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One Minute Silence Biography

Last updated: 10/23/2002 11:14:01 PM

He claims he's nervous and doesn't have much to say, but One Minute Silence vocalist Barry is actually one of the most talkative chaps you'll ever meet. And whether it's fearless braggadocio or innocent exuberance, he's quite bold in discussing what he thinks his band brings to the table. "People are gonna look back in twenty years and say we were the best live band they've ever seen," he says. "We're definitely heavyweight contenders and we're gonna be holding the belt pretty soon."

Fighting words? Not quite. But Barry makes no bones about being proud of his band, and justifiably so. One Minute Silence's Big Cat/V2 debut, Available In All Colours, is a relentlessly heavy-and aggressively tuneful-onslaught of gargantuan metalloid riffs and hypnotic hip-hop rhythms, with Barry's declaratory vocals darting through the wall of sound like a young Muhammed Ali dancing around the ring. The references to bands like Rage Against The Machine and Limp Bizkit are clear, but the approach is fresh, filtered through the vision of four young men from the UK giving their take on society's ills through provocative titles like "Pig Until Proven Cop" and "Stuck Between A Rock And A White Face."

"I write a lot about racism-from both sides," says Barry. "I was born in Ireland and grew up in England, so I know a lot about prejudice. I'm extremely anti-racist-but I'm also not afraid to write about something like black racism against whites, either. Racism has nothing to do with color, but everything to do with attitude."

The always sensitive Irish-English relationship was perhaps the one cloud over Barry's admittedly "great" childhood, as he grew up in a family of traditional Irish musicians in the small southern county of Tipperary. He moved to England eleven years ago with a band-as the drummer. "I love the drums, but I always wanted to be out front, shouting my head off," he admits. Soon enough, Barry got his chance when he met guitarist Chris Ignatiou through a mutual friend and launched a musical partnership that resulted in a band called Near Death Experience.

As the lineup solidified over the last three years, with the addition of bassist Glenn Diani and drummer Eddie Stratton, Near Death Experience began their conquest of both the London club circuit and the fickle UK press. The final component clicked into place when, on the verge of signing their deal with Big Cat, the band underwent a long-anticipated name change to avoid confusion with two other Near Death Experiences, one American and one French. "When somebody dies, a politician or celebrity or whatever, there's always a 'one minute silence' in England and Ireland," says Barry. "Basically, the entire nation shuts up for one minute. We kind of twisted it around to mean that with us, you basically get one minute of silence, and then the rest is full-on noise."

That glorious noise was captured on tape over the course of four weeks in Liverpool and four weeks in New Jersey, as Available In All Colours took shape with American hip-hop and dance producer Machine. "A lot of American bands were working with British producers, so we decided to go the opposite way," chuckles Barry. "Machine has primarily worked with hip-hop bands, which was great because we didn't want to sound like every other metal band out there. We said, 'let's just go for somebody who's new and fresh.' But there's no way we can get our live energy onto an album. It's a brilliant album and there's thirteen blinding songs on it, but I don't think God himself could come down and capture our live show."

As his thoughts turn back to the band's live show, Barry's absolute confidence in One Minute Silence comes blazing through. "I don't think we're absolutely the heaviest band in the world, like Sepultura or something, but people have seen us and said, 'my God, that's the heaviest gig I've ever seen!' There's just so much energy that it's overwhelming. It's like a storm that comes off the stage.

"Our bass player, as far as I'm concerned, is the best entertainer in the world right now. A lot of lead singers have a problem with someone else in the band taking the spotlight, but he takes the spotlight away from me all the time. He's just sheer energy from the second the show starts to the second it ends."

Having already blown away audiences all over England, as well as having their mettle tested on a six-week European trek with Clawfinger, One Minute Silence is ready to prove themselves on the other side of the pond. "America is definitely dominating the genre we're in at the moment," says Barry. "The bands that do rise to the top in America have to be damn good, because there's so much competition over there. Rage, Pantera, Machine Head, Korn...they're all absolutely brilliant. We're influenced by all those bands, but we interpret the sounds our own way.

"I think we have our own identity, but since we are in a particular genre, people are gonna say we sound like this and sound like that," concludes Ireland's newest-and hardest-export. "That's fine by me. I wouldn't have started a hardcore rap/metal band if I was listening to blues all the time. This is music I love."