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Nasum's Anders Jackobson Discusses New DVD "Blasting Shit To Bits," The History Of Nasum And Future Endeavours

Grindcore is a genre with countless bands, but only a handful of true legendary names. Not only this, but every country seems to have one particular grindcore band they can point to as their representatives, whether that be Brutal Truth in the United States, Napalm Death in the United Kingdom or Agathocles in Belgium. In Sweden's case, it would have to be an Örebro founded outfit who released an instant genre classic in 1998, by the name of Nasum.

While Nasum only managed to release four albums in a six year span, beginning with the incredible "Inhale/Exhale" and moving ever forward from there, fans of grindcore, and indeed extreme music generally, still cite them as one of the greatest bands of the genre, who revolutionised grind for the better and whose albums still hold up as masterworks. Tragically, Nasum ceased to be in 2005 after frontman Mieszko Talarczyk was killed in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, while holidaying in Thailand. Though Nasum will never return as a full time band again, they regrouped in 2012 for a one off farewell tour, which saw Keijo Niinimaa, frontman of Rotten Sound (themselves arguably Finland's greatest grindcore band) take over vocal duties.

Finally, fans will be able to own a piece of that tour and indeed, the final piece of Nasum's history, with a new DVD, "Blasting Shit To Bits," which chronicles the final show of the tour and therefore the band, which will be released on December 18th. To find out all about the show, the tour, the legacy of the band and even the future, I spoke with Anders Jakobson, a founding member and songwriter of Nasum, who has played every instrument in the band at different times.

Diamond Oz: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me today. Your final show is finally coming out on DVD in December. What was the reason for such a long delay between filming the show and releasing it?

Anders Jakobson: The smart answer would be: ”Well, the final show was 8 years after the band ended, so the DVD comes out another 8 years later…”. But that is obviously not the truth. When we shot the show, we didn’t really know what to do with the material. Our director Michael Panduro spent many hours assembling the cut on and off during the following years until it was finished. In 2016, I think, we recorded some interviews that has been cut into the movie and by 2017 it was actually finished and had a cinematic premiere at a film festival in Copenhagen.

Since then the movie has had its life as a festival movie, being shown here and there while we have been finishing some other material and trying to compile what could be a physical release that we could be totally happy with. We haven’t really been rushing it, but the last year or so we have been focused on finishing it. And now it’s ready for a wider release.

Oz: Aside from the show itself, what can fans expect on the DVD?

Anders: To begin with, the “show itself” is more than just a show. It’s shot in a little different way than most concerts I would say. Then it’s combined with interviews with all members telling the story of the band, the tour and final show in particular. It is an emotional and personal document of the end of a band really. Apart from the main film there are footage from before and after the show that combined covers the whole last day of the band. There are also additional interviews and some other footage from the farewell tour. It’s a nice package that is very much worth watching if you are a fan of the band.

Oz: Why did you decide Michael Panduro should direct the show?

Anders: In all honesty, Michael chose us! About half a year before the farewell tour started Michael contacted us and wanted to shoot our show at Roskilde Festival intimately with three camera operators and a number of mounted cameras covering the band and the show in a new way. This sounded exciting and we did that. Michael did an edit of the first three songs and it looked great but the entire show wasn’t really the best. It was a big festival show in full daylight on a Sunday so it lacked a little bit of energy and intimacy so we never finished the edit. However, later on we met Michael in Copenhagen at the start of the final club dates and we decided to shoot the very last show in the same manner. So we did that and then a few years later Michael did the interviews and finished the movie.

During the years Michael has grown to be a close friend of the band, I would even call him an honorary member of Nasum. The amount of work he has put into the movie is breathtaking. It also feels good to work with a Danish director that completes the Swedish and Finnish collaboration. Nasum 2012 really was a Northern affair.

And the proof of concept footage that was shot at Roskilde is one of the bonus features on the DVD.

Oz: Obviously replacing someone, even if for a short time, is never easy. What was it about Keijo Niinimaa that made you feel he was the right person to front Nasum on the farewell tour?

Anders: My first idea for the farewell tour was actually ONE final show. That was the idea that I told the remaining Nasum members in 2010. We were able to cover all the instruments in the band, but what would we do with the vocals? I was very concerned with the fact that whoever would get behind the mic would be considered Mieszko’s replacement, and that was really unfair. We didn’t want to replace Mieszko, and ”the guy” wasn’t asking to be a replacement. So, my initial idea was to have multiple singers that would trade places during the show, doing 4-5 songs each. Like have five different guys that came from bands that had been touring partners with Nasum or in some other way connected to the band. That way NO ONE would be seen as replacing Mieszko.

But as the idea of a farewell show was discussed, we figured that it would take as much time to prepare for one show as for five, ten or 50. So it grew into a tour and that would make my initial idea with multiple vocalists impossible. We talked about having two vocalists, but at some point Keijo’s name came up and it quickly became a solution to all our problems. His career in Rotten Sound was quite similar to Nasum’s and vocally he could cover both Mieszko’s high pitched singing as well as the lower stuff that I did on some albums and that original singer Rickard did on the early stuff. Luckily Keijo was happy to do the work and we couldn’t have had a better guy doing the vocals on the tour.

