Greetings over there. First, I would like to thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. Please, I ask you to introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Enrique García, I’m the founder/guitarist/vocalist and lyricist from Neo Noir. Thanks for this opportunity is a pleasure.
How did Neo Noir started? Which were the main reasons for you to form this band? In addition, why to play the metal style you do? Still about the music, could you explain to us what does “Nostalgic Black Metal” means?
Neo noir started as a personal project of mine in the mid 2013, when I decided to create a musical project heavily influenced by bands of the European Depressive Black Metal scene such as Mortifera, Pensees Nocturnes, Lifelover etc … by then I composed and record on the living room of my apartment two tracks: “1918” and “Manicomio de la Esperanza”. Those tracks were recorded in an amateur way… it sounded really raw and sloppy so I asked for help to my friend Jose Ignacio (who played with me in other band at that moment called “Sueños de Bruma”) to play Drums and Keyboards. We finished the tracks but I decided to stop the project because I don’t felt satisfied and our other band was our bigger priority. It was not until December that I decided to finished my goal and Neo Noir’s lineup was completed with the entry of our friend Simon Torres (who also played in Sueños de Bruma with us) on the bass, so the recordings of our demo “Agosto” were begun.
There were two main reasons to create Neo Noir: The first one was to tell unknown and forgotten stories of my country, really incredible stories about tragedy, sadness and nostalgia, stories who could inspire novels in the vein of 19th century Romanticism. I’m a big fan of history so for me is important and it’s almost the core of what Neo Noir is. The second one was the virgin soil that has my country (Venezuela) musically talking, the lack of innovation is terrible, it’s always the same boring metal music with unoriginal riffs taken from cliche bands of Thrash and Death Metal. Only few bands give a step forward and try to get out of this rotten sack of monotony. So that’s why we tried to create something new, our own style of Black Metal mixing diverse elements of Shoegaze, Post Rock, Neoclassical and even Folk music. Added to this, another reason to make the music that we made is to express feelings through our lyrics and embrace our listeners with a sad atmosphere.
“Nostalgic Black Metal” is the way that we defined our music, because our style of Black Metal is not the typical “Depressive Suicidal Black Metal”. It’s something more experimental with a lot of refinements such as: Joy and melancholy or tragedy and longing heavily supported by melodic guitars and symphonic keyboards. It’s our own brand.
Neo-Noir is originally from Venezuela. How this has influenced your music or your lyrics? Still on the lyrical aspects of your music, as well as influences, when you write them, what are the main aspects that you prefer to cover?
Venezuela is a big influence to us because our lyrics are based first that all on poetry from the Venezuelan “Cursed Poets” artists who never were understood and died in tragic ways. As Ismael Urdaneta for example (An interesting fact is that he fought in the WWI on different fronts from Egypt to Ukraine and saw the hell on earth at Verdún’s Battle. That’s maybe the reason why he committed suicide when he returned to Venezuela). And in a second way our lyrics used real sad stories and urban legends from our hometown, some of them are actually familiar stories. For example: “El Llanto de los Páramos” is a real story that my grandfather told me when I was a child about a flood that destroyed a small town in the Venezuelan Andes. Among the victims there were two twins, one was found dead days later but the other was disappeared. The days passed and my grandfather who was a farmer and owned lands near the village, began to hear the cry of a child, he followed the sound of the crying and near the banks of the river, he found a small hand protruding from rocks and mud. It was the body of the child missed… That are the sort of stories that we want to tell.
The most important aspect that I want to cover is to express the romanticism behind every story in a very poetic way because the music complements the lyrics.
The début album full-length Neo Noir has impressed me. In fact, I am not alone in this, I have read many reviews and they are generally very positive. For those that are not familiar with it, as of yet, how would you describe it? Tell them the main reasons why they should listen to this, in my humble opinion, an outstanding release.
Neo-Noir is a journey to the past filled with nostalgia and tragedy. Is the result of a musical evolution from us since our first demo… more complex compositions and a surround atmosphere. That’s our humble feeling from our work…. We invite you to check it.
The album Neo-Noir is aggressive and yet emotional, imposing, abrasive but also gloomy, sentimental and nostalgic. Were these contrasting aspects something that you wanted to create or did it happen naturally?
It just happened naturally. Jose, Simon and I work in a very complementary way. I have the fortune to make music with great musicians. José is a genius behind the orchestration, he is able to composed a whole symphony by himself. Simon is a wonderful guitarist, he manage really difficult technics on the guitar and he just demonstrated that in the album. That mix between aggressive but yet emotional music is the result of every criterion and influences of each one. Is amazing to has this kind of wealth and know how to use it.
Still on the début full-length, it also sounds well recorded for the genre. You know that usually we listen to some terrible production out there. However, no matter what, I do prefer a more organic sound than a completely polished and “artificial” feel. Concerning this, for those interested in the technical aspects of producing and mastering, enlighten us about the choices that Neo Noir usually makes in this field.
