The warning by Barney Ribeiro
In comparison to our previous albums, I’d say we’ve experimented a little more this time around both in the way we approached writing these new songs and with the finer details like adding ambiences and atmospheres into the music. We’ve added a bit more room for creating a sense of mood into the music on this new album and I think it worked out pretty well. We flew out to France to record the drums with our friend Kevin (ex Benighted) who lives there, unlike our past albums this time we pretty much got involved with exactly how we wanted to drums to be performed. We knew exactly what we wanted the drums to sound like - technique and idea-wise, so we made sure we weren’t compromising this time around. There are also songs on the album that we had written individually from start to finish. Previously we would always incorporate each other’s idea and merge/vibe off each other's parts to complete a Nervecell song. We just took a conscious decision this time to approach it differently and it actually turned out pretty sweet and pretty damn heavy. Quite honestly the heaviest Nervecell album to date. We also really took our time and let these songs really settle into our skin before we ticked them as good to go. I think it’s important to mention that as we are really picky with what we do but if there is any good from all of this, it is that the fans will get what they wanted and more importantly what they have patiently waited for from us!
The title of the album 'Past, Present...Torture' was actually taken from a song that I had initially written. When we were getting closer to finalizing the album and we started to realize the songs were all falling under the theme of ancient historical events and incidents that James had started to write stories about based on his own research and analysis of those particular events. We’ve always been a humanitarian band and tend to dwell on social unrest lyrically, however, this time around there are songs that are more on a personal level to James like 'D.N.A.' and also songs that focus on topics such as wars, deception, lies and scriptures from the past that are open to interpretation. The title basically summarizes where we as a human race are eventually heading for. One would argue that we should learn from our past, but are we really? We’ve seen and studied human behaviour for years and as they say, history repeats itself… so all we’ve got is the present to develop change and if we do nothing about it NOW then we can expect the worst. So I chose the word “torture” to replace “future” deliberately to create that sense of urgency and importance to act now. It sounded catchy and made so much sense, so I stuck with that title and we agreed to call the album that eventually, as it captured the mood of every song in this album and our message in general.
There are loads of sources where inspiration can hit you. For me apart from music, I find inspiration from just how unfair life can be sometimes. There is a lot of mystery and uncertainty about why you are here and what your purpose on earth really is. Unless you try to find and search for your destiny yourself you will always be a sheep trying to fit in and finish that rat race like the rest. I’ve always been curious about the existence of other life forms and planets, historical events etc. and when you start to ask questions and look deeper into what your thought in school you eventually realize how conditioned and narrow-minded the mass majority of us humans really are. So the more you try to discover and open your mind, some of the stuff you start to learn just blows you the fuck away! You start to question everything and ask yourself for instance “how the hell did I not think of it from that point of view before!?” It could be something as simple as the very earth we live on, it is 70% water, out of that 70% we haven’t even discovered 50% of what the ocean consists of. So who exactly are we to talk about the universe and how many other planets there are out there!? It’s ridiculous…Then there are things like the day to day struggles and compromises one has to go through. As hard as it may seem to be, you can always look around and tell yourself you are actually better off than most. If you’ve travelled the world to less unfortunate places for instance and you see a family without a roof over their heads and barely any food to eat living off the streets, it effects you, man! You can’t un-see or choose to ignore shit like that. That’s the kind of stuff that inspires me. So if I can express my feelings or emotions via music then so be it. It helps me have that outlet that we all need.
We are very much involved in the artwork of the album. We bring the concept to life by explaining to the designer we choose to work with what our vision is and take it from there. On this album we wanted a desert landscape to depict the region we are based out of and also to represent the past. There is still so much of untold information out there from the past that people do not necessarily know about, and that is only until recently being brought into the limelight. One would expect we live in a modern civilized world today but the future has so much of unpredictability ahead of us that it will inevitably lead to the fall of the human race. The present basically represents us trying to do our bit and alarm everyone to start taking action before it gets too late, hence why you see the Nervecell Emblem arising from the grounds on the album artwork to resemble a sense of warning and symbolism to act now, so take matters into our own hands so to speak, before it's too late.
We’ve never been pressured by labels or management to write the music we do differently. I don’t see why any musician would allow that to ever happen ever. This is what we love to do, and we do it passionately. The day we don’t have any fun touring, writing music etc. is the day we will call it quits for sure. We feel a hell of a lot more confident than we did 13 years ago when we put out the Human Chaos E.P. that’s for sure! We have naturally grown and progressed as musicians with every album. I wouldn’t want it any other way, I love that we experienced success and went through all the accomplishments that we’ve earned gradually rather than overnight.
Interview by Alex Milazzo - Copyright 2017 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.