NEONFLYNot knowing anything about NEONFLY I was pretty much blown away when I heard their latest album. Frederick Thunder answered my questions. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl

I cannot really put my finger on if you play melodic metal, power metal or melodic power metal. Where do you see yourself fit in?
-Nowhere! Haha… I really don’t like to categorize music in sub-genres of other sub-genres. I think it’s very limiting to see things that way. Of course I can recognize that there are a lot of influences from those kinds of bands, and I would never deny it. It’s a big part of our sound, but we also have a lot of other influences and I think you can also hear that in our music. I personally consider us to be a heavy metal band and that’s it. I don’t try to dig deeper into which sub-category we could possibly fit in. People who like our music are free to call it whatever they want if it makes them happy, I don’t mind.

Your band name makes me think of blaxploitation movies from the 70s. How hard was it to come up with the name and what does it mean to you?
-See, the beauty of music is that it can mean so many different things to different people. I have no idea how you could possibly have made a connection between 70’s blaxpoitation movies and our band, but if that’s what it reminds you off, then great… As long as we are not the “blacksploiters” because that is not the message we are trying to convey at all, and lyrically speaking we couldn’t be further from that. There isn’t a single lyric in the album that remotely gets close to that topic.
Anyway, when I came up with the band name I was just looking for something that had a nice ring to it, I think it took me a while to find it, but there was no rush at the time… early days! That, and “Orchestral Manoevres In The Dark” was already taken.

How hard is it to break big today with all the competition there is from bands wanting to get noticed on social media?
-Well, from my experience, it definitely isn’t easy. When it comes to promotion on social media… it’s kinda like a necessary evil. You have to be very present all the time, feeding content constantly… and it’s not just about how many bands are trying to do that, it’s about all the information and content that is constantly being fired at you, from the most worthless stuff to more valuable information that you can obtain… the obscene amounts of worthless stuff that people look at, or at least give the impression of looking at whilst posting about it, is just mind blowing. Nowadays everything and everyone seems to be competing for a second of attention, and when your content gets noticed it’s great… for a second! Because most people will forget about it shortly after. What I don’t like about social media posting, is that it gives everything a certain character of disposability. No matter what it is, or how newsworthy it can be, everything you post on social media is completely disposable. That’s why it’ll always going to be better to play in front of 10000 people than getting 10000 fans on Facebook if you want to get your message across.

Your latest album has been out a while now. What has the responses been to it so far? Does it feel that this new one builds on the interest the first one created?
-We’ve had an amazing response from the press so far, and we’re extremely happy and excited about that. The fans have also welcomed the album really well, from the comments we’ve had it seems that most people agree on the fact that this is a great album and it’s also much better than our debut. I love our debut album, but I also agree on the fact that this one is better at every level.

Is there a scene for your kind of metal in your home country? Or do you feel that you will do better abroad?
-The grass is always greener on the other side, as they say… There’s a really big and healthy metal scene in the UK, that’s undeniable. It’s very competitive and it’s not always easy, but there’s always a place for you if you work hard and present things in the right way. Perseverance is the key. Elsewhere we do really well in Czech Republic. They’ve always welcomed us with open arms and invite us to play main stages at their biggest festivals… in Germany we have a good fan base as well, as a result of touring… and there are many other places where we haven’t played yet but that have responded very positively to our new album, so hopefully we’ll get to tour there as well.

When I listen to your album I cannot help wonder how intentional it was to throw in breathers in the shape of slower songs every now and then. How important is the album as an entity to you guys?
-Well, we love power ballads. We wrote those songs not so much as a way to balance the album, but just because we really wanted to write them. It was a natural flow. I like the fact that our album doesn’t sound like we’re playing the same song over and over again. I enjoy the variety on it, each song has it’s own space and raison d’être, and I think that when you listen to the album from start to finish it has a good natural flow. We chose the track list specifically in the order that it is presented for that reason. So to answer your question, it is quite important. Oh, If you only knew the arguments we had within the band about the track list… haha

How involved are you in choosing artwork and lay out for the booklet? How important is the artwork?
-We are 100% involved. We like to have complete control over the way we present our music, from album cover, to music videos… Everything is important to us. We wouldn’t want to write a great album and then let it down by having a ridiculous album cover, or something that makes no sense. When the music is done, we spend a long time coming up with a concept for the album cover, possible music videos, photo shoots, choosing the right artist to deliver what we have come up with… we don’t leave anything to chance. It’s all part of our artistic creation.

What has having Dennis Ward produce your album brought to your sound?
-Dennis was great to work with. I’ve always loved the sound of his productions, very organic and huge. We had already written all the songs by the time we got to the studio, so his input was mostly on the sound, we left him complete control over it and since he recorded, mixed and mastered the album, he was in charge every step of the way. I think he did a great job!

How do you end up supporting bigger acts, do you ask them or do they invite you? What has playing with these acts brought with it?
-It goes both ways, you need to put yourself forward first in order to be invited, so we make ourselves available and get in touch with different people in order to facilitate the chance of getting invitations. Everything happens for a reason! We’ve definitely worked hard for the tours we’ve done.
It’s always been a great experience, obviously from having the chance to play in front of bigger audiences and making a lot of new fans; to learning about the way bigger bands do certain things. What works best, and what doesn’t. It’s always a great experience.

What lies in the future?
-Hopefully a lot more shows! We are preparing a huge stage production for our summer festival shows, it’s going to be something really exciting and never seen before. We’ve come up with a really cool concept, which we hope to be able to take on tour with us later in the year as well. Stay tuned!

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