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The Nukem Interview!

About a year ago, I was blown away by a band with such thrash veracity and a Pantera like passion. The latter is not only because Steve Brogden (Vocals/Guitars) plays Dean guitars and totally looks like “Dime Bag’s” brother on stage, but also that every note played by the band screams the conviction of heavy metal.

With an E.P. out, a new record on the rise and a new video for said CD, NUKEM is coming your way and they will not stop till mounting bodies hit the floor. When I first saw NUKEM, they opened for Green Death here in Las Vegas. I was taking as many pictures as I could of both bands. After the show, Steve hands me their E.P. and a couple of guitar pics. He thanked me for taking the photos and that disc stayed in the CD player until those songs were burned in my memory.

I had the opportunity to ask a few questions to the masters of mayhem behind the music, so without boring you with fanboy stories, let’s hear from Steve Brogden (guitars/vocals) Don Lauder (bass) and Norn Leggio (drums).

HMS: Thanks for taking time out for us. Please tell us about the new record Unholy Trinity, available now! Why did you title it as such and how was it laying down a full L.P?

Steve Brogdeno: No problem man!! Happy to do it. Yes! It's finally here. Friday September 16th. "The Unholy Trinity" was released via Sleaszy Rider Records from Greece. For now it will be on Digipack CD format as well as every major digital download platform such as iTunes and Amazon. We should have the vinyl copies out by the end of the year as well. The title comes from the first three nukes that the US built. The test that they dropped in the desert was called "Trinity" then they dropped "Fat Man" and "Little Boy" and the rest is history. It was awesome laying this album down! We did it at a studio in San Diego called Back To Bassics. Rad little place with an amazing crew. Everything went super smooth and came out very natural. We then farmed out the mixing and mastering to Ulrich Wild in LA. He knew exactly how we wanted to sound and knocked it out of the park. We wanted modern production with an old school organic sound. Nothing was quantized to snap to the pro tools grid. Just three guys bangin’ out thrash metal.

HMS: The sound in the new video is rich and reminds me a lot of “Kill ‘Em All”. It’s raw, brutal and I can totally danse macabre to it. How long did it take to shoot?

SB: It's funny you say that. A San Diego film maker named Rich Varvell produced it. He was an awesome guy to work with and has an amazing eye for quality shots. We filmed the story line in 2 days and the music side on the 3rd day. We couldn't have been happier with the way it came out and we plan on doing another with Rich.

Don Lauder: My best friend Chris Cabello started me on my path. His dad gave me my first bass. My main influences are DD Verni, Cliff Burton, Jason Newsted, Frank Bello, David Ellefson and many more but those are first.

HMS: I have been reading pretty much all the FB posts on your shows. I was stoked to hear about the VoiVod and Death Angel gigs. They are two of my top ten bands I grew up with. How did you guys land yourselves on that bill?

SB: They both happened to have been booked at my favorite club in San Deigo. Brick By Brick! Best staff in town and they are getting an insane amount of badass metal shows. Luckily they seem to like us \m/ thanks guys!!!! Our Album Release show was there on Friday September 16th as well.

HMS: As far back as you guys can remember, who were your main influences and who is that band or person that wanted to make you pick up your instrument?

SB: Zakk Wylde; I grew up in the church of Ozzy. My older brothers got me into him alongside Black Sabbath, Megadeth, White Zombie to name a few. Zakk has been my guy since day one. Ok: Dime and Zakk.

HMS: For each of you, what is your favorite song off your new record and what meaning does it have for you?

SB: I'm going to go with the obvious. "Evelyn's Awkening" our video track; that song was a benchmark for me personally. This is the first band I've ever fronted and had to write lyrics for. It's just the one that I'm most proud of musically, lyrically and vocally I think it's our stand out performance. It's also the last song we wrote for the record so I'd like to keep to that form on album 2.

DL: I think my favorite is “Lethal Injection” and I think just because of how brutal it is. It's just a machine of song.

