Medulla Nocte - A Conversation With Other People.

Well, if you’ve picked up the Medulla album yet, you’ll be able to understand the not quite so ironic and ultimately, quite crap title that I’ve given this interview. And if you don’t, (understand the irony that is), well I don’t blame you.

But do make sure you get the album.

Anyway, it’s some evening in May, and we’re currently in a stretch limo stuck outside the Vic in Derby. Honestly, it is a stretch limo, and not a glorified transit. I did promise not to mention it, but, well, these rock stars sometimes.

Ok, so it wasn’t actually Medulla’s stretch limo, it was Pulkas’ but, hey, artistic license.

Anyway, we’re still in there, and I’ve just had my first taste of the Medulla live experience. Scary. Intense barely describes it. You do wonder if you should ask for an interview so soon after such an apparent carthasis. But, they’re not actually as scary as they appear, and readily agree. So, before I use up all the space on this pointless intro, I think we should get on with it.

Sitting in the lap of luxury then, we have:

Paul - vocals, strange soundcheck sounds and to the point song introductions,

Neal - guitars and microphones that get stolen by Paul,

Bones - bass and backing barks, and

Jammer - playing drums . Well that’s what drummers do.

So, the standard first question. Who are, history, why and all that sort of thing.

Paul gets us underway. Well, we’ve been going a few years, and Medulla Nocte is the dark side of the mind, or middle of the black.

Or middle of the kidney offers Neal. Or middle of the marrow offers Bones. hmm, this is going to get tricky isn’t it. Paul brings some sanity back, draw your own conclusions, it’s just one of those names.

The standard next question then, of how would you describe your music?

Jammer decides to answer. How would you? Yeah, how would you, put it down on tape and then write it.

Bugger, I’m not the one supposed to be thinking here. Ok, well, when I was listening to it, it was a cross between metal and hardcore. (That is such a lame description. When you don’t know how to describe something, always go for the common one. Well, it tastes like chicken).

Well there you go then. Yeah, offers Neal, that’s your interpretation of it then.

That’s about right. Maybe Paul’s just making me feel better.

Which is a fair enough approach really. Music is always subjective, so why go with a band description. But well, since the interview took place, I’ve seen them a few more times, got the album, had time to listen, devour, and put on some cliche head. One ad describes it as the bridge between Age of Quarrel (Cro Mags) and Burn My Eyes (Machine Head). Which is maybe accurate. It’s hard and intense. Fast, but with a groove, and enough little subtleties, if you listen closely, to make it stand out from much of what is around. It’s one of the finest rackets currently in the UK, and anyway in fact.

I was wondering where you got some of the influences from. For example, there’s definite speed elements, then the vocals are more hardcore, the quitar has a bit of metal in there.

METAL goes up the war cry. I dunno. There’s a screaming angry subtlety in everything that we do. Gobsmacking reckons Jammer.

There wasn’t sort of any intention to go in any direction, says Bones, it was just like, wanting it heavy.

Woarrrrghhhhh. comes a fine Tom Araya impression from somewhere.

And that’s just purely what it is. We don’t write stuff unless it is heavy. It would just be pointless us playing it, because we’re all into heavy stuff.

Hate. Hatecore. If it’s fucking puss it just don’t happen. And it sounds like, if you could capture what went on in Peter Sutcliffe’s (infamous Yorkshire Ripper not so nice bloke) mind and catch it on to vinyl.

Would you want to though?

Well exactly laughs Paul. No one would want it, and that’s exactly what we try to strive for. Being honest about what goes on in the heads, and it comes out in each instrument. Everybody is bitter, everybody in this band is bitter about something, and it’s channeled into music, and this is what we do. We’re all fucking stupid, and we’ve all got fucking problems.

And so it’s all the frustration that comes through in the intensity.


Intensity!!!! that’s the word. cries Neal, with tongue somewhere in cheek at times. Intensity, exactly, that’s what there is to strive for. We want people to stand there and go arrrghhh, that hurts. Or something that sounded like that, but may have been spelt differently.

When the album is out, people will catch on, and will become more familiar with the material. But at the moment it’s still a bit of a shock.

Yeah, just a bit. I mean, I’ve only heard the tracks really on the Organ Radio CD. At this point, the beers arrive, so, just whistle a minute while they’re taken by everybody. Or not as the case is. Straightedge. Drugs only, lies Neal. Ok, back to the Organ CD.

So anyway, you’ve got an album ready you say. Want to say anything about it?

