Interview with Heavy Metal Masters NEURONSPOILER!

British heavy metal band NEURONSPOILER has been rocking the stage for almost a decade. Founding members JR Vox (lead vocals), Erick Tekilla (bass) and David del Cid (guitars) have forged their unique brand of steel fully decked out in leather and chains, the way heavy metal was meant to be played.

The band’s sound combines the sonic prowess of a classic twin guitar attack, pounding bass and drums with searing vocals. Their honest sound reminds listeners of the greatest bands of the 80s, but make no mistake, NEURONSPOILER is no copycat band, but a force to be reckoned with in their own right.

In a time when many fans are wondering when the next big heavy metal act will emerge to stand alongside the greats, NEURONSPOILER is a welcome reminder that there is a genuine talent to be found in the UK, the birthplace of heavy metal. Their new album, ‘Second Sight’ is out now!

Today we’d like to bring to your attention this interview with NEURONSPOILER! The following interview is taken exclusively for Rock Arena. Enjoy it!

♦INTERVIEW♦

Hello, Guys and welcome to Rock Arena! How did Neuronspoiler first come together, how everything started? What image do you think your music conveys?

NEURONSPOILER: Hi, thanks for having us. The band started in 2009 and retains the original trio of JR Vox on vocals, David del Cid on guitars and Erick Tekilla on bass. We had a few ideas knocking around but it was David who came up with the band name and although it is a bit awkward and unusual, it is an original concept and the band is the only thing that comes up in a Google search.

This willingness to create something new even if a bit unusual is really what we are all about. Our image must be original with a hint of science fiction; you won’t find any dudes with rippling muscles like on a romance novel cover or fantasy art clichés, or dragons or overused skulls or demons/devils. We in heavy metal have become a parody of ourselves, so Neuronspoiler tries to avoid this.

– The band is made up of five members; each from different countries, how did this union come about?

NEURONSPOILER: We are a British band but each had different beginnings and found a home here in London. In the UK, the metal scene has suffered a lot from instability and transient people coming in and out of bands. It was not an easy task putting together a line up as solid as we have now, and we had a few hiccups along the way. Thankfully, we are now in an era of progress with a solid and talented lineup.

– What were your previous musical projects in a matter of genres and direction? I’m just so curious to find the roots of all that great old school sound… What was the first concert you attended?

NEURONSPOILER: David and Erick were in another thrash project together, JR was a blues-rock singer apparently, Pierre is a big Steve Vai fan and Matt is a hard rock drummer. One of the earliest requirements for joining Neuronspoiler is that you had to be a fan of Tony Martin era Black Sabbath. Very specific and it tells you a lot about our influences. Of course, we love Ozzy and Dio era Sabbath, but Sabbath’s music evolved and lived on, just as heavy metal lives on. There is too much nostalgia tripping going on among heavy metal fans and we could all do with continuity rather than repetition.

– Your new album, “Second Sight” is out now, who is the producer, and how’s your work ethic in the studio?

NEURONSPOILER: The album was recorded in Poland and the approach was direct and spartan. We didn’t have a lot of time to record and the drummer we took out there was unable to record a single thing. He basically had a nervous breakdown, due to the circumstances in the recording studio.

He was well rehearsed before flying out there but basically froze due to the pressure and couldn’t record anything. With such limited time available to us we were unable to make it work and that drummer has disappeared from the face of the earth it seems, and we haven’t had any contact with him since. The band then had to arrange and produce the drum tracks recorded by Firewind and Marty Freidman drummer Johan Nunez remotely.

We guided him through the tracks ourselves and he produced a stellar result. This plus many other challenges while recording, as there always are, created a bonding effect within the band. We felt that our album will sound the way we want, the songs we prepared on the demos, came out exactly as they are in the final recordings without unnecessary changes.

David and JR wrote most of Second Sight and quite a large portion of Emergence, our previous album. Pierre stepped up and contributed a song on Second Sight but the main songwriting is shared between the singer and the main guitar player.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Can you tell us about your work with Dissonance Productions, what made you choose this label?

NEURONSPOILER: This is all down to ‘The Chief’ JR Vox. We had some very disappointing results from label shopping ourselves (and even with some help) for many years. We believe there is a bias against British bands on European labels, they always give preference to Euro bands playing Euro-style metal, not heavy metal.

That garbage sounds more like synth-pop than real metal. After many years of being proudly independent and giving up the idea of signing on to a label, JR managed to get us not one, but three solid label offers. We went with Dissonance on JR’s advice and got behind the vision of the label.

Dissonance is serious about investing in and promoting the next generation of British heavy metal bands and having Diamond Head and Grim Reaper on board as label mates add pedigree. We are very happy with our label and having seen our album in record shops we know that we could not match the label’s distribution network as an independent band.

– ‘Slay The Beast’ is an amazing song with a heavy sound, killer solos, and powerful vocals, who wrote that song?

NEURONSPOILER: JR had the main concept and vocals which provided the backbone on which David added flesh to the monster that would become Slay the Beast. JR’s idea for the chorus was quite unusual and it took them a few months to come up with a coherent demo based on the vocals.

