Neuronspoiler are currently getting ready to release their new single Take The Stage on March 8. We took the opportunity to speak with drummer Tim and review the single – check it out below.
Could you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
I’m Tim Barclay and I play drums in Neuronspoiler. We’re a heavy metal band and I guess the best way to sum up what we do is that we try to make music that appeals to classic metal fans but without it sounding like it’s been done before. We make proper heavy metal with high-pitched singing, catchy riffs and guitar solos but we’re trying to do all of that in a fresh way without sounding like a nostalgia band. That’s the idea anyway.
So 2014 is fully underway now – what’s in store for this year when it comes to Neuronspoiler?
We’ve got our sights set on recording a new album sometime later this year. So far we’ve got about half a dozen songs in the works and we’re making plans to work with Will Maya (The Answer, Adrian Smith, Breed 77) again. We really enjoyed working with him on Emergence so there was no question about whether we wanted to work with him on the next album.
What went well about last year?
We released Emergence, our first full length album, in February last year and we were amazed by the reaction it got. We’ve got pretty much entirely positive reviews, and in fact a lot of them really picked up on the thing I said earlier about doing traditional metal in a fresh way. I remember one reviewer saying that listening to it reminded them of when they were 8 and first discovering bands like Kiss, Maiden and Metallica because it reminded him how much fun music could be. Hearing people say things like that about the album was pretty amazing.
And what perhaps didn’t go to plan?
We had a few setbacks last year, mostly from the business side of things. Our management situation wasn’t brilliant and we had some setbacks that stopped us playing some gigs we were hoping to do abroad. But overall it was a good year because of the reaction we got to the album.
You’re currently gearing up to release your brand new single Take The Stage – what’s the story behind the song?
Take the Stage was actually the last song to be written for the album. We were originally planning on using a different song called Dissolution but we just couldn’t get it to work musically. I’m not sure why but it just wasn’t coming together as well as the other songs had so we decided to scrap it and come up with something else. Then Dave Shirman (guitars) came in with this new track that he’d been working on and we all thought it was perfect. JR (vocals) wrote the lyrics and vocal parts a handful of days before we went into the studio. I think it was the only song on the album that we hadn’t ever played live at a gig before recording it.
Musically I feel like it has a really cool energy that’s both heavy and kind of quirky and fun. It has some of favourite guitar harmonies and solos on the album too, and some drum parts I’m quite proud of. Lyrically it’s about feeling that you’re most at home on stage and living for that feeling of performing.
Take The Stage is taken from your latest album Emergence – what was the writing and recording process like for the album?
Recording Emergence was a great experience because we got to approach things in a much more serious and professional way than we had previously. Part of that came from working with Will Maya (producer) who had a lot more input than any producers we’d worked with in the past; he worked closely with us on pre-production and wasn’t afraid to tell us when he thought a chorus wasn’t big enough or we were repeating a part to many times. So it was an interesting experience having those outside ears giving us input on the songs.
Having said all that, we did record the whole thing on a ridiculously tiny budget so there were a lot of annoying compromises we had to make. We recorded at loads of different places just to try and find places we could afford. I think we used a total of five different studios just so we could fit in around other bookings and get cheap rates. Actually even that makes it sound more professional than it was: a lot of the guitars and bass were recorded in Will’s bedroom on a laptop. Listening to the finished album I’m always impressed by how cohesive he got the whole thing to sound when the recording of it was so fractured.
Were there any tracks that were more of a challenge to complete than others?
We had a few little dramas. There was one part in Through Hell We March where I stormed out like a little girl because I kept getting one part wrong even though I was sure I knew it. It turned out that we’d recorded the guide track wrong with one extra beat of rest somewhere which was why it seemed so weird. Still, it took a certain amount of sulky stick throwing before we figured that out.
How would you describe your live show to someone who hasn’t seen you yet?
I think our live show is what we’re all about. We try and make every gig explosive and frenetic and we definitely don’t stand still (well, I sit still but I can’t do much about that). David del Cid (guitars) and Erick Tekilla (bass) are mad men on stage. I’ve seen David jump, do a 360 in the air, and practically land in a splits all while playing a riff at 100 miles an hour. He’s not afraid to jump into the crowd or just throw himself around, so when you come to a Neuronspoiler show you never know quite what you’re going to see.
What would you say the best show you’ve played has been?
Definitely a contender for best show was the gig we played in January this year. We were asked to play at the Scala in London for the Great Orchestra of Christmas which is a massive Polish charity that raises money for children’s hospitals by holding these huge annual events all over Poland and in other cities around the world. It was a really amazing event and totally unlike any other gig we’ve played. I think the other bands were a Hare Krishna group, a rock ‘n’ roll band, a sort of funk metal band and a ska band so it certainly wasn’t our normal crowd. Normally gigs with mixed line-ups like that are a disaster but everyone was so excited and just really got into all of it. It was one of the most enthusiastic crowds we’ve ever played to and the whole event was just a lot of fun.
Any interesting gig stories?
I’ve definitely got plenty of bad gig stories. We’ve played some great venues, but we’ve also played some terrible places and played to almost nobody. A couple of years ago we played a gig at this small club in east London in the middle of nowhere and I think the only people watching were the other band and the barstaff. I’d got a curry from a street food market for lunch that day. About two songs from the end of the gig I started to feel kind of weird. Then as soon as we played the last note I had to run off stage and I just started being epically sick. None of us had driven to the gig either so we had to carry all our gear home with us on night buses.
If you could collaborate with another band or musician, who would it be?
I know it’s pretentious but I would really love to do something like Metallica’s S&M where we play with an orchestra. Apart from that I think the band I’d most like to collaborate with would be Judas Priest. They pioneered so many of the things that are the definition of heavy metal now that the genre would just be totally different without them. I definitely think they’re one of our biggest musical influences so it would be amazing to work with them.
And if you could get another band to cover one of your songs, who would it be and what song?
It would be amazing to hear a version of a song in a different genre, like for example Richard Cheese does lounge jazz versions of rock and metal songs. Metallica were always my favourite band though so I’d love to hear them cover do a Garage Inc-type cover of one of ours. I think they could do a really interesting version of Invincible Man.
And finally – if Neuronspoiler could put their name to any product, what would it be?
We’ve been asking ourselves the same question because we’re trying to get some new merchandise out, so we’re definitely open to suggestions! We’re all quite into sci-fi and computers so maybe a Neuronspoiler video game? Nothing too fancy though: maybe a pixely Megaman-type platform game but with guitars and drumsticks.
Take The Stage Review
Take The Stage is the latest single from Neuronspoiler. Taken from their album Emergence, it plays on the band’s strengths and comes across as one of those tracks that was made to be played live – ironic, given that it was added to the album before it had its live premiere!
Five minutes of good, honest metal, it packs a punch and features some powerful vocals and catchy instrumentation. The chorus is one of those lines that swiftly gets stuck in your head, especially the line that features the title, and you’ll soon find yourself singing along by the time the song comes to an end! With flashy guitar solos and chock-full of riffs, it’s a song that you won’t be forgetting in a hurry and really highlights just how talented this band is. Great stuff!
Give it a listen below and let us know what you think!