Nuclear is just a crushing, wicked thrash metal band from Chile and after hearing the band’s newest release I knew an interview was in order and well here it is with guitar player Francisco Haussmann
How did the band end up forming in 2003 and did you go through many line-up changes over the years? Did any of the members come from other bands?
Three of us had a previous band called Escoria back in the 90s which disbanded in 2001. We re-started the project again in 2003 under the name Nuclear and it was pretty difficult at the beginning. We were living in different cities at that moment and the members we had first just did not fit in. They came from other disbanded bands or bands with no activity at all. After a few years we just realized we needed a change and found the vocalist we have until this day and a bass player that lasted for 8 years.
How many members are original members and what is the current line-up and tell me a bit about each member of the band?
We are 3 original members since the 90s - Sebastian, Punto and I. We are friends since 86-87 and started listening metal music by the same time, around 89. Current members are Matias Leonicio on Vocals, Roberto Barria on Bass Guitar, Punto Sudy on Drums, and Sebastian and I on guitars. By the time Matias joined Nuclear, he had another band called Bio-Terror, a thrash/crossover band. He likes a lot punk music and somehow brought that vibe to Nuclear. Roberto also had a band when he started playing with us, it was a more melodic project called Sacramento but he has been playing since the late 90s with a lot of bands. Punto, Sebastián and I practically grew up together and our musical tastes are similar - lot of thrash, death metal and also hardcore and punk music. As I mentioned above, we began playing metal music by the mid-90s when we were really young and have always being together.
Now from where the band is based out of, is there a good underground metal scene and have you got to see many underground metal shows over the years?
I’d say that the metal scene here still lacks of many important things such as labels, good promoters and venues, just to name a few. We do not have a real metal market in Chile as opposed to what many people may think watching DVDs recorded here. I think the underground metal scene always finds its way to keep going, to subsist, but we still need to comprehend how things are being done out there. Despite this, you always see new bands coming out, great musicians but it is really difficult for everyone. I have had the pleasure to see many great underground acts here and Chilean metalheads are really supportive with overseas acts. Sadly it is not always the same for local bands.
Tell me about your 1st release. How long had the band been together before you released it? Did it come out on a label or was it self-released? Is it still available today?
“Heaven Denied” came out in May 2006. We were together for 3 years when it was released. Actually that album was recorded one year before it got released but we couldn’t find a label back then and we did not have any money to put it out ourselves. At the end I think it was a good thing. A few months after the recording, Matias joined the band and we decided to change all the vocal lines. Koventry Records, a label from Chile but in charge of a Mexican guy got interested in our work and decided to finally release it in 2006. The album is currently out of stock but Candlelight is releasing a 3CD boxset with our back catalogue any time soon, so it’ll become available again somehow.
Tell me about your 2nd release. What was the title of it and who put that out and is it still for sale?
The title was “Ten Broken Codes” and it got released in 2008 by Koventry Records in Chile and Concreto Records in Mexico. With that release we were able to play in Mexico for the very first time so it kind of opened some doors for us. It is also out of stock but it is included in the back catalogue release for this year.
How about release # 3. Who put this out and is it still for sale?
“Jehovirus” was released in Chile by two labels: Australis Records and Sick Bangers Metal Label & Distro and in Mexico by Concreto Records. It was also distributed in Europe by Code7/Plastic Head. It is still for sale on CD and vinyl and it is included in the back catalogue release as well.
Tell me about this split vinyl that got released. Who was the other band and who put this out and is it still for sale?
The other band is our brothers from El Salvador, Conceived by Hate. Jorge Montesinos from CbH asked us if we were interested to do a 7” split vinyl and we instantly said yes. It was released by two labels, Sick Bangers in Chile and Morbid Skull Records in El Salvador. There are some copies still available.
How did you come up with the name of the band and were any other names thrown around?
FH:" It was around 2002 I think when I was studying Chemical Engineering and I was looking for a powerful concept to name the band. Nuclear seemed pretty good at that time and we stick with it. I don’t remember if there was another name around.
Do you think you are an original band and for someone who has never heard the band, what would you say the band sounds like?
We write and play honest music and I think that’s all it takes to be original. For those who have never heard of us, I would say the best word to describe our sound is “uncompromised”. We like to be as natural as possible – fast riffs, strong lyrics with an organic sound. We don’t like to over-protool our productions; we just like our albums to sound as close as we do when we play live.
Tell me about this live DVD that has been released. Who put this out and where was it recorded and what do you think of it these days?
It was recorded in our home town Arica, Chile and was released through Sick Bangers Metal Label & Distro last year. In that DVD you can also find two other bands from Chile, Lefutray and Conflicted. I still love it. It shows how intense metal shows can be in Chile. We had a great time doing it.
Tell me about the 2 live albums that you have released. Who put those out and are they still for sale?
They are just to download. Every now and then we like to put a live album available for everyone.
Now we go to release # 4. Who put that out and what are your thoughts on this release these days?
“Apatrida” EP was released in 2012 by Sick Bangers Metal Label & Distro. It is definitely a breaking point of our sound. At the beginning we wanted to do a more “local” album, but it finally ended up being a 5-track EP. We tried a different work methodology and luckily everything worked out great. It has a much more raw sound than the previous records but it sounds very good.
Tell me about the Europe tour you did with Hirax and Bonded By Blood. How were the crowds and this led to you signing with Candlelight Records. Do you think that is one thing that makes the band a strong band, your live show?
A. That tour was great. Besides of sharing stage with Hirax and Bonded By Blood, we had a change to meet two other great bands on the road: Methedras from Italy and Crescent from El Cairo, Egypt. It was definitely a breaking point, we did 21 dates in 21 days and we learned a lot from it. Crowds were intense most of the times so we enjoyed our time there. Regarding your question, I’d say our live shows are one of the best attributes we have. We always give 200% onstage regardless if there are 5 or 500 people there.
What are some of the places that you have played live at over the years?
We have toured a lot in Europe and we have been practically in every country there. We have not visited UK and Scandinavia, but we are working on that. In America, besides Chile, we have played in Argentina and México. We would love to tour everywhere but sometimes it is complicated. We are also working with our booking agency to go tour the States and the rest of America.
Your 5th and new release called “Formula For Anachy” came out a couple months ago on Candlelight Records. How did the recording go for this? I assume you’re happy with it as it is quite a crushing release?
Yes, we are really happy with the results. The recording, mixing and mastering sessions took place in Santiago since January this year until the end of February. Sebastian (guitar and also owner of Audiocustom Studio) lead the recording. His idea was to bring the rehearsal room to the speakers, to make a very honest and crude record and I think he did. For the first time we did not use a metronome, we just played as we were rehearsing. It turned out great.
How has the response been as I think it is a total crushing thrash release?
The response has been great. We have received a lot of feedback from everywhere. It is a very honest album, it is just we can play, no overproduction so we are really happy people dig it.
Do you still see thrash metal sticking around the underground scene?
Totally. Thrash metal started underground and has always stayed that way. I think it is not good to generalize because some bands decide to do more commercial stuff. Underground thrash is still dangerous, it has the real essence and I don’t see the genre becoming commercial anytime soon and when sometimes it does, it just stops being thrash metal in my opinion.
Please plug any merchandise or websites you have.
Please head over to www.nuclear.cl and you will find our merch links, communities and more.
Any last words, thanks for the interview.
Many thanks to you. To all the readers, if you like old thrash metal, be sure to check us out at www.nuclear.cl – from there you can access to our communities, watch some videos, buy stuff & more. If you like what you hear, let us know!
Interview by Chris Forbes