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Nervous Impulse

Nervous Impulse
The Daily Grind


Архив интервью | Русская версия

This insane death/grind band from the Quebec province in Canada combines intense music with actually good lyrics. In the beginning of 2019 I listened to the “Atomic Grind” split CD and was upset to find no lyrics for the Nervous Impulse titles in the tiny booklet, so I wrote to Yan Chamberland, the band’s drummer and mastermind, and after that we had an audio call and talked stuff. It was an interesting conversation, which is surely going to be useful and entertaining to fans of unusual extreme music. Due to various reasons I have completed the work on that interview only 1,5 years later. But now it’s out there, enjoy.

So, Yan, how are you and what’s going on?

Fine, super fine. Just doing some laundry for the family, you know.

How’s the weather in Quebec?

It’s pretty cold. It's almost the same in Russia, I guess. Because we are the same latitude and there is a lot of snow. I think trees and vegetation is almost the same as yours. Which part of Russia are you in actually?

The European part, on the Volga river, east from Moscow.

Can you understand my accent? (laughs)

What kind of accent is that?

I've got an American Canadian accent, so it's hard to understand sometimes.

Did you learn English or French initially?

Oh, initially I'm speaking French. English is my self-learnt second language, and my native tongue is French.

You said self-learned – so you didn't learn English at school?

Just the basics you know, how to express yourself, but it's not much. Here in this part of Canada, which is Quebec, we all speak French so... A bit of English, of course, but mainly we speak French. We have a tendency to express things in English just how we would say it in French, and there are bad mistakes, and sometimes people can’t understand a single word. (laughs)

What’s new in the camp of Nervous Impulse?

Oh, a lot of things, actually. From the beginning we were recording stuff, making full-lengths, but in 2017 we decided to have parties and started doing split CDs, like the old-school grind 3-ways, you know. This is kind of a great adventure: we have a chance to work with great people that we all love, and we are going like this till the next year, when we shall have a full-length again. There are two kinds of people out there: people who are into singles and EPs and splits, and there are people who want to get a full-length CD and don’t give a fuck about other bands. And we have to respect that. Maybe we’ll have to take a couple of songs from the splits we did. There will be maybe 7 or 8 new songs to add to that and we’ll have a full-length CD.

What place do you see the band taking on the scene? How do you stand out in this light on the death/grind front?

Well, if you are speaking of Quebec, there is quite a decent scene here, but not so much for death and grind. It’s kind of hard to explain. We are sort of a hybrid band combining parts of death metal and parts of grindcore. We are between two seats, if you say so. And this point makes the band strong too. If you speak to a typical death metal fan, you’ll get the impression that grindcore always sounds bad and must be recorded in a toilet, you know. That’s the prejudice behind all this. Grindcore is “bla” (puking sound), and there is no metal in it. We are just keeping quiet, I love those parts of the scene, and we let the guys think this way, but in respect of grindcore, there is not so much out there. If you are speaking internationally, we are not going very far as for shows. If you look at the CDs and the splits – I don’t know what part we take in all this, but for sure we have a lot of fun. We have a lot of friends around the world and it’s a great experience for us. There are a lot of people doing PR and contacting us like on Facebook, and it keeps driving us forward, it pushes us ahead.

Do you know about the hardcore band Nervous Impulse from the United States?

Yes, we had an argument with those guys from Washington, DC, actually. Maybe around 2008 it was on MySpace, before Facebook. We started the band Nervous Impulse, and then this freaking band popped out of nowhere. We sent them some e-mails saying that the name was already picked up, we didn’t care about any legal issues, because we don’t mind a different band having the same name as us, but we didn’t want any confusion, so we suggested that the guys should pick another name, but they said, “Fuck you!”. (laughs) I replied to them very politely: “Ok, there is going to be two Nervous Impulses”. We never heard back. And they are not active anymore. So I remember trying to have a chat with them and getting a nice “Go fuck yourselves!” in reply, so OL.

Nice people, right?

Yeah, very friendly.

Could you please rate these things in your music from the most important to the least: aggression, groove, speed, chaos, melody, unexpected turns?

