Napalm Death - Godflesh - Techno Animal - Jesu - Pale Sketcher Page 5

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JUSTIN BROADRICK - Napalm Death - Godflesh - Techno Animal - Jesu - Pale Sketcher Page 5
By Dimitri Nasrallah1988 to 1991
In need of a vehicle for his own musical ideas, in 1988 Justin Broadrick forms Godflesh. "Essentially Godflesh was just me and Ben Green, who was the bass player in Fall of Because," he says. "I left home when I was about 17, and just before I formed Godflesh I was sharing a one-bedroom flat with Ben. We two were big friends. We moved out together into an area of Birmingham, which was a bit more cosmopolitan. We were still tramps, really, but at least we were out of the council estates and in an area that was poor, but full of musicians, artists and students.
Godflesh really became my vision, and Ben Green was really into the same type of stuff. It was taking the Head of David and made it thoroughly more brutal, and we already had our songs from Fall of Because so we began with those.
I was really influenced by people using drum machines, most notably some of the hip-hop at the time: Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim. When I first heard some of those records, I was astonished at the brutality of their drum machines, and I really was excited by that sound. I really wanted something inhuman sounding and beyond human capability. And I was already a drummer, so I knew what beats I wanted to hear. I wanted to hear them in the most disgusting, heavy fashion going."
Godflesh debut in 1988 with a self-titled EP on Swordfish Records that stakes out their distinct style: industrial percussion, metal riffage, distorted vocals, and brutal paranoia. Earache Records sign the group's debut album, and in 1989 Godflesh release their debut full-length, Streetcleaner, which at the time sounds like little else out there.
Streetcleaner, when it was first released, was mostly met with derision," says Broderick. The audience he has built thus far has been expecting material more along the lines of Napalm Death's thrash metal and aren't necessarily ready to follow him into industrial punk with electronic flirtations. "It was too out there at the time, back in 1989. When we first started touring that album, supporting bands like Napalm Death, people were standing a million miles away from the stage and couldn't believe what they were hearing."
Broadrick's early audiences may not want to hear high-octane industrial rock, but in the U.S. a potent scene is beginning to build around industrial-dance labels like Chicago's Wax Trax Records, the legendary record shop and imprint that spotlights the fusion of early industrial music with new electronic sounds, and bands like Ministry and Nine Inch Nails are building large audiences for precisely the music that Godflesh is creating.
By the time people really caught on to it, and the world caught on to Godflesh, it was already around 1991," says Broadrick. "Streetcleaner was released in 1989, and we must've toured it solid for about two years." In America, Godflesh is received with open arms.
"Godflesh came to America with Napalm Death in early 1991, and up until that point every band I'd played in had toured in the UK and Europe. So I'd never been to America, and by the time we got there, the band had already grown beyond my expectations, it was already becoming a popular band in the underground, which we hadn't really expected. It was very much a surprise for us that people responded so positively to the music."
The relentless touring is beginning to pay off, and by 1991 Broadrick is finally able to crawl out from under the shadow of Napalm Death's early and unexpected success with a loyal following in hand. As a result, what started off as a very reactionary undertaking to Broadrick's bad experiences and control issues in Head of David and Napalm Death has steadily developed into a full-time band.
I wasn't aware of those bands before coming to the U.S.," Broadrick says, "but as Godflesh took off and became popular in North America, I was exposed to this scene. A lot of people I would meet would say, 'You ought to check out Ministry. This is sort of the U.S. equivalent to what you guys are doing.' Godflesh and that album made an indelible mark on audiences there, and that's stayed. To this day, I still sell the majority of my records in America. Of any music I make, it mostly goes to America."
By the end of 1991 Godflesh follows up Streetcleaner with the Slavestate EP, laying down a formula for releases that will allow Broadrick's more experimental ideas for Godflesh to flourish on the shorter format in between albums.
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nice work mr Nasrallah, great story, long live Justin!
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really nice interview, thank you!
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Article Published In Sep 10 Issue