If you’ve been with Sentinel Daily since the start, you’ll know how much regard we have for London-based metalheads Neuronspoiler. The news that the band were to team up with legendary producer Flemming Rasmussen was greeted with wild scenes of approbation in the SD office (though we did have to keep schtumm about the news for a while, which was tricky!), so we were obviously keen to have a chinwag with the band about the results of that coming together of metal minds, the band’s new album Spoiled For Choice. Here are the resulting musings on the record from various members of the ‘Spoiler crew – enjoy!
This is undoubtedly a big album for Neuronspoiler, not least because you decided to go it alone without a label – what was the thinking behind that move? And do you think record labels are a redundant force in 2020?
Matt (Monroe, drums): “Neuronspoiler has always been five guys against the world. With a little help from our friends. So a label isn’t the first thing that pops in our head when it comes to making music. So we’re pretty much used to a DIY approach to everything we do. But with a lot of support from our fans, friends and families”.
The World and his wife now know about your ambitious hiring of Flemming Rasmussen and Charlie Bauerfeind to record and mix the new record – Again, what was the thinking there?
JR (vocals): “Honestly it was a matter of making a statement, to our fans and supporters that we will never compromise on quality, even if it kills us (laughs). If we never make another album again, at least we made one epic album without compromises or excuses; the album you hear is as good as anything out there from a production standpoint. We were sick of the excuses and hiding behind limitations placed on us by external forces (and some internal ones) throughout ten years. Choices made on this album are made by the band and trusted industry experts in Flemming and Charlie. So fuck what the experts in the You Tube comments section have to say”.
Clearly both men did a great job on the record, but you can’t polish a turd – you had to give them strong material to work with. How much extra pressure did you put on yourselves in the songwriting department knowing who you were going to be working with?
David (Del Cid, guitars): “I listened to as many albums produced by Flemming as I could beforehand and from that I had the feeling that he’s a pretty chilled, “let the band do its own thing” kind of guy which he actually is so that felt great for me as I wanted no restrictions this time in terms of songwriting. Every other past experience we’ve had with other producers I have been asked to change a thing or two in the arrangement of a few songs which I’m usually OK with but this time I really wanted no intromission for some reason…”
MM: “There’s not much point in thinking what someone might say about your songwriting if you don’t know them and haven’t worked with them yet. So my thoughts were do our own thing, what sounds good to us. But I was looking forward to their thoughts about it. It’s not every day you get to work with a Grammy award winner”.
So tell us a bit more about the recording of the album – was it a steep learning curve working with someone like Flemming?
DDC: “It was the most incredible, enjoyable experience, with only one problem: it could only last ten days! In hindsight, coming out with ten songs in so little time was a bit over-ambitious which we payed for dearly with the last item on the agenda, the guitar solos… Basically, time was up, we reached the last day and only one song had solos recorded for it. Flemming took pity on us and very kindly cancelled whatever plans he had for the next day’s morning so we could have a few hours to attempt what I’m sure he thought was an impossible task. I did the math and the only way we could manage was if we spent no more than five minutes per solo, about two or three attempts at each of them, it was pretty ridiculous but we managed, stopwatch in hand!!! I don’t think I’ve ever been as stressed in my life as I was the night before this solo-marathon morning”.
Adam (Breyer, guitars): “The solo-marathon was just as stressful as David described it but listening back to the end results gives that extra sense of achievement, knowing just how little time we had and how much pressure there was to nail those solos – I think we pulled it off! And yes, we literally did use a stopwatch… Otherwise, I would sum up working with Flemming by saying “there’s genius in simplicity”. Flemming’s approach was very relaxed and he was keen to capture the band in its essence. His top-notch technical skills in the studio and on the computer helped the workflow immensely, similarly we were ready to start recording within a couple of hours of being in the studio due to his innate knowledge of his equipment and how to effortlessly get the best out of it, where to place the microphones, how to dial in the amps and so on”.
JR: “Flemming knew what sound he wanted from a technical perspective before we even entered the studio. Working with him meant that a lot of the usual bullshit, ego, lectures, and other nonsense was gone. Both the band and producer were there to make the best album we could. His quiet confidence let us know we were working with the best, which is evidenced in the final result”.