All of the above is important. We are making music from the heart, and we cannot control it. The speed for me as a drummer is very important, so that I don’t get bored. Sometimes the guys just want to record the part, which is supposed to be more of a hardcore laid-back part, and we are playing it in the rehearsal room at a certain speed. And when it’s time to record, I get like fire in my ass, and I always record that part too fast. I don’t use a metronome, by the way, it all comes from the heart. I’m into it and I do just what I feel is great, but the guys have to record bass after that and they are like “Motherfucker! You did that again! Too fast!” And they get used to it. So the melody for the guitars – Francis is our main guitarist, he is from a different background than I, he’s got a lot of technical background, he has a side project – a band called Join The Conspiracy, and it’s purely technical, and he is putting a bit of this kind of stuff into some parts of Nervous Impulse songs. Melody and technique are really important to Francis and it adds to the music that we make. We like to mix a lot of styles. And there are a lot of surprises in our music. I like different styles of music – I like power violence, slam etc. And I like to borrow a little bit from those styles, and in some songs it creates some unexpected feeling. All of those are important for the people in the band at different levels.

It seems to me that lyrics are very important in your aesthetics – they made me remember your band after I listened to the “Perfect Symmetry Incarnation” split. How do you see the role of the lyrics in the band’s work?

They are kind of free style, you know. They cover society in general, poverty, mental states, opinions and experiences in life, like, “Time To Panic” is kind of a signal to panic, it’s about a panic attack, so the song is quick, relentless, and our singer Eric (Fiset) talks about it. There is a song on the same album about the neighbor’s house that is on fire, which happened in Eric’s experience. The neighbor’s house caught fire, and normally you can have conversations about such situation, but that song is about the fact that you never think that it could happen to you, your house is about to burn, because your neighbor’s house is on fire. That’s a mental state full of panic too.

I remember that song.

Yeah, it’s kind of personal and a social wake up call at the same time, you know.

Do you think it’s important to promote the band’s lyrics among the audience?

Yeah, when you got space for them in the booklet. On the full lengths we tend to place the lyrics there, minus a song or two on the second album “Time To Panic”. The first one – there was a mistake and the lyrics weren’t there. There were some really interesting songs on the “Enough For Dementia” album. We didn’t expect that people would give a damn about the lyrics, so on the second album we put the lyrics on, minus a couple of songs, like I said - they were political songs about Canadian events, that could trouble some people…

Some listeners in Canada?

Yeah, people are not always on the same page when it’s about political views, so we are taking care not to trouble people with our songs more than necessary… On the splits it’s kind of hard, because we’ve got 3 or 4 band in there, and if you put all the lyrics in there it’s gonna be a 30-page booklet. We can’t afford this kind of thing. On the next album, coming in 2020, we will make space for the lyrics, we’ll figure that out. And we have to be careful, because some songs can be misinterpreted, like there was a song on our first album called “Rockstars Faggotry”, and the term “faggot” wasn’t to hurt gay people, it was about spineless people, we didn’t want to bash on someone’s sexual orientation, that wasn’t the point. When we did a repress with More Hate, we changed the title “Rockstar Faggotry” to just “Rockstar”. We are not into racism, fascism or anything like that, so we have to be really careful about that.

Right. I just wanted to quote one famous red-haired guy: “It’s VERY VERY SAD”, that there is no place for the lyrics in the booklets of the latest releases.

Yes, I know. But we’ll take the best songs and place them on the full length.

What are the songs on the “Atomic Grind” split about?

The first is “Q.C. Reflux”. Q.C. is an abbreviation for Quebec, our part of Canada. Then reflux – you know what a reflux is? It’s when you eat spicy food and you sit on your couch and start burping… It’s a humoristic song about that, and it can also be misinterpreted. We have a typical meal in Quebec, called “poutine”. It’s very specific for Quebec. (laughs)

Sorry, did you say “Putin”?

Yes, that’s it, poutine, like your president. (laughs)

So you eat our president for breakfast and have some bad reflux?

