Nige Rockett – Onslaught – March 2011

Guitarist Nige Rockett takes the questions…..

Hi Nige… Between 1991 and 2004 you guys were disbanded of course. After a 13 year break, what made you decide to reform in 2005?

“Well Nikita, in a nutshell, we discovered that our whole back catalogue had been re-released (through the ‘Blackened‘ label) and was selling really well. This in turn, told us that there was still a great deal of interest in Onslaught coming into the new Millennium and that we were clearly not forgotten…”

“With this to inspire us, we then had the fuel to enable ourselves to set out and try to right all the wrongs that we’d encountered before we’d split (in 91…). This is the real motive that has driven us on ‘til this day and forward; we felt cheated last time around and we’re determined to make amends for it this time!”

Since the reformation you have released 2 studio albums, the latest being “Sounds Of Violence” on AFM….. Did you have a particular writing process for it?

“Yeah, we had a very deliberate & focused writing and recording process when making the “Sounds Of Violence” album. And it was totally different to the way we made ‘Killing Peace’.”

“Andy and I wrote the whole album in our own studio and demoed every track, every step of the way. I always start off with the song title; that way we can paint the picture of the song and create whatever vibe is required with the music. We were basically doing all the pre production as we went along, editing, re-editing and editing again. It was a very fast process, as we could hear everything clearly and make very fast changes; that was totally impossible when we were writing “Killing Peace”, in a rehearsal room, by the way!”

“Recording wise, we used a very unusual method; we recorded all the rhythm guitar parts ‘first’…. This was possible because all the pre production was effectively done during writing and the songs were 100% complete. We recorded the guitar tracks to very aggressively programmed drums and pushed the tempos right to the max, which really upped the performance and got the adrenaline really pumping during recording! We ended up with some very brutal sounding guitar tracks, I can tell you. This in turn would lead up to recording the really intense drum tracks. Instead of the drums being recorded to some lame sounding guide guitar, they were now being played to perfect and razor sharp guitars therefore raising the drum performance considerably. It worked perfectly and it’s definitely a system we’ll be using again!”

Has your writing process changed much though since reforming in 2004? It sounds like the intensity was really obvious?

“Oh, definitely!! I really can’t sum it up enough. The whole band has stepped up a sizeable amount and it’s a really exciting time in Onslaught right now!”

What inspired you through the song writing process, e.g. other bands/musicians, books, etc?

“Life stories and the world around us basically; and also the thought of playing these songs live…. I read a lot of history books for reference; I always like to get my facts 100% correct when I’m writing lyrics. But, there’s so much shit going on in the world today, that Onslaught are never gonna be short of inspiration to create violent music with violent lyrics. We’ve a bottomless pit out there, right on our doorstep!”

Have your fans responded well to the new material?

“Oh, so well, yes. In fact it’s totally unbelievable and I’m not just saying that… “Sounds Of Violence” has only been out around 10-12 weeks and already everyone is singing all the words at shows and the tracks we’re playing are actually going down even better than the classic old stuff? It’s so fucking cool for us to see; that’s the best commendation we can possibly receive…!!”

After several line-up changes over the years and recently with the exit of Steve Grice, do you feel that the current line-up is the ultimate one for Onslaught?

“Ha! Ha! Ha; yeah I have to say that this is definitely the ultimate Onslaught line up so far…, Ha! Ha! The standard of musicianship in the band right now is really awesome, and it’s just such a pleasure to be playing every night with these guys! We just got back from a month long tour of Europe, and it was definitely the most pleasurable tour we have ever done on a personal and professional level… We finally seem to have got a perfect balance of personalities in the Onslaught camp, and I think that’s really showing up in our live performances especially now!!

How did Phil Campbell (Motorhead) and Tom Angelripper (Sodom) come to be featured guests on the new album? They both appear on the Charity Single and cover version “Bomber”.

“Our relationship with Motorhead goes back a very long way, to when we toured with the guys throughout Europe in 1986… It was a great tour for us and really helped break the band to the next level. They were always a big influence on Onslaught and when we decided it was time for us to do a cover song, we thought,  ‘Why not a Motorhead track..?’

“I think it was Steve actually who suggested “Bomber”? It’s not necessarily the obvious one to cover, but a classic all the same and it was a real tough one to give a Thrashy / Onslaught feel to…”

“We’d been jamming the song in rehearsal and it was sounding pretty cool but not quite there, it was missing that little spark. So I sugggested we give Phil Campbell a call to see if he was up for putting down some guitars on our version – he’s very local to Andy; and he really loved the idea. As soon as Phil came into the studio and laid down that awesome riff, everything fell into place; however much we played that tune we were never going to make it sound the way Phil did! It really gives it a ‘Motorslaught’ blend!”

“In regards to Tom; again, we’ve become good friends with the Sodom guys, playing many festivals with them over the past 4 years and I just thought Tom would sound great sharing the vocals with Sy… I knew Sodom were in the studio making their new record so we gave him a call and he said, ‘get me those backing tracks over right now, I wanna do this!” There it was, made!”

Would you say that Onslaught is more popular now than in the 80’s possibly?

“That’s a real tough question… The worldwide thrash metal scene is considerably smaller in 2011 than it was in the 1980’s, so you have to really say ‘no’ to the question, but that statement goes for all the other original Thrash bands out there too. It’s kinda hard to compare in real terms, especially as your popularity certainly cannot be gauged by album sales any longer? We’re doing pretty damned good out there right now, and the band is still on a very upward curve, so it’s very positive!”

What are your opinions on the newer bands in Thrash, for instance, Evile?

“There’s some cool things going on right now, with some new bands out there in the scene at the moment that are really trying to move things along. In particular, bands like Fallen Fate (UK) & Final Depravity; Predatory Violence (in Germany); all these guys are trying to do something different with their Thrash styles. If I have one complaint though, it’s that there are too many bands trying to be ‘Old School’ when all the original bands, who do it far better, are still out there kicking ass!”

What do you like the least about today’s metal scene?

“Crooked promoters / illegal downloaders / Nu metal / Geeks with stupid fucking haircuts pretending to be hardcore!! Ha! Ha!”

To wrap this up, do you have any words for the fans that will be reading this?

“I’d just like to say a massive Thank You (!!) to everyone who has supported Onslaught throughout our career and helped us along over the past 6 years, to get us back to where we are today! Your loyalty means so much to us!”

“You are the true ‘Metal Forces’….!!!!!!!”

About Nikita

Co-founder of PlanetMosh. Official cookie and cake baker at PM Towers.
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