Interview: Neckbeard Deathcamp
Last week, Bandcamp and a very specific sub-section of the metal community were taken by absolute storm with the unexpected release of the album WHITE NATIONALISM IS FOR BASEMENT DWELLING LOSERS by the band Neckbeard Deathcamp. The band served up brutal, “fedora crushing” black metal that seems to have struck a “direct hit” against the wanna-be fascists that contaminate metal communities. Carter Moon was lucky enough to interview one of their members, Kriegmeister Hatestorm.
Carter Moon: So this album has taken a very specific corner of the internet absolutely by storm over the past couple of weeks . . . I guess my first question for you is do you actually like black metal?
Kriegmeister Hatestorm: I do, quite a bit. I say quite often as a militant anti-Nazi person that we are besieged, but not overrun.
CM: The album is so interesting to me because it functions as really great black metal, but it also skewers so much of the cringier aspects of the genre’s core fan base.
KM: It’s kind of the point. I’m pretty sure I can count on no hands the amount of metal dudes who aren’t also big nerds in their free time. And that was fucking fine until people got racist with it. And it’s like, now if you think you’re gonna run around and be a racist piece of shit, or back a bunch of rapists, like if your intention is to harm me, you should be entirely unsurprised that we’re here to harm you. You know?
CM: Absolutely. Do you think these corners of the metal community, in general, who love to talk shit, love to act as if they have these white supremacist values, have really taken this album to heart?
KM: We pissed a lot of people off. Our response has been overwhelmingly positive, mostly by way of all the people who have existed in [the periphery of] these communities, that are like, “Oh yeah, holy shit, I’ve been just trying to bite my tongue through this thing that I like for this amount of time. And now, here it is guilt free.” Like, exactly the way we want it, you know?
CM: Did you expect this to have the overnight success that it’s had?
KM: No. Neither SuperKommando, or Hailz, or myself were actually really quite ready for it. And we’re glad it’s happened. It couldn’t have happened to a funnier thing, I think we would’ve printed more merch beforehand had we known [laughs].
CM: Yeah, it’s impossible to have guessed that an essentially joke album that’s independently produced could that this sort of overnight success. I have to imagine it’s getting to the point where some of the bigger legitimate black metal acts are at least aware of this. Have you heard from any of them?
KM: It’s not so much the black metal acts—‘cause we’ve passed it along to a lot of people, and a lot of people have handed it to a lot of very large acts. Like Doom, the band Doom knows about it at this point.
CM: Oh wow.
KM: Yeah, Death to Mankind knows about it. Discharge fuckin’ knows about it, you know? You know, it’s sort of the people who align themselves politically with what we’re talking about that we sent it out to the most. I mean, I’m certain that it’ll hit the big, big black metal bands eventually, which would be great. That’ll separate the old chaff from the wheat on a lot of issues, I’m sure.
CM: Have you found that there have been people who have responded to this who traditionally don’t like black metal?
KM: Yeah, I mean like once again, we’ve had a talk with Vanity Fair, like I’m sure once that goes through, like various—you’ll see a lot of people like, “What the fuck is black metal?”
CM: [laughs] Right. I had seen that you got the interview with Vanity Fair and that’s just absolutely wild to me because that’s not a reader base that I would think at all would engage with the genre.
KM: Yeah, I’m sure when that interview happened all these grocery store soccer moms who read Vanity Fair Magazine will be like A) I don’t know that the fuck this is, B) I’m shocked and appalled to find that it’s got a huge Nazi contingency, and C) In response to that huge Nazi contingency, they’ll take a look at something like Neckbeard Deathcamp and be like, “Oh, but that’s also extreme.”
CM: Right, I think what’s really interesting is that this still isn’t music for a suburban audience at all, even if it is sort of like, lashing out at the very things that have made black metal distasteful for a long time to a lot of people. When you guys were putting this together what was your thought process to sort of walk the line between parody and sincerely making good black metal?
KM: I mean, the sort of good black metal part of it is that the musicians involved, more than just me and my jokes and like my graphic design ability, is those guys fucking shred. Like, you know, their idea of a parody album is a brutal album, you know? They’re so fucking good at what they do that when we’re being funny, you know—
CM: It’s still really effective music.
KM: Yeah, yeah, it came out sick. Like super fucking sick.
CM: I know you’ve spent a long time in different extreme music spaces and like, assholes of different natures always sort of have shown up in those spaces, and you’ve been really vocal about pushing back against those people. Did a lot of the inspiration for this album come from your interactions with not just neo-Nazis, but like rapists and rape apologists that tend to hang around DIY scenes?
KM: Yeah, fuck yeah. Actually it’s funny, just the original Facebook shitposts that eventually grew into this, like, thing, was in response to this Nazi who was mouthing off in a Facebook message about how I was like—he was sort of indicating he thought I was a faggot. I was like “Dude, I’m gay, so like, surprise—you’re correct.” And then I just went on Facebook and was like, that’s it, starting up a band called Neckbeard Deathcamp. And like, we’re gonna start the Fourth Reich and be better Nazis, you know? [laughs]
CM: What has it been like to sort of make what happened—just sort of talking shit online, posts—to make that more real and to make that into art that people actually respond to?
