No band is frightening like Anaal Nathrakh. Everyone else whose shtick is to be malicious comes across as an affectation; a bunch of posers trying to latch onto Dave Hunt’s limitless supply of raw vitriol. At Damnation they are on ridiculous form, goading a crowd like no other; such a performance, at such an event, is the stuff of legend.
Mischievous, furious anti-hero Dave Hunt sat down with us shortly before their set to discuss issues with tofu, bog trolls and Bonnie Tyler…
Hi guys, how was the trip down?
Not long actually, we came from Gloucester. It was alright! There was a potentially really serious accident in the making as we came down. We were driving down the motorway and we had to slam the breaks on –there was a VW Beetle on the side of the motorway with smoke chucking out of the thing and as we drove past I could see liquid dripping out of the back of it on fire so it may have blown up. Other than that it was alright!
So you’ve got a new album you’re about to release.
Well, it has been now.
What’s new on this release?
All of the songs.
Any particularly new directions or influences?
Well, in the main. It’s one of our albums, it doesn’t sound like anyone else. If you’re familiar with what it sounded like you’d probably be able to tell it was us, so it’s no massive departure. One of the things is, we worked with a guy who does electronic music ‘cos we quite like that.
He was a rocker in his previous life (laughs) and he’s quite a big fan of the band apparently. So we got him to do wholesale parts and electronic-y bits and stuff like that. We’ve had it before but not from someone who does it day in-day out kind of thing, so that was kinda cool. So hopefully – yeah, there isn’t anything massively new in terms of a radical departure but the songs should sound fresh and new and all that kind of thing.
So still pretty raw and aggressive?
Well it’s pretty aggressive! It’s one of our albums (laughs) we don’t tend to fuck about too much. And no; not really pushing into a new area, just expanding on a new area, doing it properly whereas we’ve flirted with it before.
I watched a Nathrakh show when I was sixteen and you declared that the first member of the audience with blood on their face could have a free shirt. Thank you for introducing me to the magic of live grindcore!
This was the first genuinely terrifying live experience for me. What’s the most horrific injury you’ve ever seen at a Nathrakh gig?
Trying to think… there’s been a fair few injuries and stuff like that. I think one guy broke his ankle. Chap in the Czech Republic, there’s a photo of him shaking hands with Mick and he just has blood pissing down his face. I’m not sure exactly how it happened but it looked strenuous whatever it was.
Possibly the word horrific is open to interpretation; possibly the thing I found most horrific was nothing to do with an injury but at a gig we did in Ireland once there was – what I call a bog troll – standing in the toilets saying “can I give you some toilet paper” or whatever it is. I’ve absolutely no problem with those people, the term is pejorative in a way that’s not meant to be directed at the individual. I just find the practise horrific.
I have a real problem with that level of servitude; I’ll stand in an environment full of other people’s piss so they can possible throw me some crumbs from their table. I can’t stand that kind of thing; not that individual, society in general should respect people a little bit more than to force people to do that for a living. So to me that was one of the more horrific things.
Do those kind of themes come through in the songs?
To an extent. There’s plenty to go around! (laughs) Er, no. Usually I open my eyes during the day, plenty of material. But yeah, that kind of thing may well be among them.
What is the significance of you guys playing Damnation Festival?
I think I’ve played it five years on the trot in different bands. To us it’s a homecoming or something like that rather than – well certainly not exotic but it’s fun. Usually have a good time there. It’s not mundane but it is recognisable.
Can you describe the sound of your new album using an elaborate food metaphor?
It would be to ask a journalist who writes for a living to say!
Oh wow! I asked this to a load of bands and they all said beef stew and stuff like that. I don’t eat meat though; it’s not really accurate to compare you guys to tofu…
Certainly not silken tofu. That ruins cooking. You need – I’ll tell you what you can use as a recipe. There’s a video by a Dutch band called Noisia. They have a band called Machine Gun. It’s not metal or anything, it’s electronic music. It’s a quality track, actually. But if you watch the video for that, definitely the last half, maybe the last third – use that as a recipe. I’ll leave that with you to go away and look at! (laughs)
Who are you looking forward to seeing today? Anyone you’ve already seen? Not sure if you’ve been around for the whole day…
We did pretty much just get here and then come down to the press area so we haven’t seen too much yet. Couple of bands I would have liked to have seen. I really wanted to see Corrupt Moral Altar who were opening up, partially because I think they’re really good and partially because – well, we know ‘em, one of our good mates plays guitar for them.
I also wanted to watch Stamping Ground. Neil, their drummer, used to play in Benediction so he’s an old mate of mine and I haven’t had a chance to say hello to him yet. They’re not particularly my kind of music all that much but they can properly rock a crowd if you put a room in front of them. And we’re both looking forward to seeing Bolt Thrower.
I mean I’ve seen them loads of times but it’s always nice to see ‘em again.
Pretty significant that it’s their 10th anniversary too.
Yeah! Well it’s a bit of a coup for Damnation. God knows how much they paid! (laughs). Yeah it’s a particularly nice one for Damnation to get. Be good to see them again.
UK’s metal scene has had a pretty good couple of years; who’d be your ideal band to take on tour?
Fuck I don’t know! Erm yeah, let me think – probably the number one, and Mick’d tell you this as well, would be Broken Nose. Which isn’t a metal band at all! (laughs) It’s a one-man electronic thing. In terms of actual bands… I mean, I know loads.
But you don’t want to appear to be a twat to one of your mates for saying one of your other mates. I’d like Sally to play with us. We used to play with a band called Sally when we were in Mistress. A lot. They’re sort of like a doom band but they’ve always had a weird edge to them. They got back together and played a few shows not that long ago. I think they’ve stopped. But I’d like to go out with them.
What’s next for you guys? I guess touring on the new record?
Well we’ve got London in a week, we’re away next weekend. We’ve got various gigs around Europe. We’ve got one in America next year. So it’s that for the most part. But the thing is that the way albums come out it’s usually a long time after you’ve finished that the album actually comes out! So we’re already thinking of what we’ll do next, even though the album’s just come out.
We finished writing it quite some time ago. So yeah we’ve got gigs coming up but we’re thinking of – maybe something a bit odd, seeing if the label will release it or not.
More odd than the new stuff?
Yeah. Well we’ll see what happens, it might not see the light of day in the end.
What kind of thing are you looking at doing?
Well we’re thinking of doing some covers and stuff.
When you say covers, do you mean weird folk music or Bonnie Tyler?
Well it wouldn’t be Bonnie Tyler! (laughs) No, it wouldn’t be Bonnie Tyler
My festival is ruined.
It could be something as unexpected as that. We did a cover of a Specials song a while back. Something like that, something a bit unusual, a bit leftfield. But I dunno ‘cos we haven’t done it. We’re thinking about it.
Before we go and before you guys play, do you have anything to say to the patrons of Damnation?
No. they’ll take what they want from it. I’ll give them what I’ve got. We’ll see what happens.
Desideratum is out now on Metal Blade Records. Buy it here.