Hi Barney, nice to meet you. The tour started a few days ago. What are the reactions you get so far?
Oh, it's very early on this tour. We did our first gig in germany in Bochum last night. But the reactions have been good so far, hopefully it will continue, haha. We always try to do a show that people attend to or will remember for a long time.
How do you bands get along with each other? Is everything doing fine?
Yes, absolutely. There are no problems, all bands are very easy to go along with. We respect all guys in the other bands and it's quite fun to be on tour with BORN FROM PAIN and MENDEED.
What do you like more? Playing big festivals like you did last summer or playing clubshows like this evening?
A combination of everything is always good, because on the tour last year we fly into some festivals during the tour. So we had the combination of big festivals one day and small clubgigs the other day, you know. If you go on tour, lots of clubs are the same, they look the same, they feel the same and therefore it's fun to go on festivals during a tour like we did last year.
You've been on tour with lots of other bands. Are there any special bands you would like to share the stage with?
It has never really been my thing to think about this, you know. When I was a kid I loved MOTÖRHEAD, this was my favourite band and that kinda stuff. And yes, we have already toured with them. And there are some great other bands from the eighties, but we have no chance to go on tour with them, because they are no more existing.
Okay, now let's talk about your new album "Smear Campaign". What is the feedback like that you get from the fans and the press?
It has been nothing else than positive. Everything has been pretty perfect. I'm a bit surprised actually with this and the last album. I have no complaints. I wouldn't complain anyway about reactions on our albums, because there are still more important things in life, you know.
What are the differences between the new album and "The Code Is Red"?
I mean "Smear Campaign" is a sort of continuation of "The Code Is Red" really. I must say every NAPALM DEATH album sounds a little bit different in some way. It's more a concept album dealing with themes like religion, free thoughts and that kinda stuff. It has a lot of similarities to "The Code Is Red", because we did it at the same place, with the same producer, but like I said in the beginning there are some little differences, haha.
What is your favourite track on the new album and just why?
Oh, I like all of them. But some highlights for me are "Fatalist" and "Smear Campaign", because it's not totally different from what we have done before, but it has a little different flavour to the rest of the album. It's difficult to pick out any other songs, because I like all of them, haha. I think it's definately the most complete album we have ever done.
You are well known for critical statements in your songs. Please tell us something about the lyrics on "Smear Campaign".
The lyrics on the album are basically about religion. On many albums we did in the past there were one or two songs about religion. It has come to a point in the history of the world that religion is a very big, a very important theme for the people. But it's not working. Religion causes people to be violent, to kill each other and stuff like that. Religion makes differencies when there shouldn't be differencies. So we have obviously come to a point where we have to decide that religion shouldn't rule our lives. Okay, if some people wanna believe stuff like that, it's their own choice, but not for the rest of us. So it's dealing with that from a perspective of free thoughts, you know. You don't need religion to justify your existence. There is a lot of pressure on the people to actually recognize that there is a third party as a justification for their lives. But who needs it? You and I are human beings and we are perfectly capable to make our own decisions. People always talk about morality and it's a good thing sometimes. Morality in general is an invention of religion from the past, you know. To have morality, you must have immorality on the other side. You want to make a judgement on someone else to be immoral. How can you do that? What the hell gives you the right to say how this person lives his life is wrong?
What's your opinion about the new SLAYER album "Christ Illusion"?
Oh, I haven't heard it so far. I'm so busy at the moment, that I have no chance to hear any other albums. I loved the first SLAYER albums like "Show No Mercy" or "Hell Awaits" and certainly "Reign In Blood". What they did after that has disappointed me completely. If you look at "God Hates Us All", the title track is okay, but the rest? What I have heard from people who listened to "Christ Illusion" is that it's okay. It's not the special feeling like you have on "Reign In Blood". But these are the opinions other people told me. I think I should give it a chance and listen to it completely quite soon, haha.
What has changed in the grindcore or death metal scene from the time you started 'til today?
When I started making music DEATH was still a demo band. I have a real special link to these days, because there was was classic music been made. Today this is hard to recapture. And nowadays, although the death metal scene never dies, it doesn't have a special feeling to me at the moment, to be truthful. There are hundreds new bands in the scene, so I can't really make any kind of rounded, subjective comment, because I don't really know the scene nowadays. I'm so busy with NAPALM DEATH, but if something comes my way occasionally, then I listen to it. I mean good luck to all the bands, don't get me wrong. Fair play to anyone that comes along and starts a band.
Okay Barney, thanks so far. Any last words for the fans?
Armin, thanks for the interview. Thanks to all our fans for supporting us. This is our 25th year of NAPALM DEATH. If no fans would come to our concerts, the band wouldn't be able to continue. But people still come and wanna see us play, because we give everything.
Thanx and greetz to:
Marc Fischer (Century Media Records)
Danny (M.A.D. Booking)
Markus (Domcore Konzerte)