Ooouchhh. reckons Jammer. Yeah, it’s intense. Ouchcore? It’s going to be a surprise to a lot of people. It’s the first thing, well, we’ve always been semi happy when we’ve gone into the studio, but this time, we came out and everybody said “woooor, this is the fucker”. You know, where you’re that confident about what you’ve just done and had played back to you.

If people play it loud enough on their stereos they’ll be getting out their hankies, cos it’ll make their ears fucking weep.

So how do you manage to capture the live intensity then, because there are so many bands that are great live, but just don’t translate into the recording studio.

Exactly, and that’s the problem that we’ve had in the past. You’ll find that some of the stuff off the demos, and off the Organ has been re-recorded for the album because it hasn’t been captured as it sounds live. It’s just that sounds like it’s been recorded in the studio. I mean, this one does but it’s a little more reflective of the live sound. It’s as aggressive.

It’s a more mature Medulla Nocte sound .

So does it come with the having played live, or did you just go in and do it in one go?

Over a period of time man we did it. We did it in three or four weekends or something. We knew what we were after. We were adamant that we weren’t going to go in there and rush it. It’s a debut album, and it’s a very important stage of the bands career.

As far as not rushing it goes, we didn’t have months to do it in. In the past we’ve had like two days. It wasn’t like recordmix says Neal, indicating no time between the processes.. Yeah, but having said that, it was dealt with differently wasn’t it. Like, we all knew what we had to do for a debut album. And we went in there, no producer and it was just basically an engineer, self-produced. We all knew what we wanted, emphasises Jammer. And when the album comes out, you’ll be pretty knocked back by it..

It’s only half an hour long. You don’t want no more man states Paul with the intent of a person who knows that there are some things where there is a certain threshold beyond which, well, you just shouldn’t tread. It’s just fucking insane. We’ve been listening to it, cos there’s one tape between us like, me and Neal listened to it on the way up here tonight, and this is like, what, maybe a fortnight after we had the tape, and we were like still smiling and stuff. We’re proud of it. It’s what we’ve always wanted is to get a fucking album out, for our own heads, and get the songs out. It’s fucking ferocious man.

The man is obviously proud of the creation. Indeed the whole band are. Having now hear it, I’d say the pride is justified.

You said it’s only half an hour long. For this kind of music, there’s bands in the live situation that just tend to take it too far. Is there that danger for you?

It’s too much. I mean, if we did an album for say an hour, I think you’d lose focus of what it’s about. At the moment it’s not long enough, so you go “fucking hell, I’ll do that again man”.

Plus the fact that we haven’t got any more songs laughs Paul.

Yeah we have more songs counters Neal but it’s captured like the last few years, captured what we’ve been striving to do over the last few years. There’s old and new songs in there, with a groove.

I was wondering about a groove, because listening tonight it sounded like there was one.

Since we started there’s always been a groove element. We all like music, we all like to feel, we all like to feel up and down. Yeah, it’s an essential element, otherwise we become just like a fucking speedcore band, y’know just brrrrrrrr all the way.

The brrrrrrr is my attempt to describe the drum beat behind the speedcore. If you don’t like it, you try typing it.

The essential ingrediants for a Medulla Nocte song are that we all get into it. When we’re into rehersal, and we play the song for the first time to the finish, and it gets to a certain point where everyones looking and smiling and then we know its a song. Which is how we feel about the album.

Neal further reveals the secret to good song judgement. We bang our heads and start laughing. The more we laugh at a song, the better we know it is.

Ok, you’re doing the Strapping Young Lad tour after this Pulkas tour. Have you got any ambitions then that you’ve set out

EUROPE is the unanimous reply.

That is our goal right now. By the time we finish with SYL and Logical Nonsense we’re just like done in the UK for now, and then we’ve got to do Europe and do the right job. Cos there is a buzz out there about us already. People like the Pulkas boys have been touting our names all round Europe on the NextGen tour, and people already know all about us. And that’s the sorry part. It’s so frustrating. We’re waiting to go to Europe, knowing full well that people know about us out there. We would’ve done the European leg with SYL last year but that got blown out four days before. It was only lucky that we were playing with Exploited on the night that we heard the news that we didn’t hang ourselves. It was a very angry set to say the least. A particularly bitter one reckons Paul.

But you’ve got it this time.

Yeah exactly. But it’s a shame that it isn’t going to Europe. It ain’t fucking started yet is Neals more cautious approach. Yeah, we got to hope they come over here yet. It should be an interesting evening, because Ocean Machine are doing it as well.

We have a little discussion about the possibility of four bands playing, as the posters were showing another band on before the Nocte.

