Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
I suppose your absolutely buzzing for this album going out?
Nige” Yea yea its nearly here mate, nearly here”
It is as I say I’ve looked forward to it for several weeks now and I’m very impressed, I loved the previous album but it seems to again have taken up another notch, its really really good.
Nige’Thanks mark I much appreciate that.”
What I want to basically do was just generally just take you through the album track by track, if you would give me an insight into the lyrics and how they came to be recorded and then maybe finish with a couple of general questions if that’s OK ?
Nige” Yea cool ”
OK will start of with “UK world order”, as I say if you give me a little bit of background information on each song.
Nige” It’s just as if chaos is king kind of a continuation or an actual tweak to the code black from the Sound of Violence album. One of the key lines in Code Black is “UK world order” in the chorus so it ties in nicely into the intro of “Chaos is King” We are just doing like a nice little mellow into just to build up to the big bang and “Aggression of chaos” is king basically, which is kind of orchestral intro on my last album and it was time to do a nice little mellow one this time as we have never done that before as I remember so…
So a little bit different intro wise. The title is obviously as I said a tie of back to the previous album, which brings us onto Chaos is King, if you listen to the front end of code black it will be a little bit confusing. if you listen to the front end of code black on the sound of violence you will hear a fast musical section kind of radioed if you were listening onto a cheap radio and that is actually what you hear at the end of chaos is like king and that is the end part of that song. So it is lyrically tied in and obviously we planned it long long ago when we were doing the last album we were going to tie this around and make it work together a prequel of unusual type thing more of a movie type thing, I think its a little interesting but I think it works so I just carried on.!
OK then Fuel for my fire
Nige: “Its just a typical hate song I guess it was one of the last songs I wrote and obviously the world at the moment especially is more full of hate than it ever has been in the entire history of the world I think. I had the idea for the chorus and I give it to Sy and he wanted to get some vocals in and I left it with him to work on.Once I did the lyrics and when we came into the studio he came up with this high pitch and it was absolutely incredible Though everybody said it needs something.It really needs something in the chorus and its kind of Sy trying to get that into albums maybe in the past since Killing Peace, but its never been the right opportunity. I think I think we really got it now on and everybody has heard it .”
He definitely seems to be taking it up a notch vocally, like he always was a great singer but like each album he is sort of pushing the boundaries each time?
Nige”I know, I mean Killing Peace was a good come back album for us and when we did Sound of violence I went over to the studio again to Mike when he was half way through the vocals it was like “were the hell did this come from Mike? His voice had just increased like so much from Killing Peace, it was so huge it was incredible I just didn’t know were he had got it from then. Obviously he has raised the game even more with this album, and I don’t know I think its weather he had a break from singing for 10/12 years.
His voice has stayed rested and he just gets stronger and stronger and some of the stuff he can pull of is like I mean the high notes are by far but its lasting heavy weedy voice has got so powerful that he just blows them away and how we interpret some of our lyrics is fantastic, we sort of really work as a good team and he really delivers the feeling and the emotion in the songs”
Children of the sand?
Nige”This song we have got some fans/friends or I don’t know what you would call them over in Afghanistan and they were Onslaught fans and were kind enough to name I think either their rocket launchers or their battalion nickname after the band over in camp Bastion don’t know if u have seen the pictures and stuff?
Nige”We receive feedback from those guys about what is going on and kind of the true story not what we are getting sort of fed on TV and stuff its kind of very scary, so provoking what these guys are witnessing and having to go through so they have been giving us ideas for lyrics, they said if you want to use some of this for inspiration please feel free, which I did on 2 songs, Children of the sand and Slaughterize both based around the situation in the Middle East. I guess with Children of the Sand I really wanted to give it a sort of heavy Arabic middle eastern sounding with the chord structures and the solos and the vocals, and once you actually put the main vocals in it was screaming out for little bit more, we put some keyboards into the chorus to give it a bit more authenticity because it just felt a little bit fake and I really hate the idea……….”
The phoneline then broke down but Nigel was kind enough to ring me the following evening and re were able to resume…
Nige “Hello ….hi Mark I got you in the end”
Yea I don’t know what is up with my phone major problems as I say
Any way we were discussing the tracks for the new album. I think we were up to “Children of the Sand”
Nige”Some of are friends are out there.. I cant remember I think I was saying about were we had some friends over in Afghanistan”
Yep that was it
Nige” Basically they sent me or even sent Onslaught some of their thoughts of what goes on over there and described the scenario’s that they are faced with things like that and it was kind of pretty scary stuff. They said we could use what ever we liked that they had sent over for some lyrical inspiration. We thought “cool” which it was and I ended up using a lot of ideas and words on 2 of the songs on the new album, particularly “Children of the sand” and “Slaughterize”, so yea we really want to give this song a strong sort of middle eastern Arabic fell to it, the kind of chord progression we use in the song had that feel anyway” and once it all came together I tried out some keyboard parts in the chorus and stuff and think it was ok but it wasn’t really adding to it much and I hate the use keyboards in thrash. When we got to the mix I was talking feel with Thomas who mixed the album for us,and said that I would like to give it the final gloss.I wanted to make it truly authentic sounding. He knew a guy over in Sweden who was a strings player.Cellos,violins and stuff like that.We gave him a call,and he came down at short notice.We sort of talked through for about half an hour what we wanted and he just let rip.It was like”fucking hell”,it sounded amazing once he started playing.It was the real instrument on top,and it was such an amazing effect..
