Nasum - Before the tragedy...
It has been quite a while since I did this interview and I must say that I still have my doubts about posting it online here. Not only am I way too late with this, but there also has been an extremely unfortunate event within this band, namely the death of guitarist/vocalist Mieszko Talarczyk due to the tsunami disaster. A true legend passed away, and I just know that Nasum will never be the same again, if they choose to continue playing music. So consider this a tribute and a homage to the frontman of the best band in grindcore ever to enter my earholes. Rest in peace.
DD: What does the word Nasum mean?
Anders: It means a grindcore band from Sweden.
DD: It means a grindcore band from Sweden?
Anders: No, of course it has a real meaning. When we started the band back in 1992, we didn’t expect to be the band we are today, having released four albums and so on. So when we got started we didn’t pay much attention to what we were called. The real meaning of the word is really stupid so I prefer not to talk about it. Hehe. I usually say that Nasum means a grindcore band from Sweden, because that is what it is right now.
DD: I heard it meant nose…
Anders: As I said it has a really stupid meaning…
DD: Am I right about that?
Anders: Let’s not talk about it anymore, okay?
Jon: You will understand when you listen to the first split 7 inch.
DD: Okay, how many songs do you think you’ve written up till now?
Anders: Over 200, somewhere between 200 and 250 songs.
DD: Can you tell them all apart?
Anders: Since I’ve been in the band since the beginning I can tell which song is which by looking at the title. But you can’t ask me which is song number blabla.
DD: Okay, why did Mieszko bring a seven-string guitar and not use it?
Anders: Well he bought that guitar when he was in the United States producing an album for Exhumed, the Slaughtercult album and he used that guitar until he bought the B.C. Rich guitar in Japan. So the seven-string, which only has 4 or 5 string when he uses it is now the back-up guitar.
DD: Mind discussing a bit of politics?
Both at once: No.
DD: How do you feel about the Dutch drug policy, being able to smoke pot and use hallucinating mushrooms and stuff?
Jon: It takes the fun out of it I think. You have very liberal laws, but on the other side you also have to take care of the really bad hard drug addicts. Which they don’t like they do in Sweden. I like it here because you can go out and buy weed and smoke it. But I can do the same in Sweden. For me it’s not like o yeah we’re going to Holland so I can smoke weed.
DD: So you DO smoke weed?
Jon: Yeah I smoke weed, but not before the show.
DD: And you’re clean?
Anders: I hate all drugs.
DD: Why is that?
Anders: Because drugs make people stupid, it’s as simple as that. And the only thing drugs cause is other problems.
DD: Have you ever tried for yourself?
Anders: I have been drinking and smoking cigarettes, nothing else. Can’t say that I feel the urge to try something else either.
DD: Okay, I respect that, but do you feel it is ok to judge something that you do not know?
Anders: I don’t think I have to have experienced it to make up my mind about it. You just have to read the statistics about how many violent acts are drug or alcohol related, so… I don’t support that industry.
DD: How’s the Swedish drug law then?
Jon: In Sweden it is strictly forbidden to buy or sell drugs.
DD: And what’s the punishment for, like, possession?
Jon: Possession, you get a fine of 20 euros, but if you have the intention of distributing you go straight to prison.
Anders: Let’s talk about something else now.
DD: Okay, explain to me the ideology of quotation please?
Jon: In Sweden there is a final goal that the government should be like fifty-fifty, half men half women. And they’re getting close to that, except for the high government, that isn’t really that equal.
DD: Do you think it is ok to force emancipation upon society?
DD: Yeah? Why is that?
Jon: I’m really into sexual politics, and what I know about the patriarch system is that it won’t give in by itself. Forcing it upon people is more like the communist idea. You have the fascism in the beginning to let go of the society’s reference scope’s, I think that it will work the same way. If you force a company to hire equally as many women as men, you complete the circle… in like another 150 years or so haha! So It will be kind of an equal society, but it has so many layers, this discussion…
DD: Yeah, the racial thing for instance.
Jon: Yeah, that too, but the thing I’m most interested in is the gender concerned emancipation.
DD: So you’re a feminist? Haha!
Jon: Oh yeah I’m a feminist, but I don’t like calling myself that, considering that I’m a man. So I’m pro-feminism.
DD: I heard an interesting anecdote about Mieszko walking around at the Fuck The Commerce festival barking like a dog with his penis hanging out of his pants? Any comment on that?
Anders: Aah, that wasn’t with Nasum, that was with Genocide Superstars. So that wasn’t Mieszko of Nasum, but Mieszko of Genocide Superstars.
DD: So you have nothing to do with that, hehe.
DD: It’s also proof of your opinion, on drugs, drugs make people act stupid!
Jon: Yeah! But he didn’t hurt anyone!
