Diggin' it with the Nekromantix
By Naughty Mickie  notymickie@earthlink.net
 

I'm not shy to admit that I have long been a fan of the Nekromantix. Their psychobilly tunes lush with humorous stabs at the foibles of everyday life bring a smile to my face and make me want to get up and dance.
 
Vocalist/bassist Kim Nekroman formed the Nekromantix in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1989. Nekroman has a colorful past, he spent eight years as a submarine operator for the Royal Danish Navy and began playing drums in a local rockabilly band, then moved to upright bass and psychobilly music and created his signature coffin bass. He has built several basses since then, his most recent is collapsible for easy transportation
 
Nekroman is married to Patricia Day, ex-guitarist of Danish band Peanut Pump Gun. Together they are in the HorrorPops, he plays guitar and she is lead vocalist and plays upright bass.
 
The Nekromantix have had a continuously successful career throughout Europe, the UK and the US. In fact, their "Brought Back to Life" release was nominated for a Grammy in 1994 and holds the distinction of being the only psychobilly album ever nominated to date. The band has undergone numerous lineup changes and the move of Nekroman to the United States in 2002. The Nekromantix is currently Nekroman, guitarist Troy Destroy (The Rezurex) and drummer Andy DeMize (The Rockets). In April 2007, they released "Life Is A Grave... & I Dig It!!!" (Hellcat Records).
 
I begin our talk, by asking Nekroman how he formed his band and why he was drawn to psychobilly.
 
"I was in the Navy and I quit the Navy after eight years operating submarines and I started traveling all around Europe going to all the psychobilly festivals. At that point I was like, 'Wait a minute, I want to start my own band,' " Nekroman replies. "I was in a rockabilly band and then I wanted to play something a little more crazy. I locked myself in my room for a week and when I came out I knew I needed some bandmates so I gave my cassette to one of my friends and we started jamming out and then we got a whole bunch of guitar riffs and six months later we recorded our first album."
 
Okaaay, that's pretty cool, so I decide to dig a little deeper into Nekroman's past.
 
"I born with rockabilly from my mom and then when punk came around in the '70s I liked that too, so those two styles, punk and rockabilly, rock psychobilly is the fusion of those two," Nekroman says, adding that the term psychobilly wasn't often used.
 
His inspiration came from seeing the UK's  Wreckords, who played rockabilly, but faster with punk attitude.
 
"I started playing drums when I was 25. I didn't play any music at all until I was 25," Nekroman states.
 
He went straight from school to the Navy and has been involved in many interesting jobs while keeping his band going.
 
"There's almost nothing I haven't done," Nekroman says. "I was an operator in a submarine, I was a tattoo artist, I've been breeding dogs, I've been breeding sheep, I've been a dog trainer, training them to herd sheep. I once had a modeling agency called Monster Models. Right now being in two bands keeps me quite busy.
 
"I don't really have free time," Nekroman goes on. "We finished the Nekromantix album the same day we started recording the HorrorPops album, which we're doing right as we speak. I'm fixing to go play guitar right now. But in between, I'm so tired, I can get some rest, but I like to do things, I try to take vacations and after three days I'm bored. These days I'm working when I can and on my off days I'm working on my hot rod."
 
Nekroman has a 1925 Model T that he's turning it into a Goth Rod, painted black of course.
 
"Are you going to paint flames on it?" I ask.
 
"Fuck that. That's sissy shit," Nekroman responds. "I'm going to paint it a flat black with some crazy shit on it, crosses here and there and stuff like that."
 
I wonder if it's hard for Nekroman and his wife to be in bands separate and together.
 
"Not really because one of the bands we're both in. For recordings, we're totally do-it-yourself people, if you look at the liner notes on 'Life Is A Grave... & I Dig It!!!,' you see that it's recorded in hell, which really means that we did it in our garage." Nekroman continues, "There's advantages, but there's certainly disadvantages. The fact that we can be together while doing that actually working on the same thing together, well this is the third album so something tells me that we do like it."
 
I note that Nekroman spices his tunes with humor.
 
"Oh yeah," Nekroman beams. "That's very very important to me, that irony, sarcasm, humor is shining through. Some people call me the death image and the lyrics, well OK, well fine, I just think the humor is so important especially these days where there's all these serious screamo emo bands who take themselves so seriously. That's fine, you need to have a vision and you need to take yourself seriously at a certain point. But life without humor doesn't fly for me, it's essential."
 
With the twisted views, I dare to prod him as to where he gets his inspiration.
 
"I get inspired from everyday things, like something I watch on the news, something that happens to me, something that happens to a friend." Nekroman explains, "Sometimes I see a friend who has love problems and I look at it and twist it into a horror story instead. I could have just played horror stories, but all of them, all of them there's some truth that inspired them and I'm just building on that and instead of doing the thing all 'I love you, I miss you, blah, blah, blah' or my love for cars.
 
"There would totally be a '50s style greaser song, but the only right in the Nekromantix universe is to turn the thing into a hearse." Nekroman continues, "That's a song about the love for classic cars, but also telling how some girls, I'm not generalizing anybody, some girls find guys in bands very interesting, if they hadn't been in a band, they'd be another John Doe. I like to see people smile when they see the lyrics or hear the songs."
 
He pens all of the lyrics and most of the music for his band.
 
"I'm the main songwriter, but on the album Troy Destroy, our guitarist, he came up with a lot of riffs and licks and chord progressions. I like to have the whole band involved." Nekroman says, "I have a history of changing lineups, but there's different reasons for that, like the latest one was because I moved here and the other guys stayed back in Denmark and that wouldn't work. I like to involve people in the band and to be a part of the song process because it makes them happier then it's not just some weird guys trying to play my music. And I like the input, it keeps me fresh and keeps my songwriting fresh too to open to ideas.
 
"I don't want to be in a band that does same albums over and over," Nekroman goes on. "There's a lot of bands that I love, but they didn't have to write fifth album because the record is the same as number two or three. And then there's other bands that try to go a different direction hoping for more success, but either they do it or they fail. I'm trying to stick to the formula that I started out with."
 
With Nekroman so widely traveled and in the music scene for so long, I ask him what he thinks about it.
 
"I find a lot of bands I see are boring," Nekroman replies bluntly. "Recording tools are so different from than 15 years ago. Everything is done so perfect because you can use the computer and I think that's pretty sad. Some of the stuff that I hear there's no life, no edge in it any more because it's just perfect. That and I can't look at some 20 year old dude trying to be all tough, I can't take that serious-- with fucking pimples and they don't know anything.
 
"Humor is such an important part of life to me that when I watch a band like that, I'm like, 'Whatever,' but as soon as I see a band with some kind of sparkle in their eyes or humor or some irony or just something that I can identify with that these guys are not gods or heroes- it's what every person can do if they want, play music." Nekroman goes on, "If you listen to some of the emo, it's perfect, there's no mistakes.That can be cool sometimes, but you need that edge, you need a little edge. Of course I'm all about good quality recordings, I'm not talking about some crappy tape recorder recording, but you can still keep the energy in there."
 
Nekroman talks about recording in different places, such as the garage versus the studio, and singing until your voice might be raw, but leaving it that way for a more effective emotional tune. He believes in seeking a true sound rather than a perfect one.
 
The Nekromantix have been touring all over and next up for Nekroman is the release of the next HorrorPops album in July, followed by a tour. And despite his busy schedule, he still has time to express his appreciation for his fans.
 
"Thank you because of the fans we're able to do what we do, thank you for supporting us," Nekroman says.
 
Bring a new smile to your face by checking out the Nekromantix at www.nekromantix.com and www.hell-cat.com

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