First, it’s not for breakfast, because poutine is high in fat. Basically it’s French fries with fresh cheese and gravy. It’s very American food, quite tasty. It’s kind of a cult in our culture. When you visit Quebec, you have to eat a poutine. Yes, it’s kind of weird. I told Aleksandr (Kantemirov, More Hate boss) about it, and he laughed his ass off. So the song is about reflux. A real Quebecer doesn’t barf from poutine. When you are drunk or anything – you have to keep it for yourself. When you are sick, you just close your teeth and hold it in. That’s really funny. We have lyrics on light subjects and serious topics too, military and stuff. This is kind of tongue in cheek and serious at the same time.
The next song is “Airburst”. It is about military strategy that consists of blowing off a nuke at high altitude in the air to minimize the radiation to the people, but the area of damage is even bigger, than it would be for a surface explosion. It’s a way of doing war, and this song is all about this. It’s crazy as fuck, people hit in this way have no chance to win, you know.
The next songs – “500 Miles From The Blast” and “We Are Lucky” are supposed to go together, they just got separated in the process of mixing. It’s about the fact that Canada, unlike the U.S. or Russia is not very big in the military aspect. We are not threatening anybody, we are kinda peaceful type of a country. So if WWIII is going to start, we seem to be lucky enough to be 500 miles from the blast. The Americans are going to be destroyed in the would-be war, not us. We are quite lucky not to be involved in this stuff.
If you take “Disaster Porn” – it’s another song from this split – it’s about people who stimulate themselves mentally looking at each other having pain and misery. It’s like porn for some kind of people. I know some people who get excited by others’ misery. Like, there is a natural disaster somewhere, a lot of people are hurt, and some people get excited by those events. Which is not cool, you know. It’s like porn for sick-minded people, and the song says something like “What the fuck is going on with you, man?”

Don’t you catch yourself on this? Like, when you hear something like that on the news it might be sort of exciting, I mean, not in a good way…

No-no-no, it’s really sad. People should just put their efforts together instead of looking at the neighbors having struggles and problems. People need to go help each other. It’s sad when you are sitting at home eating popcorn, watching news, enjoying disasters far away and not doing anything about this. It’s sad, you are a part of the problem.

In your opinion, what are the best songs lyrically from your whole back catalogue?

Oh, that’s a good one. I personally like the humoristic kind of songs, where Eric has a laugh at himself. My favorite would be “My Neighbour’s House Is On Fire”, because I can remember that house, and I remember that time when it burnt, Eric called me and said: “You don’t know what just happened to me – my neighbor’s house was on fucking fire”. It’s shaking – you start to see all that stuff you accumulated for years threatened by this… But then you are able to laugh at it.
Then there is another song… Eric is a native man here, like Mongols in Russia, he is an Amerindian, which is native. The guy just lived in a big center, in Montreal, and got deported to another place, far from his family. The song is very personal and sad. When we recorded it, I saw a ten-year-old boy… It might be not very appealing to the fans, but it’s very personal. The song is called “Nostalgic Memories” from the “Time To Panic” album.
And there is the song “Oil Spills” from that album too. Remember when there was a big leak in the ocean from a big petrol pipe like 10 years ago? It took like 3 or 4 days just to close the leak, and the petrol company’s point was not to minimize the impact on the environment, but to minimize the losses, recuperate the oil lost. It wasn’t about the nature, but about money. “How could I not lose money out of this?” This is pretty intense too.

What are your favorite songs musically? What are the most challenging ones to compose and/or to play?

Well, those seem to often be the same. The song “Syrian NATO Meat Grinder” was really challenging for me because of the many tempo switches. So “Syrian…” is a great one. And there is one of the latest songs – “Deer Fly”. There are some parts in this song that are really fun to play. It’s not very challenging, but it has some great vibe in it in the power violence part at the end. It puts you into a great state of mind when you are playing it.

I wanted to ask you what this song is about.

Deerfly is a type of giant fly in the woods. When it bites you, it goes away with giant chunks of your skin. Eric is comparing people to deerflies – they surround you and eat you, and you want them to just go away, they are like fucking parasites, you know. So it’s a metaphor for people in life, that are around to annoy and suck the hell out of you, all your energy.

