EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: NERVECELL (DUBAI)

BRUTAL POKHARA: Hails from Brutal Pokhara

Rami: What’s up Brutal Pokhara Emag!
Barney: Hailz from Dubai to Nepal!

BRUTAL POKHARA: It’s already been nearly 11 years of chaos and brutality. How does Nerve cell feels after all these years of recording, touring and playing live shows?

Barney: A dream come true for us, when this band was formed back in 2000 all we ever wanted to do was get to play live all the time and we still have that very same drive to do that until today, anywhere and everywhere we possibly can, where ever we are welcomed to spread our music to the masses.

BRUTAL POKHARA: Did you guys ever thought while recording your 1st demo ‘Vastland of Abomination’ that the band would survive this long and will gather so much attention and respect especially coming out of an Arab world!

Rami: When we recorded “Vastlands of Abomination” EP we wanted to have our music on a physical CD available for metalheads in Dubai and the UAE scene, as simple as that! Because we played lots of live shows and did not have any recordings at that time, around 2002-2003, we recorded a 2 song demo which was the perfect tool to market the name Nervecell and push ourselves further. Our goals were set to record more music and perform live more. I guess our passion, dedication and ambition pushed us to go further with our music reaching places!

BRUTAL POKHARA: Please care to tell us about your 1st EP Human Chaos’ it finally brought the band the attention and the respect it seeked or deserved.

Barney: It was something we felt was necessary to put out to the public, back in 2004 we had already established a fan base in the local scene so we felt it was a natural step for us to take and release an E.P with all the songs that we used to play a lot live and were at that time known amongst our fans. It was something we did both for our career and something to give back to the fans that were very supportive and always came out to our gigs. To our surprise we got some killer reviews not only from the Middle East but everywhere else around the world after “Human Chaos” came out and that only pushed us to go further and take things more seriously, seeing the immense reactions we were getting from metal heads the world over!

BRUTAL POKHARA: The EP was acclaimed highly and after that the band was seen sharing stages alongside great bands like SEPULTURA, KREATOR, IMMORTAL, AMON AMARTH and many others. How was that experience?
Rami: It’s a great feeling to come and think of it that our first EP led us to open for such great bands. Back in the EP days we were pretty young and at that age being able step up and the first one being at the Dubai Desert Rock Festival in Dubai with Sepultura, Machine Head and more in our home town was overwhelming! I remember how excited we were partying pre and post the festival haha! Sharing the stage with other big metal names in international festivals and tours is a great feeling too and not just that but also traveling and performing for other audiences!

BRUTAL POKHARA: The band also toured many different countries (including Australia, Egypt, and Slovenia). How did the crowd treated the band because you know many westerners or whites don’t even think that something like an underground scene could even exist in this part of the world?

Barney: To be honest we were treated very well, a lot of the general reactions were like “wow you guys are from Dubai? I’ve heard soo much about you and how come you choose Metal? “ But when we step on stage it’s the same as any metal band getting together and tearing shit down. I think many westerners are used to metal bands touring their towns all the time but it isn’t everyday that a band based out of the Middle East comes to their town so yes I would say they felt very honored to have us and welcomed us. We felt the same way getting the opportunity to even play such beautiful countries when all we had was an E.P under our sleeves at that time only played a few couple of international shows, I think it was great learning experience for us because we got a real taste of what its like to tour and made us realize we are in it to go all the way!

BRUTAL POKHARA: Preaching Venom’ was released in 2007 and all the good things started happening for the album. It was mixed by Wojtek and Slawek Wieslawscy who had already worked with mighty VADER and DECAPITATED and then was mastered in New York by Alan Douches who had worked with the likes of SEPULTURA and SUFFOCATION. Tell us the experience.
Rami: When we first started writing “Preaching Venom” we decided that we wanna mix and master the album with well respected producers in the industry simply because we knew that we can get the sound we wanted with their final touches in the production phase. We like the Wieslawscy bros previous works, same goes with Alan Douches who is a great mastering engineer, so we just spoke to them and sent them the tracks, first to Poland where the Wieslawscy mixed the full album and then we forwarded the tracks to the US so Alan can finalize the mastering. The outcome was great and we are very happy with it!

