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Sunday, August 5, 2012

NASUM Interview

Thanks heaps to Ami of The Mighty Scoop for hooking up this interview and also to Jesper and Anders of NASUM for taking the time to answer these questions.  NASUM will be playing in Auckland later this month (See below poster for details), so if you live in New Zealand and are thinking of going, don't waste this one time opportunity to catch this awesome band got get your tickets ASAP!!!
1) You are playing in New Zealand for the first time this year (21 August 2012), what are your expectations of that show and your visit? What can the audience expect from your Live performance?
Jesper: Well, uh, a bunch of really fast music very loud? You know, what we do isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before – it’s five guys who scream and make a hell of a lot of noise whilst engaging in on-stage frenzy. I guess as with all live brutal music, it’s about being there in the moment and being sucked into the energy that comes out of the performance, for band as well as audience. Nothing I verbally try to describe will do the shows any justice, you just have to be there. Nasum has a big bank of songs, and on these shows we’re playing our best stuff and pushing the envelope a bit further, making everything harder, faster and more frantic than we thought we could. As this is a farewell tour, we have this last chance to prove that Nasum is and always was non-compromising, oppositional and deadly serious about grindcore. Also, going to NZ is obviously special for us – it’s close to Antarctica for fuck’s sake! Antartica is definitely a grindcore continent. Also, Ulcerate will open for us. Gotta love Ulcerate. Hopefully there will be a local grind band on the bill too.
Anders: The question is: what can we expect from the audience? If I don’t see one Orch stagediving, I will be very disappointed!

2) Your website has a gallery of peoples Nasum Tattoos and mentions that you have seen a lot more since you’ve been on the Farewell tour. What other unique things have you experienced on the tour? Please describe a few highlights.
Jesper: Well, it’s a bit like coming home from the war I guess. The band has been away for a long time, and just like coming home after a long time you don’t really know how things have changed. We knew there was some anticipation, but that it would be like this was overwhelming. How much Nasum has meant to people kinda took us off guard, and the lengths at which people go to see this is humbling. In LA, there was an entire family – mom, dad, two sons and a daughter - who had all travelled from Peru to see us. In a Czech fest we played there were a bunch of grind dudes from Saudi Arabia who knew everything about the band and had travelled there to see us. Stuff like that. Also, the sheer energy in the crowd at some of these gigs is pretty massive too. Can you imagine looking out over a hall at the Maryland Deathfest filled with of 3000+ people and every single person is moshing like mad. Or standing at Hellfest in France playing grindcore – this underground thing – in front of 10000 people? Insane. I am baffled every time. We never experienced shows like this before.
Anders: Although the huge stages and massive crowds are good for the ego, it’s the little things that stays in my memory. Like when we played a bar in Ventura, California. When we got there I was almost angry at the size of the venue. I thought: “Why have we been booked to a place where you have to set up your stuff on the sidewalk OUTSIDE of the club as there is virtually no space inside?” But after wolfing down a few pizza slices in the kitchen and seeing some of support bands go mental, our show turned out to be one of the most intimate and crazy things I’ve done. It was one hundredth the size of the crowd at Hellfest but very fun.
3) How did you make the choice to have Keijo Niinimaa from Rotten Sound on vocals for the Farewell tour? How is he working out? What was the main reason for a farewell tour?
Jesper: We fumbled around with a bunch of suggestions that felt so-so for a while, but noone really felt perfect. When we finally actually thought of Keijo it was like ”aw, hell, he is the obvious choice, how did we not think of this immediately?” We wanted the person to fill this role to have a great voice and be an awesome performer of course, but also, importantly, that he would have a closer connection to the band. We’ve all known Keijo for years, his own band Rotten Sound has opened for Nasum on a few tours, and they also recorded in Mieszko’s studio when he was alive. So he was a friend of the band, of Mieszko, he has a great voice and vocal range, and loves Nasum on top of it all. We are obviously happy that he wanted to do it.
Anders: One important thing to notice is that Keijo doesn’t do just Mieszko’s vocals, he does mine as well. On the first two albums I sung a lot, but live it was all covered by Mieszko – so the fact is that Keijo is actually doing something closer to the albums than what Mieszko did back in the day!
Nasum 2012