Anders: There’s actual photo evidence of that occasion you know. It’s in the booklet of Genocide Superstars.
DD: You’re supposed to release a compilation album on Relapse, how that coming?
Jon: Well, slow.
Anders: It’s been in working progress for so many years now and one of the main reasons for that delay is that some of the earliest master copies have been lost or damaged in some way so we couldn’t actually use them. We had to clean them up in the computer, which proved to be a lot of work. And also there was the new album pushing the delay further back. But most of it is done now, we have written a contract with Relapse. So when we come home from the tour we’ll finish the masters.
DD: Okay, so it is coming up?
Anders: Yeah it should be out somewhere in 2005. Can’t say when. That’s impossible to say, since it has been pushed back so many times already. I don’t think of that as a big thing because it only includes old stuff. But when it finally comes out I think it will be a cool release, it’s a double album with about 130 songs on it.
DD: What’s gonna be on it? A lot of mini’s?
Anders: It’s gonna contain everything, from all albums. Well, perhaps that some of the latest split cd’s won’t end up on it. It goes from the old stuff to the newer stuff so you can hear the shitty stuff progressing towards what we are today.
DD: Why is it that bands like Napalm Death and Nasum have so many line-up changes?
Anders: We haven’t had that many line-up changes.
DD: Seven I believe…
Anders: No we’ve had seven versions of Nasum, but you couldn’t call them line-up changes…
Jon: Most of the time it wasn’t a touring band.
Anders: We started the band with three guys, we had another guy playing the drums and doing the vocals. When he left, me and Mieszko continued the band and I started playing the drums for Nasum.
DD: Where you a drummer before you started playing the guitar?
Anders: Yeah, I’ve been drumming for 21 years now.
DD: Wow, 21 years already! I can hear that!
Anders: But when you consider it, we haven’t had that many line-up changes, because we haven’t been playing live for twelve years. It may seem like that when you see it in a biography. But with Napalm Death it’s a completely different situation, there’s no original member left in that band, not even Shane is an original member.
Jon: To me it’s like, Nasum needed a bass player, the bass player quits and a guitar and bass player are added. That the line-up changes to me.
DD: It has been a while since Nasum had two guitarists. Did Urban join right after releasing Helvete?
Anders: Yeah his first show was the release party for Helvete.
DD: Why didn’t you tour for that album by the way?
Anders: We were supposed to do a tour for that album, exactly one year ago. The tour was almost completely set, but we had a booking agent who was suffering from exhaustion from work and he told us , yeah the tour fine, everything’s settled. But in reality, nothing was finished. He was lying to us because he couldn’t accept that he wasn’t in control of the situation.
Jon: He thought he could fix it.
Anders: And then he just suddenly disappeared, got too sick or something. Two week before the tour. A colleague got hold of his paperwork and from that we could conclude that it was not possible to complete everything to do a tour. So that was a real setback for us, but then we decided to do another album.
DD: Yeah but it still sucks, not being able to tour for the best grindcore record that I have ever heard.
Anders: Well yeah, but you could consider this as a Helvete/Shift tour. It was disappointing for us as well, because a lot of people were expecting to see us, several shows were even announced. Many people got disappointed.
Jon: Yes and they all think it’s the bandmembers’ fault. It’s always bad for a band to cancel something, because it says your name on the poster with the word cancelled. Not like the booking agency fucked up or something.
DD: Thank god we sorted that out today!! Last question, could you share your vision of the world with our readers?
Jon: I don’t know, it’s a scary world. And we are really privileged to live in the western part of it. I haven’t seen a lot of the Third World, but I think that the U.S. and the E.U. and (not economically) China are still exploiting and living of the bad things they have done in the past.
DD: Yeah, but the U.S. is going down sooner or later. I read recently that their debt, in money, is 6 billion dollars. That’s a six with twelve zero’s.
Jon: I think it’s even more, you can add like another three zero’s to that, haha. They still owe money to Vietnam for all the bad things they did there. But, I don’t think we’re gonna live through as a peaceful world . This sounds stupid, but I don’t know how to say it, the Middle East situation is so fucked up due to two really great powers of the world.
DD: You mean the religion thing?
Jon: Well you could see the western world as a Christian world, yes. But then again, not really. The western world needs the oil, and they’re blaming it on terrorism and the Islam. So it looks pretty dark.
DD: It surely does. So armageddon is on it’s way?
Anders: No, I have hope for humanity. You gotta have hope
Jon: Yeah I do too. I have hopes of course, but it doesn’t look to good.
DD: Okay, do you have any remarks or something to say that everybody should know about Nasum?
Jon: We hope that it will be a great tour and that you like our new album. And stay positive!
Anders: Be cool, stay in school, hehehe!
DD: Okay, thanks for the interview!!
Jon: Yeah, thank you too!