Interview Barney Greenway (face to face)
Hi there, Napalm Death. Have you visited our city?
No, we didn’t have time actually. We’re coming right from Montpellier. I wish I had, just to see it by myself because I know… well, obviously know, the stereotypical things. But I have never been there.
Too bad. Big shops and big boats, everything you love!
(laughs) Yeah, that’s a shame !
So you were in Montpellier yesterday, was it good?
Yeah it was great ! It’s always good. Montpellier, I’ve been there a few times. Always a fun place, so small.
You've all been in the band for more or less 25 years. What makes the roots of Napalm Death? What makes you feel alive? What makes you want to come on a stage and destroy everything every night for 25 years?
Well… the actual deal of Napalm Death is not about searching the conflict. It’s all about peace and other things, you know. But the two things are not in concurrence. But yeah I get the point. Well, I don’t really know what to say. It’s something very natural. Once you enjoy, and If you continue to enjoy, then you will love it. And if you don’t like it anymore, well if you have integrity you quit, you know.
“Utilitarian”, “Apex Predator”, “Scum”, “Enemy of the music business”… You have one enemy, right ? The greatest crime of all times, capitalism?
We don’t really have any enemy, no physical people I mean. But yeah, about capitalism… "enemy" is maybe the wrong word to use. Maybe I would talk about an “adversary”. We are doing things that, I hope, are conducting to dignity and happiness for everybody because, hopefully, everybody deserves it. So yeah, of course we are in some way fighting against capitalism. Because if we want capitalism to succeed, it means some people will succeed and others will fail. There is no middle fate, and that’s a problem.
There is a member of Darkthrone, you know the black metal band, who has been elected to work next to the mayor of his city. Could you do the same thing?
For the community ? Then yes, absolutely. The system of our country is a bit strange, but yeah if I could I would do it. And I would try to help people to live a better life. Because you know, that’s a real problem. People can’t enjoy their lives anymore. But they have to ! We are all here to live and enjoy simple things, go to the beach, go to concerts, all that stuff. But if you can’t afford those things, you don’t live. You just survive. And my point is that you can’t be happy that way.
As British people, what is your view on the Brexit?
Man, that is ridiculous ! The thing that really bothers me is that UK becomes more and more paranoid. I mean, OK there are people who are not really safe, but there is a feeling right now, that’s like “oh my god, refugees are coming”. It’s coming from the right-wing, you know, and now people are afraid, and now we hate them ! And I worry, you know, I worry about the whole island becoming a nasty place. And you know what? If nothing changes, I might move away, I don’t know. Of course I’d love to stay, or give my contribution.
Actually we have the same thing happening in France. How would you explain this phenomenon?
I would say that it’s human nature. People want to feel safe. But at the same time, another part of human nature is that… well… humanity is linked to migration. Humanity is used to migrate to survive, because, hopefully the places will be safe out there. That’s what migration was ! So take the borders away. Let people live where they want to live !
Do you have hope for our world? Do you think our world is screwed?
Oh, no, no, you should never be ! This would be desolation, because you can’t be part of the problem and say that we can’t do anything about it.
There is a Chinese proverb that I enjoy a lot and which says “There is no solution because there is no problem”.
Yeah ! Very often there isn’t ! But people will always be fighting against each other. We can’t say it’s the main problem, you know. The real problem is to see where and when this violence will stop.
Despite your political sight, you have a strange and “amusing” behaviour on stage. Some frontmen shout at the audience, or spit, or jump, or stage dive. And there is you. You just look mad, yelling in your mic and moving your arms and legs like you’re possessed. Is it part of your identity to look “funny” on stage?
Yeah, that’s an art thing you know. That’s art ! We want Napalm Death to be special, to be a show that you won’t forget, and that’s part of the thing, absolutely.
By the way, Napalm Death is a notorious live band. You are known to give your best, give 100% for every show.
Yeah, exactly. I mean, I don’t know what people say about us, but we do everything we can to satisfy them. First because it’s part of us, it’s very important in the punk scene to… give the best on stage. And also because, well, as you said that’s a show. People pay to see us. That’s a chance for us, so it has to be a chance for them. If people pay, you have to give them what they have paid for !
You tour a lot. Which are the bands you love to share the stage with?
Many of them. But if I had to pick one I would say Sick Of It All. Cool guys.
Do you still go to concerts ? Which are you favourite bands?
Strange things ! The Melvins, Swans…Yeah, I love Swans live.
Thank you very much guys. Please say a French word for our readers.
"Contre le fascisme !"