Mark “Barney” Greenway of Napalm Death spoke with National Rock Review for a few minutes to discuss life, song writing, and a new Napalm Death album.

Napalm Death is set to release a new album January 27, 2015, entitled Apex Predator – Easy Meat. After returning from the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise January 22-26, 2015, the band will also start the Through Space and Grind Tour 2015 with Voivod, Exhumed, Iron Reagan, Black Crown Initiate, and special guests (on select dates) Ringworm, Dayglo Abortions, Theories, and Phobia. The first stop on the tour will be in Miami, at Grand Central to coincide with the album drop.


NRR: I have to know, how was the cruise?
Greenway: Well, I mean there’s a cruise coming up [70,000 Tons of Metal]. If that’s what you’re referring to. It’s in January. But we did do one before… it’s the Barge to Hell. It was the more extreme end of music. It was interesting. I must admit I was a bit cynical at first. When we first going to do it, I just thought it was going to be a bit lame, you know? But actually, it was… it was really fun. And the good thing about it was, where as you might go to gigs sometimes and you need to get kinda away after the gig sort of reasonably soon; on the boats because you play alternative days you got a lot of time you get to sit down with people and have decent conversations. You know just meet people and stuff so it’s, it’s quite a good experience.
NRR: One of our contributors is like the Eddie Trunk of Michigan and he retold a story of how he and a buddy of his, while you guys were on the New Titans on the Block Tour, left Todd’s to refresh themselves and saw you with the Cavalera brothers at a car wash and they walked up to you guys and as the sound of gun fire was going off in the background of Detroit and there you guys were [refreshing yourselves]. Now the question is do you remember that at all?
Greenway: I remember, I might have not been the one drinking. But I mean I [remember] the acts whatever because I’m not sure if I was drinking at the time actually. But yeah sure enough probably one of the other guys was but, uh. Yeah, I mean you know, it always… we always try to get away for the club at least a little bit, you know? I know some areas are a little bit, you know, a little bit sorta tricky. I try not to get too intimidated, you know? Because it’s, I think a lot of it is over hyped. We just kind of enjoyed ourselves, you know.
NRR: I wish a lot more of the artists that would come through the area would have that attitude. You get a lot of people that it’s almost like the fans are the enemies. And that really doesn’t give a good show presence all the way around.
Greenway: We just try to just breath a bit. You’re on tour. You’re stuck in a van or something similar, everyday. You want to [see about] at least get off the parking lot, you know what I mean?
NRR: I guess I have to get to the serious questions now, with the new LP coming out, Apex Predator – Easy Meat, in your own words what can we expect from the new album?
Greenway: Well, I mean musically, it’s a couple of steps forward to be honest with you. It’s not reinventing the grindcore feel. This one, kind of a bit nauseating kind of, sort of weird sounding ambiance stuff, and that’s mixed in as well, so. It’s just a couple of steps forward. Vocally… I think some stuff that I’ve kinda done before. Another thing about the album, it’s an expose of slave labor, I guess. And, and in particular with reference to an event in Bangladesh. Rana Plaza building collapse which was the big collapse of a lot of the sweat shops which killed… killed ah, well about one to two thousand people really got killed or seriously injured so. I wanted to kind of do an expose on the culture of slave labor which is still alive and well and kicking. Some people think it that it went away in the cotton fields in America in the 1800s but it really hasn’t, you know.
NRR: If the fans or people that would be new to Napalm Death picked up the album or was listening to it with a buddy, if there was one thing you would want them come away with after hearing the album, would it be the social importance of not ignoring things going on all around the world or something else?
Greenway: It would be a bit of a mix of everything. So to be honest, it would be, you know hopefully they’d get a nice little curiosity from the quite expansive sounds on the album. But yeah sure enough, I mean, my aim with the lyrics and stuff is almost to… I don’t want to beat people with a stick, you know. Cause I think it kind of turns people’s heads in the other direction, you know? I’m just trying to put some ideas on the table. Say look, this is an expose or a critique or whatever, there you go. Check it out. And some people you talk about this stuff to they’re like well I never knew that, or I don’t remember that, or I recall that. So, it’s [good] to put stuff on the table, get people thinking about it, and see how they get on with it, you know.
If in my own small way, if I can just expand people’s horizons a little bit, and make them understand sometimes, in this instance… like the cost of cheap clothes, cheap goods, cheap technology, and you know cheap food as well. Well, I mean they might be cheap but someone, somebody always pays somewhere along the line, you know.
NRR: With a lot of the writing [for the band] are you the primary writer for the songs or is it a group effort and everyone chips in?
Greenway: No, no. I mean, Shane makes sure the music writes basically. I might chip in with something, maybe, but they are main [score] writers. Danny with the drums of course. And then me, I’ll write pretty much ninety percent of the lyrics. And they also contribute something to it. We each have our own areas that we kind of excel in, I suppose. And then the others help us along the way a little.
NRR: Have you found a lot of your inspiration for the lyrics comes from kind of a world view, kind of putting a spotlight on other things?
Greenway: I mean at the end of the day, I mean, I and everybody else, you yourself, we’re all human beings, you know so. I, personally, look upon the world as just a collective of human beings. I’ve not very often looked at people and [wondered] what nationality they are or what flags they live under, because to be honest, that stuff to me is kind of secondary. And in some ways, meaningless, you know, because of some of the problems it’s caused. I just kind of look at human beings as human beings.

“If there is something where human beings are treated with indignity, if there is kind of restrictions on them, it just bothers me. And I just felt a need to put it out there.” ~ Mark “Barney” Greenway

NRR: With the tour that’s getting ready to start, are you excited for it or are you going to wait until it gets a little bit closer to the end of Jan?
Greenway: I’m excited because of Voivod. When they first come out, certainly, the were hated, especially in the UK by the press. They [the press] sort of came around. But they never understood [Voivod] really are a very shrouded band, I think. Killing Technology, their third album, I mean that album was, is immense. That’s definitely my favorite album, it’s f**king incredible.

NRR: With the long, storied history of Napalm Death is there one album just kind of looking back that you like more then another or are they all like your children and and it’s really hard to pick your favorite one?
Greenway: I mean Harmony Corruption is a good album. I think Enemy of the Music Business, I just think that is a pivotal point for us. We had a few years of really quite, quite deep experimentation. Enemy of the Music Business was kind of the kick in the pants. I think it was just really kind of, it kinda of ripped people’s faces off, you know, sonically. And the new one of course. I think the new one is exciting. It’s pretty strong beginning to end.
NRR: If you don’t mind a little more of a technical question, how long did it take you guys to go from writing the album to recording it to getting it ready drop?
Greenway: Oh, it took a year but that was a year with after intervals. It was basically going in for a couple of days, recording some stuff, coming out, going home, and carrying on writing. And the reason we did it was because we wanted a variance in the production. I think one thing that kind of let’s music down at times is the kind of, this habit of setting a disk on one particular setting and then just recording the whole thing through it.

Napalm Death
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Black Crown Initiate
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Grand Central
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70,000 Tons of Metal
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About The Author

After getting the photo bug in the far, past days of black and white film, Erich continued to develop his eye for photography which lead to stops in the sporting, art, wedding, and eventually concert music worlds. Now, doing more writing for National Rock Review, he has entered into the journey of getting to know the artists and the industry, not just the faces on the other side of the lens.

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