5. Here’s your chance to sum up in one sentence what each song on the new record means to you:
An Eye For An Eye
DDC: “The fastest, angriest Neuronspoiler song to date. Hopefully more like that coming up”.
MM: “Good exercise!”
JR: “A thrash song. Sorry ‘trve’ fans, but this is Neuronspoiler”.
DDC: “A direct, no time to waste track, possibly the shortest song I can manage to put together”.
Angel of Britannia
DDC: “Time-wise, this tune is as relevant as it gets since we need stuff like this to inspire us to pull through unprecedented times”.
AB: “Whilst there’s an obvious Iron Maiden influence in this song, there’s an amazing, almost Latin style groove on the main riff which perfectly sums up the Neuronspoiler twist on traditional heavy metal”.
JR: I’ve been trying to get the guys to cover more Holst material, not as much as John Williams but…This is the song that has the biggest chorus and biggest goal in terms of its meaning”.
Wake Up From You
DDC: “Neuronspoiler going symphonic? Sure why not, everything is ‘game on’ as far as I’m concerned”.
AB: “There’s a nice ‘easter egg’ right at the beginning of this song – see if you can spot it!”
MM: “Still gives me goosebumps, the good ones”.
JR: “This one is extremely personal to me and was written as a continuation-of-sorts inspired by the events in the poem Luceafarul (Lucifer) by Romanian author Mihai Eminescu…as you do”.
Craving The Night
DDC: “The oldest song of the album, I remember it going through many drafts till we got here and now. Hopefully all the polishing we did on it will come across”.
JR: “I really, really miss nights out! This is an homage to London nightlife in our usual stomping grounds of Camden, Islington, Kentish Town and Central London”.
David: “First song we recorded at Flemming’s as I guess it was the one we were all most confident to play, things only got crazier from then on”.
AB: “The ‘sleeper’ hit of the album for me – I went in thinking of this song as a very good ‘album’ track but the end result well exceeded my expectations”.
JR: “Another one that is personal and raw. As with all of our songs the listener’s connection will be their own to explore”.
DDC: “Although the arrangement for this track is very new a significant portion of it is based around this arpeggio progression I wrote nearly twenty years ago! Back in a time when I was a scrawny kid with nothing better to do than practice ten hours a day…”
Ab: “A scary insight into the mind of Mr Del Cid- no words necessary!”
JR: “It wasn’t me”.
Hiding In Plain Sight
DDC: “Everything Neuronspoiler is about you can find in this track….”
AB: “Which is ironic as it was written by one of the new boys!”
JR: “A stone cold banger!”
Rock n’ Roll Redemption
DDC: “The last song we did at the studio, we actually finished writing some of it right then which was a lot of fun”.
JR: “Shows the musicianship of the guys in the band, the song has space to breathe without being too busy; drums and rhythm guitars especially on this are superb. It also has one of my favourite solos on the album in this track”.
DDC: “Probably the most experimental Neuronspoiler track to date and for that reason this could only be done with Flemming’s help as I’m certain other producers would have asked for changes that I wouldn’t have taken to too kindly”.
AB: “Whilst Neuronspoiler isn’t shy about proudly wearing our influences on our sleeve, this song to me sounds like no other band – past or present”.
JR: “This is part of what makes Neuronspoiler so unique. That willingness to try different things and put our stamp on it. Genres be damned! It was the first song we received from Flemming as a rough mix and we blasted it in the car through the serene streets of Copenhagen. I can still hear the kick drum ringing!”
When things start getting back to normal, will there be plans to support the album with live shows?
JR: “Yes, yes, yes. A hundred times yes. As much as we all enjoy the songwriting and recording process, there’s nothing better than rocking it out on stage. So you can imagine we’re all very anxious to get back out there as soon as possible”.
Anything else you think the readers of Sentinel Daily should know about the album?
JR: “I assure you this is the most authentic glance at Neuronspoiler you can have so far, unlike previous efforts, we keep studio trickery at a bare minimum since we feel we finally have a solid band and so we wanted that at the forefront, Spoiled For Choice is just the five of us doing what we do best: writing songs and playing them live!”
Thanks for your time!
Spoiled For Choice is out now. Read Scott Adams’ review of the album HERE