A dark storm’s riding towards the UK, macerating everything in its path to a very pulp. At the eye of said storm is grindcore powerviolence brothers Nails, or, more precisely, their furious, some would say fucked up music. And why is it moving towards the UK? Well, for a four date tour beginning 13th Nov.
In the light of the above and with the musical equivalent of our digestive juices flowing, we set our man Jed Edwards the task of coming up with some questions for the bands Todd Jones. You can find his answers below the asterisks.
Fans of heavy, crushing music will know Southern Californian band Nails well. Back in May they released an album that they themselves dubbed “…beyond brutality. Filthy, vicious and raw” and which garnered for themselves a reputation as absolute kings of ferocious savagery. Therefore, when news that the band are coming over to the UK for a string of shows was broken a few months ago it was greeted with an enormous sense of excitement around Louder Than War HQ.
The album was described in the press release as follows:
“Abandon All Life brutally carpet bombs the listener with a horrifying brand of Death / Grind / and Hardcore chaos. Nails flawlessly blend the purest and best moments of death metal akin to SUFFOCATION, early NASUM, and CELTIC FROST with their own sadistic aggression. With profound hatred, the howling war cry of Abandon All Life shows Nails as a band without equal in their class.”
…and our own Adrian Bloxham said of it:
This is brutal. The guitars and drums pummel you into the ground as the high, raw throated screaming of the singer flays the skin from your nerve endings.
Moving onto the upcoming tour (see dates below), the bands expectation for their short stomp around the UK couldn’t be higher. They’re aware that the reception of the album in the UK was greater than anywhere else, with the band’s Todd Jones saying:
“Based off of enthusiasm from all the UK tyrants, we’re expecting these shows to be of the most maniacal we have played. Don’t let us down.”
Attendance at one of these shows (at least) should be compulsory for fans of aural evisceration and others alike. We hope to see you at one of them at least.
Jed Edwards: This year’s Abandon All Life has gained a reputation amongst fans of heavy music as an excellent work in negativity. What were you trying to achieve with it and what reaction were you expecting if any?
Todd Jones: We were attempting to make a record that we identified with personally and felt was a reflection on who we are as people. I felt like we’ve created an album which represents us as a band extremely well.
Jed: What was it about the UK that made you so enthusiastic to come back here for this tour?
Todd: The reaction from our audience and all the magazines. I feel like our record was received extremely well everywhere on Earth, but there was no country which was as rabid about Abandon All Life than the UK was. As far as we were concerned, it was mandatory that we come. We’re grateful that you will have us.
Jed: Regarding live shows and crowd response, what do you consider an ideal situation and the perfect audience response?
Todd: Headbanging, stage diving, slam dancing, moshing, singing along, whatever. We’re into crowd participation.
Jed: How do you feel about violence at gigs – do you like a super-aggressive pit, or do you watch out for people getting hurt?
Todd: I’m really not into people getting hurt, but that’s the product of the type of music we play, sometimes it happens. The only way we can avoid it completely is not playing shows ever, but that’s not an option for us.
Jed: Alongside Blind To Faith, you’ve been billed with some great British support acts (Hang The Bastard, War Wolf, Esoteric Youth). What do you think of them? Were any of them on your radar before this tour was booked?
Todd: Whoa, War Wolf is playing with us? That’s fucking SICK I didn’t know that. I like their 10″ “Riding With Demons” a lot, really fucking heavy. Hang The Bastard are good too. I haven’t heard Esoteric Youth yet, but I’m going to check them out as soon as I’m done doing this interview.
Jed: Is coming from Oxnard a point of pride for the band? That area has quite a legacy after the ’80s Nardcore (Dr. Know, RKL, Scared Straight) bands who got known for their distinctive sound.
Todd: Well, I’m the only one from Oxnard, but yeah it’s a point of pride for me. Oxnard is a lower to middle class city north of Los Angeles, there’s a lot of great culture that comes from the city. It has the best soil in the world for farming so it’s a big farm city … people from outside the area only know of Oxnard as a smelly city because when you pass it on the freeway it smells like dog shit because of all the fertilizer from the fields/farms.
Jed: You’ve said elsewhere [recent interview with Terroriser] that, for Nails, “only albums are real.” Will this spark a new, more conceptual, direction for the band’s releases?
Todd: As far as a storyline, absolutely not. What I meant as far as “only albums are real” was that in order to have a full complete vibe / representation of our band, we need the full-length format. We need 10 songs. I feel like we can’t accomplish what we would like to accomplish on a 7″ or lesser format. We’re not a band that would make two, 10 minute long songs … at least at this point.
Jed: Some members of the band are actively involved in other musical projects. How will this affect Nails’ future output / touring?
Todd: It doesn’t, really. Sometimes we can’t take up opportunity’s because Twitching Tongues is on the road, but that’s not a big deal. I mean, if anyone is holding Nails back from doing more and being more full-time, it’s me. I’m not interested in being on the road for more than 2-3 weeks out of the year. I don’t have room in my life for that, it’s not something I’m interested in. When we play shows, I want it to be special. When we come to the UK in November, it’s going to be special because we haven’t been there in three years and we probably aren’t coming back for at least another two years. It’s not as though sometimes we hit the UK twice a year. We’re extremely excited to come and if we came there often, we might not be as excited.
Jed: I’ve seen some (fairly hefty) debate about whether Nails are a metal band, a punk band, a grind core act, or hardcore group. Where do you feel you fit into that whole? Are these questions even relevant to you and do you feel they should be important to us?
Todd: These questions aren’t relevant at all. Usually people talk about this subject in relation to putting us down. As far as how we operate, we do so more in a hardcore / punk DIY world. As far as our music, well, I’m not sure how someone could listen to Abandon All Life and say it’s NOT a metal record, but that’s really their problem, not mine. I come from a punk rock background. Adolescents, Agnostic Front, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys … I’m not going to hide that, that’s what I’m about. I’ve known metal for over 20 years too. I’m sure my record collection and knowledge of metal rivals most people, but whatever. Call us what you will, I don’t give a fuck. At the end of the day, we’ll be doing what we want regardless of what someone wants to classify us as. Can’t wait to see the UK.
The all important tour dates are as follows:
- Wed 13 Nov – Glasgow, Classic Grand
- Thu 14 Nov – Manchester, Star & Garter
- Fri 15 Nov – Bristol, The Exchange
- Sat 16 Nov – London, Underworld
Tickets can be bought from all the usual outlets.
All questions by Jed Edwards. More of Jed’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.