And the cello blended so well with the guitar tone and it was incredible, he played the strict patterns of the chorus and then some kind of free form stuff you hear at the intro and we were just blown away.He had us gob smacked and then he had the idea of the female vocals and we added that in as well and it was job done and it really put the finishing touches to the song.We just blown away when we were sat there listening to it and we were just smiling away and it sounded exactly how we wanted it.. Its very rare when you get these crazy ideas and sometimes they don’t come off but this one worked perfectly to plan”
I was actually going to say its your 6th album and your still sort of experimenting with new ideas,new instrumentation and different effects and things.
Nige” I think we sort of made a little bit just to try and do something a little of the wall just to try and give ourselves a little different sound and not our usual stuff, we are obviously expected all the time to play 1000 miles per hour full on thrash.
I mean its just nice to keep it heavy to keep it thrashy still when in a slow form song” We just added a few new nuances it was nice for us and I think it has worked because everybody seems to love the track which is a major bonus as well”
You touched on “Slaughterize” the track next
Nige” Obviously that is is kind of been a lot of … I’ve been wanting to write a song but I’ve been finding the role of a sniper very very fascinating, and my little lad he is obsessed with snipers as well, he plays Call of duty and stuff like that snipping and loves stuff like that. We got some thoughts about that back when that was taken out really fucking heavy stuff and obviously being called Onslaught we have got in affectionately known as the slaughter and stuff like that
Nige”it was a mostly to tie in with us as well with the Slaughterize and in also your eyes in that the things that you see with and we give it the kind of touch with the size on it for a double twist yea but that all reality based kind of stuff that I’ve read up on sniper books and stuff as well to get some info and try and make more a thoughtful song and thoughtful lyrics”
Yea and the next one 66’fucking’6 that what I mean just the title alone that set me of I actually still have an onslaught t shirt with a pentagram with 666 on the back of it.
Nige”Cool… yea that’s were we have come from we have taken that through with us all the way through our history and there is no reason why we should shy away from that now cause everybody know what the bands themes are and the kind of images we use the song is actually slightly tongue in cheek if you read the lyrics of the song.We have a song metal forces on the fourth album and I think it has kind of been classed as our anthem for many years now and its a song that we can never get away with not playing live.”
“So we thought maybe it was time that we write a new kind of type Metal Forces track for ourselves.We had a review last album for the Sound of Violence record it was on Amazon uk or US Amazon I think. This guy had taken it to review the album in the listings where you write about the album. He was obviously a Christian inclined fellow and he had actually written his stuff it was the best review anybody could ever have written us I think.It said something more like “this band will take your soul, they sing about war they sing about death they sing about hate blah blah blah and the end line was they play the devils music.””We actually put that review on the back of t-shirts and sold out in like no time and everybody loved it. So kind of got the inspiration for that song from that review and obviously we couldn’t call the album 66’fucking’6 really.
I don’t think it would have been helpful towards sales”
Nige” Part of the reason it simply called 6 cos its our sixth album and it was all the obvious 666 things and the guys on the sleeves with the V1 on their hats, it was a nice little play of us you know”
OK “Cruci-fiction” up next
Nige”Just my typical religious bashing song that every album has got to have. I just tried it from a different approach like a third party looking at somebody who is basically a religious nut but at the same time want them to look a little bit deeper and look a little bit less at the obvious.I don’t see how religion can be real so take a look yourself”
OK “Dead Man Walking” then
Nige”Another typical hate song really, I think all of us have plenty of hate in us for somebody or something. I think its kind of a more metal track if you like that we have ever written, wrote written it a lot to do kind of Judas Priestly vibe where the drums are the double kickers are going all the way through with a straight chug on the top Its got a lot of energy and yea I was quite surprised when so many people have said its their favourite track on the album. I don’t think its particularly the strongest, I don’t think its weak but its probably the least type Onslaught track on the album I would say more so even than Children of the Sand.
I think because its so aggressive and got a lot of energy its got a different feel again which is good I mean we have tried to give every track a different feel as much as possible. It obviously works within the context of the whole album so yea we are well pleased with it.”
OK finally “Enemy of my Enemy”
Nige”Typical close the album thrasher I would say one of the most old school tracks on the album. I would guess musically and lyrically it has become very very relevant over the past few weeks I think. Its the kind of song with the Arab theme being Enemy of my enemy is an old ancient Arabic saying you know.
