Dehumanise recently released their debut full length “A Symptom of the Human Condition” on CDN Records and plan to tour Europe with the death metal band Monstrosity this June. How many countries will you be touring?
We will hit six countries, and have over twenty shows booked in the UK well into 2020.
Dehumanise describes their music as blackened crust punk with some death metal influences. Describe the lyrics written by the band and how they fit your music. Are they politically based or just written to talk about social issues?
That does sum it up. We mix old school death metal, anarcho, d-beat and metal. We are inspired by bands like Discharge, Hellhammer, early Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath, Motorhead and a host of others. The lyrics are about a lot of things, personal issues, direct and indirect. Some are to do with social issues, some are political, it depends how I feel at the time and what inspires me, what grinding my gears, what I wish to address and process myself or feel from the music that we have put down.
How many similarities does the band perceive in the musicians you cited as influences? I’m not familiar with anarcho and d-beat. Is anarcho a subgenre of punk? In what ways does it and d-beat fit into your style?
Check it out, make up your own mind, you should have a listen. Anarcho and crust are both subgenres but metal influenced punk. Think of early Celtic Frost, Dark Throne, Motorhead, Venom as inspiration but probably heavier and faster, all that stuff. We do our own thing and play it our way, but people have to have their categories, which I don’t like to do to be honest, it’s all rock n roll. Don’t analyze it, just enjoy it. I’d happily listen to a raw black metal band, then a stoner band, then a death metal band, but you don’t get that at shows. It’s all too fragmented, which personally, I see as a negative, we need more unity in music. It is about freedom and creativity not regurgitating another band by numbers and calling it a genre. You get one original band with an original tone and all of a sudden you have a genre. Just play it guys and let’s enjoy it, not split ourselves.
Sometimes categories are needed, if anything to give listeners an idea of what to expect from a band. But other times categories aren’t so much limiting as they are overused; in other words it seems there are too many. What are your thoughts on this idea?
Best thing to do is go and listen to a band on Youtube or Bandcamp or Facebook page. Or even better go and check out a local underground live show, have a beer, make new friends and discover some good new music. Make up your own mind. We aren’t here to decide for you, no one is, not the magazines, not the labels pushing their advertising and not the essentially corporate machines running the large festivals. The listener does that themselves. If it’s for you, great. If not there is a host of other bands to discover to someone’s taste. Go give the real stuff a chance and don’t swallow the plastic. We do what we do without limitations and it comes out the way it does, the way we feel. Feel is a big factor, our end of the business is not fake in anyway. Same with 90% of the bands we play with.
Cite some of the d-beat and anarcho bands you listen to and add if you recommend them to the readers.
Discharge is always a good place for people to start. I did session bass for The Varukers too, they are worth a check out.
I noticed you are also influenced by American punk and hardcore bands like The Misfits, The Dead Kennedys and Black Flag. Do they help you stand out from other bands?
My first tattoo was the Black Flag logo, done in 1995. A band stands out due its own interpretation and presentation of their work. I am a fan of James Brown and the energy he had on stage. Everything shapes who you are and when you work with other people they bring their own thing to the band and you become what the audience sees.
Which countries does the band plan to visit on the upcoming tour? Assuming the tour is the first time you’re visiting those countries, are you anticipating expanding your fan base?
Scotland, England, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium. We will do more countries any opportunity we get. I have toured in most countries in Europe several times and they are all good. Nineteen at the last count.
Describe some of your experiences visiting Europe and meeting fans there.
It was good and bad, same as anywhere really. It was with my previous bands and some bands I have done session work for. Some places are well attended and some aren’t, some people are cool and some aren’t. Same the world over. It’s all good fun though, we just love to play loud heavy and live.
How long has the band’s current lineup been together, and how well do you work as a unit? Does any of their experience in other bands help Dehumanise?
Dreads took over on drums in February when Nick left due to a heart condition he was born with and had to retire. We work perfectly otherwise it wouldn't work at all. All experience helps.
Where was “A Symptom of the Human Condition” recorded? Did the band use their own recording studio and produce the album independently, or did you visit a professional studio to get the sound you were looking for?
We went to Shoestring Studios in Stoke on Trent. It’s a full time professional studio and it was recorded on analog, so gave us a live, raw sound that we were looking, so yes we did, Ade the producer is a veteran of the punk scene and was good to work with. He is also our friend and we share the stage with is band. Knowing where the band is coming from is very important, I have made too many errors that way in the past! Haha.
What social and political issues does Dehumanise address on the album? Are they mostly events in the U.K. or did the band write about events in other countries?
Some of the issues addressed are child abuse and PTSD. Some issues in the UK are addressed, like issues in the National Health Service. I’m an ex-psychiatric nurse and was in the Parachute Regiment. I also look at environmental issues affecting the world.
How long were you a psychiatric nurse before starting Dehumanise, and how profoundly did your experiences have an influence on your role in the band?
Many years. Dehumanise is fairly new after the demise of my last project. My experience in all things always influences whatever band I am in.
What are the environmental issues you wrote about? Is writing about them as important as getting involved with them as an activist (as Napalm Death did with PETA)?
Besides issues with the NHS in the UK, worldwide pollution, animal cruelty and terrorism. But there is some happy stuff in there. We are actively involved with some mental health charities. All proceeds from the track 'Shattered' goes to PTSD UK for example.
How much revenue has “Shattered” generated for PTSD UK since 'A Symptom of the Human Condition' came out? Are you equally involved in other mental health charities?
Not as much as I’d like to say to be honest, it is an ongoing project however and there is a possible fundraiser gig coming up too. Not at the moment, but we probably will be once the profile of the band gets bigger. We were approached by an organizer we know; it will be in Birmingham, U.K.
List all the tracks appearing on 'A Symptom of the Human Condition' and indicate what their subject matter is.
• Bones of Anger - this a black magic spell set to music
• Never Forgive - this is about having my parent arrested for child abuse
• Misfit - this is about Frankenstein
• The Struggle - this is about mental health
• Ehwaz - Ehwaz is the character M in elder futhark runes and it means horse, this song is about my horse.
• Symptom of the Human Condition - this is about the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse
• Terror - this is about things happening in the word right now that people shouldn't have to be dealing with.
• City Streets - this is about Frank Castle, the comic book character The Punisher.
• Cursed By Me - another black magic spell set to music
• Total War - this is about the negativity of war and the effect it has on innocent bystanders who have nothing to do with the political climate that created it, the fact they shouldn't be effected so badly but such a thing that has been caused and decided and controlled by people who are sitting miles away in safety.
The EP is included as a free bonus on the album’s CD format.
• DBol - education regarding the dangers of anabolic steroid abuse
• Product Of Today's Environment - the mess the UK government have made of the NHS a formerly world class organization and how it is such a tragedy.
• Shattered - the effect me living with C-PTSD
• Your World - look at the world that you live in! It’s yours, stop fucking it up.
A live video of your song “Misfit” recorded at The Dark Horse in Moseley last March is uploaded to Youtube. Does the video’s sound and the acoustics of the club represent your live show?
The acoustics were good and so was the sound engineer, but it was set up for live sound, so it was to the people there to decide. It’s hard to record a decent live sound on mobile phone. It was a simple representation of the gig.
How often do you update your Youtube profile? Are you planning to post a new live video or promotional video sometime soon?
Whenever we have something relevant and that we think people may find of interest. Please come and subscribe to our channel.
Does Dehumanise plan to start working on new material this year? If you have any new songs written, will you be previewing them or adding them to your next release?
We have a live album out in the summer and new album out before Christmas and 7" split coming out later in the year too. We are always writing new material.