4) Shane Embury and Barney Greenaway of Napalm Death both cited hearing Nasum, and Inhale/Exhale in particular, as a definite turning point which helped them to rediscover grindcore and thus led to the recording of 2000's acclaimed Enemy of the Music Business.(Terrorizer #140, Spring 2005). I imagine this would be an honour to be referred to in that way by these people, but what do you think Nasum did differently that refreshed the Grindcore sound?
Anders: I believe the history with Napalm Death started with Barney wearing an “Inhale/Exhale” t-shirt in a video. That was unreal! And then we heard the stories and as some point I even heard something about the grindcore-unfriendly Mick Harris though “the band on N was quite good” after receiving a bunch of albums from Relapse, but in all honesty that can very much be a creative memory. Honour isn’t strong enough, it was baffling to realize that the band that inspired us to 90% when the band was formed a) knew about us and b) liked us so much that they claim WE inspired them. It still is quite sick, although we have a friendly relationship today. Anyway: I think there are a few reasons to Nasum’s success: 1) We have always been very serious about our grindcore, from the very beginning. Although some of the early – and late lyrics – perhaps didn’t have that political edge that is so closely connected with the band, we never fooled around too much and especially not with the music! 2) Once we started to add our own touch to the sound, leaving the quite strict form based on our sources of inspiration, we got a clear identity quite fast. We brought groove to grindcore and kept the doors open to other genres solely to pick inspiration, not to turn into some kind of mixtape circus act switching styles within the songs. 3) We put a lot of effort into the vocals and especially the vocal patterns, and thus creating real and memorable songs.
5) Where might Nasum have been today if it weren’t for the tragic death of Mieszko Talarczyk? What might have happened in the 7 years since the 2004 boxing day Tsunami?
Anders: It’s totally impossible to say. In a best case scenario we would be still alive and have another 4-5 records in the catalogue, but in a worst case scenario we would have disbanded by some other reason and never seen the 20th anniversary. Nobody knows. In 2004 we did our first headlining tour of Europe and felt a “break” coming and we had some slight plans to go into the studio and create something spontaneous on the spot, but that was the only plan we had when things went down the shitter.
The Late Mieszko A. Talarczyk
"Mieszko never had the chance to be a hero or a survivor. He most likely died in the first wave.
I do know that the last thing he did was to protect his girlfriend so in my eyes he died as a hero." - Anders

6) Tell us about “Coldworker” and “Burst”. What are they and why should we check them out?
Jesper: Burst was a band that me and my friends started as kids, and which gradually grew from a crusty punk band to a hardcore band to end up as a pretty brooding, progressive metal band. Burst was the reason I had to leave Nasum about a year prior to Mieszko’s death – the band started touring a lot more and grew gradually, and I felt I couldn’t handle two touring bands. As much as I love Nasum and always had, I had to make a choice. We made a bunch of albums and put them out through Relapse Records, and I am thoroughly proud of them. It has nothing to with Nasum or grindcore, rather it is more melodic in the melancholy sense, and slightly more experimental and metallic. Check out ”Origo” or ”Lazarus Bird”.
Anders: Coldworker is my (only) band, that was formed in February 2006 and so far has released three albums. I had about a year off from most musical adventures and eventually started to look around in my hometown for new people to play with. I found a few, and then some more and the ball got rolling quite fast. Coldworker is a death metal band. Someone once described us as “if Cannibal Corpse was from Europe” and that’s a good description. We like the American style of riffing but most certainly have an European edge to our sound. Coldworker hasn’t tour that much and up until now never really been judged on it’s own terms. There are ALWAYS comparisons to Nasum in the reviews, which is totally annoying and unfair as the only connection is me. For more info and samples and stuff, visit

7) Would you ever consider continuing the current line up after the farewell tour, perhaps under a different name? Why?/Why not?
Anders: No. There are many reasons. The biggest one is that we have other bands that more or less waits for the Nasum thing to be over, and we need to get back to “normal life” and continue where we were. Another reasons is that whatever music this new band with same line-up would play, people would scream for Nasum songs and then we’ll just be Nasum under a new name playing Nasum songs and that, if anything, is milking it. So that’s out of the question. I’m not ruling out the possibility that some of us meet again for a project or something, because we play well together, but as of now we will not continue in any shape or form.
8) What is the future of Grind core?
Jesper: Grindcore will probably always exist. I don’t think it could ever be widely popular, but then that isn’t the point. This is a subgenre of a subgenre, and the oppositional nature of grind will probably keep it alive and healthy in the margins of the underground. Three ”new” bands I like are Magrudergrind, Wormrot and Massgrave, and I hope i’ll get new hope for the future when we go to OZ and NZ and see the local supports get jiggy with it.

9) I saw that you played a show (or some shows) with my good friends ‘brutal truth’. How were those guys on stage and in person these days? 
Jesper: They’re awesome. Fuzzy and scuzzy, but awesome and sweet. I can’t believe fucking Brutal Truth (and Dropdead!) opened for us in the US. 
Anders: To be completely frank, they are not “Extreme Conditions…” Brutal Truth anymore, but on the other hand they haven’t been that for a long time. Brutal Truth today is one big “fuck you” finger up the butt on… well, everything. They are super cool though, and Danny Lilker is quite the entertainer. You hardly have a boring time when he’s around.

10) Anything to add in closing?
Anders: Thanks for the support. Early on in this interview you asked about our expectations, and once the tour and show is done we will share our thoughts and if the expectations were met or not, as we have an ongoing tour blog at Check that out, and thanks again for the support!

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