|Archive | Interviews | Eternal Terror Webzine - May 2010|
The Deepthroat Series – Alan Nemtheanga – Primordial
When did you start doing extreme vocals (What year and at what age)?
By extreme what do we really mean? The sound or the content. To me extreme is about the meaning and the delivery. Boring cookie monster death metal vocalalike noises about zombies aren’t extreme but David Vincent on ‘Dominate’ for example is. I guess 16 if you want a more standard answer.
What made you start to do extreme vocals?
What made me want to sing was Bruce Dickinson, Bon Scott, Rob Halford, James Hetfield etc. and then early thrash and death metal vocalists Tom G., Quorthon, Cronos etc.
Can you describe the technique or the techniques you are using?
Sing every word like you mean it is the most important thing I could say. Apart from that I usually do some warm ups and scales, try and drink some hot lemon tea if I’m prepared enough, drink a lot of water and try not to eat big junk food meals before singing. Stretch out my muscles, high kicks, punching etc. Clean vocals tend to come more from my diaphragm and grim vocals from the base of the throat.
Has your technique changed during your career?
Your voice changes as you get older for sure. I used to sing grim louder than clean and now it’s the other way round and I find my voice gets stronger as I learn more over the years. I have to sing in a few bands aside from Primordial just to keep myself in shape as we don’t rehearse often and if you don’t rehearse you can lose some qualities.
Have you ever hurt yourself by using a "wrong technique"?
Sure, if you come onstage and you can’t hear through the monitors you tend to end up shouting even more than singing and you can damage yourself. So you learn more about soundchecking over the years and hearing what you want to. Most of the damage I’ve caused my voice has been from staying up all night singing along to AC/DC til 6am with a bottle of whiskey.
Is there something you do on a regular basis to keep your voice in shape? Any routines?
Like I said scales before the show, staying as quiet as is possible for me, which is hard as anyone who knows me will tell you. Hot lemon tea or hot whiskey with honey and then some kicking and stretching physically. Also staying in good physical shape helps me, I play a lot of sports and try and go to the gym as often as possible. A healthy body helps your voice.
Do you think it can be dangerous to do extreme vocals?
I guess it can be, some people need their nodes scraped regularly which is really bad for your vocal chords. This comes more from shouting than singing really. I really don’t know how bands can hold out for 3-5 month tours screaming in this metalcore style.
What is most important for you – to make cool sounds and interesting rhythms, or to have a clear diction/pronunciation?
Oh definitely diction and pronunciation of course, nothing more boring than monotone vocals that are nothing more than a machine under the music. Dio is the master!
Do you think that extreme vocals can be made into a science, like "this is how it works for everyone, to make this sound you have to do this etc"? Or is it more intuitive and individual how to do it?
Well let’s be honest, anyone can more or less be taught to make death or black metal vocals, so standing out can be something you cannot teach but actual singing is not something you can teach, you need some talent to sing in key etc. As for actually being extreme? If you have nothing to say to people, no opinions and no personality then your vocals will sound like this! To be extreme is more than just a sound.
Do you have any advice to people who wants to start doing extreme vocals?
As above….have something to say! The world doesn’t need another band with nothing to say or no reason to exist. Do it with attitude.
Mention three extreme vocalists whose style you admire, and explain your choice. What specifically do you like about the styles of those three? Also mention three vocalists (not necessarily extreme vocalists) which you have been influence by, and explain in which way you have been influenced by each of them.
Ok so by extreme I’m going to take it you don’t mean heavy metal vocalists although for example Blackie Lawless style is far more difficult and technically extreme than any black metal vocals I can generally think of. Firstly I think David Vincent must get a mention as he has such a commanding presence, excellent diction and authority. I love his vocals on those first 4 Morbid albums. Jeff Baccera from Possessed must get a mention for probably the prototype death metal vocals on those early albums, raw and gut wrenching which I think really influenced a lot of people, including Chuck and then onto a whole host of other vocalists. Many others I could mention, Cronos of course for attitude, Bentons crazy performance on the early Deicide albums is immense, Chris Reifert maybe?, Quorthon I suppose I have to pick for his vocals especially on ‘Under the sign’ they are simply fucking evil and raw. Three other vocalists I admire who have been an influence?….Keith Deen from Holy Terror has been a massive influence on “Terror and Submission” and especially on ‘Mind Wars” is incredible, range and expression, great lyrics and authority, I can’t say enough great things about his work on those albums. David Defeis from Virgin Steele also has been a massive influence, his energy is second to none and lastly I guess Dio has been a huge influence. The master of meaning it!!! Oh and Bruce Dickinson and Bon Scott as well o).
Who do you want to challenge in this series? (Who should be the next extreme vocalist to answer these questions?) Give a brief explanation for your choice.
Wow….interesting. Robert Lowe from Candlemass or Solitude Aeternus maybe? One of the very few vocalists from the last two decades to challenge the great singers of the 70s and 80s. Black Lawless? In extreme metal Tom G. for his influence, although perhaps Arioch from Funeral Mist/Marduk because he is definitely the most extreme vocalist I’ve ever heard in the flesh….
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