NAPALM DEATH frontman Mark "Barney" Greenway recently spoke to Denmark's Antenna webzine about the group's new CD, "Leaders Not Followers: Part II", and the band's plans to record yet another album with cover songs. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
Antenna: How do you pick which songs to be covered?
Barney Greenway: "I think the general idea; the general sorta unwritten rule was that they kinda had to be from NAPALM DEATH's influential and formative years in the 80's. The underground bands from there, some demo bands, some album bands and so that was the general understanding so we each picked like 15 songs and we kinda condensed it down to 30 and then we just went into the studio to see how many we would record in the time that we had and that turned out to be like 19 songs so there were song even left over from this session but we do intend to a 3rd one at some point so of course we can then carry those over and again pick some more songs to go with those 'cause trust me there's potentially like a 1,000 songs we could do".
Antenna: Could you explain why you think we need another CD with cover songs?
Barney Greenway: "Yeah, but this one is slightly different like I'm saying the bands that are one there are largely demo bands and it's fair to say that those songs haven't been heard by as many people that should hear them because they are classics, absolutely undisputed classics and I think people need to hear them. People aren't necessarily gonna hear them unless that we kinda cover them 'cause then they'll hear them. People would perhaps buy the NAPALM DEATH album that wouldn't have taken the trouble to send a tape to someone and say, 'Can you give me these demos from these bands?' I think it serves a purpose. It shows that you can record classics without having a recording-deal or recording budget necessarily. You can still come up with classic material without having all this money to it and that's the point and that's why I think one of the things that make these covers of ours pretty special. It not just another band doing a cover of 'Raining Blood' by SLAYER which you hear like 20,000 times."
Antenna: It sounds like you haven't tried to alter the songs but instead tried to stay close to the original!
Barney Greenway: "Yeah, I mean obviously the mere fact that NAPALM DEATH is recording and we're gonna record in our own way. We gonna have the guitar sound that NAPALM DEATH has generally. We're gonna have the vocals. It's gonna be my vocals 'cause that's how I sing. But if you listen closely we have actually used a couple of production techniques that was kinda intriguing for the original songs. For an example if you listen to the MASTER track it the exact same setting on the harmonizer, the vocal harmonizer that Paul Speckmann used. If you listen to the HELLHAMMER track it's the same kinda drum sound on the sneer. The same vocal effect that Tom G. Warrior used on the original HELLHAMMER song which is very, very sorta swampy kinda vocals effect that is back in the mix. I mean it's all technical shit but is sounds authentic."
Antenna: You have Jim Whiteley featured on two songs. How did this come around?
Barney Greenway: "When you get an ex-member of the band people just think, 'Oh they've must have broken being friends and they are not talking anymore,' but that was not the case with Jim he's an really old friend certainly of mine and Shane's and he comes over to Birmingham 'cause he's from Birmingham but lives elsewhere now. He comes down to Birmingham quite a few weekends for a drink and a good time. Shane sorta started mentioning to him, 'Jim, would you like to play bass,' and Jim is like, 'Yeah, cool' and he came in and did it and there you go."
Read Barney Greenway's entire interview with Antenna at this location.