Neuronspoiler

It’s great to “discover” newcomers that have the talent and the will to go all the way. This time Neuronspoiler are based in the UK but the band consists of members that are coming from 4 different countries! Their appealing hard rock meets heavy metal meets 90s heavy-trash music grabbed our attention here on Grande Rock, so it’s with joy that I happened upon them. Moreover, they are an independent band and that makes their whole achievement even bigger. Tim Barclay, the drummer of the band, spoke to Grande Rock about the band, their new albums and their future plans…
Neuronspoiler band pic

Hi Tim… Since it is the first time we talk and Neuronspoiler is a newcomer, do give our readers the band’s basics…
 
T: Well, we’re a 5-piece band based in London. We’ve been together since 2009 and we’ve had two releases in that time: an EP entitled “No One’s Safe” in 2010, and an album called “Emergence” which came out last month.
 
 
Can we say that Neuronspoiler is the epitome of a multi-cultural metal band?
 
T: Yeah, I think that’s true. The five of us come from four different countries: England, Mexico, Honduras and Trinidad and Tobago. For various reasons, we all found ourselves in the same place at the same time and started making music together.
 
 
Although you were formed in 2009, you managed to release one EP “No One’s Safe” in 2010 and your “Emergence” debut now in 2013. You’re probably a hard working band that likes evolving, right?
 
T: There is certainly an evolution between “No One’s Safe” and “Emergence”. You can tell by the sound of the two records that we spent a lot more time thinking about production and composition on Emergence. Working with Will Maya, the producer, was a really good experience for us because he pushed us in our songwriting. If he though a chorus wasn’t strong enough, he made us re-write it until it was. (i.n.: That’s how a good producer should be like… and Will is a great one!)
 
 
What happened between the release of the EP and your debut full-length album?
 
T: In the time between the two releases, we’ve just been trying to raise our profile and get as many people to hear us as possible. We’ve played a lot of gigs – mostly in the UK but also in Poland – and tried to play to as many new people as possible. Of course we were also writing the songs that are now on “Emergence” too.
 
 
Were you in search of a label to work with all this time? How did you come up with the idea to go on your own?
 
T: We’ve thought about working with record labels and we’ve had a few meetings and offers, but so far none of the offers have suited us. In the end it just made more sense to do everything ourselves this time. We started a Pledgemusic campaign to help fund the recording by letting fans pre-order the album back in the summer. Then we were free to make all the decisions ourselves and make exactly the album we wanted.
 
 
I know that nowadays more and more bands are going their own way and that’s something I applaud. You do not need a “genius” to tell you if you’re good or not or to play by the rules. Whoever believes in themselves goes on and does things their way… isn’t it so?
 
T: That’s right. We were lucky to have a good producer who could give us some advice, but if we didn’t like what he said, we could always do what we wanted anyway!
 
 
What are the advantages & disadvantages of working on your own and funding the whole project by yourself? Were there times that you thought of quitting?
 
T: I think there are two big reasons why a band like us would want a record label. One is that labels act like a bank and lend you the money to make an album and then you pay them back from the album sales. But these days, recording is so much cheaper than it used to be: with the right know-how, it’s totally possible to make a professional album at home with your laptop. So recording isn’t the massive cost it used to be. And there are crowd funding sites like Kickstarter and Pledgemusic (which we used to fund “Emergence”) which can help you pay for an album without any need for a label.
 
The other thing a label gives is credibility. If you don’t have a label, you’re an “unsigned” band, and some people don’t take you as seriously. But I’m convinced this will change. As more and more bands release great albums without label backing, I think that stigma will go away.
 
We never thought about quitting. Although some things are more difficult when you do everything yourself, we pulled everything together alright. Also, the amazing support our fans gave us through the Pledgemusic campaign really helped us make everything work.
(i.n.: GR was always by the side of “unsigned” bands and we all are fond of indie releases… these days, many independent works are much more qualitative than the ones that are being released by the big labels…)
 
 
Another thing that’s remarkable is the excellent, crunchy-heavy production. How did it happen to work with Guillermo “Will” Maya (The Answer, Breed 77, Adrian Smith)? Are you happy with the result?
 
