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Monday 29 July 2019

The Spotlight: BOA Interview With Damim (Paul H)

Of all the bands playing at Bloodstock this year, few excite me as much as London based Damim. Having seen these guys a few times, I know the power of their live show. Their down to earth frontman Nathaniel Underwood was good enough to discuss all things blackened thrash.

Paul: For those new to Damim, how would you describe the band and its sound?

Nathaniel: The onset of convulsions and existential panic at the sounds of the 4-minute warning civil defence sirens. Seething anger at the universe. The sound of molten steel being poured from its furnace, moulded, hammered & ground into a twisted metal sculpture. Barking orders for survival having endured insurmountable grief. The countless untold stories of strife in the face of actual oppression that haunt landscapes anywhere you care to look.

Paul: 12 years may have passed since The Difference Engine, but A Fine Game of Nil is a blistering way to return. Congratulations on an excellent release. It’s been out for a few weeks now. How has the response been to the album?

Nathaniel: So far so good. Good press. Great audience reaction. The first actual music video for Rising Of The Lights - which we took great care to get right - I think took many by surprise and continues to be well received.

Paul: A Fine Game of Nil is sharp and tight. You’ve been one of the hardest gigging bands around in recent years. You seem to be on the road all the time. It may be an obvious question but has this helped with the writing and the delivery of the album?

Nathaniel: Honestly not really. Every activity is its own reward. While the focus has never been on technicality, in order to play with confidence and concentrate on the delivery as opposed to the movements we have to be reasonably well-rehearsed. Writing, recording preparation and rehearsal sessions in view of shows are very different beasts. Having to maintain the proficiency that allows for an unspoken understanding to be established and maintained within the band tends to eat into writing time.

Paul: I think it would be fair to say you’ve been around a bit. You’ve now got the invitation slot on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock. How did the invitation come about?

Nathaniel: We played a show some of the key Bloodstock stakeholders were attending. They liked us and asked if we'd played at the festival before. We're obviously delighted to get the chance to play this institution.

Paul: I’m not sure if the band has been to Bloodstock before either as a band or as punters. Are there are special memories of the event?

Nathaniel: The first show I performed with Akercocke having played a part in the reunion was on the main stage three years ago. That probably counts.

Paul: I’ve asked other bands to list three favourite things about the festival. What would you add to the list?
Nathaniel:It's a generally very welcoming and friendly atmosphere. I have yet to watch a band myself on any of the main stages with anything less than an excellent sound. The Sophie Lancaster Stage will always have at least a couple of acts I'll want to see. Like many other festivals you get to bump into people you know quite well in a different setting that you have to travel miles to get to - that never ceases to amuse me.
Paul: You play immediately before Scorpions which is an unlikely combination! Do Scorpions feature in the Damim playlist?

Nathaniel: In a subconscious manner perhaps? At the very least I won't turn them off if their music comes on - yes even Wind Of Change. We're proud to be sharing a bill with them in any event.

Paul: The mix on Sunday at Bloodstock is varied with everything from Aborted to Queensryche on the main stage and similar patterns on the Sophie Lancaster Stage. Are there any bands you would be particularly keen to catch over the weekend?

Nathaniel: Death Angel, Xentrix, Queensryche... I'd be curious to hear what set choices Hypocrisy have in store. Always got time for Anthrax. Don't forget about Zealot Cult, Taake, Red Method. I'm certain there will a band to be pleasantly surprised by.

Paul: I’ve seen several of your shows so know the intensity which you approach each gig with. It looks like you will clash with Dimmu Borgir which is quite a challenge. What will Damim bring to the festival and why should people choose Damim?

Nathaniel: Dimmu Borgir will be Dimmu Borgir. Having seen them at venues such as The Garage in London and With Full Force main stage I know what they're capable of and what kinds of means of production they have at their disposal, and I have no doubt that they will put on a show accordingly. I can't tell you what to watch. What I can also tell you is that we are hungrier than Dimmu and we'll be hitting that stage harder than we ever have before. I think people will respond to that.

Paul: With your background in mind, can you give me a couple of high points in the Damim journey?

Nathaniel: In terms of standout moments, you can publish?... Playing with many of the bands and musicians we listened to and looked up to during our formative years is always huge, no matter how many times you've done it before. Napalm Death, Testament, Gorguts, Obituary, Exhumed, PESTILENCE, Zyklon, Entombed, Cathedral... There's quite a list at this point. Finding out that some of the guys who created the sonic journeys that will forever haunt your psyche are ego-free, appreciative folks is reassuring. Recently one of the big ones has been to see the vision actualised onto vinyl. The importance of this moment is not something you can easily explain.

Paul: And after Bloodstock, what is next for Damim?

Nathaniel:There's a Deicide/Krisiun support slot the day after; definitely bucket list material. After that, we will continue to tour and support the album. We're working on several ventures under the hood, studio, live and otherwise. Stay tuned.

Paul: Finally, when can we expect to see you back in South Wales?

Nathaniel: Nothing set in stone yet but look out for an announcement within the next few months I expect.
Paul: Thank you for taking the time to put this together!

When it comes to a band like Damim it is a pleasure. Damim play the invitation headline slot on the New Blood Stage on Sunday 11th August. It’s your decision where to be but if you want to see serious brutality, then you know which band to watch.

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