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Misery Index On "Rituals Of Power," Twentieth Anniversary And More

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Band Photo: Misery Index (?)

While it's only February, Europe has already been treated to one of the most stellar tour packages to come about in some time. Grindcore icons Napalm Death have been storming through Europe, with a new single, "Logic Ravaged by Brute Force" available, and the long awaited album, "Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism" along the way but they've brought together some of the most powerful names in extremity; Eyehategod, Misery Index, Rotten Sound and Bat, to help them crush everything in their path.

At the recent show in Leeds, Yorkshire, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Misery Index vocalists (and bassist & guitarist respectively,) Jason Netherton and Mark Kloeppel to discuss the tour, the band's latest album, "Rituals Of Power," their upcoming twentieth anniversary and Impractical Jokers. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: It's a really impressive tour package you're part of, with Napalm Death, Eyehategod, Rotten Sound and Bat. How did this come about?

Mark Kloeppel: We're all old friends really. Ryan from Bat is also in Municipal Waste and we played one of their record release shows way back in the day. We've known Shane from Napalm for a long time and the Rotten Sound boys, the Eyehategod guys, we've toured with them. So it's just a bunch of buddies. Shame was really responsible for selecting the package.

Jason Netherton: Yeah, it's also an easy package to put together. I think we're all with the same booking agent.

Mark: We did this whole thing, without Rotten Sound, in Japan and I think Shane just wanted to keep it going throughout the world.

Oz: And how long as the tour been going thus far?

Mark: A few weeks.

Jason: Today's the half way point actually.

Oz: Obviously you're still promoting the latest album, "Rituals Of Power." Now that nearly a year has passed since its release, how do you see it in the Misery Index catalogue. How well does it sit compared to other albums?

Mark: I don't know. On "Killing Gods" we kind of made a dark departure from what we normally do. For this one we were conscious of maybe taking everything that we did so far and sort of refine it and not neglect certain aspects of our identity that are distinctly our own. So I think there was some going back and listening to our albums and recognising stuff that only we do and moving from there. At least that was my thinking through the whole thing. I feel like being six albums in it was high time we did a record like that. It was us doing what we do and not trying to experiment.

Oz: And there's a lot of work put behind the album as well. I think you've done five videos for the album.

Mark: We've got a video for like every song except for two.

Jason: Yeah a few lyric videos and three performance videos I think.

Mark: That's sort of necessarry these days.

Jason: Yeah. YouTube is where a lot of people are looking to find out about music.

Mark: Yeah, we're not discriminating against people who are consuming our music in a visual way. Many times I even I will go on YouTube to listen to music and if there's something to watch there as well it's like, "Oh cool!"

Oz: I would imagine performance videos are the best ones to do for this kind of music because then everyone can see the atmosphere of a Misery Index show and that kind of thing.

Mark: Yeah, we'll do something like that but we'll probably do some different stuff in the future.

Oz: There was a five year gap in between "Rituals Of Power" and the last album, "The Killing Gods." What was the reason for such a lengthy gap between full lengths?

Mark: I don't know, we all have other stuff going on. Different projects, I have kids, he's finishing his doctorate, Adam's in Pig Destroyer and whatever else. We don't cater to any sort of industry standard for what's supposed to happen. I guess, when creativity strikes we take advantage of it. It was supposed to actually come out like a year prior and I think we didn't really have all of our production stuff together.

Oz: Would you say it helps having that gap between albums because in that time you can purify your sound if you like? You've got the time to sift through your music.

Mark: I think it's good to sit on it for a little bit. Maybe not for that long but three years is a good time. Four years is maybe better. You'll see bands popping out albums every two years or maybe a year and a half to match the industry cycle or something.

Jason: We did that for the first three or four records.

Mark: Yeah, you get to a point where it starts to become two dimensional. I think the music really suffers where it could have been really great. There wasn't enough viewing or listening experience.

Oz: Next year marks the twentieth anniversary since Misery Index was formed. Are there any plans to celebrate the anniversary at all?

Jason: I think what we really want to do, we got the rights to our Relapse Records, so I think we're going to do a vinyl re-release ourselves for each of those titles. Make them really nice and special and release those maybe like a year apart. I don't know man, we haven't really thought too much past that so maybe some special shows or something like that. I don't really pay attention to anniversaries, it's not really my thing. We're just looking forward to the next release. That's the most important thing is how we're going to follow up "Rituals Of Power" with something that meets our standards.

Mark: We're not really focused on nostalgia. We're more focused on being fresh. So who knows if we'll do anything at all. I don't know about Jason but over emphasising the nostalgia stuff kind of puts a bad taste in my mouth. Especially when it's like "classic" bands. I want them to keep going and progressing. I don't really care about them playing a whole album.

Oz: I have a question from a fan here, who wants to know if you were pissed off when Impractical Jokers launched a game show called Misery Index?

Jason: (laughs) No. The more misery the merrier! It's a totally different cultural form. If anything, it creates a little confusion because they don't have a Facebook page, so their fans write our Facebook page thinking we're the TV show, complaining to us about stuff. But I think there's just so much culture out there, so much television, so much everything that it doesn't really impact us one way or the other. If anything it might drive new fans to us in some weird way because they might see the name on a Google search or something.

Mark: If you Google "Misery Index" there's only a few things that pop up; Us, the economic indicator and now the TV show.

Oz: Just finally, what's the plans for the rest of the year?

Mark: That's still coming together. There's a lot of irons in the fire and things being worked out. Nothing we can really talk about. We are going back to Europe, playing Hellfest.

Jason: Yeah, the only thing booked right now is some festival shows on the continent but other than that we just want to work on song writing.

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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