KM: I think it’s like how every single aspect of it was sort of funny, you know?
CM: Right, I mean the album cover is hilarious, like you click on the lyrics and the lyrics are hysterical and the lyrics combined with the vocals just put it over the top where it’s fantastic. It’s a lot of different elements coming together that make it something that people really just viscerally respond to right away.
KM: Wait till you hear the next one!
CM: Oh awesome. I’ll be really curious to see how you guys crank out material from here ‘cause it’ll be really cool to see what comes next.
KM: Yeah, we’re descending into full war metal at this point.
CM: Hell yeah.
KM: Like, it’ll be hard as shit.
CM: There is though a thing where Nazis are on the rise in this country and people who openly identify as violent white supremacists are on the rise. How much are you and your fellow band members like concerned for your actual safety?
KM: I mean, we sort of did the anonymity thing at first, to sort of buckle up and prepare ourselves. But it’s like I said in the final track, these guys are fucking posers . . . They’re the cheapest fucking bruisers to put ourselves against.
CM: Do you see taking these people on and undercutting them in their own musical genre as an effective form of countering what they’re trying to build? Because there is a real political movement that’s trying to be built through white supremacy in this country right now. And so do you think this sort of cultural attack gives an effective way to undercut them?
KM: Yeah, that’s been the entire point. That’s the goal we’re shooting for. And it seems pretty clearly we’ve landed a direct hit.
CM: Well yeah, it’s just you guys clearly understand their world. When most people try to jab at the white supremacists, I feel like the average sort of suburban liberal doesn’t understand the Proud Boys at all—isn’t aware of what they’re really all about. They’re even less aware of the more niche Nazi communities that are popping up all around the country. But you guys actually did your homework and it seems to have made all the difference.
KM: I mean that’s sort of a very flattering compliment—like I’m into that. It’s sort of especially difficult in black metal to identify who it is that is fascist. ‘Cause they always do shit with it like put on the 14th page of every single booklet for all of their albums they have 88 Nordic runes that form the sun wheel under the Northern Star and all this shit. It’s like they’re so cryptic about it.
CM: Yeah, the thing about black metal that is so challenging is that you can never tell who’s just being edgy and who sincerely holds hateful beliefs. And like, you know, a few years back I have to admit I didn’t care as much and it was just sort of like, “Okay, people are just being edgy and being stupid—who gives a shit?” But it’s all become way more real and it’s not just this musical sub-community anymore. It’s something that’s coming into our real lives in a much more tangible way.
KM: Yeah, and I mean I sort of don’t wanna give this movement more credibility than it deserves. ‘Cause like, there will be winners and losers here at the end of the day and like, those guys—that sort of far-right, unempathetic ideology has proven itself to be a bunch of fucking losers over and over and over again.
KM: I mean, there’s this one guy from my hometown who is a Nazi, and his little rallying cry before somebody kicks the shit out of him would be like “Might makes right,” you know? Through every single conflict, these far right guys lose. You know, like militarily, like globally, like rhetorically, you know? ‘Cause we both know this is a pretty anti-fascist project, but it’s not like Antifa-affiliated. But it’s like, I mean for the most part Antifa is made up of high schoolers. And like if all those big bad black metal Nazis get the shit beat out of them by high schoolers—
CM: —what does that really say about the Nazis? I wonder what you think about this: While there is this openly white supremacist movement going on right now that’s like a threat and certainly needs to be confronted, they’re not like the same threat that is the core of the Trump administration itself, you know? Like what ICE is doing, that full-on embodiment of powerful fascism is very distinct from these white supremacists that it seems like you’re targeting more with Neckbeard Deathcamp.
KM: Yeah, it’s like what is that—the autocratic, institutionalized pursuit of authoritarianism that’s super fucking dangerous. You know?
CM: Exactly, and I think it is really important when we have these conversations to always be drawing that distinction between like, these factions of edgelords who can very easily sort of be dismantled and driven out of town versus the more insidious threats of the established powers that be that are also really awful right now.
You know, it’s a funny thing, ‘cause when Trump got elected, one of the stock phrases that kept getting thrown around on social media was like, “Well this is gonna be a really good time for punk rock, at least” and for the most part, I kind of have felt like that hasn’t really been true. What do you think about that, and how do you think going forward political art can try to more directly confront the times we’re living in?
KM: The important thing is to take what we’ve done, and to make more, you know? If one out of every 50 anti-fascist bands ends up being the spark, then we need 50,000 of them. I mean I’m sort of in full agreement with what you said in that like, “Oh, this’ll be a really good time for punk rock,” but I’ve just seen a lot of punk dudes end up being extremely fucking toothless. Like, so it’s still dangerous as fuck, but like, not in a way that’s productive? Like dangerous to be a trans person, like, “Ah yeah, super fucking dangerous, this show is so dangerous ‘cause you might get your fucking shit beat in an alleyway by some guy who thinks you’re flirting with them.” But like, yeah, I think it’s important to be more than just some spray paint stencil of a fucking Sex Pistols lyric. Looking towards making political art is fucking great, but like . . . more. More, fucking MORE, until it can’t be ignored. Turn it up, make it louder, make more of it, encourage your friends to make more of it. And when it’s fucking everywhere, you know?