Got it. What are the roles of the band members in the songwriting process?

(sound of incoming Facebook message on Ian’s end) Sorry about that, it’s Patrick "Motorak" Lorenc from the band Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay messaging me about our planned future project. And his side project Space Hamster is going to be signed by More Hate, and he is very excited about that.
So, about songwriting process. We have two ways of doing it. Way number one is to compose the music first, then the vocals and the lyrics are like a topping on a cake. Every Thursday we gather at the rehearsal room, somebody comes up with an idea, and one thing leads to another, and here we’ve got a song, simple as that. Then there is way number two, which is very unorthodox – I write down some drum patterns on paper. When it’s time to record, I play these things that I composed in the studio and record them. We are recording ourselves, so we have plenty of time to think things over. The guys get the recorded drum patterns, they think about them for a month or two, the guitars get added, and so we get some three more songs out of it. It’s quite unusual, but it works for us. Our guitar player Francis does very well under pressure, when we have to do something RIGHT NOW – the guy delivers. We’ve got a new bass player, Dan Bergeron, he has hardcore grind background and he comes up with all those “ge-ge ge-ge-ge” ideas typical of grind, those hardcore vibes, which is a great add on. Then we have Bruno, our second guitar player, he is more into technical stuff, and during recording he always comes up with ideas we wouldn’t think of. He suggests that we should try playing this way or that way, and he is more of technical guy supporting the process. So everybody has some strengths and we are using them at our power.

So, you said you are planning to make a full length next year? What shall we expect from the new record?

Nervous Impulse. Very simple: it’s gonna be a blend of a lot of styles, there are gonna be a lot of very typical Nervous Impulse songs, dark songs and lighter songs, not in a bad way light, no “Nothing Else Matters 2” type of songs, don’t worry. (laughs) It’s definitely going to be very Nervous Impulse, a blend of all we love in 2 to 3 minute long songs.

When the new full length record comes, on what label?

It should be again on More Hate, our production with Aleksandr...

How did you get to know him?

I’ll tell you in a second. It should be More Hate, maybe a co-release with another label, I’m not sure yet. We are very well served with More Hate and don’t stress out about the way it comes out. The way I got in touch with Aleksander is amazing. I have a background of the 90s, which was tape trading by mail. I don’t know if you had a taste of that epoch…

Well, we didn’t do tapes, but we sent each other CD-Rs…

Yes. This way you could discover a lot of jewels in the scene, then send it to another guy, who makes you discover something else… This very 90s mentality – we are still very encrusted with its. So once I discovered a Ukrainian band Brud, which means some kind of dust or filth… I wanted to contact the band, but it’s very underground and difficult to reach, it was a bit of a challenge to contact them, but I love that kind of thing, and we exchanged some CDs. I had to create a Vkontakte account to get in touch with them, with Artem, guitarist from Brud, he is an awesome guy. I’m working on the reissue cover, the artwork and remastering their songs… So with the account open, a guy from Russia, the guitarist from Kraworath, got in touch with me, he told me how he loved my band, I liked his band, and we decided to do a split CD together along with another band from South America. And I was asking him, since our first CD was DIY, self-produced – the “Enough for Dementia” CD – and we were out of copies, and I was looking for a way to reissue this first album of ours, and he told me about Aleksandr from More Hate Productions, that he is a great guy, bla bla bla bla bla bla – and we reached out to the guy. It was kind of scary at first, because Russia and Canada are really far away, and if there is any issue – well, it’s all based on trust, so if the guy producing the CD doesn’t do what he said first, we are fucked. I’m just letting my rights to a guy whom I don’t really know. But it worked out very well. Aleksandr is like a gold bar for people like us. We started to work with More Hate on this – on the reissue of our first album, then Blast Head Records from Canada sold out all copies of our second album “Time To Panic”, so I said Aleksandr again if he would be interested in rereleasing our second album and it goes on and on. I approached him with our split ideas and he was very excited about this, he said the idea was great, so we started doing split after split. I think, both parties are really happy with this type of releases. I don’t know why I would be trying to change the label, when a thing is not broken, we don’t try to change it…

Is the song “More Hate” from the “Grind Cuts” split about the label?