It was kind of kind of looking back on the previous conflicts over that way were the Russians were involved in Afghanistan and the Americans were back in the Taliban and maybe the uk government were back in the Taliban with financial aid with arms and stuff and then it all came full circle and bit them on the ass and they ended up fighting the Taliban with sort of American and British weapons you know and all of a sudden they are at it again with Syria and you have Syria’s situation with the Americans trying to go in there and the Russians coming from the other side going no and saying no your not doing this. Its the old 2 big enemies with the little guy in the middle, you don’t know you know that’s were the saying kind of comes from quite interesting
Yea ok you sort of said that a lot the songs were fuelled by hate I just wondered if a what’s going on obviously with the on-going conflict with your former band members. I just wondered if that sort of stirred the fires of hate.
Nige”They do what they do and we do what we do I don’t have any dealings with them any more.”
Its not going through courts or anything???
Nige”There is no sort of legal ramifications. Not at all, we sorted everything out a couple of years ago. All that’s done and dusted and we just get on with our lives and they should just get on with theirs.”
I know as I say I’ve just picked up obviously with social media is out there now as part of everybody’s lives there’s just been things said and reported and it just seems to be dragging on and dragging on instead of people sort of moving on you know.
Nige”Yea I mean we didn’t get drawn into that I mean if certain people want to carry things on. I don’t really see the point”
I mean to be fair a lot of them haven’t been in the band for what 20 odd years?
Nige”I know that’s the crazy thing and all of a sudden they got all this to say like I don’t know”
Ok obviously you have been involved in the music business for quite some time now , do you till have dreams and goals and ambitions?
Nige”Oh yea of course that why we are doing what we do and put so much effort into this album, I mean if we didn’t really have a lot of ambitions I don’t think we would be putting so much effort into the songs. We put ourselves through a lot a lot of hard work and really sort of excelled ourselves I think so yea we have got still the ambitious of day 1 if not more than ever you know. Once you get the taste for this stuff and its going well and you meet all these wonderful people and you go to all these great places and you just want it more and more the only way to get it is to write the music ”
The reason I’m asking is just because you had that long period of a break out of the band so I’m just wondering with enthusiasm levels a little bit low was that sort of re kindled and reactivated for the band to start up again?
Nige” I mean obviously when we came back your super charged.You have taken all this time off , you had no interest really are no thoughts because things ended so badly and then you get this effect and a fantastic second chance you grab it with more than 2 hands.Just grab it with everything you can hold onto it with you know.We are so fortunate to had had this opportunity and while its good there is no way you want to let go. I don’t know if it would have been the same if we had of kept going and maybe wouldn’t have been so inspired at this point because we had that long lay off and now things have got so good for us we are just really going for it and then to come back with a very very strong album the Sounds of Violence as well I suppose that give you fired up enthusiasm and drive again. Yea it just feels like its getting better and better you know, it was great with one album and now we managed to make this one its gone up another level of excitement and tomorrow its official release day in Europe so…”
Nige”Bit of a nervous time also ”
Ok just a couple then do you have any sort of interests, talents or hobbies outside music or is music just everything in your life?
Nige”Well obviously it plays a big part especially in the past 6 months it taken up every living moment writing all the lyrics and music and recording it and what ever goes after.Outside of the band there’s football season any chance I get to go to football that’s were Im at you know but unfortunately at the moment I haven’t had a lot of time to sacrifice one great thing to replace with another Obviously with the album release your not going to get much time to persue that interest probably for quite some time now anyway.Im missing quite a few matches actually I was looking at the schedule today and we are away on tour I miss two then we come back from south America I miss another two so I got to make the most of the ones over Christmas”
That leads me in just as I say you were touching on the tour of south America that just leaves me on my final question . I see that your going to obviously South America Mexico, Peru, Chile and what about sort of European touring plans I’m thinking obviously round the UK and obviously Belfast in that?
Nige”Firstly we kick off and we are starting the European tour Northern European tour on October the 9th we have 4 Uk shows in Norththumberland Birmingham Bristol and London.Then we go off to Europe for 3 weeks which covers pretty much of northern Europe covering most of the Scandinavian countries finish off in Poland on November the 3rd I think.We come back for a week then we are off to north America.At the moment what we are planning then is to come back maybe sort of February /March we are going to do a second European run and sort of take in Spain Portugal Italy and the sort of lower countries and come back and do the extra dates in the uk like Belfast Edinburgh Glasgow and probably Cardiff and I think we owe Manchester a shout so looking like we will come back and do five or six in the uk then”
Obviously that depends on the momentum of the album release and obviously sales and stuff like that
Nige”Of course I think it should do pretty well in the uk we are always good for a uk tour after the album comes out especially in Ireland and Scotland and Wales”
Yea you have a history of I remember back in the 80s I think u played a couple of gigs in in Belfast
Nige”It has always been great we always loved coming back to Belfast and stuff one of our favourite places cos Ive got some crazy memories of our first time”
“But we could never miss that out so message for James at the Distortion Project give us a nudge and we will sort something out”
Ill have a word there well that’s great Nige thanks for ringing me back
Nige”No problem at all”
And have a good evening and good luck with the album
Nige”Yea cool mate thanks and keep in touch, I will indeed thank you see ya cheers. See ya mark”