Without any doubts one of the best things in music is the way how it connects people. I have met guys from Nuclear for the first time in 2014, and we instantly became close friends. I’ve always loved how those Chileans are playing pure, classic metal and at the same time are very punk in their approach and attitude. Knowing that, I quickly realized that it would be a horrible mistake not to ask them a couple of questions regarding not only music, but also the situation in South America. Luckily Matias (vocals) and Francisco (guitars) agreed to have a little chat, that you can read below:
Hi guys! Long time no speak. Due to COVID-19 and all restrictions we could not meet on any festival this year. How does Chile deal with pandemic? Did it strongly affect your lives?
Francisco: Hey man, many thanks for the interview! Yeah, long time. It’s been hard on everyone, definitely, but happily none of our family members or close friends have gotten it. I feel really bad for those who lost someone close or are fighting right now to recover from it. I really hope the vaccination pace steps up a little and we can start doing what we used to really soon.
Let’s start with music – your latest album, “Murder Of Crows” went much more into death metal, than thrash. What caused you to get more intense?
Francisco: To be perfectly honest, it happened very natural. Matias’ voice changed a little in time (got thicker) and we tried to adapt that change to the writing process of the new album. Riffs came to complement that voice and we needed to step up the game a little. We all love death metal so it didn’t sound odd at all. On the other hand – when we were recording the guitar lines – we knew we had to search for a different distortion so it could sound bigger and more aggressive. The final result just made sense and we decided to keep it.
What is the reason behind label change? Why didn’t you stay in Candlelight?
Francisco: I believe that’s a question you should ask Candlelight directly. Once Candlelight got acquired by Spinefarm Records, things charged a lot and communication went to none. We tried to get a hold of them many times, but we did not have any reply. Once on tour we actually paid them a visit in London, but things just remained the same after that. As we did not have any more time to waste, we decided to start looking something else. To this day, we don’t know what really happened and to be honest, we don’t care anymore.
You were always metal when it comes to music, but much more punk when it comes to lyrics and overall attitude. Are metal and punk scenes in South America going rather together or are they strongly separated? In which of those do you see yourself?
Francisco: I think both scenes have always walked the same path whether people like it or not. 30 or 40 years ago, when extreme music was starting in many countries in South America, people enjoyed having different styles in the same line-up. Being able to listen to punk, thrash or even hard rock all mixed up was something that gave the audience the opportunity to get to know stuff, to open their minds to different experiences. As time passed, both scenes diverged a little and that was something we did not like. Only-thrash-metal gigs and only-punk bands gigs started to happen and it went like that for many years. Total bullshit if you ask me, but it is what it is. As we don’t give a shit about structures or trends, we just go ahead and play with punk and hardcore bands everytime we get the chance.
Speaking of lyrics – my favourite Nuclear album lyrically is “Formula for Anarchy”. Well, title speaks for itself – what is your understanding of the term “anarchy”?
Francisco: Anarchy is often confused with chaos or disorder, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. For me, the concept has to do with no absolute power. When there is no person stepping over society. When leadership is used to oppress instead of serving, there must be anarchy to cast out those using power wrongfully. Anarchy is a state of freedom.
“Corporate Corruption” is a strong anti-consumptionism song. Is massive consumptionism as a big problem in South America as it is in Europe or USA? Do you think that it’s different or the same?
Francisco: I think the increasing consumption is happening everywhere and society is failing to detect „the methods” that are being used for you to fall in it. Governments are often attached to big corporations and all the dirt in between is what you consume. Social welfare is in danger because of this. If we don’t take that scum out of our system, we will never be able to have a decent way of life.
In recent year we’re terrified to see more and more nationalists movements rising in Europe and right-wing politicians getting to power. Do you face the same problem in Chile? Do you think that your tough, recent history may be connected or rather not?
Matías: We’re facing right now one of the worst governments in Chile’s recent history. And it is a far right government. And as you well know, when the right wing of politics is on the throne, everything is going worst for the people. We’ve faced a lot of repression during and after the social upheaval of 2019. In pandemic we’re in our second year of lockdown and quarantines, military curfew and -in general- a hostile environment for everyone. Historically in Chile, the right wing been always connected straight to factic powers, economic power, the catholic church and a minority of people who are defending with nails and teeth their privileges, doesn’t matter the cost. The majority of population in Chile live day by day under the humiliation of been part of the “other side”: no privileges, economic depredation, poor health, a very bad educational system, the banking abuse and a large list of situations that put Chile in a very delicate situation. I think the bonfire is near to turn into a big explosion, and that not will be peaceful, no way.
Yet another recent problem in Poland is catholic fundamentalism getting to real power. I know that according to researches Chile nowadays is less religious than Poland – do you face the problems with church trying to get to real power, or is state and church strongly separated?
Matías: I think after the last decades the influence of catholic church is ina downward spiral here. But as is widely know, they’re always lurking in the shadows. In Chile’s constitution the separation of church and state is a fact, is written. But is an euphemism, because the church always find ways to have influence in political decisions, they’re experts in lobby and they’re intimately linked to right wing politicians. In that scenario, we’re still fucked up. Maybe not as thirty years ago, but the church still have some kind of “voice” in Chile, and that is a shitty situation. I can’t believe how an insitution who protects pedophiles and justify the abuse can have voice these days. They’re criminals and they should be extinct or locked behind bars.
It’s been 15 years since Nuclear’s first album. How did the band evolve in your opinion?
Matías: Many years since the first gig. Time flies ruthlessly. Straight to the point, i think the band nowadays is in their best creative moment, we found a sound and a music writing that make us feel very comfortable. We never put aside our past sound, but we mixed it with harsh elements, we tried to put it into a more aggressive, obscure and hopeless. In “Murder Of Crows” you can find -for example- the heaviness of “Heaven Denied” or the speed of “Formula For Anarchy”, but you’ll also find new elements that increases violence and a new way to see an album as a concept. As a story. I think in this present, Nuclear found a way to walk to its future. We’re extremely pleased with the album’s results, the feedback from the fans or specialized media. Everything is going very well.
I’m glad to see that after “Apatrida” there’s another song in Spanish (“Abusados”). Do you think that one day you will switch language in your lyrics to your native for good?
Matías: Thanks! Glad to know you liked the song. I don’t think we’ll switch some day the language completely. But we not discard to write new songs in Spanish. If one song sound better or fits better in Spanish than English in the riffs, we’ll write it in Spanish. It is not something we feel ourselves under some obligation to do, it is something natural, if sounds good, it shall be done.
What are your favourite bands nowadays? Which albums in 2020 made a bigger impression on you?
Matías: Oh! Tough question hahaha. 2020 had plenty of very good releases! I’d have to be honest, during pandemic I listened to a lot of death metal, not so many thrash bands as other years. I was very surprised by releases of bands such as Lik, Demonical, Baest, Gatecreeper, Avernal, Disrupted, Necrot, Carnation, o the return of old glories as Benediction, Asphyx or Cadaver. These days I’m listening to Medium a very good crust/black band from Argentina. Their new EP is a blast!
Thanks for an interview ! Last word goes to you.
Matías: Many thanks for this interview and we hope to come back as soon as we can to the stages to show to all you guys “Murder Of Crows” live. Strange days for all of us, and we hope this terrible pandemic situation can reach its end soon. Stay safe and strong guys! And Fuck Covid!