A couple of weeks ago I got a chance to speak with Bill Leeb regarding the new Front Line Assembly album Echogenetic, as well as get an insight as to what is the driving for behind the writing style for Front Line Assembly. Here is what Bill had to say...

I guess we'll jump into it, the primary thing we want to talk about is the new Echogenetic album that at this point that has been out for just over a week officially.

Bill: - "Well you know, I think we're all taken back a little bit by this record. I can't remember the last time we've had so many great reviews you know 9/10 and, 10/10. On Amazon Germany we're number one, in Sweden number one. It's been a long time since we felt this kind of love. A lot of people keep going back to, "this sounds like back to the Tactical (Neural Implant) era". I'm a little overwhelmed. There's been maybe 2% comments of "oh they're using dubstep". The other 98% seem to love it. It's either love it or hate it. For me I'd rather that kind of reaction rather than "yeah that's okay". As for the dubstep, when we did that soundtrack for Carbon Games for Airmech, we got a lot of good response for that. That album required a certain kind of sound we weren't trying to make an EBM record so we tried experimenting with different kinds of sounds and, some of it just kind of evolved to the new record. I think we were just trying to use anything and, everything, the best of all the world of technology young and, old and, make it our own and, by the response we've done that. I think it's also because Jeremy, Jared and, Sasha you know they're in their late 20's and they said they grew up listening to our stuff. It's a different genre now than the people that grew up on the Wax Trax, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails stuff. I think when you put all these people in a room and, we begin writing was quite an achievement. It's nothing that just me and, Rhys could have done on our own."


So the new album was a collaborative album overall?

Bill: - "Oh yeah, I guess the strange thing about making music you never know where you're going to end up. You can make an album and, put it out and nobody cares and you just shake your head."


You did bring up the Airmech soundtrack and I did want to touch on that because, it was not at all traditional Frontline. You had some of your Noise Unit influence, some Delerium influence, you and Rhys brought influence from your independent side projects into that album as well.

Bill: - "Again it was a really good experience and, when you're making music for a video game with no lyrics?".


It's like its own beast.

Bill: - "Yeah exactly right. Everyone really enjoyed doing it, I think it really opened their eyes and, ears to new things. All the best artists and, people I've really looked up to they are always the ones that throw a spinner in the wheel and, do something that you're not quite expecting them to do. I know a lot of people hate change and, they change slowly and, you throw something that they do not expect it gets that reaction. I think to be an artist you have to evolve and keep it interesting you have to do that (change)."


I think change is something that has always been beneficial to Frontline, back to the Millennium album that was a total change up, you gave the fans something totally different than they had heard from you before. You included guitars and, gave it more of an industrial metal edge and, that's the way I see Echogenetic, as just another metamorphosis. You are straying off the safe path of giving people what they expect to hear from Frontline. You've got a few critical fans that expect you to be the AC/DC of industrial and, keep every album sounding the same but, I think for everyone of those fans I wager that you make 10 new fans.

Bill: - "There you just hit the nail right on the head, we've gained ten new fans and, maybe isolated one old one. To me that's progress right."


All bands as they get older and, mature they adopt new sounds and, in today's music world you have to be willing to join the progress a little, not necessarily become a pop artist.

Bill: - "What we've gotten back we've never had this kind of positive press EVER. I think last week we got album of the week in Revolver by the fans who voted. A lot of our heart and soul went into this, it's a whole body experience record. (Echogenetic) was made by a bunch of people that just wanted to really exercise their rights in electronic music and, make a statement. I think everybody feels good about it. I think we've progressed as artists and done something new. I know we sort of have a carte blanch with Frontline now because, we're not trying to establish ourselves. It's literally about the music. I still think the euro pop, future synth, ebm, or industrial it all has to evolve in its own way too. If we're going to be one of the bands that takes that flag and push it, we're willing to be those guys. Just to keep it interesting and, give other bands that option, "you know Frontline tried a few different things maybe we should too". There's been tons of ebm records that have the same feeling, is there any point in making one more. Like you mentioned before when we did Millennium we picked up guitars and, pissed off a lot of people that were electro purists that said "oh Frontline is crossing over into heavy metal"."

