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Interview with Nervecell

  • Interview by: Adarsh Rajagopal
  • Date: September 20, 2010

We heard rumours about Dubai based death metal band Nervecell coming to India, and featuring Asia’s biggest death metal act was something we’ve been wanting to do for long, so we caught up with Barney and Rami for all the insight.

HB:Firstly greetings from us and thanks for agreeing for the interview. How does it feel to come from a place dominated by mainstream music,especially from the middle east?

Rami: Thanks for having us. It’s definitely not easy to be a metal band surrounded around a huge mainstream music scene. Nevertheless we are very happy to successfully rise up and do what we love to do playing metal. We did it out of passion towards the music and the band and things worked out with hard work and commitment and we’re fortunate to keep it going.

HB:You guys have undergone quite a few line up changes since the band’s inception, tell us something about that.

Barney: In a place like Dubai it’s hard enough to find dedicated band members, let alone people who actually play this sort of music. Fortunately for us ever since 2003 NERVECELL has always been Rami, James and myself as the core members in the band. Being the only original member in the band today, looking back it was rough simply because not necessarily all the previous members were as dedicated and committed to touring and writing music professionally but here we are 10 years later with an E.P. out and an album under our sleeves so things have been going pretty well for us lately which is great!

HB:Your big opening was playing with Sepultura and Machinehead, how did that settle with the band?

Rami: It was a dream come true man! We were super excited to share the stage with 2 bands that influenced us all in Nervecell. At first we only knew about Sepultura coming to play the Dubai Desert Rock Festival so we contacted the festival immediately and things worked out so well. They knew we are HUGE fans and we got into the bill. A couple of days later we found out Machine Head got confirmed to play too and we just flipped out! I mean we grew up listening to `Burn My Eyes’ and `The More Things Change’ and now we seeing them live in our country AND sharing the stage with both Machine Head and Sepultura! Lots of partying pre and post the festival hehe!

HB:Tell us something about the band’s music, what are your influences and who you draw inspiration from. And why did you choose to play death metal?

Rami: We are all influenced around the same genres of metal mainly death, thrash, black and prog metal and some of us are into hardcore. Nervecell’s style is a mix of death and thrash metal – old school death metal mixed with modern thrash, groove with melodic touches, hints of “oriental/Middle-Eastern” touches too. Well for me death metal is the most extreme (technically and musically) style of metal and its the most fun style to perform, very challenging and its simply candy to my ears. Of course thrash metal too. We all grew up listening to Slayer,Sepultura, Pantera, Megadeth and so many other thrash metal bands. Death metal bands influences are countless as Death, Morbid Angel, Cannibal
Corpse, Dismember, Deicide and lots more!

HB:Who is the primary song writer of the band? And what are the kinds of lyrics you guys focus on?

Barney:As far as song writing goes it’s always Rami and myself who primarily compose the music in NERVECELL, we always layer the guitar tracks down first and that’s how it all starts to form. Once we feel we have something strong enough within each of our individual ideas we then get James involved to share his lyrics and other contributions musically. Lyrically it has to do with situations or incidents that have happened in the past,mainly humanity issues or society related ones. Some of which James or anyone for that matter may have had an experience with. We are not the kind of band that calls the shots with what is right or wrong but we pick a topic and sing about it in a way which expresses and alerts the listener, leaving one to decide and take from the message what he or she desires!

HB:Your album Preaching Venom was a massive success and opened new doors. What do you have to say about that?

Rami: We are really fortunate and happy to know our first full length album have done so well. We worked really hard on this record and our goal was to make a strong release both production-wise and musically and we’re happy to reach our goals. With `Preaching Venom’ we played major festivals in Europe to mention a few ­Wacken Open Air, With Full Force, Rock and Ring, Rock in Park and more. We toured new countries with great bands like Suffocation, Deicide in Europe,Turkey, Sri Lanka and soon India. We signed a record deal with Lifeforce Records which is a major accomplishment for a band based in Middle Eastern It’s all great and we are working hard as we speak on our new album which is set to be out early 2011and continue touring.

HB:Something every death metal fan would love to know – What equipment do Nervecell use?

Rami: Barney uses LTD and Ibanez guitars and he is endorsed by Madison amps,he plays a Madison Divinity II amp head. I use B.C. Rich and Ibanez guitars and I’m endorsed by ENGL amps. I have 2 different setups for my ENGL amp gear ­one is ENGL Special Edition amp heads with ENGL 4×12 inch Pro cabinets and the other is a rack setup of ENGL Tube Preamp E530 and ENGL Tube Poweramp 840/50 with the same ENGL cabs. I use Boss and T.C. Electronics for my effects. James is endorsed by Spector Basses and the whole band are endorsed and use In Tune Guitar Picks, GHS Strings and EMG pickups.

HB:Coming back to your growing popularity, you guys are sharing stage with death metal legends like Vader, Deicide and Suffocation. Looking back at your inception, what would you say?

Barney: It’s insane where this band has reached man! I cant even begin to tell you what an amazing accomplishment it is sometimes for us to realize how awesome a feeling it is when we share the stages with the very same bands who made us get into this sort of music in the first place. Its very humbling to get to do that and of course take our music to new horizons and get to travel the world and play for fans who totally love what we write in our bedrooms. Its just very comforting to see that all those years of hard work is now beginning to pay back.

HB:What do you have lined up for the future? Anything you want us to expect?

Barney: Well we just got word that we will be touring India in a week’s time so this is something the entire band is really excited about and definitely looking forward for. India has been a territory where NERVECELL have been invited to play a number of times in the past but it never worked out, so its great to finally see this happen. After that we go straight into the studio and starting recording the new album all the way until December. The album is scheduled for an early 2011 release, so we will probably be on the road touring a lot for the most of next year.

HB:That’s just a delight to hear. And finally, this is your space to say anything you want, to all the Indian metal heads.

Barney: Thanks for all the support and we look forward to meeting you all on the “Preaching Venom” India Tour this month. See you all in the pits!!!
Rami: Looking forward to visit India for the first time and play for all the crazy metal fans out there! See you all soon.