Wednesday, September 25, 2019

an interview with Rainbow Grave

Nic Bullen has always been on the vanguard of heavy music - as the original vocalist of Napalm Death, he was a grindcore pioneer; and with Scorn, he and Mick Harris expanded their sights to include experimental and electronic music. His newest band Rainbow Grave contains some of the abrasive and experimental facets of his previous bands, but employs them in a noisier, less structured manner. Nic was kind enough to spare a few words about the project.

Dreams of Consciousness: Please introduce yourself - who are you, where are you from, and how do you describe the music you make?

We are Rainbow Grave from Birmingham, England. Our music channels negative punk and psychedelic damage. Disappointment Guaranteed.

DoC: Please give a brief history of Rainbow Grave – what brought you together, and what did you set out to accomplish? How/why did you choose your name?

Rainbow Grave formed around 5 years ago with a desire to play the music that we could not hear from other groups. The name of the group says something about the group, the world and being alive – but I am not sure what.

DoC: Is Rainbow Grave your first time working with a band since Scorn? What led you back to making heavy music?

I have been in a number of different groups over the last 20 years: the focus has been on playing together rather than releasing product, so it has been deliberately low key.

I focus largely on writing acousmatic composition and electronic music, so it is occasionally refreshing to return to playing in a more ‘traditional’ group setting.

DoC: Last year, Rainbow Grave released two EPs - the Sex Threat 7" and a split release with Orthodox. How long had you been working on these songs? What led to you teaming up with Orthodox?

The songs on the 7” releases have been worked on since we started the group. God Unknown Records suggested the split 7” with Orthodox; we knew Orthodox and knew it would be the right idea.

DoC: What is your writing process like? To what extent are the songs improvised?

We write through improvising, looking for a spontaneous expression. We then repeat that pattern until the ‘song’ is reduced to a minimal state.

DoC: Tell be about the first Rainbow Grave album, No You. Where was it recorded? What do you want the listener to experience when listening to it?

The record was recorded in a studio attached to our rehearsal space.

DoC: What can you tell me about your lyrics? What kind of themes/subjects do you explore? How would you compare your approach to singing now from the way you did them in the past?

My lyrics reflect views of the world, although they are not necessarily my own. I have taken a consistent approach to the voice through my projects, but it only remains interesting for me if I explore different parameters within that consistency: this is reflected in the approach to the voice in Rainbow Grave.

DoC: All three of your releases have been put out by God Unknown Records. How did you become involved with them? How would you say you relate to the other bands on the label?

God Unknown Records approached us after a concert: knowing the label, we were happy to become involved. We don’t think of Rainbow Grave in relation to other groups: it’s not important for us to do that.

DoC: You were part of the Eighties zine and tape trading culture; with that in mind, how has the internet changed the way that music is released and spread? Would you say that streaming platforms like Bandcamp/Spotify etc. benefit the artist? Why or why not?

I don’t believe I have any great insight in relation to this question.

DoC: What’s next for you?

We are currently planning to work on a new record which will occupy us for the foreseeable future.

Rainbow Grave on Facebook

Rainbow Grave on Twitter

Rainbow Grave on Instagram

No You on Bandcamp (through God Unknown Records)

Past Noise Violations:

Mixtape 97:
Richard Knox