I don't think a lot of those same fans were hurt when Skinny Puppy started using guitars and, they did that before you released 'Millennium'. Where's the disconnect that made it okay for Skinny Puppy and not Frontline?

Bill: - "When we signed with Road Runner and, did that record it really was like Fear Factory and, Pantera. We made a conscious effort to shift gears because that's what we wanted to do. On one had we just do what we want and, keep it interesting because, I know what I like to listen to. This is a milestone marker for us again. I was telling the guys yesterday, "You're in trouble!", people will buy your follow up records no matter what you do, that has happened to me and, Rhys over the years. People will always compare you to certain things and hold you to that standard and, it's just not that easy to do at all times, it's a bit of a cross to carry."


(Jokingly) So what you are telling me and, the readers is that the NEXT Frontline album you're going to challenge yourself to outdo this album?

Bill: - "It's still early on but this album is already being thrown into the "Tactical / Caustic" arena of our classic staples and the genre. It will be daunting and, scary to think that we will have follow this up with enthusiasm and, vigor (laughing) and, recreate and, go a step further. But, that is a ways off we are still trying to enjoy the early fruits of this (Echogenetic)."


I see you are getting ready to start the European dates with Haujobb in August. Are there any US dates being worked on for your fans in the states?

Bill: - "Believe it or not, I've talked to Kevin from Skinny Puppy and, I don't like just touring, do an album tour, do the circuit it becomes a little routine. I thought it would be real great and really exciting if we did a tour together with Skinny Puppy like the monster industrial band tour. It would be really exciting to me because we've been really great friends over the last 25 years. That tour would really excite me and, motivate me. It would bring out a lot of the old fans and, a lot of the new fans. It's in kind of a holding pattern right now we'll see if that can evolve."


Any chance of you working WITH Skinny Puppy if that tour comes together?

Bill: - "At this point it would be a feat if that sort of came together, right now we're in a holding pattern right now. Like I said we're a bit taken back by the response on this record. It seems like this scene has come full circle and, is really bouncing back with Skinny Puppy's new album Weapon that for received really well."


So you feel there's a rejuvenation happening?

Bill: - "There's a lot of new and, old people coming in and, they're looking for artists and real musicians. There's a million indie rock bands forming every day."


On that note talking about a million indie rock bands, you see about 50 EBM, Synthpop, Industrial bands forming every day, do you feel like that devalues some of harder working, very passionate bands out there?

Bill: - "No, because everybody has to have a starting point. Bands evolve and, get better. All the journalists in the last 10 years have jumped on that boat (indie) and, I think it's just starting to lose its vitality. Every day there is 100 new indie rock bands and, I think that even people that follow that are getting confused you just can't keep up, in our scene it's quite different. This particular genre has new life to me it feels like it's starting a new episode, where it ends up who knows. It will be an interesting journey never the less."


As far as newer generation industrial what bands inspire you in the last decade?

Bill: - "I'm kind of all over the place. When the artist Noisia, they are kind of industrial, electronic, dub step, really great programming they really push the envelope in that world they're quite interesting. I've always been a fan of bands like Boards of Canada. I am all over the place. Necro Facility, Haujobb, Daniel Meyer's project Architect. I can steer off of more eclectic stuff.


I want to thank you for your time, it's been a pleasure Bill.

Bill: - "Hopefully I've inspired some people, grab your mic, your synth and, enjoy it. Enjoy the process of making music, that should be it's biggest reward."


