Exclusive Interview: Neker talk writing and recording!
A week after our first conversation, this second exclusive interview with Italian Sludge Metal act Neker sees us move from the topic of their sophomore album “Slower” to a boiled down behind the scenes look at their writing and recording process and what goes into creating big riffs in the style of NOLA…
What did you learn from the studio time for 2017’s “Louder” helped with the recording of “Slower“? “I learnt a lot from the LOUDER studio’s experience even though it wasn’t a full experience because the album was recorded in our practice room by our dear friend Samuele Ballerini and then mixed in Studio 73 in Ravenna. I think every experience makes you evolve as an artist so when I started to record my last album SLOWER I had a much clearer idea of what I wanted than before. This time I’ve worked in a real recording studio or better in two recording studios since the first takes with a respectable sound engineer and producer, Riccardo Pasini”
How does the writing process of a new NEKER track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? “I usually write few riffs when I’m alone at home and when I find a good one , I try to match a chorus or a verse (depending on the type of riff) in the best way I can. Then, I leave the work to Ale and Dani, generally we arrange the song together. Once the instrumental part is done, I start to work to the vocal line, metrics, melody etc and at last I match a lyrics to the vocal line. What I never do is start to write a song from the lyrics because I think Music is the most honest language compared to words that can hide very nefarious messages“
You worked with Riccardo Pasini (Ephel Duel, Sentence, BeerBog) in the production chair for “Slower“; how did you come to choose to work with him and what was it like having his outside ear on your compositions? “I chose to record and make the production with Riccardo Pasini because I already knew him and his amazing works. From the passed experience with LOUDER there was a good feeling with Paso because as already mentioned I had a much clearer idea of what I wanted and he was very good at understanding my needs. We had all the time for sound experiments, good italian food and laugh. Who has never been in a studio to record an album can’t understand the importance of the relation with a person that puts you at ease and with whom you can easily work for 8 hours and then can’t wait to go back the day after”
The bass sound on the album is HUGE and there are times when the bass is almost a second guitar on the record! Do you think that other bands don’t make enough of the instrument? “Thank you so much. The sound of the bass was a fundamental point in the production of the record. Paso and I took a whole day in studio just to try some different reamp for the bass track and this is the result. I have always worked to the bass sound in order to manage filling the bass frequency as best I can and giving an harmonic support at the same time to the guitar. As far as the other metal bands concerned I think that the bass is never the instrument bands make some experimentation or, at least, not as much as they do with the guitar. I think we have to many cliches in a gendre born to destroy it them”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “Thanks, I love to answer to this kind of questions I’ll try to be concise. As far as the bass is concerned, I split the signal into two different amps such as: Orange AD200 with his full stack a 1×15 + 4X10 and a Fender Superbassman 300 on a Marshall DBS 4X12. I put the duality fuzz by Darkglass Electronics on the Orange and I use a Boss OD3 to saturate the distortion of the Fender. I also use the Harmonic Booster by Drakglass Electronics on both amps. As for the guitar rig Ale also uses to runs to two different amps: an Orange Thunderverb 50 and a EVH 5150 50W. In this case we use two amps as to complement each other and to create a stereophonic sound. For example , the result is pretty cool with the boss digital delay”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “Denying that the difference would be in terms of money and visibility, would be hypocrite. However, I confess the thing I’d like the most of an endorsment is the opportunity to develop my ideas and create a custom gear for NEKER. So dear: Orange, Fender, Matamp, Verellen, Hilbish, I’m here full of bad ideas for you!”
“Slower” by Neker is out now via Time To Kill Records.