Yes, definitely. This is the song “Pure Hate” from the first album, and we decided to shake it up and stir the sauce. We decided to change a couple of things musically at first. Playing that song live for 8 or 9 years – it morphed into another vibe, there was more dynamics in it, and since we enhanced the song musically, we also decided to just change the title and the lyrics and do a little homage to our label and Aleksander and call it “More Hate”. And the guy was really happy because of that attention. His work means a lot to us, and one thing in Nervous Impulse is that we try to never forget about the people, who are behind us, the fans, magazines, radio stations, labels, people trading – this all means a lot to us. We like from time to time just to say a little thank you to all those people, to you, guys.

Thank you. Do you often find yourself on tour?

Do I often find myself on tour? Yeah, we are doing some sporadic shows in Quebec. It’s not so much about touring, it’s mostly limited to Quebec and Canada, we did some shows in other parts of the country. But it’s difficult, cause we all have mortgages, families, I’ve got an 18 year old daughter and a house to pay for, we all got jobs and we all agree that pure insane death grind fury won’t pay our bills, you know. (laughs) As for the tour we are talking to a couple of guys in Europe in France, Ukraine and the Czech Republic, specifically, to just go other there and do a couple of shows, maybe a 10 or 12 day blitz, not in 2019, but after the next full length comes out in 2020. I know there is a great scene out there, but right now it’s not so much about touring for us.

July 2020 update: We were supposed to do a small European tour right now that is postponed to 2021. The original dates were planned for this year end of June – beginning of July. That should be the same in 2021 +/- 1 or 2 days more on the dates. As of right now, our singer Eric has left the band due to personal issues. Eric will not be part of the next efforts... I cannot reveal right now who will do it but you will not be disappointed. So now the plan is to release the last split CD (with a replacement on vocals, of course), then go to Europe and after all this, the full length late 2021, if of course, the COVID restrictions are over concerning the travels out of the country. The epidemic was hard, but now things are settling down here, besides an obligatory mask and 2-meter restrictions in public areas (like Russia, as I've been told). Basically, we have the same initial plan, but shifted 1 year later because of COVID and the replacement of the vocalist.

Have you been to Russia?

Oh, it would be great. I hope us Canadians are welcome there, I don’t know yet.

What’s your opinion of the country and is it different from the view of the Canadian public?

Oh, my view of the country is based on the fact that all of the people I know from Russia are great. I wouldn’t mind to learn other aspects, like what kind of venues you have there, but for now all I know about your country is people, not the president, nor the army, but people. My opinion is freaking great. I made some great friends through VK. People have been very nice to us. I don’t know about the quality of life there, because I haven’t been to Russia. I knew a girl from Belarus, and the culture is great, the draniki are awesome. I should learn to play balalaika, right?

Well, be my guest.

(laughs) It seems kinda hard. Well, all I know about your country is great people, but I would love to visit it even as a tourist. You have such great architecture. It’s an old country, really older than some new developed ones, such as countries in America. I would like to visit Russia, Poland, Ukraine and the Czech Republic, there are great jewels in terms of architecture there. I like to absorb elements of other cultures that interest me.

What Russian bands do you enjoy listening to, if any?

Well, of course I love my friend’s band Kraworath. I like some Russian slam too, Abominable Putridity, they are like a little brother of Devourment, which is freaking awesome. I have to check the archives, my brain is farting sometimes, you know. There is another one, I listen to their album every month and I can’t remember the name… It’s K… K… K… (sound of mouse scrolling)


Yes, them, Katalepsy, thanx. (laughs) Their second album is a freaking masterpiece, it sounds like a ton of bricks. Their drummer is really insane and I love the slam vibe in it, oh. I saw a couple of their live videos, there is a great vibe about them. Yes, Katalepsy. It’s another one that a guy on VK pointed out to me. It’s one of the little jewels that got undusted for me because of VK.