Jeremy: Good luck on the Echogenetic support tour in Europe.
Front Line Assembly interview
August 9, 2013
Brutal Resonance

Front Line Assembly

Aug 2013
A couple of weeks ago I got a chance to speak with Bill Leeb regarding the new Front Line Assembly album Echogenetic, as well as get an insight as to what is the driving for behind the writing style for Front Line Assembly. Here is what Bill had to say...

I guess we'll jump into it, the primary thing we want to talk about is the new Echogenetic album that at this point that has been out for just over a week officially.

Bill: - "Well you know, I think we're all taken back a little bit by this record. I can't remember the last time we've had so many great reviews you know 9/10 and, 10/10. On Amazon Germany we're number one, in Sweden number one. It's been a long time since we felt this kind of love. A lot of people keep going back to, "this sounds like back to the Tactical (Neural Implant) era". I'm a little overwhelmed. There's been maybe 2% comments of "oh they're using dubstep". The other 98% seem to love it. It's either love it or hate it. For me I'd rather that kind of reaction rather than "yeah that's okay". As for the dubstep, when we did that soundtrack for Carbon Games for Airmech, we got a lot of good response for that. That album required a certain kind of sound we weren't trying to make an EBM record so we tried experimenting with different kinds of sounds and, some of it just kind of evolved to the new record. I think we were just trying to use anything and, everything, the best of all the world of technology young and, old and, make it our own and, by the response we've done that. I think it's also because Jeremy, Jared and, Sasha you know they're in their late 20's and they said they grew up listening to our stuff. It's a different genre now than the people that grew up on the Wax Trax, Ministry and Nine Inch Nails stuff. I think when you put all these people in a room and, we begin writing was quite an achievement. It's nothing that just me and, Rhys could have done on our own."


So the new album was a collaborative album overall?

Bill: - "Oh yeah, I guess the strange thing about making music you never know where you're going to end up. You can make an album and, put it out and nobody cares and you just shake your head."


You did bring up the Airmech soundtrack and I did want to touch on that because, it was not at all traditional Frontline. You had some of your Noise Unit influence, some Delerium influence, you and Rhys brought influence from your independent side projects into that album as well.

Bill: - "Again it was a really good experience and, when you're making music for a video game with no lyrics?".


It's like its own beast.

Bill: - "Yeah exactly right. Everyone really enjoyed doing it, I think it really opened their eyes and, ears to new things. All the best artists and, people I've really looked up to they are always the ones that throw a spinner in the wheel and, do something that you're not quite expecting them to do. I know a lot of people hate change and, they change slowly and, you throw something that they do not expect it gets that reaction. I think to be an artist you have to evolve and keep it interesting you have to do that (change)."


I think change is something that has always been beneficial to Frontline, back to the Millennium album that was a total change up, you gave the fans something totally different than they had heard from you before. You included guitars and, gave it more of an industrial metal edge and, that's the way I see Echogenetic, as just another metamorphosis. You are straying off the safe path of giving people what they expect to hear from Frontline. You've got a few critical fans that expect you to be the AC/DC of industrial and, keep every album sounding the same but, I think for everyone of those fans I wager that you make 10 new fans.

Bill: - "There you just hit the nail right on the head, we've gained ten new fans and, maybe isolated one old one. To me that's progress right."


All bands as they get older and, mature they adopt new sounds and, in today's music world you have to be willing to join the progress a little, not necessarily become a pop artist.

Bill: - "What we've gotten back we've never had this kind of positive press EVER. I think last week we got album of the week in Revolver by the fans who voted. A lot of our heart and soul went into this, it's a whole body experience record. (Echogenetic) was made by a bunch of people that just wanted to really exercise their rights in electronic music and, make a statement. I think everybody feels good about it. I think we've progressed as artists and done something new. I know we sort of have a carte blanch with Frontline now because, we're not trying to establish ourselves. It's literally about the music. I still think the euro pop, future synth, ebm, or industrial it all has to evolve in its own way too. If we're going to be one of the bands that takes that flag and push it, we're willing to be those guys. Just to keep it interesting and, give other bands that option, "you know Frontline tried a few different things maybe we should too". There's been tons of ebm records that have the same feeling, is there any point in making one more. Like you mentioned before when we did Millennium we picked up guitars and, pissed off a lot of people that were electro purists that said "oh Frontline is crossing over into heavy metal"."

