Shane Embury, bassist for Grindcore band Napalm Death. Interview February 1, 2012.
Shane Embury Interview
1. How is 2012 starting off for you Shane?
Shane Embury : Very mellow, actually. During the last four months of 2011, I was away from home touring with various bands, so I have been at home mostly chilling out! But that said, I did six shows with my other band, Lock Up, in Scandinavia at the beginning of January, so that was intense, but a lot of fun. Today I am in Germany since we have three shows to start promoting our new album.
2. In February we will see the launch of the latest Napalm Death album, Utilitarian. Could you tell me about the recording process you went through as a bassist?
We record the drums first live, and then get a good guitar sound. Once that is locked down, we set the bass up and fine-tune the tone so it has its own place within the range of the music. This is a process we do with Russ, who routinely produces our albums. It’s weird because the songs I write for Napalm, I compose on the guitar not the bass, so it’s a mixture of approaches I suppose.
3. As for bass gear that appears on the albums and what you play live, is it mostly the same?
To some extent, I’ve always played my Warwick bass since 1997, but the last couple of albums, I have used my 5-string, which has helped for lower tones here and there. I use live Warwick amplification, of course.
4. Playing in a band like Napalm Death, I am sure your bass strings get a pounding while on the road. How often do you replace the strings?
Mmm well, I will change them every five shows as I use a sans amp distortion, and if the strings are too clean, you lose that dirty growl which is part of the sound. But yes, with all the sweaty gigs, the strings get dirty quickly!
5. Do you think the Metal scene will return to what it used to be back in the early 1990’s?
I have no idea. I don’t think about it too much. Music moves in cycles. There’s a lot of interesting stuff around now…I am also immune a little to what was and should be.
6. Touring today versus back in the early days– what has changed in your eyes?
Nothing too much, really. There’s good clubs, bad clubs…We scaled down now when we tour as its more affordable that way for us. In the past, touring was out of proportion with common sense, but there are a lot more bands now, so there’s more for the kids to choose from, and that’s more demanding than before. At least I have a guaranteed place to sleep after a show now– years ago, you never knew where you were crashing for the night!
7. Out of your whole discography with Napalm Death, how do you guys choose which songs to play on tours?
It’s very difficult, for sure. We try to do a range from as many albums as we can, but you always end up disappointing someone. But we try.
8. Are there any other products or projects we can see from Shane Embury in 2012 or in the future?
Well, last year one of my bands, Lock Up, released an album on Nuclear Blast called Necropolis Transparent, so we will be doing some shows this year to promote it. Hopefully there will be a new album from Brujeria this year as well. Also, I have a project called Absolute Power, which is an eighties-inspired metal band. The album has been available to download, and you can check the band out here: https://www.facebook.com/AbsolutePowerUK
9. With all the bands coming out today, do you keep yourself updated with what comes out online, etc?
As much as I can. I hear about bands through blogs and friends in the scene, but also in a live setting sometimes. I recently discovered the band Retox– awesome band! I try my best though to keep in touch.
10. Since Napalm Death has been around, have you collected interesting rarities and memorabilia?
Well, lots and lots of tour passes. A couple of awards. A guy in Indonesia made us some great Napalm Death belt-buckles, and we have had some nice posters made for us by hand. The best though is from a friend of ours from Japan, Yukiko. She somehow gets Kit Kats and Sweets made with Napalm Death wrappers, which are pretty neat to see and unusual!!!!
Check out Shane Embury on Napalm Death’s official website http://www.napalmdeath.org/