metal package. Do you know whose idea it was for the 2 bands to come to Australia?

Shane: We were talking to Brad from Soundworks for a while about getting us back over and I think Carcass are doing some shows afterwards and I think it kinda made sense for them to be coming down there so the idea was why not put both bands together really. And we thought fuck it why not, you know? So it kinda came about that way really, there was no insane brainstorming. It was Brad at Soundworks who was the guy that pitched the idea and we thought yeah sounds cool, let's go for it.

Andrew: Awesome! So just reflecting a little bit on the past, is there any particular moment from the band's history that stands out for you? Like a big highlight of your career?

Shane: Well there's kinda many really but just recently we played in Oakland, California and Jello Biafra from Dead Kennedys came out and sang "Nazi Punks Fuck Off" with us. That was the most recent one that was a big thing for me, I was really happy to see that. I think career points it's hard to say, we went to Russia in 1991 many years ago when the Soviet Union was kinda crumbling I guess so to speak. That was kind of interesting because I don't think any band had been there at that point, we didn't know what to expect and it was insanely cold. We did 2 shows to 15,000 people so it was pretty nuts and a crazy experience. There's been a few over the years but those 2 stand out for me at the moment.

Andrew: Yeah the Russian experience would of been, especially at that time, an interesting experience.

Shane: It was different, you're hanging out with soldiers who all of a sudden had the freedom to go and listen to rock concerts but they didn't. They didn't give a shit about it but a lot of fans who had never seen a heavy band and had never seen videos of people dancing to extreme music so they didn't know what to do, they were swinging their coats around their heads and it was like they had wild abandon. So little things like that were interesting to us. I think around 1996 we went to Serbia and Bosnia and seeing kids with no money and nothing on them, pretty poor and we had loads of catering. Just cans of soda and all kinds of shit and we were just handing them out to these kids and they were very happy to be getting this stuff because they hadn't seen it because they had nothing. So little memories that you think back over that you wouldn't have experienced that if it wasn't for Napalm so it's pretty impressive to remember those things.

Andrew: Yeah I guess that's one of the positive aspects of being in a band and touring around the world is you get to see different cultures and things like that. That must be a pretty cool thing to see.

Shane: As long as you get the time. Sometimes I look back on opportunities missed as well but generally I've done more in my life than I could have possibly ever imagined through this band so there's a lot to be thankful for. Sometimes you take it for granted and you have to slap yourself across the wrist and remember that you shouldn't. It's nice to have done so much really, quite lucky.

Andrew: Yeah definitely. Well as I said we're looking forward to seeing you guys in April and I think this is going to be a great tour. It's been a pleasure talking to you today, thanks for taking the time!

Shane: No problem mate, you take care!


NAPALM DEATH, CARCASS and Extortion performing at:

April 16th - Perth, Capitol, 18+
April 17th - Melbourne, Prince Bandroom, 18+
April 18th - Sydney, The Factory Theatre, 18+
April 19th - Brisbane, The Hifi, 18+
April 21st - Valhalla, Wellington, 18+ SOLD OUT!
April 22nd - Valhalla, Wellington, 18+ (No Extortion)
April 23rd - The Kings Arms, Auckland, 18+ (No Extortion)

TICKETS ON SALE NOW FROM:
PERTH - www.oztix.com.au
MELBOURNE - www.princebandroom.com.au / www.oztix.com.au
SYDNEY - www.factorytheatre.com.au / www.ticketek.com.au
BRISBANE - www.thehifi.com.au/brisbane
NEW ZEALAND - www.undertheradar.co.nz
ALL AUSTRALIAN SHOWS - www.soundworkstouring.com - paypal only

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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on March 20th 2015