Radek Kopel aka Napalmed was a veteran hasrh noise, industrial & experimental noise presence in the 90’s & bygone 00’s. he was also extremely prolific & productive as a producer with a label, distro & profuse international ecocosm of noise, noisecore & weirdo artists, including the highly regarded & influential Anomalous Silencer CD series.
the devils dishwasher! greetings Kopel. whoa there pilgrim! – that is a long’ long list of dutiful destruction … can you just fill us in on how long you have been mauling noise? when did it start? & what drove you to this action/obsession?
Hollahey friend! Thanx for interest to do an interview with me. I start noising right at the moment I formed Napalmed band, so it was June 18, 1994. Also this was our first Live Performance. Two bass guitars, drums and me on voice – so no pure noise, but kind of lo-fi impromptu no wave abstract noisecore. 5 minutes for the beginning.
Previous impuls was easy as fuck. I started listen music since around 1983-4. Rock music was first, tons of Czech sound culture, later more metal, punky and core bands, grindcore Napalm Death, US Atrocity, Nuclear Death, Cryptic Slaughter, etc etc, meeting with Swans, E. Neubauten, and finally crash with Japanese noise: Gerogerigegege, Merzbow, Outermost, Government Alpha, Aube, K2, Painjerk, … and zillions of other.
So when did the real harsh noise & noise related experimentations start? When did you acquire & become/start recording “noise” as Napalmed as a solo unit, as a full stentorian? A lot of your work is very’ very multivalent with equipment, styles, sounds & wildly changing frequencies & sonics. Experimentation & pluralism seem to be a pursuit or discipline you enjoy or are keen to stress in a lot of your work? – which can include looping, field recordings, vocals, sampling, additional personnel & even whole other bands. Napalmed seemed to be constantly exploring & pushing additional fields, there is no “typical” Napalmed sound. Could you explain this restless & constant state of flux?
If I look back, it seems, “real harsh noise” is only inside me, in my heart. I love it, but searching new sounds, testing equipments, look for “new” sounds here and there, was much important, than do still the same way of noise. I often use pedal effects in different chains, use various electronics and so on. I am sure, “typical” Napalmed sound exists and should be dectect if you listen as many Napalmed’s recordings as available and possible. I recorded solo when “rehearsing,” testing new effects, look for new streams. But at first place was Napalmed as a band in full line-up. Other musicians give their own feelings, which were nice to combine with my own.
so with all this activity & experience, how do you compartmentalize, distinguish or categorize noisecore – noisegrind in relation to noise? improvisation? composition? “experimental”? You have also frequently described your work as “Industrial Noise”, can we get your own definition on ‘Industrial’ as it is quite a varied term depending on the individual using/producing it. Do you ever plan or premeditate for recordings & sessions, or just spontaneously generate – in theatre – live combustion?
On my mind noisecore and noisegrind are still MUSIC – extreme, but music – mostly there are rhythms, order, riffs, patterns. Noise is abstract, fantasy, freedom, no wave, no borders.
My term of Industrial Noise often depends on inner feelings, mostly it is related to use of “industrial” stuff, civilization things as a sound sources, usual equipments used absolutely different ways.
No plans – no future. We as a band wait for the right moment of creation. Live combustion is dependent on the invitation by open-minded organizers.
lets talk about the seminal Anomalous Silencer series. you organized, designed, participated as Napalmed, & produced all six volumes of this cult international compilation with the first edition issued in 1996, & the last in 2003. presented as “noise – industrial – experimental”, they are one of the best imprints in noise, staggeringly versatile(with A-listers & super obscure personnel), highly revered & credited by many as being responsible for there introduction/conversion to enduring noise interest, as bands & listeners. tell us about this series, what made you invest so much effort & expertise into these compilations & how you went about it.
Thanx for nice words about that long-time-dead series. Cool to know, you are so “infuenced” by releases and artists. It was great times of penpal communication, artistic collaboration, active production on all sides of underground. I was in touch with many, many artists all over the world, trade alot, hear numerous interesting bands, so those were the reasons. The main compilation idea was to collect seven artists witch +/- 10 minutes contribution sound of the each. As time and CD sampler continue, more artists want to take a part of it. So track(s) durations were shortened.
I stopped releasing Anomalous Silencer series just when people stopped being interested in compact discs, few artists promised to join omnibus, and so on. There were several more or less important reasons.
Napalmed is dead since mid 2014. One and only active group I am involved with is Eine Stunde Merzbauten. We perform live as well as do “rehearsal” sessions. You could find Eine Stunde Merzbauten under various aliases and variants. Beside that three piece group I am recording, testing on equipments, training electronics, look for new sounds and combinations. Sometime release those recordings as solo projects of course under strange aliases, hehehe.
Never say never, so may be Anomalous Silence Seven should see daylight someday, but no idea at the moment.
can you speak a little about the art direction and design for the many Napalmed and other compilations and projects you have produced. Some of the sleeves you have directed have the most stunningly original and creative packaging i have come across anywhere, with very technical and painstaking design and tricky physical layouts. it is incredibly difficult and pleasing…why do you do it?
I love to designed recording items and do unusual packaging. If they are also cheap, I hit twice. I like recycling materials, print on various papers, and so on. From time to time I assembled paper collages, of course not so precise and cute as those from Mr. Government Yoshida), I make photographies of usual things around me. Combination of all those techniqes are the final result for my creativity. Nothing extra special for me, but if someone take a look over past 20-30 years, he could get feelings, as you describe.
contact Napalmed – napalmed[a]seznam.cz www.napalmed.cz
Napalmed LP’s & other releases can be obtained via the previous email, or in the UK from Gobbledy-Gunk – emergencyemancipation[a]protonmail.ch