Oz: As soon as the tour was announced, you made it clear that Nasum would never return, which I respect, as I imagine it must be quite painful. When the idea of one more tour came up, was it decided from the start to be a farewell tour or was there any urge to see how it went and decide the future from there?

Anders: It was more or less decided right from the start. I remember seeing a lot of bands returning from the dead to do ”one final tour” and then just keep going with more shows and new albums and such. In some ways that was kind of disappointing. For instance, I was at ”one of the last shows” At The Gates did on their comeback, but more shows were added and they are still going. Don’t get me wrong, I respect that and I have enjoyed their shows and their new albums. They are just an example of something that was supposed to be a final thing that just kept going. We never saw our return as a comeback. We were really set to do a last farewell as we were forced to end the band in 2004 when Mieszko died. We lacked some kind of closure, and felt that the fans deserved a real ending as well. I guess that’s what makes us different from many of the other bands that return. In our case, one member was dead and unable to make a comeback.

However, it was a tough choice to live with as it was a lot of fun doing all those shows in 2012 and we could easily have kept going another year or two, but the plan was the plan. I am happy that we stuck to it 8 years later.

Oz: Since Nasum ended, all of the band members have been busy with other projects. Did you decide immediately after the end of Nasum to pursue new opportunities with different musicians or was there ever any thought about continuing under a different name?

Anders: To continue with the same people under a new name wasn’t an option. It wasn’t even a thought at that time. Even if I loved playing with the other guys the farewell tour put all our other bands on hold. I guess Jon and Keijo did some additional shows with Victims and Rotten Sound but my main band at that time, Coldworker, was paused during my extended summer project. Then on the other hand, if we had stayed together and started to write new stuff and doing shows, people would have made comparisons with Nasum, requesting Nasum songs at the shows and so forth. Not an appealing idea. And that’s probably why I never even thought of it.

Oz: Nasum will forever remain as one of grindcore's greatest bands. What do you think was the reason Nasum made such an impact?

Anders: It’s tough to be on my side praising my own band, but I think it was a matter of timing. Nasum started in 1992 but it was in 1998 when the first album was released that we realized that people really liked us. It was great for us to be on Relapse because we felt that they promoted the album a lot. We read many reviews and the positive words pointed to a void being filled by Nasum and our album. At that time Napalm Death had made a few “experimental” albums and wasn’t really doing classic grindcore and black metal was the primary extreme music out there. I guess our album reminded people that grindcore existed. Then by the second album we started developing our sound and did a very long tour (7 weeks) with Napalm Death, who coincidentally had started playing grindcore again. That tour most likely helped us to spread our name and music.

Oz: Looking back over the history of Nasum, what are some of your favourite memories and are there any specific songs that really stand out to you?

Anders: I have always enjoyed the creative part of being in a band the most. Recording and performing comes second. For many years Nasum was just Mieszko and I. We were a duo around 1996-1999 and even though we had other members after that, we were the core members who lived in the same town and we had a lot of fun during those creative years, developing the band and sound.

Then we did a number of memorable tours. The first tour in the US 1999, that long Napalm Death tour in 2000, the final tour supporting the ”Shift” album in 2004 and obviously the farewell tour in 2012. There are many great memories.

As for the music, I would say that the biggest Nasum fan in the world is myself. I really enjoy listening to the back catalogue and I am not ashamed to say that. All of the recordings remind me of special times in my life, and although Nasum is a non-existing band, it is still very important for me. It’s a huge part of my life and will remain like that for the rest of my life.

Oz: During Nasum's lifespan, you played guitar, bass and drums at different points, as well as contributing vocals. Which position did you feel most comfortable in?

Anders: The drums are my main instrument that I started playing at age 10 back in 1983-84. About 8 years later I had to learn how to play the guitar over one summer (that’s a long story for another day) and after that Necrony and eventually Nasum was formed where I played the guitar. For the first 3-4 years Nasum had another drummer, Rickard, and when he quit the band we never found a replacement and I started doing the drums. It’s what I do the best. The least comfortable thing was doing the vocals. That fucked up my voice and throat every time.

Oz: At the moment, you're playing drums for Axis Of Despair, which also includes two of your former Coldworker bandmates. What's the status of the band right now and is there any new Axis Of Despair music on the horizon?

Anders: 2020 has been a rough year due to the obvious reasons. We had some rehearsals in January/February where we decided to get cracking with new stuff. Then we paused... But we are now about to rehearse 4-5 new songs to be recorded for a split very soon, so the creative flow is back. We aim to do another album so apart from the songs for the split there are more stuff cooking!

"Blasting Shit To Bits" will be released on December 18th and will be available to pre-order from October 25th.

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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