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MISERY INDEX: “It Feels Really Fucking Good to Play Death Metal”

Jason Netherton talks death metal, new music, Donald Trump, Ritual Festival and playing in the UK.

In the field of extreme metal, Misery Index are legends. The extreme metal soldiers have been destroying stage worldwide for fifteen years and show no signs of stopping. Ahead of their appearance at Ritual Fest, I chatted to bassist and vocalist Jason Netherton about the band’s origins, recent tours, the US election, the UK, playing extreme metal and new music.

Jack: Good morning, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?

Jason Netherton (Bass/Vocals): I am well, thank you.

Jack: How did Misery Index form?

Jason: Many years ago, under a full moon, we gathered in the woods and made a blood oath to make the worst music possible. Many years later, we are finally close to our goal. On a more serious note, we came together more or less in the early 2000s over a mutual love of death metal, grind and hardcore punk. But mostly death metal. We started meeting in a rehearsal room and got along with each other okay, things fell into place, and we signed a record deal.

Jack: Has being from Baltimore influenced you as a band?

Jason: I don’t think so, our musical influences are more influential, everything from Napalm Death to Edge of Sanity, to Tragedy to Bolt Thrower. Also, none of us are actually from Baltimore; two of us are from Washington DC and the other two are from St. Louis (Missouri). We do however have a rehearsal space in Baltimore, and that is where we meet up prior to touring, so we just say we are from Baltimore to make it easy.

Jack: What makes playing extreme metal so appealing?

Jason: It satisfies something in our inner-self, it satiates desires, it takes the edge off, it fuels our creative spirit, it reifies our imaginations, it gives life to lifeless forms and animates our souls…in other words, it feels really fucking good to play death metal.  

Jack: The Killing Gods came out in 2014, are you happy with the response?

Jason: Yes, we write and record to satisfy ourselves first and foremost, and if we are lucky and other people like it too, then we get to live another day and do it all over again.

Jack: What was the recording process like?

Jason: It is a long, gruelling and miserable process that is absolutely terrifying, but oddly enough, it is also intoxicating, fun, and highly rewarding if you get through it all without fucking it up and you actually have something you enjoy when you come out the tunnel at the other end. Thankfully we have come out on the good side of that tunnel more often than not. 

Jack: What has it been like working with Season of Mist for the release, how have they differed from previous works?

Jason: Not too much, they give you a heap of (what is actually) your own money up front to record with (called an “advance”), they promote the release heavily for a month, and then they help out with things while you are touring and get you some press etc. Pretty much the same as it was before with Relapse.

Jack: How did you find touring with The Black Dahlia Murder and Napalm Death?

Jason: It was very fun, we love them both as people and musically as well, so it was a real pleasure to see them each night and share the stage with them. Class acts all the way, who have always helped us out and had our backs since day one.

Jack: That tour took place during the US Election, did that affect the tour in any way?

Jason: Well, the night of the election we were in Denver, Colorado, and I was sitting on the couch backstage with Barney from Napalm Death, watching the results come back. With each passing hour it became more apparent that Trump was going to win, and perhaps like the shock of Brexit, you just never thought it was going to happen. Perhaps it shows how out of touch the media (who all were predicting a Clinton landslide) were with the average person in between the coasts in America, as well as the power of more niche-media to reinforce the worldviews of those who only want to be spoon-fed a reality that they already agree with.

Jack: What was it like playing with Decapitated?

Jason: It was a pleasure to watch them each night, absolutely talented and crushing. The nicest guys as well, we wish them the best.

Jack: You’ve also played with Eyehategod and Corrosion of Conformity. Do you prefer mixed bills or playing with bands of a similar ilk?

Jason: We like to mix it up every now and then and perhaps play in front of new people and maybe make some new fans, but of course we love a nice solid death metal bill the best- it’s always a powerful punch.

Jack: You’re returning to the UK in April. What do you like about the UK?

Jason: I like the people, the history, the humour and the beer. I first visited when I was about eight years old when my parents took me there on vacation. We took this tour bus all over the island, north and south, and its one of the most vivid memories of my youth. Since then, Misery Index played there a number of times, but we have not been there since 2010, so its been a long time, and we are happy to return. 

Jack: What are you most looking forward to about Ritual Festival?

Jason: Returning to the UK to play a festival with such a vibrant and ferocious group of bands is going to make this one of the highlight of the year for us, we hope to be able to see as many as possible and enjoy the show before and after we play. 

Jack: Do you find it slightly nerve-racking when you play with your influences?

Jason: Not at all, it’s a pleasure, and we have been around for a while now so its more excitement than a nervousness. For example, the run with Napalm Death you mentioned (in the US last November) was an honour to be on stage each night with a band that was so influential for us, and who also make us feel welcome as peers.

Jack: What are your other plans for the rest of the year? Any new music in the pipeline?

Jason: YES! This is a writing year for us, so we are preparing the next album as we speak, which will be recorded this summer and into autumn and should be out in early 2018. 

Jack: Finally, as you’re a band that loves trying new drinks out, what do you look for in a good alcoholic beverage?

Jason: For beer, I enjoy porters and stouts, and I like a good room-temperature, malty, rich one that has an oaky, dark flavour. In the summer I like a nice hoppy IPA. Also, like a good aged scotch, like the Balvenie fifteen years, a good smooth vodka shot, or a gin and tonic.

Jack: Thanks for your time guys and have a good tour!

Jason: Cheers and thanks!

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Jack
About Jack (729 Articles)
I am a recent graduate from the University of Essex in Colchester where by the luck of Odin I met the editor, Dom. I first got into metal when I was 13 and now I am 22 and own an uncountable amount of band T-shirts. I also regularly attend gigs (local and in neighbouring areas) as well as festivals. My musical taste is varied; I like nu metal (my first love), thrash, black, death, doom, folk, sludge (my favourite genre), symphonic and many more of the multiple genres that metal has to offer, I even like some metalcore (I know it's a dirty word within some metal circles but some of it is outstanding). One of my most memorable metal moments was meeting Grand Magus at the Bloodstock signing tent and having the whole tent to myself, spending a few minutes talking to them.

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