BRUTAL POKHARA: Were you guys confident that ‘Preaching Venom’ would be such a success? Great reviews by everyone. Metal Hammer even went to the extent of rating it 8 out of 10.
Barney: Well we’ve been listening to metal for about 15 years and being based in the Middle East (where metal music is rare) most of our lives we knew we had to do something extra ordinary and not settle for just any attempt of rushing and putting out an album. It was our first full length and we knew that we would have to deal with it for the rest of our lives if we messed this up, as there was no going back after we’re done with it. So yes, we did take our time and worked really hard on “Preaching Venom”. It took us 4 years to write that record, bearing the fact that there aren’t many experienced metal studio engineers in Dubai and the fact that Rami, James and I were all finishing up our degrees in university. So studying and trying to write our first full length album at the same time representing not only Dubai but the entire the Middle East metal scene was indeed a lot of pressure. We took great pride in writing that album and it’s a very humbling experience to see it be so well received by such credential metal websites, magazines and critics saying such positive stuff about us. We were confident only to the extent that we felt just being able to put that album out was an achievement for us considering all the sacrifice and hard work that went into making that record. Its great to see it all pay off now!

BRUTAL POKHARA: The band was also signed by some western labels including Lifeforce Records from Germany. How did they treated you in terms of promotion and album sales?
Rami: Getting signed helped us a lot in spreading our music. We are happy working together with Lifeforce for Europe and Spellbind Records for the Middle East so far.

BRUTAL POKHARA: The band also supported Metal icons like DEICIDE, SUFFOCATION and AS I LAY DYING on numerous occasion. Were you guys in some kind of mental pressure performing alongside them ‘cause you know these bands could have easily swallowed NERVECELL without any mercy!

Barney: I think it’s always awesome to share the stage with bands who got you into playing music in the first place, its an experience I wish all musicians go through at some point. That’s when you realize there’s a reason you are where you are in your career this far and now it’s all up to you to push it all the more…there is a little bit of pressure but its good pressure, in the sense it makes you want to go there and show what you can bring to the stage. You can’t expect every fan in the audience to like you but your going to perform your ass off because that’s what your there to do. We go out on stage like we’re performing to a NERVECELL audience regardless of who’s out there with us, we have to prove ourselves and we’re up there doing exactly that when we’re up there playing our music live to the fans!

BRUTAL POKHARA: Alright now let’s talk about the lyrical contents. What are the bands philosophy while writing songs and composing them? Has they changed since your 1st release
?
Rami: We speak about humanity as a whole. We bring in topics that involve various topics as miseries, hate, humanitarian issues, wars and so on. It’s not pointed at any certain group or race, rather than humanity as a whole. The new album “Psychogenocide” direction is towards brainwashing, mind control and other issues that humanity still face today.

BRUTAL POKHARA: The band recently released the new album ‘PSYCHOGENOCIDE’. How are the reviews and the responses so far?
Rami: The reviews have been real cool so far especially from new publications that have not reviewed our music yet. Previous ones that knew our music are also pretty happy with what they heard so far so we’re happy. The fans have given us also lots of cool feedback so far. We released the album no so far ago (March 31st) in the Middle East and so far the feedback has been awesome! “Psychogenocide” will be out in Europe May 2nd.

BRUTAL POKHARA: There is this unconfirmed news that the band will be touring India for Deccan Rock fest and will share the stage alongside DECAPITATED. I also have heard that a Nepali band called ANTIM GRAHAN will also be performing there. Any conformation?

Barney: Yes that’s true, we co-headline the Deccan Rock Festival on May 7th along with Decapitated. It will be our second time in India as we completed a headlining tour there last year, which was completely insane. Totally looking forward to returning back to India and playing to all the NERVECELL fans out there.

BRUTAL POKHARA:Are you guys aware of Nepali underground scene?
Rami: I know there’s a metal scene in Nepal, and it would be awesome to visit one day and perform there! Metalheads are everywhere in the world Nepal would be definitely a new country for us to check out!

BRUTAL POKHARA: Well thank you for the interview and best wishes for ‘PSYCHOGENOCIDE’. I hope the album will further cement the band’s reputation as the best band to come out of Middle East. Any last shout outs?
Barney: Cheers to Brutal Pokhara Emag, check out our new album “Psychogenocide” and we hope to catch you all on our Asian Tour dates kicking off this April / May 2011.

-Zivon Gurung

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