NAPALM DEATH's BARNEY GREENWAY: 'Our Independence Of Mind Has Kept Us Afloat All Of These Years'

July 29, 2018

United Rock Nations conducted an interview with frontman Mark "Barney" Greenway of British extreme metal veterans NAPALM DEATH at this year's Hellfest, which was held last month in Clisson, France. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).

On how he would describe what exactly NAPALM DEATH is and the band's influences:

Barney: "NAPALM DEATH is a big melting pot of many different things, ranging from metal, although it's only a part, punk, hardcore, obviously as well, and, but also, we would call it like 'noise rock' and industrial music and also, 'no wave' rock as well. So, very strange kind of almost pop. All that, everything is an influence on NAPALM DEATH and we take those influences and use it in our own way. Lyrically, well, we are a humanitarian band, so, we promote humanity because we believe that humanity is all too often ignored or not realized or left behind. It's important for all us, I think, that humanity is brought back into the human consciousness."

On how NAPALM DEATH blends "violent" music with socially aware and humanistic lyrics:

Barney: "It's a contradiction, but that's good. We are a band at the end of the day. So, music, in terms of the art, is expression. It's actually very good to have that contradiction. It's a very violent sound, but with a very peaceful ethos. It's artistically, I would say that's quite good, but that's just me."

On whether he can explain NAPALM DEATH's longevity:

Barney: "I can't. All we feel as NAPALM DEATH that we can do is to do our best. Do what we feel is right and NAPALM DEATH operates in a certain way. We are very independent, like self-contained. So, we have that mind, you know, we want to stay independent as a band and not be influenced by big, powerful, you know, corporations or something. We stay away from that. Our independence of mind has kept us, I think, afloat all of these years. We have a sense of realism as well. We understand that we are a band that has a certain level and we are realistic about that. We know what is possible and what isn't possible, so that helps us because you see clearly, you tend to see clearly."

On the many different musical sides to NAPALM DEATH's career:

Barney: "See, I don't even look at it like a career. Career… I don't really like that word because that suggests that you do it as a job. It's, like, 'Oh, shit. I have to go do my job.' I never, never looked at it like that. A career, also, sounds calculated a little bit. NAPALM is very spontaneous. It was never calculated like that. It's more spontaneous. I thought [NAPALM would last] two or three years. There was nowhere near as many people coming to the gigs as what there is now. So you just thought 'Two or three years, it would be fun. Speak some positive things, play some really good music and okay.' But nearly 40 years later and still we're here. [Laughs]"

On how NAPALM DEATH operates as a band:

Barney: "Our way of working, we work very privately. We work very self-contained. We don't sort of, when we're working on new music, we're kind of very secretive about it, in a way. Not because we're trying to hide anything, it's just because we need that isolation to work properly, so that's for one thing. And, the motivation is, well, simply that we feel that we can still make good music. We feel that we can and do good gigs. Once either of those starts to [suffer], then we're finished. I don't want to do 50 percent of NAPALM DEATH. I just want to do 100 percent, not 50 percent. Always maximum."

On the status of NAPALM DEATH's next studio album:

Barney: "It's coming. The music is almost done. But, I'm writing lyrics at the moment. It will be next year, it will be 2019. But it's coming. I mean, I can't say too much about it right now."

NAPALM DEATH is currently supporting SLAYER on the second U.S. leg of the latter band's final world tour. The 20-date trek, which kicked off July 26, features additional support from LAMB OF GOD, ANTHRAX and TESTAMENT.

NAPALM DEATH released a special 2CD, 2LP and digital-download compilation titled "Coded Smears And More Uncommon Slurs" in March via Century Media Records. This special collection includes a total of 31 songs with a playing time of over 90 minutes, compiling rarities and exclusive earworms spanning 2004-2016.

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