Exclusive Interview: Neon Empire talk “Distorted Reality”, “Wrath” and evolution!
Our first Exclusive Interview of 2021 sees us talk to Dublin Ireland Electro Metalcore quartet Neon Empire. Not only did they drop an EP in “Distorted Reality” in the year of the Great Plague but the also followed it up with a single in “Wrath” which not only continues the flow but finds the band very much in their element. So we asked them a few questions about what goes on in their World and they spilled their guts. Lets face it, who wouldn’t sell their own Grandmother to go to a gig right now?!
Neon Empire started out as a solo project for clean-vocalist Hassan Ali; what was behind the evolution into a full band? “As a Solo Project, Neon Empire gave Hassan the chance to really let loose musically. As we’ve added more members, it’s important to us that the band remains a breeding ground for creativity. Each member brought a unique set of inspiration to the table, and we encourage each other to think outside the box. We want to make the best music possible, and having a band full of talented musicians allows us to do that“
You have the rarest of things in Metal in drummer Veronika Švecová; how influential has having her in the band been musically and are her skills the reason for an absence of programmed drums on the record? “Veronika is a powerhouse drummer. Anyone that’s seen her play live can tell you that. Her playing immediately grabs your attention, and beats you into submission. This style of play obviously elevates our heavier sections to brutal new heights, but it’s her versatility that rounds out our sound. We’re more than happy to perform with backing tracks, so if it were right for the song, we’d definitely include programmed drums. But honestly, we’ve never found a case where an acoustic kit hasn’t Veronika to nail the vibe that we’re trying to achieve“
What’s in a genre tag? In some ways, useful, in other ways, not so. You describe yourself as an Electronic Metalcore band but as “Distorted Reality” proves, there is so much more to your sound than just that! Who would you consider to be the main influences on the band and how did you come about settling on the sound that you have? “By adopting the Electro-Metalcore tag, we want to pay homage to the heroes that came before us. We’re massive fans of Metalcore giants like Bullet for my Valentine, Architects & While She Sleeps, as well as the Electro Metal Pioneers like Crossfaith and Attack Attack! That being said, we’ve never seen that tag as a constraint to the song writing process. We may be standing on the shoulders of giants, but we’re here to elevate to genre to even greater heights. I think that’s the most exciting thing about Neon Empire, there is no specific sound that we’re sticking to. We’ll keep pushing the envelope”
How much time do you spend finding the balance and what fits best vocally with the clean Vs unclean styles? “Having multiple members sharing the same elements of the song has been a very interesting process. Things aren’t as clear cut as the differentiation between Drums and Guitars. But we’ve treated it as an opportunity to deliver unique musical experiences. Thanks to John and Hassan, we have an extraordinary number of Vocal Tools in our Tool belt, especially as we’ve heard them deviate from their expected roles within the band. With Hassan’s screams that you hear on “The Fallen”, and John’s development of his own distinct clean vocal timbre on “Wrath”, we have the opportunity to keep the listener guessing on every track.“
What was it like working with Josh Sid Robinson who mixed and mastered the record? How did you find him and what was his influence? “Without JSR Studios, there is no Neon Empire. Josh ticks every box for us. Naturally, his technical knowledge delivers the perfect sound to give our songs power and depth. But it’s his creativity and playful spirit in the studio that helps us deliver memorable music every time. He’s an asset to the scene, and we’re honoured to have gotten the chance to work with him. We would encourage other bands NOT to work with Josh, because we want him all to ourselves“
Since releasing “Distorted Reality” you’ve dropped another single in “Wrath“, so what does the future hold? Are you working on a full length to follow the EP and are you itching to get back to the stage? “With Wrath, we really enjoyed putting all of our focus into delivering a succinct musical experience. We love writing awesome songs, and collaborating with talented people to create visual accompaniments to those songs, so for the immediate future, we’re planning on sticking to Singles. We would KILL to get back into gigs. We love playing live, and armed with the new material that we’ve been working on in quarantine, we’re ready to take the Dublin Metal scene by storm, before conquering the world“