BLOODSTOCK INTERVIEW: Philip Hall & Nick Poulos – Municipal Waste

MUNICIPAL WASTE have been one of the most loved crossover thrash bands since their beginnings, winning over their fans with their love and partying and beer. We got the chance to sit and talk with Phil ‘Landphil’ Hall and Nick Poulos ahead of their Bloodstock slot about their crazy performances, their brand new album Slime and Punishment and what they think about people saying they have matured since 2012 release, The Fatal Feast.

So, first things first, how are you guys?

Phil: I’m great!

So MUNICIPAL WASTE are just about to grace the Ronnie James Dio Stage, are you looking forward to it?

Phil: I’m very much looking forward to it! I mean, what can you say? Bloodstock is an amazing festival, there are so many good bands playing and there are so many people out there. I’ve heard it is sold out, so anytime we get to play a sold out UK festival is a good thing.

Nick: I feel that we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve for the set today as well. A couple of things that might be a surprise!

Your performances at Bloodstock are always memorable, you’ve had the most crowdsurfers for example. Are you aiming to do anything like that this time around?

Phil: I think we could be! You never know with a MUNICIPAL WASTE gig, we’ve got plenty of tricks, as Nick said, up our sleeves!

Nick: No spoiler alerts but we’ve got a wildcard today.

And how does playing a massive stage like Bloodstock compare to say a club show?

Nick: Well I like doing both, especially on a tour like last summer where we did festivals and then club shows inbetween. I feel like that is the perfect mix, because you get out there especially on a stage like Bloodstock or like Download last year, you get out there and everybody is going crazy but then a club show is as crazy but more intimate. I like the mix, I like doing both, especially on one tour, it’s really fun.

Phil: I feel that sometimes when we’re playing these bigger gigs are almost easier than playing a small gig because if someone in the crowd yells “fuck you” you’re not going to hear it! But in a smaller club if someone yells “fuck you” you’re going to hear it. I don’t know, it’s all good, the stage is literally bigger we’re so far apart from each other! I start to miss my band members, it’s like “I haven’t seen you in a while!”

Slime and Punishment has only really just been released, how have you found the reception for your latest album?

Nick: Great! I think it’s doing really well, it charted pretty well these days for heavy metal, and we’re just really stoked on playing the songs, it feels good. The recording was good, Phil basically engineered the whole thing, Bill Metoyer mixed and mastered it who is a legendary Metal Blade dude. The album’s sick, it was fun writing, recording and playing the songs.

Phil: We spent a lot more time writing this album and Nick is a new addition to MUNICIPAL WASTE, so bringing him in to the band brought some new ideas and helped freshen it up a little bit. It got us stoked on writing this new album and I’m happy with how it sounds. I think people seem to be stoked on it now and ever since it came out we’ve been touring on it pretty much non stop! I think we’re going to try and play as many shows as we can for this year and next year.

Nick it was your first time on the new album, what’s it been like for you since joining MUNICIPAL WASTE?

Nick: Well for me I think it was an easy transition just because I’ve been in bands with these guys for the past ten years. So, we’ve all got along and we click and we know how to write together, especially me and Phil. Everybody has got side bands with each other. I was actually going to move out of town and they popped the question, asked me if I wanted to play second guitar, so yeah I’ll stick around! Quit my job, hang with my bros!

Phil: It’s really not a bad job to have!

I can imagine it’s a great job to have! Some people have called Slime and Punishment is MUNICIPAL WASTE’s most mature album to date. What are your views on that?

Phil: Well we’ve been playing for a really long time and we’ve learnt what works for us and what doesn’t work for us. Plus, I feel that being around each other for so long, Nick is a new addition to the band but he’s been hanging out with us for a long time, we know what each other likes and what we are into. We know what each other smell like.

Nick: Yeah, it’s very intimate! As far as maturity goes, I don’t think we’re that mature! We’re just a bunch of little kids in our 30s and 40s playing rock and roll.

Phil: Arrested development if you will!

Can you every see yourselves ever being a non-party band?

Phil: Well music is fun in general! We started this band to have a good time and we’re not strangers to partying so there is no way I could live my life being angry or serious. I’m generally a fun loving guy so I think we are just being true to ourselves.

I guess it’s a good release as when you are writing aggressive and heavy music, it channels that anger…

Phil: Yeah, we’re lucky to have that release. I’ve had this conversation before with people where being in this style of music, this genre, we can unleash that anger so I feel that generally I’m not an angry person because I just get to let it out. I almost feel sorry for people who don’t have this outlet for that side of themselves. But, music can represent every emotion and you can just express yourself. Making a new album for instance, like Slime and Punishment, once you have the finished product in your hand, it’s very satisfying.

Nick: Like when you go from the drawing board, writing the songs with your boys and creating it, once you get to playing it on stage and the fans are just flipping out, to me, that’s the greatest release of all! When it translates live and people get it, for me, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

So for you, does that show that thrash metal isn’t dying out? As so many people seem to write thrash off…

Phil: Well those people are obviously poseurs!

Nick: This style of music, it’s not like classic, it’s timeless and it is never going to go away.

Phil: METALLICA was a thrash band, so I don’t know, SLAYER are a thrash band! I feel that some of the best bands in metal were thrash bands. I feel like anyone who is saying thrash is dying out probably listens to ATTILA.

With a lot of the iconic bands packing it in and calling it a day, there’s a lot of pressure for young bands to step up to that mark. Are you feeling that pressure at all?

Phil: I would love to see more thrash bands come to the surface. I mean, trends and things like that don’t mean anything to me. So people who think about that genre and that genre is irrelevant. We like music and I think that MUNICIPAL WASTE has a strong fanbase of kids who are going to be with us until the end. We’re happy to have them here and we’re just happy to be on stage playing our music to people, there’s nothing to complain about!

Well that’s it, thank you so much for your time!

Phil & Nick: Thank you very much!

Slime and Punishment is out now via Nuclear Blast Records.

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Jessica Howkins

Co Editor-in-Chief for Distorted Sound Magazine, Music Journalism student.