Well… concerning about the technical aspects of the production and equipment, we have our own studio and we recorded the album with a condenser microphone MXL to record vocals and acoustic/electric guitars which was connected to a midi interface, some guitars were recorded by plugins as guitar rig and other ones were recorded directly from the amplifier as an analog way. Various keyboards were used such as a Venom synthesizer and a Casio Lk-270. The drums were programmed with Superior Drummer. The mixing and the mastering was made by José Ignacio (and also the sound engineering) with softwares as Pro Tools (for the mixing) and Adobe Audition (for the mastering). The album was entirely produced by us.
You can tell, by the pictures as well as the date of the band’s foundation, that Neo Noir is quite young. In your opinion, which difficulties have been hard for you to overcome? In fact, tell us about this, which are the main difficulties faced by the band and, your opinion, younger bands and general. What do you feel is necessary to do to stand out among the many bands releasing music every day?
It’s a very competitive world, difficulties are just around the corner but there is no difficulties that can not be overcome with hard work. I think our biggest difficulty is that we are from Venezuela and that’s like a wall to people for example in Europe to listen up our music, because they might think that we are just another boring South American band and not only that… Even in our own country, people seems to be skeptical because they are used to the same kind of metal music. But we want to do something new, a new proposal and we are doing it. People just need to give us a try and take the time to hear our music without think where we are from. And I say this because I have seen it a lot of times.
Other difficulty that is faced by younger bands in general is the lack of support and trust, because the scene is dominated by huge bands and there is no space for new ones but as I said… there is no difficulties that can not be overcome with hard work and talent.
So it’s pretty rough but we believe in what we are doing and we will continue with our passion.
You are now participating in a Nargaroth tribute album? Who did this happen? Why the choice of “Hunting Season”? I must say that I really enjoy Nargaroth’s music and his answers made of the favourite interviews I have conducted. And the band is amazing live as well. Has the band, in any sort of way, influenced you?
Yes, we are… I contacted with Azermedoth Records and asked if we could participate in this Official Tribute, he said yes but Ash was the one who had the last word about the participation. We choose “Hunting Season” because in some way it’s a forgotten song and the original version is really raw so we could make it sound in a more understandable way and take advantage of that. Originally, we try to participate with “The Day As Burzum Killed Mayhem” but it had already been taken. Nargaroth has some of the most outstanding live performances, is truly amazing. We grew up listening to Nargaroth and yes, it has been an influence but not entirely.
Apart from that, what are the next plans for Neo-Noir? I read that there will be a split album to be released soon. Of course it is very, very early to say, as the début album was released now in 2015, but when can we expect to listen to some new music from Neo Noir?
Yes, we are about to release a split album with Sadness (USA) we are just finishing some details but is almost done. And it’s pretty soon but we are about to start the recording sessions for a new EP, we are really excited because we are going to follow the steps of our latest album and we will give everything as always. Also we are going to participate in a new tribute but this time is for Emperor (that will be released via Azermedoth Records too) and we are rehearsing right now as a full band to be able to play live gigs, so we are really busy right now. You can expect a lot of Neo Noir for this year and the next one.
The personal side of this conversation. Please, share with us your personal preferences outside music, what you enjoy doing when not studying, working, etc. What are your main favourite activities, movies, hobbies, if any, whatever you would like to tell us.
I’m a very calm person, I prefer to stay at home before to go out so I use that time to read (which is my favourite hobby) and I’m always trying to learn something new… about history or philosophy mainly (besides that I find some cool stories for Neo Noir haha). If I’m not reading, I’m listening to music, my favorite band of all times is Bathory so I spend a lot of time appreciating Quorthon’s art. About movies, I prefer the unknown/cult/independent movies…. I feel they are more interesting than Hollywood productions. I hate everything that is under the eye of the mainstream is really annoying so I enjoy of what is under the shadows.
In your personal opinion, and this is not about releases, but rather your expectations, what do you think, what do you believe that the future holds for Neo Noir? And what do you wish that will happen in the future with the band?
If we continue working as we are doing it, we expect to have a serious record deal… and it’s not a fantasy of mine, it’s something really feasible, we are really close of that goal. As I said to you… we are rehearsing so I think maybe in the future we will have some international tours but the most important thing is that the people enjoy our art and feel identified, if we make that, we will be able to say that Neo Noir has fulfilled the purpose and we did what we had to do. In a personal way I just want to continue with this passion called Neo Noir.
We reach the end of the interview. Thank you very much one more time for the answers. I hope you enjoyed this as well as the people that read it. I wish you all the best in your present and future endeavours. Do you have any last words about our readers?
Yes, I really enjoyed this interview it was awesome!! I just want to thank you and also thanks to the readers for their interest. I wish you the best, take care!!
Enrique Garcia – Neo Noir.October 15, 2015