Three-piece band Neonsol has sent a shockwave through various channels with their debut album Ecliptic. With that in store, and much more incoming, I got the chance to speak with them about how they started, and future works.
Hello and welcome to our lovely little site. I know that there are three of you involved in Neonsol, so let's get to know each of you a little. Who are the members of the band and what do you do?
Neonsol - "There's three of us, Nina, Jesper and Fred. In the studio Jesper writes most of the lyrics, Nina writes most of the lead melodies and Fred handles most of the arrangement and production.
However we believe in the Scandinavian 'flat office hierarchy', so all artistic decisions are made democratically.
When playing live, Nina is the lead singer, Jesper is singing on a few tracks and also playing keyboard and Fred is doing the drumming and playing around with several synths."
History is always neat. When did Neonsol first form? I believe it was just Nina and Jesper at first.
Neonsol - "Jesper and Nina started experimenting with songwriting in 2009, and premiered some of their early material at a private party in Norway. One of the tracks from that very first show was an early version of Citadel."
Frederic Scarfone (of Iszoloscope, Memmaker, Norad) joined in 2012. What led to his eventual inclusion in the band?
Neonsol - "Fred met Guillaume Nadon (Memmaker) back in the late 90s when they both lived in Montreal, Canada. Guillaume eventually married a Dane and moved to Copenhagen. He then hatched a plan for Fred to join him there in 2011 so they could work together on a follow-up to Memmaker's debut album. They quickly discovered that being good friends and buidling a musical collaboration were two very different things.
Now bandless in Copenhagen, Fred met Jesper and Nina at a party. The three of us immediately hit it off."
What new developments really happened with Scarfone in the band? Did the sound change, audio quality go up a notch?
Neonsol - "Originally the deal was that Fred should help Nina and Jesper shape their demos into something more 'pro', that they would be comfortable sharing with a broader audience rather than just close friends (who are usually more forgiving). At the time Fred had already begun cutting his teeth on some Iszoloscope material, as well as his own tracks, and brought some work methodology to Neonsol's studio. The end result was a more coherent, well-defined sound aesthetic.
So we ended up forging a permanent working relationship."
It was at the Cyberworld XX release party hosted by Club Braincorp that you first played live with Scarfone in the band. How would you say the performance went? Was it much more well received than it was in the past?
Neonsol - "As far as first shows go, it went rather well. We only got to play four songs though, so it felt like a trial run still. Also the album was nowhere near finished at the time, so we only really got to play there because our friend Brian (DJ Brain) believed in our project."
Just last year, you released "Ecliptic" which I've personally reviewed to positive reception. Tell me, was the album received as warmly by other critics and fans alike?
Neonsol - "We're still waiting for a negative review. We'd really like to see one, because that would mean our music is also reaching people who aren't expressly searching for it. We do our best to create songs that escape quick categorization while remaining accessible. We like the idea of our music popping up in unexpected places, like next to Taylor Swift on a radio station's playlist (true story)."
What were you trying to do with the album? In other words, were you trying to find out Neonsol's sound, or was that already established? Did you find the direction you wanted to go in with this album?
Neonsol - "It's often the case that a first album is the result of a search for direction, and 'Ecliptic' is no exception. Fortunately a lot of the experimentation happened behind the scenes, as we re-worked and re-recorded some tracks as much as four times. By the time we had fine-tuned our creative process and reached a level of quality that we were satisfied with, the older recordings were already several months old and no longer on par with the rest, so we got caught in this spiral for a while.
We think we've fairly narrowed it down now, soundwise, and we have a clearer idea of what we're aiming for before we begin on a new track. So in a way, a 'Neonsol sound' has taken shape, but it's not yet determined whether it's a wave or a particle."
And what's next for Neonsol? Are you guys in the studio working on any more material? And, if you are, can I get some information on that?
Neonsol - "There's a sizeable backlog of demos and drafts which needs to be revisited, and we're constantly coming up with new outlines for songs. So more material is certainly on the horizon.
We already have one bouncy new track, which we played live twice already with a very positive response.
We also went on a shopping spree and got shiny new toys, which we won't name-drop unless the manufacturer offers us an endorsement (hint: we're quite fond of this one respected German brand of synths in particular). So sound design on our upcoming material should be a much more straightforward process."
And, are any live shows or gigs planned as of right now? If so, when and where?
Neonsol - "AnalogueTrash festival, on June 13th in Manchester is where we play next. We're really looking forward to it, as it will be our first gig outside Scandinavia. Also we've always been very inspired by UK bands (David Bowie, Faithless, Massive Attack, The Prodigy, Anne Clark, New Order, The Cure…) so that country has a special place in our hearts. We're still discussing other international dates, but nothing is yet confirmed."
Lastly, I would like to thank you for your time, and I wish you massive luck with your musical career. Any last words?
Neonsol - "We would like to thank our good friends from our label AnalogueTrash Records for trusting in us and our music."
The unfortunate thing about the "drama" that started is that it created an environment where people were choosing sides on if they liked the first album or the second. Our idea was just to give the fans a different angle to Die Sektor and we still loved all our fans from the first album. We were not trying to make people choose sides. Just make some new tunes for people to bump in the cars or whatever.
Die Sektor, May 30 2011
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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