I don't think a lot of those same fans were hurt when Skinny Puppy started using guitars and, they did that before you released 'Millennium'. Where's the disconnect that made it okay for Skinny Puppy and not Frontline?

Bill: - "When we signed with Road Runner and, did that record it really was like Fear Factory and, Pantera. We made a conscious effort to shift gears because that's what we wanted to do. On one had we just do what we want and, keep it interesting because, I know what I like to listen to. This is a milestone marker for us again. I was telling the guys yesterday, "You're in trouble!", people will buy your follow up records no matter what you do, that has happened to me and, Rhys over the years. People will always compare you to certain things and hold you to that standard and, it's just not that easy to do at all times, it's a bit of a cross to carry."


(Jokingly) So what you are telling me and, the readers is that the NEXT Frontline album you're going to challenge yourself to outdo this album?

Bill: - "It's still early on but this album is already being thrown into the "Tactical / Caustic" arena of our classic staples and the genre. It will be daunting and, scary to think that we will have follow this up with enthusiasm and, vigor (laughing) and, recreate and, go a step further. But, that is a ways off we are still trying to enjoy the early fruits of this (Echogenetic)."


I see you are getting ready to start the European dates with Haujobb in August. Are there any US dates being worked on for your fans in the states?

Bill: - "Believe it or not, I've talked to Kevin from Skinny Puppy and, I don't like just touring, do an album tour, do the circuit it becomes a little routine. I thought it would be real great and really exciting if we did a tour together with Skinny Puppy like the monster industrial band tour. It would be really exciting to me because we've been really great friends over the last 25 years. That tour would really excite me and, motivate me. It would bring out a lot of the old fans and, a lot of the new fans. It's in kind of a holding pattern right now we'll see if that can evolve."


Any chance of you working WITH Skinny Puppy if that tour comes together?

Bill: - "At this point it would be a feat if that sort of came together, right now we're in a holding pattern right now. Like I said we're a bit taken back by the response on this record. It seems like this scene has come full circle and, is really bouncing back with Skinny Puppy's new album Weapon that for received really well."


So you feel there's a rejuvenation happening?

Bill: - "There's a lot of new and, old people coming in and, they're looking for artists and real musicians. There's a million indie rock bands forming every day."


On that note talking about a million indie rock bands, you see about 50 EBM, Synthpop, Industrial bands forming every day, do you feel like that devalues some of harder working, very passionate bands out there?

Bill: - "No, because everybody has to have a starting point. Bands evolve and, get better. All the journalists in the last 10 years have jumped on that boat (indie) and, I think it's just starting to lose its vitality. Every day there is 100 new indie rock bands and, I think that even people that follow that are getting confused you just can't keep up, in our scene it's quite different. This particular genre has new life to me it feels like it's starting a new episode, where it ends up who knows. It will be an interesting journey never the less."


As far as newer generation industrial what bands inspire you in the last decade?

Bill: - "I'm kind of all over the place. When the artist Noisia, they are kind of industrial, electronic, dub step, really great programming they really push the envelope in that world they're quite interesting. I've always been a fan of bands like Boards of Canada. I am all over the place. Necro Facility, Haujobb, Daniel Meyer's project Architect. I can steer off of more eclectic stuff.


I want to thank you for your time, it's been a pleasure Bill.

Bill: - "Hopefully I've inspired some people, grab your mic, your synth and, enjoy it. Enjoy the process of making music, that should be it's biggest reward."


Jeremy: Good luck on the Echogenetic support tour in Europe.
Aug 09 2013

Jeremy Atkins

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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