HMS: The one I like is “The Deceiver”. It’s so old school thrash like something off Death Angel’s Frolic Through the Park. I dig the bass lines and the riff tangent before the solo.

How long has NUKEM been active? How has the fan base grown since then?

SB: We started the riffing in the summer of 2012 and it's been a steady climb ever since. We have gained an amazing following so far but I feel like this new record is going to catapult the movement even more.

HMS: Sadly it’s been about a year without a live Nukem fix for me, but in your hometown with all the Nukem junkies, what tunes get the most crowd responses?

ST: Your favorite actually! The Deceiver is a song that people just can't help but bang their head to!!!

HMS: Tell us about your rigs, gear, effects and why you chose said equipment.

SB: I play Dean flying Vs; they just feel right to me. I tried other brands with Vs before I got my 1st Dean and they all sucked in comparison. I usually like to run 2 Peavey 6505+ heads and cabs as well. InTune Guitar Picks and DR Strings. Not many effects; usually just an MXR eq for solo boosts and an MXR Carbon Copy Delay. But the most important part of the entire rig, a simple Boss TU-2 stomp box Tuner. Never leave home without that one kids!!!

“We wanted modern production with an old school organic sound.”

DL: I'm signed with Spector Bass and I choose them because they're basses are just really excellent and have been my favorite to play. I also use Darkglass Electronics to shape the tone coming out of my bass and I shove that massive tone through my Mesa Boogie amp/cab and that just lays waste to everything in the area.

HMS: Any tour plans to support the Unholy Trinity record?

SB: We would very much like to tour on this record. For us, it has to make sense though. We aren't able to get in the van and eat shit for 2 months like a lot of those other road warriors do. We will see you out there though. I promise.

HMS: What would be the dream tour for NUKEM?

SB: Nukem and Overkill!!!!

HMS: When you’re in between gigs, what do you do to relax?

SB: Riffing; always searching for the next song. Some days you stumble upon something rad and other days you find nothing but crap! Haha!

DL: When I do get the chance to relax, I just grab a beer and veg in front of the TV. I've recently taken up disc golf and that's pretty awesome. So it’s more of a mental relaxation rather than a physical one.

HMS: One of the questions I like to ask; what is your beer of choice? It gives me something to try aside from my go-to-Guinness.

SB: No beer for me!!! I'm a Crown and Coke man myself. Crown needs to start endorsing bands. That would be great!

DL: I have a handful of beers but I've been diggin' Iron Maiden's Trooper. I also drink scotch whiskey and for that I go with Glenlevit 18. Great stuff! Hibiki Japanese Whiskey is also excellent but pricey.

HMS: Going back to the music, I am really into the new record. Not only is the recording beefier from the E.P., the energy is more angry; but can you guys tell us what your individual head space was during the writing process to bring this intense rock ‘n roll venture?

SB: I personally just wanted to up the game from what I've worked on in the past. It's not so much a competition with "Kill Em All" or "Killing Is My Business", it's more about being better than I was last time. And that will most certainly be the case for our next record as well.

DL: For my bass lines, I consider myself to be the translator between the guitars and drums so I let Steve and Norm write their parts first and then I listen to see where I fit in and what is it that the song needs from me. What's missing and not missing for what they've created.

HMS: Just a couple more things and I’ll be off; any words of encouragement to the young readers out there looking for a niche?

SB: I think Phil Anselmo said it best. Just rip off all of your favorite bands until you start to develop your own sound. I think Nukem has really locked into our own sound. It's nothing new, but it's very distinctively Nukem!

DL: Don't try to do it, just do it. Allow it.

HMS: Lastly, I just want to thank you all again for taking time out of your day to give us some insight on the new tunes. I’m sure you’d rather have a pie fight with glass filling.

SB: No! Thank you for having us! It was awesome to meet you guys last year and we hope to see you all soon! Nukem All!!!

Tim Duran, HMS

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