In terms of the message of the songs, we are a band that hasn’t been blessed with a lot of industry support in our time and we’ve built our reputation and fan base pretty much on our own. Slay the Beast is about destroying restrictions and limitations placed on us by others. It’s about knowing and earning your rightful place not just through self-belief but by example, hard work, and sacrifice. It’s what we write because it’s what we live.

JR’s lyrics have a tongue in cheek message as a few people will think this song is just a Maiden clone. It is an homage to Maiden, and bands like them, but maybe not exactly in the way you think. These great bands, like Maiden, are our heroes and we very much strive to achieve even a fraction of what they have.

– JR, your voice is specific and sounds very powerful. Which singers were your role models and who influenced you most in your vocal style? What is the most important thing for you as a musician and performer?

JR Vox: In metal definitely Michael Kiske from Helloween, Zouille from French band Sortilege, the Metal God Rob Halford, Bruce Bruce, Ronnie Dio, and King Diamond but also outside of metal I’ve got unusual influences such as Jeff Buckley, tenor opera singers, and I’m also a big fan of bluesmen like Howling Wolf, Skip James, and Son House.

The most important thing is to entertain the audience regardless of what’s going on in my personal life. I’ve played live shows with a broken foot, horrible flu, non-existent monitors you name it, but I always find a way to deliver. That’s a Neuronspoiler thing, not just a JR Vox thing. This is heavy metal, it is larger than life and that’s what you get from us.

– Neuronspoiler and Seven Sisters feature on the new ‘British Steel’ album, tell us more about it?

NEURONSPOILER: British Steel is a compilation of up and coming British heavy metal bands. We know a lot of these bands and have shared a stage with some of them. It’s a fantastic introduction to some great talent. Seven Sisters is an excellent band. We find it very difficult to endorse a band we don’t like, in terms of music and personality.

We are friends and want to see them do well and, so we introduced them to our fans by having Seven Sisters open for us at our album launch in October. We are creating a new scene of heavy metal bands in the UK, we have been around for a long while and we will do everything we can to help younger bands.

– What do you think about downloading music online? Has the Internet helped spread the word about the band and its music?

NEURONSPOILER: It has in a way, but also remember that the public can get fatigued with so much noise on the Internet. It seems that the Internet is a place for the creators of content without them having to provide actual quality content. It’s pretty much just click-bait and window dressing while remaining very hollow and meaningless inside.

Remember that bands that have worked their asses off for almost a decade as we have will occupy the same virtual space as an average bedroom player jamming away on YouTube. If they have a gimmick of being silly or covering songs people already know he will get the views, and then be promptly forgotten.

I’ve seen Brian Slagel from Metal Blade saying that digital music for metal will soon earn the same as what being earned in pop and hip-hop/rap music. Sorry, Brian if you’re comparing heavy metal to pop as a business model then maybe you don’t know the same metal fans that we do.

Metal fans looking for the alternative to pop music because they are discerning and love their music for life. Pop fans are passive listeners and will enjoy pretty much whatever nonsense is paid for on the radio. Pop and hip-hop acts are disposable assets of producers and the record companies. Brian should be investing in new talent that fans want to hear not the same old boring, drop-tuned growlers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– What has been your most memorable touring experience so far, and which bands would you like to play with on the same stage?

NEURONSPOILER: We’ve toured the UK with Tim Ripper Owens this year and a few years ago toured the UK with Jeff Scott Soto. We have had a lot of memorable experiences, some of which we can repeat in public. Most memorable are the 4am escapades, living on the fringe of society, having your body clock turned upside down and really enjoying the road life.

We would love to tour with Accept, and of course any one of the major bands, but as our guitar player points out, even bands like Stratovarius struggled for years playing to smaller audiences, so we are still paying our dues in that sense.

– When you’re traveling together as a band and friends, what music do you listen to in the car?

NEURONSPOILER: Definitely not the radio. We mostly listen to metal but we are fans of music in general so we tend to diversify the playlist with some Kansas for example, we also listen to other heavy metal bands on the scene and naturally rip them to shreds…ha ha not really, only the crap ones.

– What more should we expect from the band, and where can everyone get your music?

NEURONSPOILER: Neuronspoiler will become a full-time, pro-touring band hopefully soon. We fully intend to do this as it is our life’s calling. We would be doing music even if we as individuals were not in Neuronspoiler, so we are privileged to be in a fully functioning, successful band that music fans care about.

Our next album will not take another four years, we owe it to our fans to keep the intensity and momentum going. Our music is on the usual online channels Spotify, YouTube, Amazon, iTunes and we are also in shops such as HMV and you can order online from our distributors Plastic Head.

Second Sight will be released in the USA sometime in early 2018, and we are really looking forward to that. American heavy metal fans don’t suffer any knuckle-dragging non-sense, you must be interesting and dynamic, and US fans have always responded well to our music for which we are very grateful.

– Thanks for taking the time out to do this interview! Your message to all the Rock & Metalheads around the globe…?

NEURONSPOILER: Stop listening to humpty-dumpty, so-called “true” heavy metal, expect more from heavy metal bands and we will raise the standards once again to a great level of excellence!

 

More information at:
www.facebook.com/Neuronspoiler/

Interviewed by Toni Rock