Medulla Nocte - A Conversation With Other People.
Well, if youve picked up the Medulla album yet, youll be able to understand the not quite so ironic and ultimately, quite crap title that Ive given this interview. And if you dont, (understand the irony that is), well I dont blame you.
But do make sure you get the album.
Anyway, its some evening in May, and were 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 wasnt actually Medullas stretch limo, it was Pulkas but, hey, artistic license.
Anyway, were still in there, and Ive 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, theyre 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 thats what drummers do.
So, the standard first question. Who are, history, why and all that sort of thing.
Paul gets us underway. Well, weve 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 isnt it. Paul brings some sanity back, draw your own conclusions, its 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, Im 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 dont know how to describe something, always go for the common one. Well, it tastes like chicken).
Well there you go then. Yeah, offers Neal, thats your interpretation of it then.
Thats about right. Maybe Pauls 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, Ive 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. Its 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. Its 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, theres 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. Theres a screaming angry subtlety in everything that we do. Gobsmacking reckons Jammer.
There wasnt 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 thats just purely what it is. We dont write stuff unless it is heavy. It would just be pointless us playing it, because were all into heavy stuff.
Hate. Hatecore. If its fucking puss it just dont happen. And it sounds like, if you could capture what went on in Peter Sutcliffes (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 thats 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 its channeled into music, and this is what we do. Were all fucking stupid, and weve all got fucking problems.
And so its all the frustration that comes through in the intensity.
Intensity!!!! thats the word. cries Neal, with tongue somewhere in cheek at times. Intensity, exactly, thats 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 its still a bit of a shock.
Yeah, just a bit. I mean, Ive only heard the tracks really on the Organ Radio CD. At this point, the beers arrive, so, just whistle a minute while theyre taken by everybody. Or not as the case is. Straightedge. Drugs only, lies Neal. Ok, back to the Organ CD.
So anyway, youve got an album ready you say. Want to say anything about it?
Ooouchhh. reckons Jammer. Yeah, its intense. Ouchcore? Its going to be a surprise to a lot of people. Its the first thing, well, weve always been semi happy when weve gone into the studio, but this time, we came out and everybody said woooor, this is the fucker. You know, where youre that confident about what youve just done and had played back to you.
If people play it loud enough on their stereos theyll be getting out their hankies, cos itll 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 dont translate into the recording studio.
Exactly, and thats the problem that weve had in the past. Youll find that some of the stuff off the demos, and off the Organ has been re-recorded for the album because it hasnt been captured as it sounds live. Its just that sounds like its been recorded in the studio. I mean, this one does but its a little more reflective of the live sound. Its as aggressive.
Its 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 werent going to go in there and rush it. Its a debut album, and its a very important stage of the bands career.
As far as not rushing it goes, we didnt have months to do it in. In the past weve had like two days. It wasnt like recordmix says Neal, indicating no time between the processes.. Yeah, but having said that, it was dealt with differently wasnt 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, youll be pretty knocked back by it..
Its only half an hour long. You dont 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 shouldnt tread. Its just fucking insane. Weve been listening to it, cos theres 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. Were proud of it. Its what weve always wanted is to get a fucking album out, for our own heads, and get the songs out. Its fucking ferocious man.
The man is obviously proud of the creation. Indeed the whole band are. Having now hear it, Id say the pride is justified.
You said its only half an hour long. For this kind of music, theres bands in the live situation that just tend to take it too far. Is there that danger for you?
Its too much. I mean, if we did an album for say an hour, I think youd lose focus of what its about. At the moment its not long enough, so you go fucking hell, Ill do that again man.
Plus the fact that we havent got any more songs laughs Paul.
Yeah we have more songs counters Neal but its captured like the last few years, captured what weve been striving to do over the last few years. Theres 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 theres always been a groove element. We all like music, we all like to feel, we all like to feel up and down. Yeah, its an essential element, otherwise we become just like a fucking speedcore band, yknow just brrrrrrrr all the way.
The brrrrrrr is my attempt to describe the drum beat behind the speedcore. If you dont like it, you try typing it.
The essential ingrediants for a Medulla Nocte song are that we all get into it. When were 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, youre doing the Strapping Young Lad tour after this Pulkas tour. Have you got any ambitions then that youve set out
EUROPE is the unanimous reply.
That is our goal right now. By the time we finish with SYL and Logical Nonsense were just like done in the UK for now, and then weve 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 thats the sorry part. Its so frustrating. Were waiting to go to Europe, knowing full well that people know about us out there. We wouldve 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 didnt hang ourselves. It was a very angry set to say the least. A particularly bitter one reckons Paul.
But youve got it this time.
Yeah exactly. But its a shame that it isnt going to Europe. It aint 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. Theres not many more two intense bands than Strapping and Medulla. Its a godsent to be on there, cos well hold our own
There is a lot of kids that wont go out to small gigs and whatnot. They only want to go to the big venues and the big bands, so were 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. Were not intimidated by them. Were going to go out and do a great job on them. We cant wait man, cos when we tour were fucking lethal. Its what we do. Were all too proud to get our asses kicked. And youve probably gathered this by now, but were still as excited to be in this band as the day we started.
And youre in Kerrang! now (there was a feature which mustve 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 were 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.
Its great news right now, cos theres been like a few cassette copies of the album going round London and its like a feeding frenzy. And cos we dont live in London, were well out of that shit. Just let them fight over it. And thats good for us.
We aint riding on no egos cos havent got any to ride on. When we go back home, we go back to work. Yeah, thats the reality of it. We cant chuck the jobs in just yet yknow. But youd like to. Yeah, course we would. That is the intention. Its 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 yknow. They piss me off. They stand near you, they fucking stink. Id rather smell of a fag. Garlic is wicked stuff.
Its 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 its like a suicidal decision isnt it to smoke, its going to kill you in the end. So be it.
Its like, if someone has a room and decides no smoking, fair enough. But theyre making it law and enforcing people. What about the guy who runs the place. The thing is, the governments and everything, theyve 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 cant even breathe. It really has. Its developed from a restaurant thing to everything.
One thing I would say I agree with is a complete ban on pipe smokers. And dont even let them in. Theyre all that same set of breed. Theyre all the same stereotype. Slippers and flat cap, and beard. And hes usually really well educated and glasses and stuff. I fucking hate them. I think they should be shot. So thats the title of our next album, Death To All Pipe Smokers laughs Paul. Unless of course youre smoking gear through a pipe. Is it tobacco theyre 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 theyll be driving back home after the gig in order to do a days work tomorrow. So its 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 youd get more attention. (Look, Im going to persist with this until the UK press actually starting do a decent job.)
Im sure we would. Isnt it easy just to go to another shore and take on that element of youre a foreigner. People like to see foreigners and like to hang around them. Thats what you see in these magazines, is American or Swedish. I think if we were an American band, theyd be going theyre scary but because were British, and not even from London... It does break down into boundaries, it really does, where youre British, and then theres certain areas. If youre from Manchester and youre like an indie bands it fuck, theyre 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, its a great place. Honest. Anyway, Pulkas are playing, so were 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 didnt. Sorry, cant forgive people who managed that. Sarcasm. A place at which to end.
Contact the Nocte at the following address.