A.A. NEMTHEANGA (PRIMORDIAL, TWILIGHT OF THE GODS, BLOOD REVOLT): Q & A
You completed a short tour of Central America with the Swedish panzer division Marduk a few months ago, how do you remember the rumble in the jungle?
It was a great experience. I know the Marduk guys pretty well and we were all on the 70 000 tons of metal cruise so all I did was book a few flights and tag along with them once that was finished. I travel a lot but am always looking for ways of getting to see new countries so this was new territory for me. They have a lot of problems down there with drug running from South to North America and for example in Honduras we ate under armed guard and couldn’t really walk around but Guatemala and Costa Rica were safer and the people are very friendly and positive.
Were you, like, just a guest vocalist on the tour or had more to look after?
I ended up helping with the sound most nights as I did sound engineering years ago and most of the local guys didn’t seem to have much of a grasp on what Marduk were doing but other than that there’s no merch so I just hung out and sang a song every night. During the day we just tried to get a feel for the country/city.
How is the new album, “Redemption At The Puritan’s Hand”, doing so far, both critics- and sales-wise?
Seems to be doing very well. I think we will reach the sales of the last album by the time Winter sets it in at least in Europe which is a really good sign in the current climate but we really don’t pay that much attention. It’s gratifying and important to see chartable growth but it’s not the be all and end all but for now things are working well.
Primordial were voted the Best Underground Band at Metal Hammer Golden Gods 2011, does it have any significance to you?
The significance really was that it was a public vote so we beat out some other bands that perhaps some people would have fancied a bit more than a band like Primordial so that’s a great victory for a band who really exist on the outside of the fame obsessed media circus. Other than that it was a curious night and interesting to observe the people who pay more attention to you because you have an award under your arm. I left it in the Crobar in London if anyone’s curious!
Are you still an underground band, as such?
No not really. I mean we came from the underground, this is where our attitude and hearts for want of a better term lie but I think once you step over about 5 or 6000 and then over 10 000 sales then I think you are stepping out of the underground, playing mainstream festivals etc. I think though the underground people know our history and where we came from and the fact we never compromised so they respect us.
With the festival season having already started, are you going to promote the new album heavily this Summer?
We do what we can. if the timing is right and we are able to we will do as much as we can. and hopefully into the autumn/winter and into 2012.
And what about the Twilight Of The Gods project? Any chances of seeing you pay tribute to the mighty Bathory in the forseeable future?
I think we more or less did our last show at Ragnarok festival in Germany and if that was it, it was a great ending, very fitting. However I never say never and you never know, we might do one or two more someday. What we are going to do is try and write some songs together. The chemistry was so good. Just heavy metal hopefully… no deep dark secret.
I have heard people moaning and bitching about TOTG being a purely commercial project but then I don’t think you’re ever going to agree with that?
Really? Because I made so much money from Primordial over the last 20 years right? Fuck people with this attitude. Armchair critics who sit on the fence of life and never do a thing creatively with their lives. Sitting on chatrooms and forums sniping and bitching. Listen, I don’t think my musical credibility can be questioned. 20 years of not selling out or compromising with Primordial for any financial gain proves that. I did it because I wanted a challenge, I wanted to pay tribute to my greatest musical influence. Those albums are 20 years old now so it seemed really apt to breath some life into these songs for a new generation. It’s not Bathory nor meant to be Bathory, just a bunch of guys playing some songs, if you like Bathory and liked the show great. If you don’t like the idea don’t go, life moves on and you can bitch about something else but while doing that I’ll have achieved and completed something else.
What are your experiences with perhaps the most extreme side-project you partake in, namely Blood Revolt?
Yeah cos I did this one for money as well right?… Obviously roping in the rock stars from Revenge to further my career right?
Just an idea born after a Revenge show in Dublin and Chris, J and I found we shared many musical influences and ideals and although it came together slowly I think it’s one of the most original albums in a long long time. Brutal and grinding war metal with mostly clean vocals and a lyrical narrative dealing with absolute and very real violence and terror.
Do the lyrics on “Indoctrine” reflect today’s reality as you see it in Ireland?
Eh… in Ireland? You can find the character in Indoctrine anywhere in this world. However, this is the light I do view the world in.
While not touring or messing in the rehearsal room, what’s your daily schedule in Dublin?
Really, who cares about this? I know we live in an age where every somehow seems to think they have a right to know everything about you because they’ve heard a song or two but who really cares what I do outside of this interview or the music I make, columns I write etc…
With economic crisis and recession striking Ireland right in the very guts, how’s life over there in general these days?
Fucked is the short answer. The IMF are here, default is inevitable. We are pouring money loaned to us into the black holes of the banks to guarantee bonds and accounts of non Irish people. Young people are leaving in their droves and we are witnessing a massive brain drain. The health service is falling apart, there are tens of thousands of empty houses across the country, mortgage defaults heading this way as young people in debt slavery hit the wall. Junkies everywhere…. but hey, we still have the craic, right?
Is the country doing better as far as extreme music is concerned? With Into The Void Records store being open now, do you feel the local scene has regained some integrity?
I don’t know really. Big bands draw people but underground shows are more or less fucked. What was once 100 people showing up is now 20 or 30. There are bands trying to forge their path but they often burn fiercely for a couple of years and then fade away as they fail to make inroads into the actual worldwide underground structure or just fall prey to Ireland’s inherent conservatism. The shop is cool and a great resource but times will be hard for everyone in the future connected to the music industry as people simply buy less and less music.
But you’re going to celebrate bigtime at your 20th anniversary show, right?
In as much as we can consider primordial a celebratory band! We will play some odd songs and it’s cool to be able to do that now here in our hometown. It’s a milestone for sure but we just keep on keeping on…
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