T: We’re very happy with the result! I love the final sound of it all. Erick Tekilla, our bassist, heard about Will through another band he knows. He first contacted him a few years ago, after “No One’s Safe” came out, to see if he’d like to work with us on our next project. At the time, I think he replied that he was too busy with other things. But when we started working on demos for this album last year, Erick sent some of them to him and this time he said he would really like to work with us.
 
 
Hence, your debut album is out as we speak. How do you feel about that? A time of anxiety and hard work is finished but tougher and more demanding times are coming… are you ready for that?
 
T: It’s felt like quite a long time coming, so it’s a great relief to get it out there. One of the other disadvantages of funding the record the way we did and working on a tight budget was that we couldn’t just book a studio for a month and get it all done; we had to record in bits and pieces, so it ended up taking a long time. But in the end that just means that we’re all even more proud that we’ve finally got it out. Now that it’s out, the focus is on trying to get as many people to hear it as possible!
 
 
How did you come up with the title “Emergence”? What does it declare?
 
T: “Emergence” is a scientific term for when a system is greater than the sum of its parts. For example, consciousness is an emergent property of all the neurons in the brain. A band is similar: there are five of us who can each have certain skills, but none of us alone could make the sound that the five of us can make together. So Neuronspoiler is an emergent property of the five of us working together.
 
 
I do like the futuristic cover artwork. Does it showcase how women/people will be in the future?
 
T: Thanks, the artwork was created by Mike Kevan, a really talented comic book artist in London who introduced himself to us at one of our gigs.
 
The idea of the artwork is to show the struggle between digital and analogue forms of music. In the background you can see a room full of identical people plugged into machines, with headphones on, being fed music. The woman at the front has broken free from all of that and has found a guitar. So she can now go and learn to play it and make her own music with it.
 
We don’t want a future where music is made entirely on computer with no real instruments involved, and then consumed entirely from computers or iPods with no performance. The woman in the cover is breaking out of that future and keeping real music making alive.

 
 
Will there be any metal music around in the distant future? I do like the idea of the android-lady that’s about to “break the rules”!
 
T: I think metal will be around for a long time! In the distant future, I’m pretty sure that woman will cause a metal revolution! (i.n.: Hell yeah! Heavy Metal forever!)
 
 
Do take us on a song by song “trip”…
 
T: “Digital Resistance”: Although this is the first track, it was the last one that we finished. This track ties in with the concept on the cover. It’s a slightly electronic sounding track, which represents the digital side of music. Then the rest of the album, is the analogue side.
 
“Through Hell We March”: This song is about encountering problems or setbacks and marching through them to become stronger than before. Specifically it’s about being told that the type of music you play is dead or worthless and going on and playing it anyway.
 
“Take the Stage”: Take the Stage is about playing live and feeling best when you’re on stage.
 
“Irreverent”: This is about breaking out of the standard 9-5 life that is generally expected of us.
 
“Invincible Man”: The lyrics to this are about feeling like a superhero: feeling invincible like you can take on anything.
 
“Act of Defiance”: Act of Defiance is like a coda for “Invincible Man”. It’s supposed to sound a like a sort of twisted metal fanfare, kind of like a superhero theme song.
 
“Exempt from Privilege”: This is about trying to recognize when you’re luckier than other people and trying to move towards a world where there isn’t so much distinction between classes or between rich and poor.
 
“Dying Worlds”: This song is a ballad about death. The two verses are about different types of death. The first verse is about the death of someone you love and admire. Our guitarist David del Cid heard that one of his best friends had been killed in an accident just before we started writing the lyrics for this song, so it’s mainly a tribute to him. The second verse is about the death of a movement. People often try to say heavy metal is dead or dying but as long as people are still making it and listening to it, it will never die.
 
