With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to NEUROSPHERE. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
-No it was not so hard. Every band member proposed a bunch of names (the previous one was Visione Maxima, but it didn’t fit at all the atmosphere we wanted to deliver) but in the end we all agreed that Neurosphere was perfect, because it is dark and cool and embraces some introspective elements that were appearing in our songs. Moreover, this name comes from a map of ID Software’s Final Doom, a game that somehow has a strong legacy with the band…To us, having the right name as a band (but the same applies for songs and albums) is extremely important: it is one of the first things that people get to know about the band, so it alone needs to be cool enough to stick in your mind.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have? Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
-We are lucky enough to be a band in which each member has a quite different musical background. Of course the common thing that keeps us glued together is that we all love rock and metal music. Nevertheless, by listening to our records you will probably find influences coming from very different metal sub-genres and bands. The most recognizable acts are Metallica, Amorphis, Opeth, but also elements from In Flames, Megadeth, Dark Tranquillity, Blind Guardian, Dream Theater, and the 70ies prog scene in general can be found in our works. To us, having so many influences instead of focusing on a particular genre is not only a strength, but it couldn’t be otherwise. Indeed, we let the music flow naturally without trying to keep it on some predefined road. This way, our songs get filled with whatever influence each member brings to the table, giving our albums the distinct trait that the songs may be very different among each other. Single songs can change a lot during their running time, the only rule that we follow is that all these influences must sound smooth, never abrupt.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-Yes, but as already mentioned above nothing is forced in anyway. The driver to the our writing process has always been the atmosphere and the feelings that we try to express. When dealing with faster and heavier songs, we usually mean to express feelings of explosive rage, power, energy in general. For this reason, in arranging these songs we try to keep the structure as direct as possible. Of course we always try different things, because we like to go further with respect to what we have already done but by putting to much stuff in these fast tracks you risk to somehow lose the aggressive pitch to them. On the other hand, mid tempo and slow songs usually embrace a larger spectrum of feelings and atmospheres: they can be sad, gloomy, dark, bright, folk, heavy as fuck and so on. With these tracks you can experiment more and try very different things. Our goal is to mix everything together so that if, for example, we are switching from a folk mood to a doom one in the same song, you shouldn’t notice when that happened.
Will your music work in a live environment? What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
-Well, it works but has very different effects on the audience. While you can find people headbanging as shit during our live performances, most of the people is like captured by the music and just moves with the flow of notes in a gentle way. We always played in small/medium clubs holding 1000/2000 people at max. As far as the sound is concerned we think that a bigger stage could help us delivering what we really want to express with our music, but in a way similar to Opeth and Tool concerts, in which you mostly listen and let the music drive you away.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
-We would never record again an album the way we did this one hehe. Anthem of The Lost as a whole (both parts 1 and 2) had a troubled birth: a former version was written back in 2016, then after an almost complete band crack that year, the album was torn apart and put together again in the final form mostly by Fabrizio (guitar/vocals). After this, the band stick together again, with some lineup changes, and decided to record the album without rehearsing it, mostly due to the fact that we were stuck since a lot of time and, hence, we wanted to be soon back in activity. The album came out great, but maybe we could have taken our time in perfecting it in some small details or giving it a particular sound direction.
Promotion can be a bitch. Even today with all different platforms it can be hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
-Even if social media are extremely powerful to bring you music all over the world, there is a drawback to that: everyone can do that. From a certain point of view this is a good thing, because also a small band like us can produce an album and spread it around hoping that it arrives to lots of people. On the other hand, this means that the market will be flooded by a huge amount of music that is, in most cases, of average or low quality. In recent years, we discovered insanely good underground bands that without these new tools would still be anonymous to us and to the world. However, it is extremely rare that such a thing happens. That said, we are convinced that if a band has something to say, in a way or another, its music will come out and eventually reach the large audience. Before this pandemic we tried to stick with live concerts to spread our music around. At the end of the day, that’s one of the most important aspects of music: playing it live in front of other people.
To me art work can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-Maybe there are some aspects of a cover that you can refine in order to make it desirable to your audience. However, for us the main driver should be the atmosphere: the cover should tell you, before listening to the album, what it will be about, what moods you are going to find inside, what “colors” you are going to listen. If you craft a cover this way (and you really have something to say of course) you can’t be wrong. To achieve this, we asked permissions to use Zdzisław Beksiński paintings as covers for our album: this painter art is stunning and since it perfectly described the atmosphere we wanted to deliver with the album, we wanted them. Any other solution wouldn’t work. They are great (check it out!).
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
-Even if we are a small band, yes, we feel part of the Italian metal underground scene. However, we must admit that this scene is somewhat dead in our country, maybe with the exception of northern Italy in which it is a bit more alive. Of course an active scene would be the sign that this genre is breathing and there is demand for that, so in this sense it would help in the development of new bands. But even if here this is not the case, a lot of great underground bands exist. We can be extremely proud of that.
I could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be. Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is you experience with the live scene?
-Here in Rome? yes, it is almost dead. Most clubs only accept tribute and cover bands since a lot of people comes to hear them. There are some strongholds of live original music though, and thank god they exist! Nevertheless, we played a lot in Rome and we can say that the scene here, even if quite small, is extremely dedicated. Rock on guys! \m/
What does the future hold?
-We have Part 2 of our Anthem of The Lost album releasing this fall with Revalve Records. In the meanwhile we are waiting for this pandemic to end so that we can start again to rehearse and hopefully come up on stage again soon. Also, we will surely start to lay down some new material, pushing our musical limits further with respect to where we are right now. Be sure to expect always new and different things from Neurosphere!