Well, you should definitely check out some underground Russian bands, like VX, Coprobaptized Cunthunter, 7 H Target, Decibel Chaos Injection, Sordid Clot, Hrust Kostilyo, Perverse Dependence and the relatively new sick act ByoNoiseGenerator. I understood that music is a hobby to you. What do you do for a living?

I work as a colorist technician in an industrial paint company. I’m mixing colors for the cabinet maker and woodworkers here and solving chemical problems in the production lines when it comes to finishing. It’s wood finish coatings, you know. Problems on the line and making colors mix and match.

What other hobbies do you have?

I like movies like everybody, but my other passion would be my family. I try to spend some quality time with my family. It can be really hard to divide your time between making music in a band, being a fan myself and talking to other fans, and the job. So the family would be my biggest other hobby – just having some chat, talk, doing some other activities with the people I love. They are the most important people in my life, so I try to spend time with them. I’m not climbing any mountains or something… I got that you are into running, marathons and stuff, right?

Yes. And do you play hockey?

No, I was a big fan back in the day, but lately I can’t find an hour and a half to sit in front of the TV and watch a game… The only sport I’m doing is drumming. Believe me, it’s kind of a sport. (laughs) Sometimes you are going home and your back hurts from it and you are exhausted…

Does your family like your music?

Yeah, I’m really lucky, that my girlfriend Joannie and my daughter Lilian really like it. They are not into it as much as I am, of course, but, amazingly, my girlfriend comes to my shows as often as possible, and since last year so does my daughter, because we play in venues for people of age 18 and older, and hence she couldn’t see us live, but at the last Puke Fest in Montreal I had my whole family with me. This was really important to me and it was a special moment, when my daughter showed up for the first time. Music and family are two different worlds, and that evening I got them combined. It was quite a happy moment.

Top 5 music releases from the last year?

I don’t really know about the last year. I can do the last ten years, if you will. It’s almost all grindcore, mostly European. Like I said earlier, we are trying to collaborate with Mincing Fury and Guttural Clamour of Queer Decay, “Only Cats Will Survive” – their last album, this is an amazing piece. I would also like to put in their fellow brothers Kandar – also from the Czech Republic, the same genre, also with the vocalist of Pigsty called Topinka - Ctibor Topolovský, their last album is really awesome, it’s called “Tromaville”. I like the last Pendrak album from France. And maybe an American band called Fiend, they never made albums, but did some 7” and splits; those guys are just awesome, they are only two, but they are making noises like they are 20. (laughs) A straightforward grindcore band, very intense, not for feeble minded, you know.

Did you like the last Pig Destroyer album?

Sure. Man, there is a lot of great stuff out there. There is another band from Ukraine, called Statist, they only had a promo tape last year, no album yet. Those little things are interesting to me. Another band that I’ve discovered recently with some new stuff is More Gore from Ukraine, those guys play old school grind in the new school way, which is freakingly awesome.

What do you think, should they build the wall?

Should they rule the world? Build the wall? This is crazy. They should not rule the world. As for the wall… That’s a tough question. I’m far from that problem. Actually, I hope they won’t build the wall between Canada and the USA. (laughs) For me this is about Donald Trump, his ego, his promises, this guy is kind of out of this world. Build the wall… I know that the goal is just to stop immigration, which seems to be a problem from Mexico, but can it be resolved by a wall… I don’t know, that’s kind of too far fetched for me, you know.

Right. That’s it from me. Do you have anything to add? Any final words?

Don’t be shy to contact us, as you’ve seen, I don’t bite, don’t insult people. So feel free to contact us via our VK or Facebook account. Tell us your thoughts. It’s all about discovering new bands. Go ahead and listen to the bands from our splits: Rubufaso Mukufo, Epicrise, Meat Cutting Floor, they are from Russia and pretty awesome, Brud, Japanische Kampfhörspiele from Germany, Anüs and Ansu, those bands are all awesome and worth a listen, if you like our band.

Nervous Impulse on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NervousImpulseGrind
Nervous Impulse on VK: https://vk.com/nervousimpulse

Interview by Richter
Photos courtesy of Yan Chamberland
August 4, 2020
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