“(Just a Fool) On Your Way Up”: This song is a tribute to all the arrogant people we’ve met as a band who think they’re much bigger and more important than they are.
 
“Never Back Down”: …is about not giving in to people who want to make life difficult for you and about realizing your own strength to overcome the obstacles people throw in your way.
 
 
Do you have in mind to release any video in the future? If yes, for which song and when?
 
T: We’re planning to make a video for “Through Hell We March”. We’ll be working out the details for that soon.
 
 
You have given various live shows since 2009. Do you enjoy to be on stage more or in the studio and why?
 
T: Being in the studio is hard because of the pressure to deliver and the knowledge that if you give a bad performance, that’s how the song will be remembered forever. But, the sense of achievement when it’s all done is great.
 
Being on stage is a much more immediate thrill. You can get the energy from the crowd and just enjoy playing the songs you love. That’s what all of us really thrive on. So I think we all enjoy being on stage more, but we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved in the studio.

 
 
What are the band’s next live plans?
 
T: We’re playing an official album launch gig in London in a couple of weeks and then a few more gigs in the UK in the next couple of months. After that we’re making plans to get involved in some of the summer festivals around Europe. We’re playing at the Hard Rock Hell Roadtrip in Ibiza in May and there should be a lot more coming soon.  
 
Neuronspoiler band pic
 
What are your expectations from “Emergence” and what are those things that you want to achieve with Neuronspoiler in the future?
 
T: We were really pleased with how well received “No One’s Safe” was back in 2010/2011. So with “Emergence”, we want to beat that. We want to show what a metal band with no record label backing can really do!
 
 
I see that you album is available on itunes & bandcamp… but are there any plans of releasing it as a CD for some old-school guys like myself?
 
T: Yes, the CDs are being manufactured right now. They should go on sale on the 16th February to coincide with the launch gig in London. (i.n.: The interview took place a week or so before the release date…)
 
 
What do you think for the “80s revival metal thing” that is happening during the last few years? How good is it that new bands are imitating the 80s era? I do not see how that can help metal music in general.
 
T: I think it’s great that people play whatever music they love, whether or not that style is new or in fashion. But the question of whether an 80s metal revival helps metal music in general is difficult to answer. I like a lot of the bands that play that style, but the question is whether there’s enough that’s new so that the genre can evolve and keep from stagnating.
 
In the 80s, the NWOBHM movement was really just bands reinterpreting the 70s metal style but there was enough innovation to evolve into a genre in its own right. And the same goes for the different waves of punk. So, I think the question is whether the current traditional metal bands are evolving enough from their influences to create a genre in its own right. Personally, I think so. At least the rise in popularity of 80s style bands has meant that a lot more modern-style bands seem to be rediscovering guitar solos and clean vocals, so that’s a good influence.
(i.n.: Yeap, that’s the good side of it… but I see more bands simply imitating and not tryin’ to evolve at all…)
 
 
Another thing that I fancy about Neuronspoiler is that you do not wanna be another newcomer that’s mimicking the 80s metal period but you have filtered the good elements from that era and presented them under your own contemporary viewpoint. Do you agree?
 
T: Exactly! We have a lot of traditional and 80s metal influences but we want to experiment and try new things too.
 
 
I’ve written: “…Neuronspoiler have the potential to go much further, only if they play their cards well from now on. The first step is pretty successful but that makes me anticipate more from them in the next years…”. What do you think of it?
 
T: We certainly won’t stop pushing forwards. “Emergence” is just the beginning!
 
 
What’s gonna be the future of music when the new generation are so used to itunes, Spotify, etc.? It takes so much time and money to make a song and then you see all these young guys listening to it through their ipods and with the crappy headphones! Some even think that mp3s have a good sound quality! What can be done so to change this sad situation?
 
