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Interview With Nervecell – Psychogenocide

How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard your music before?

Rami: Old-school death metal and thrash metal crossed with modern metal elements and a hint of oriental/Middle Eastern touches. Fans of Morbid Angel, Testament, Death and Slayer would definitely relate to our music!

What are your biggest influences?

Rami: Lots of death and thrash metal bands such Death, Suffocation, Deicide, Morbid Angel, Slayer, Sepultura (old), and I’m a fan of prog/virtuoso bands and musicians –Dream Theater, Symphony X, Evergrey, Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai etc.

Was this album more difficult to write this album than your first?

Rami: I would say that we were very comfortable writing this new album. I guess cos we grew as musicians being together for so many years. “Psychogenocide” is a little more challenging in terms of arrangements because its more technical than our previous works. The listener will notice more darker vibes in this album than our previous ones which worked really well. It’s a very “organic” album I would say. Things came really natural which is great!

What was it like working with Karl Sanders?

Barney: It was a wonderful experience, we basically made history together in putting out the first extreme metal song to include both Arabic and English vocals! It’s always nice to have the guys who you look up to and admire as musicians be so approachable. Just us being Nile fans for years were stoked on the idea that Karl actually even agreed to associate himself with our band, all we said to ourselves was lets give this a shot at asking him what he thought about doing guest vocals on the song “Shunq” and so we felt confident and went ahead with that idea. To have Karl reply back almost immediately asking for the track and then later saying he’d love to get on board with us to track his vocals down was an unbelievable feeling. Our management and Karl’s manager both thought that it was a fantastic idea too so it wasn’t like we made a business deal or anything, just musicians coming together regardless of how far away we are located…and it goes to show Metal today is Global! Bottom line being, Karl is a real genuine dude and to see him at 47 still shredding and playing extreme music is not only outstanding but motivating to us. We shot a music video with Karl here in the U.A.E. and I cant wait till that gets out later on this year.

What is the metal scene like in Dubai?

Barney: A little frustrating, there is a lot of bands but not many metal bands as such. Not as much as there used to be at least in the last 10 years. Nervecell is the only metal band who has kept extreme music active and alive in the Dubai, also with regards to releasing albums, touring and being in the press educating people what metal music is really all about! Our management CSM also deserves a lot of credit on that part as they are the only company in the Middle East who held Metal / Rock festival in this part of the world bringing down huge metal acts such as Megadeth, Testament, Iron Maiden, Machine Head, Sepultura, Arch Enemy and many more over the last 7 years under “Desert Rock Festival”! Dubai is still fairly new to the metal world but we surely are doing our part in holding the torch high here.

What has been the reaction of your friends and family to the success of the band?

Rami: It’s been great! At first none was expecting this whole “rise” not even myself! We did it because we loved music and now with so many great things happening, my family and friends have been very supportive and happy for me. It’s great!
Barney: We have been very fortunate to have families and friends who understand and support our dedication to music, its very important to be surrounded by positive people and inspiring individuals and a lot of musicians rise with that sort of environment. We are grateful for the fact that we have able pursue our dreams this far being based in the Middle East.

Did you ever think that your be able to make a living off of your music?

Barney: Lets just say that we aren’t living extravagantly, although one may think differently just knowing we live in Dubai. We play death / thrash metal, so to make a living from it would be awesome, unless we are touring 9 months of the year then we could say we doing well…truth is Rami owns a music store in Qatar where he is now based and I work with a record label now in Dubai, James is studying on the side while not touring and Loui gives drum lessons. So we all come home from tours and have things to do but the fact is we are that kind of band who are ready to go out for months together on the road and tour consistently. We live in the Dubai, there is no metal here and yet we are a death / thrash metal band, its pretty simple to understand the frustrating situation we are faced with here! Our dream is to be a successful touring band and release consistent albums marking the Middle East prominently on the Metal map by doing so. We make a decent living, the fame and fortune is all secondary!

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?

Rami: Personally, I would say it’s a tie between Wacken Open Air in 2008 and Dubai Desert Rock Festival 2008!

What are you currently listening to?

Rami: Deicide ‘To Hell With God’, Levi/Werstler ‘Avalanche of Worms’ and Forbidden ‘Omega Wave’
Barney: Between The Burried and Me – The Parallax, Sceptic Flesh – The Great Mass and Obscura – Omnivium

What’s next for Nervecell?

Barney: We will be on our way to Europe again in August 2011, so far we have a few festivals lined up and hopefully more gigs will be piling up there for us. We’d like to stay out on tour for the entire year if need be to promote our new album “Psychogenocide”, so we plan on going to the US sometime soon too in the near future and all the other places where we have not yet stepped foot in!

Read our review of Psychogenocide HERE