Sunday, 8 July 2007

Anaal Nathrakh Interview

Here is an interview I conducted with the Black Metal band Anaal Nathrakh for the Blog. Anaal Nathrakh are the only UK Black Metal band worth a shit.

The UK just doesn’t seem to produce Black Metal bands. Maybe the whole Rocky Horror Picture Show element just seems a little ridiculous for a nation of Earl Grey sipping prudes. Norway seems to churn out grim and frostbitten avatars of doom continuously and countries like Finland, France and of late even the sunshine and apple pie land of the USA have all spewed forth bands preaching the Necrotic Gospel or whatever they’re calling it these days. The only exception to this rule is Anaal Nathrkh, the Birmingham based duo of Mick Kenney and Dave Hunt whose uncompromisingly terrifying studio project has recent translated to the live arena thanks to the help of guys like Napalm Death’s Shane Embury and legendry Mayhem vocalist Attila Csihar.

You guys dress up in jeans and T-Shirts. Come on, where’s the corpsepaint at?

I don't know, are people into music because they like music or because they want an experience that's akin to an evil aspect of Conan? Pure escapism? Probably a bit of both, but we're a bit more 'real world' oriented, so fancy dress just doesn't seem appropriate for us. How important all that stuff is to Black Metal isn't something we worry about.

While we seem to be great at churning out punk and grind bands Britain doesn’t seem to have produced so many BM bands.

I think BM seems a bit pretentious to the British mindset - largely speaking we're happy enough to buy the CDs and sometimes turn up to shows, to count ourselves as fans. If most people were to actually don corpsepaint they'd feel a bit of a twat.

You use the word Necro a lot, are you just big Darkthrone fans or something?

Well we used to use the word necro, we don't so much nowadays. It was to show that we had links to BM without actually trying to embody it. Once we'd recorded our first demo we stopped caring about styles and influences and just did what we wanted to do. We recently played in Europe with Extreme Noise Terror, which was brilliant.

What do you think of the current popularity of USBM?

Well Xasthur strikes me as a pale imitation of Burzum with too much reverb and Deathspell Omega bored me. That's not an attempt to be controversial or upset anyone, it's just being honest. I'll take Under A Funeral Moon and Filosofem over Attera Totus Sanctus any day, even though there's some good new releases still coming out.

You guys said you’d never play live, but hey presto: shows!

I really don't like seeing bands play with drum machines. It just doesn't work for this sort of music. For us live it has to be maximum force, which is far better suited to a fully human band. It originally came about because Radio 1 asked us to do a session for them, and we thought we'd try it with a full band. Until we got into the studio to rehearse, we didn't even know if it would work. But it did. So although we hadn't given much thought to playing live before that, it suddenly became a possibility. We'd rather keep the shows down to a few so that they're more of an event when they do come along.

What do you think of hipsters appropriating the iconography of BM?

Euronymous would have said they should be executed. Personally I don't recognise appropriation. Bands make shirts - if you like the band and the design on the shirt then fine, wear one. If you're wearing one for any other reason then you're a prick, if the real point of the imagery that you're draping around yourself is largely irrelevant to you, then essentially you're just a liar.

You don’t print your lyrics. Are they too disgusting?

We just don't print them, end of story.

Have you ever burnt down a church? Or a maybe a bus stop? Or anything?

Have you ever left the house without hair gel? Stereotypes aren't much use other than for people outside the stereotype to belittle those they see as falling within it. Personally I think churches are amazing buildings.

How about general Satanism? Gorgoroth still seem to be digging on that.

I'm an atheist and predictably not exactly what you'd call a great lover of organised religion, but that doesn't have to have anything to do with burning churches - they're symbols of a lot more than simply beliefs you may not agree with. It boils down to a fascination with icons.

If you could work with any BM artist living, dead or incarcerated who would it be?

Personally I'd most like to work with Masonna or Whitehouse - that's the sort of thing that's given me the biggest thrill recently because it's just so fucking horrible. And if you threw that stuff together with Anaal Nathrakh it'd be even more fucking horrible!

Anything else you would like to say?

Nothing. Everything in the whole world is just so fantastic that I couldn't possibly add to it.

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