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Napalm Death interviewed by Ed Miliband on Radio 2

By | Published on Thursday 22 June 2017

Ed Miliband & Barney Greenway

There was a little ripple of confusion on social media yesterday, as people assumed they’d misheard an announcement on BBC Radio 2 that Ed Miliband would be interviewing Napalm Death frontman Barney Greenway.

For non-UK readers, Radio 2 is the BBC station aimed at people who think they still like pop music but claim not to be able to hear the words in all the “noise” that young people listen to on Radio 1 these days. Ed Miliband is the former leader of the Labour Party, who lost the 2015 General Election due to eating a bacon sandwich badly. And Napalm Death are a band who make the sort of noise that Radio 2 and even Radio 1 listeners would generally agree is “not music”.

Miliband was on Radio 2 standing in for Jeremy Vine, who presents the mid-morning arguments show on the station. I’m still not entirely sure why Barney Greenway was there, but it doesn’t appear to have been an accident. Actually, if Miliband is to be believed, the booking was due to him being a big fan of Napalm Death.

“I’ve been a groupie for SO long”, he wrote on Twitter. “Been to the gigs, got the t-shirt, now’s my chance to meet Napalm Death in person”.

Nothing about the interview suggested he had been aware that Napalm Death existed before that morning. Still, discussing the fact that Glastonbury will be hosting its first ever dedicated heavy metal stage, courtesy of Earache Records, this weekend, Miliband played music by Morbid Angel and Wormrot, and also interviewed Greenway about death metal, grindcore and why people should give extreme metal a chance.

“I understand it”, said Greenway of people’s distaste for the genre. “We appreciate that people feel that [extreme metal is ‘just noise’]. And actually we get a perverse sense [of pleasure] out of annoying people, because there’s kind of a paradox. The band is very sonically violent, but actually the ethos behind it is about humanity, equality, tolerance. You know, all the things that appear to be the complete antithesis. A lot of musicians can be quite sensitive about their art, but we sort of welcome people’s revulsion … We’re always trying to find the notes that make people quite ill”.

Miliband also spoke to Earache label manager Dan Tobin about the stage at Glastonbury, who said: “It’s the first time they’ve really included this area of music. Yes, they’re had Metallica on and Motorhead on, and a couple of other bands, but this is a big deal for the bands involved”.

However, the highlight of the feature (aside from an incongruous break to play Shalamar) was Miliband taking a lesson in extreme metal vocal technique, attempting to perform Napalm Death’s ‘You Suffer’. See how he got on here:

Listen to the full interview, from one hour and 35 minutes in, here.