T: It’s an interesting time for music and it’s so difficult to predict how it will turn out. We’ve had to come to terms with the fact that album sales don’t make much money nowadays because it’s so easy to share music. But that’s also an opportunity because it means people can hear music that they wouldn’t have heard otherwise. We’ve found our music being passed around to people who we never would have been able to promote to before.
 
Luckily, the cost of making music is coming down too, so at least you don’t have to spend millions any more to make something that people will just take for free. Certainly, sound quality is something people seem to care less about now, but I think as long as people are enjoying listening to music, everything’s OK.

 
 
It’s time for our weird questions!!! Why did you name the band Neuronspoiler?
 
T: Neuronspoiler has a sort of double meaning. At first glance it looks negative and suggests destroying your brain, maybe through drinking or headbanging or something. But then a lot of cultures have sayings about torturing your brain to think really hard. English has the saying “racking your brains” and I think Spanish has something similar which mean that you’re using your brain so much that you’re punishing it. So a Neuronspoiler could be something destructive or it could be something thoughtful and analytical.
 
 
How would you describe the band’s music style to someone that has never heard of you?
 
T: We play heavy metal with influences from the 80s brought crashing into the 21st century.
 
 
Which band could have been a great support act for Neurospoiler? (name any band from the big ones)
 
T: I think we’d be a great fit with Megadeth. I don’t think they’re likely to be supporting us any time soon though! (i.n.: Yeap, Dave is a bit crotchety hehe…)
 
 
Name 3 top metal releases from the 80s…
 
T: Iron Maiden – “Powerslave”
Metallica – “...And Justice for All”
Black Sabbath – “Heaven and Hell”

 
 
Now name 3 top metal releases from the 90s…
 
T: Pantera – “Cowboys from Hell”
Metallica – “The Black Album”
Judas Priest – “Painkiller”

 
 
Which is the musician/band that has influenced you the most during your first days in the metal world?
 
T: For me, it’s definitely Metallica. Between the ages of about 14 and 18 I listened to almost nothing but Metallica and would often just listen to “Master of Puppets” or “Justice for All” back to back four or five times a day. As a band, I think Megadeth and Dio are some of our biggest influences.
 
 
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
 
T: Cacophony – “Speed Metal Symphony”. If they had any thoughts of invading Earth, hopefully that album would trick them into thinking we’re so advanced that it isn’t worth it. (i.n.: Hehe I like that…)
 
 
Why is heavy metal music better than sex… if it is… cheeky
 
T: You can listen to metal privately on a long journey. If you tried something similar with sex you’d get kicked off the train. (i.n.: hahaha swell!!)
 
 
You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be?
 
T: Alicia Silverstone. She hasn’t been around much recently for some reason, but she was my schoolboy crush and she still is. (i.n.: Oh yes, I remember her from her “Aerosmith days”… damn hot!)
 
 
What do you think of Charlie’s quote: Beers, Pizza, Hookers? Which one is the most tasteful of all?
 
T: Pizza. I couldn’t live without pizza.
 
 
What are those 3 songs that anyone who hates metal music could hear on the radio and won’t even bother to re-tune?
 
T: Metallica – “One”. I think anyone who writes off metal as loud, shouty music with no melody and no brains should be forced to sit and listen to “One” until they realize how wrong they are.
 
Pantera – “Cemetary Gates”. Just a great mix of mellow-ness and heaviness.
 
Judas Priest – “Beyond the Realms of Death”. Beautiful and moving. Everyone should know and love that song.

 
 
Imagine that your wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react? J
 
T: Luckily my wife loves metal too, so I think I’m safe! (i.n.: Good for ya!!)
 
 
I think we’re done Tim. If there’s something you feel like saying, then now is the time to do it… Keep on rockin’ dude… Take care…
 
T: Thanks, it’s been a pleasure. I hope everyone enjoys the album!