Dutch jazz-grinding duo DEAD NEANDERTHALS have been mincing music for quite a while now. Their new album POLARIS will be released via Utech records on March 23rd.
Otto (sax) and René (drums) agreed to answer some questions for this blog. Thanks a lot!

Photo by Thijmen Sietsma

Hey guys, congratulations on the new album Polaris. You really accomplish to surprise your audience with every new output you release!
Hi Chris, thanks so much man! Good to hear you like it and nice that we can keep people on their toes with our releases.

The first thing that struck me is that you resigned from the multilayered saxophone sounds and got back to basics: just one saxophone and drums.
That's right. We listen to a bunch of different stuff and it all inspires us: Grindcore, Noise, Drone, Jazz. In this case, the latter probably got more dominant. But hey, we're still Dead Neanderthals even in a more stripped-down version. POLARIS is no easy listening, it's more like acoustic noise. A nice little experiment we would say!

Instead of a baritone sax you used a tenor sax on Polaris. Any special reasons for that?
(Otto) Because I bought one! I was playing around with the idea of doing something on tenor sax because it's really quite a different thing (to us saxophone players at least) and that might be fun, not even specifically for Dead Neanderthals or anything, just noodling around. And then when we thought about doing this more acoustic stuff it was kind of an obvious choice for us. It really fits. I don't think it would have been as nice if I'd done this on baritone sax.

How do you guys write your songs? How important is the freedom of improvising when recording?
That can be quite varied! The first album was almost completely improvised, while The V-Shaped Position, The Saw EP and Jazzhammer/Stormannsgalskap were much more structured and composed. There was still some room for improvisation, especially when we are playing shows. The new album POLARIS is almost completely improvised.

What's first? Songtitles you compose a song to or do you name the song when you finished composing? And what the hell is "Neck-AIDS"?
(Rene) Yeah, Otto, what the fuck IS Neck-AIDS?? :)
(Otto) It's a very serious affliction. Nothing to laugh about. For personal reasons I don't want to talk about this any further.

On your blog you offer two different technical riders.
We can offer venues two really different sets now. The 'hard set' is our Jazzhammer/Stormannsgalskap set involving a big-ass baritone sax, a big-ass amp and many bright lights. The 'jazz set' is our improvisation set which is more fitting to the POLARIS album. We will use no amp and a tenor sax. Also less lights are involved. It will be less harsh, but not less intense! It's cool we can offer venues and festivals both sides of the band, they can just pick whatever they like the most. We always had one set, so we're also really curious how this will turn out. It will probably keep things fresh for us.

You have played with a lot of different bands and musicians, you played with grind-bands as well as singer/songwriters. What are your experiences concerning acceptance by your audience? Have you ever been worried or even afraid of what might happen once you'd start playing?
Hehe, only a couple of times when we started doing live shows. In the end people seem to like us most of the time. Sometimes because they really like our sound and sometimes because they never heard something like it before. Whatever the reason, we never got boo-ed off the stage, which is good. So we're not so worried anymore. It's cool to play with a lot of different bands: You don't only play for different crowds, but also for crowds of different sizes, which is great.

What are your plans for Dead Neanderthals?
For now we'll keep on writing and recording the music we like to play. Actually, we already completed 2 (!!) new full length albums, which we are hopefully releasing later this year. One was a collaboration with British saxophone player Colin Webster and the other a collaboration with Dutch drone/noise artist Machinefabriek. For the rest: we're busy with a lot of shows at the moment. Hopefully we can confirm all of them. A lot with cool artists or in great venues. We definitely hope to play more shows abroad. If you want to book us, get in touch!

Thanks again for answering my questions! I hope you can make your way over to Germany some time soon. It's not that far, anyway.

For more informations on Dead Neanderthals visit their blog: