Interviews: NO NAMES

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Industrial Metal band, NO NAMES, from Australia. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1.Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

I’d (Stephen) approached Michael about making some music together after many years of neither of us really doing anything musical, after some discussion and gentle coercion Michael agreed to the idea. The next step was to actually sit down and start putting the ideas into practice—demoing a few songs that would be something of a blueprint for the band’s sound. There was no idea of a band name at this stage, just an idea. I started organising demo tracks and in the metadata I put ‘No Names’ instead of leaving it blank. Something of a placeholder. When we discussed releasing some demos and having a name, Michael liked the idea of continuing with ‘No Names’ as the band name. It is kind of dumb but it is also ambiguous so people can decide what it means. I like the idea that it is something of an empty signifier.

2.Why did you want to play this genre? 

Both of us have fairly overlapping musical tastes, really broad tastes that are not exclusively limited to the industrial metal genre, or even heavy music at all. We’ve been friends for over 25 years now and have long turned each other onto new music, we’ve been to concerts together for decades, all kinds of stuff—Philip Glass, Steve Reich, as well as Godflesh, The Body, so on. Varied stuff. But we both love simple, brutal stuff, and we’ve both played a lot of this kind of stuff before, simple and repetitive heavy riffs. I had been watching a lot of the live Nailbomb video and thought it would be good to do something like this, so I said to Michael I want to make a band with him, simple heavy riffs, inspired by our favourite bands like Nailbomb, Godflesh, Big Black etc.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed? 

Yes, Michael and I have been friends for over 25 years now. We met because he was a sound engineer and I was playing in a band at the time, he came on to do our sound and I remember he had this little suitcase, like a school kid, and I thought that was interesting—it had all his special sound engineering stuff in it. He did sound for us for years, we travelled Australia playing shows and we both started turning each other onto music as we realised we had pretty similar tastes. I remember Michael driving us to a show and putting on Pitchshifter’s ‘Infotainment’ album and it was like nothing I had ever heard. It is still a big influence on our sound too. It’s cool that we are now making music together, having been friends for so long, Michael is probably the person I am still friends with for the longest period in my life, and this is just another great part of our long friendship.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

This is really hard. I guess the band we both point to for our music is Godflesh, we both love them but there’s also so much more that we each love. Helmet is probably my biggest influence and I’ve just kind of stayed in that style of writing riffs for decades. The Body are another mutual favourite.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs? 

I just kind of like messing around sometimes with riffs, other times I will get a very definite sound in my mind that I want to pursue. Having played around with sequencing, programming, and production for many years I can finally get my ideas out of my brain and into sound fairly well these days, so sometimes it is in my mind then I will program and record it. Musically, again it is kind of inspired by the same bands, Godflesh, Nailbomb, Pitchshifter etc. Lyrically, we are both probably different. Michael tends to write about the things in the world that make him angry, I probably write more introspective stuff about the things in my own brain chemistry that make me angry. He’s a much better lyric and music writer than me. (Michael would like to point out that he thinks I am much better at both of these things).

6. Where was your last gig? 

Our last show was very early in 2020, just before Covid-19 blew up. It was great, we haven’t played many shows and this was the first where people really connected with our music and were really into it. And then everything just stopped.

7. Where would you like to act? 

I have had a long fantasy idea of going to play in Indonesia. It is so close to Australia and yet so culturally different, and there is a huge heavy metal scene there. Really, really cool stuff. I’ve travelled there only a little and desperately want to get back, I think it would be incredible to take our music there. I chat with a great black metal artist, he puts out music under the name ‘Soulless’, I want to connect with more Indonesian metal bands and hopefully get over there once Covid-19 is under some sort of control. At the moment this seems very far off, unfortunately.

8. Whom would you like to feature with? 

Godflesh? Probably number one band.

9. Whom not? 

Ha, there are so many bands that are terrible. Anyone that sounds remotely like Led Zeppelin or Queen, that would be a nightmare.

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that? 

Yes, we are both a bit anxious and we both had a terrible time before our first ever show as neither of us had played a show for many, many years. I think it was maybe ten years for me and twice that for Michael. We were both really nervous but once you get onstage and plug in, the sound starts, it all takes care of itself. I think just being prepared, practiced, and doing more shows is the only way to get through this. And try to resist the urge to drink too much. A couple is good for the nerves, a couple too many is a disaster.

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

Again, Godflesh. But also Australian bands like The Mark Of Cain, Midget. A lot of Max Cavalera stuff like Nailbomb and Sepultura. Helmet definitely the big one for me. Big Black probably started all this stuff, the heavy riffs and drum machine, so it all goes back to them.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

It is very kind to think that we have fans. I will turn it around, the weirdest thing we asked of a fan (our good friend Jace who is in the video clip for ‘The Thread’), I had an idea for our video clip inspired by a cool video installation I saw by the Chinese artist Xu Zhen of (徐震) of a close up of a person’s back being hit repeatedly and it causing these big welts, except the person’s hand is never seen. I messaged Jace and said “we want to make a clip and we want you to be in it and we want to hit you really hard”, he messaged back straight away and said “unreservedly, yes”. So we got his teenage son to hit him as hard as he could for our clip.

13. What do you think of your fans?

We are astonished to find people like the music we make, which we really just make for ourselves, to find other people like this niche sort of music is really exciting, flattering, just great really. And to find people around the world who are into it, it is always a lovely surprise. To find people happy to spend some money on our records and tapes, honestly it is very humbling and we are incredibly grateful for them.

14. What do you think of our site?

I think it’s great that you guys are so supportive of so many different styles of metal from around the world. It is a great reminder that whatever is happening in the world, all the chaos and horrible things, that there are so many people who are still connected by a love of heavy music.

15. Something add?

We have to thank Chris at Machine Man Records for reaching out to us on the strength of our first demo and encouraging us from there. He is probably most to blame for us making more music! And go buy our music so we can afford to buy more drum samples and other plug-ins, this stuff is killing us.

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