The bands latest release ‘Control‘ (released earlier this week) keeps in line with the concept of Neon Empire’s blueprint where melting elements of electronic, pop and Metalcore, with a loud, colourful explosion is second nature to them.
We ask band members, Veronika Švecová [drums], Hassan Ali [guitars], and vocalist, John Collard to break down the concept of Neon Empire, and how they found themselves smashing genres together
OD – Lets start with the band’s background and sound. Tell us briefly about the concept to Neon Empire and how the band came to fruition?
HASSAN – Neon Empire was the result of some demos that I had written, which combined the “riff“-oriented parts of Metal with underlying electronic/synth melodies, and catchy “pop-like” choruses. I felt there were a lot of new bands surfacing that had at least one of these in their sound, but never all three. This was the main motivation behind the band’s sound, and it’s what I felt resonated the most with me musically.
As for the band itself, John and I were in a project prior to this band, and it felt like it was reaching its end (different tastes and some people moving away). One day while John was over at my place, I showed him the demos I had been working on, and he was blown away. It was from that moment we decided to create this band, and start looking to complete the line up.
JOHN – Hassan showed me some demo’s from solo music he was working on, I initially played bass, however when I heard this, I instantly wanted to do some screams to it, which he was initially reluctant, due to my lack of experience with it, however after laying some down we realised this was going to work.
VERONIKA – When I came to Ireland, I really struggled to find musicians willing to do original music that would be close to something I was listening to.
I almost gave up but then Hassan found me on Vampr, and contacted me. I was really happy there are people here interested in playing Metalcore music, so I gave it a shot. And it was such a good decision. The guys are not just great musicians, but also extremely nice people, and I can say we are really good friends.
OD – There are a lot of contemporary elements in Neon Empire’s music. With regards to influences, do you find that “blurring the lines” between, what is known as traditional heavy music, with new genres is more acceptable now than say, five years ago?
JOHN – Depending on your demographic, yes and no. Music is constantly evolving with new sounds becoming huge in the mainstream, and many listeners evolving with that, embracing new music, which has definitely been beneficial with our sound, however we also have noticed the opposite, especially in Ireland, where the classic/old-school Metal sound still holds dominance within the scene, which can be difficult.
OD – The term “Electronicore” has been mentioned on your bio/description. Do you find that describing the band’s sound can be somewhat tricky?
JOHN – Theres times we have tried to stray from using this label, and opting for “Alternative Metal”, or just “Metalcore” etc, however we always strayed back to saying “Electronicore“. At the end of the day, we prioritise synths for the lead instrumental melody, and it makes sense. We have found explaining that we use synth/electronics instead of lead guitar hits the nail on the head for the genre.
OD – You are about to venture over to the UK for your debt run of dates on British soil. For those that are interested in checking out the band, what is the best way to describe your live shows?
JOHN – Energetic!! We thrive on just having fun, bouncing and keeping it fun for everyone. Whether you are sitting at the back enjoying a drink, or in the pit, we want to make sure you are watching something fun. We like to take a very casual approach with all members engaging with the crowd, talking between songs, and even the odd laugh. Although our music holds a serious tone for the majority, we want to show people how much we enjoy being on stage.
VERONIKA – I think we are not taking ourselves way too seriously when on stage. We are trying to have this friendly, energetic, approachable vibe, and just enjoy ourselves. I believe if you are enjoying the time on stage, the crowd will join.
We have also started including a bit of neon aesthetic on stage by adding some UV lights and UV face paints into our shows.
OD – There seems to be a lot of careful decisions put into the aesthetic of the Neon Empire. Can you tell us about the number of influences that you site for the bands’ look?
JOHN – The influence for our look actually came directly from the bands name, we all were picking different names and vetoing all of them INCLUDING Neon Empire! However, after some time we began to warm to the name, and we decided it was the right fit.
From there, (when we started finalising songs and getting music videos in the works), we decided we need to take advantage of the name, and link it directly to the band.
OD – The new single ‘Control’ is finally out today. Tell us about the background on that track?
HASSAN – Control is actually a track we wrote under heavy inspiration from the video game ‘Cyberpunk‘. The whole feel and aesthetic of the game heavily resonates with us so we decided to undertake a challenge and put a song together that we felt would fit in the world of the game. Funnily enough, it was also the first song we ever recorded at home. I remember I wrote lyrics, and laid down some guitar riffs.
Then I asked John to come over and start spit-balling some screaming ideas, and help me finish off the lyrics. Tom (Ambrose, our previous bass player) then sent over some bass DI, and we quickly sent everything to Josh from JSR Audio in Belfast to mix and master. It is the wildest and quickest song-writing we have done to date, but we were super-happy with how we faced the challenge.
OD – I understand that there is a re-mix due for release shortly after. Can you tell us about that?
HASSAN – Throughout the span of recording and writing our recent EP, we constantly flirted with the idea of having Josh from JSR Audio going nuts on our songs, mashing/rearranging bits from them into something of his own. It was also an opportunity to bring back some of our favourite parts of each song, and highlight them even further… and this was a result of that whole idea. We were extremely impressed with how it came together in the end. Josh did a great job!
OD – The last EP, ‘Revel4tions’ was released in 2022. Where are you with new music, and can we expect to see a new album/EP this year?
JOHN – Currently, we have some demo’s in the works, some which will be the heaviest songs we have written, and that’s not a lie, like many other metal bands would say, some will not even have any clean singing. We also have some songs that will still hold a party/nu-metal vibe, so we will still hold strong to keeping our sound dynamic.
We have a goal for 2023, to release one of the heaviest songs from an Irish Metal band.
‘Control‘ is out now. Find out more about Neon Empire via this link.
Neon Empire are:
John Collard – Vocals,
Hassan Ali – Vocals/Guitars
Nathan Ford – Bass
Veronika Švecová – Drums