It should be an intense night of listening man. There’s not many more two intense bands than Strapping and Medulla. It’s a godsent to be on there, cos we’ll hold our own

There is a lot of kids that won’t go out to small gigs and whatnot. They only want to go to the big venues and the big bands, so we’re looking for those supprts.

Ah, a man after my vitriol. Or at least my current phase of whingeing. But you all know that already.

Yeah, to be fair, this tour, people are saying this tour with Strapping. We’re not intimidated by them. We’re going to go out and do a great job on them. We can’t wait man, cos when we tour we’re fucking lethal. It’s what we do. We’re all too proud to get our asses kicked. And you’ve probably gathered this by now, but we’re still as excited to be in this band as the day we started.

And you’re in Kerrang! now (there was a feature which must’ve been all of a paragraph long about the band in the issue that came out the week this interview was done. Nice to see them giving full and equal support to British bands eh!)

We had a couple of months off at the begining of the year when we recorded the album and we kinda worried about it, cos last year we had quite a bit of press and stuff, and it does help get people to gigs. And then it was like, well we’re out of the limelight and everything evolves really fast in that sort of circuit. But then as soon as we were really out again, they jumped back on, which is good for the band.

It’s great news right now, cos there’s been like a few cassette copies of the album going round London and it’s like a feeding frenzy. And cos we don’t live in London, we’re well out of that shit. Just let them fight over it. And that’s good for us.

We ain’t riding on no egos cos haven’t got any to ride on. When we go back home, we go back to work. Yeah, that’s the reality of it. We can’t chuck the jobs in just yet y’know. But you’d like to. Yeah, course we would. That is the intention. It’s better than working. What better than spending hours driving and smoking and doing nothing. And smoking. Just playing and stopping on someones floor. And smoking. Neal and Paul have been busy smoking for the entire duration so far.

So what do you think then of the attempts in the States to ban all smoking from clubs.

I think more along the lines that they should have anti-garlic protests. People who eat garlic y’know. They piss me off. They stand near you, they fucking stink. I’d rather smell of a fag. Garlic is wicked stuff.

It’s left to Bones to restore some santiy. Americans should really concentrate on trying to ban things like the Klu Klux Klan and guns and stuff. Cigarrettes kill you, but not as painfully as like a gun shot, or the Klu Klux Klan. Or as quick. And it’s like a suicidal decision isn’t it to smoke, it’s going to kill you in the end. So be it.

It’s like, if someone has a room and decides no smoking, fair enough. But they’re making it law and enforcing people. What about the guy who runs the place. The thing is, the governments and everything, they’ve stripped nearly every human right from every human being, the only thing they have left to attack is airspace. So they try and take that away from you so that you can’t even breathe. It really has. It’s developed from a restaurant thing to everything.

One thing I would say I agree with is a complete ban on pipe smokers. And don’t even let them in. They’re all that same set of breed. They’re all the same stereotype. Slippers and flat cap, and beard. And he’s usually really well educated and glasses and stuff. I fucking hate them. I think they should be shot. So that’s the title of our next album, “Death To All Pipe Smokers” laughs Paul. Unless of course you’re smoking gear through a pipe. Is it tobacco they’re trying to ban? They want to stop people smoking fucking crack rather than stop them smoking fags.

The sounds of Pulkas are begining to reverberate through the limo. Still a limo despite the fact that they’ll be driving back home after the gig in order to do a days work tomorrow. So it’s probably time to try and bring things to a close here. So, a few more quick questions

What do you think of the British media. Do you think if you were an American band you’d get more attention. (Look, I’m going to persist with this until the UK press actually starting do a decent job.)

I’m sure we would. Isn’t it easy just to go to another shore and take on that element of you’re a foreigner. People like to see foreigners and like to hang around them. That’s what you see in these magazines, is American or Swedish. I think if we were an American band, they’d be going “they’re scary” but because we’re British, and not even from London... It does break down into boundaries, it really does, where you’re British, and then there’s certain areas. If you’re from Manchester and you’re like an indie bands it “fuck, they’re from Manchester, they must be cool”. And it used to be like that with London.

And this is where we end. Well, along with the tale of TJs and of a big shoeing that Paul got there a few years ago. But hey, it’s a great place. Honest. Anyway, Pulkas are playing, so we’re about to leave the stretch limo and go watch.

There, not so scary was it. I saw the band a couple of times on the subsequent SYL tour, and as they said, as you become more familiar with the album, then the intensity of what they do grows. And just talk Faith No More with Paul. Bastard saw them on the tours I didn’t. Sorry, can’t forgive people who managed that. Sarcasm. A place at which to end.

Contact the Nocte at the following address.