Hello and congratulations on your great debut album! Since Neo Noire is a totally new band for most of our readers, could you introduce Neo Noire to them?
Thank you Lykle. Neo Noire has been founded somewhere last year by my roommate Thomas Baumgartner and me when he asked me to found a new band together. We know each other since many years as we're both very active musicians in the local scene. After some time we became good friends and nowadays we even share a flat together. Also I was the live guitar-player in Undegod, one of Thomas' past bands. We're both coming from a bit different genres but still we share our passion for 90s and 70s rock/metal, so we decided to start this new project together with David (drums) and Franky (bass) which are pretty much 90s dudes as well. Last year we recorded our first album ‘Element’. On May 5th I am going to release the album via my label Czar Of Revelations.
’Element’ is an album that covers almost the entire modern rock spectrum and I’m even hearing some classic hardrock solos. How do you end up with this much diversity on one album, while still sounding coherent?
Especially Thomas is strongly influenced by 80s and 70s music which might explain the more Hard Rock / Classic Rock approach on a few parts. The songs arose pretty quick and organic and in spite of the many different influences it still is our own thing and a production which makes it sound homogenous.
’Element’ was released on your Czar of Crickets label, of which I’ve recently also reviewed When Icarus Falls’ latest album. Can you tell something about the history and purpose of your label?
Thanks for the When Icarus Falls review, their new album is brilliant. I founded the label eleven years ago because the support for smaller bands which were kind of more special than others pretty much sucked in this city. Through the years I found a way to build up my living with this label. In the origin it was a metal label but through the years I released bands from many different genres, so three years ago I decided to split the label in two sub labels. Czar Of Bullets presents the metal bands and Czar Of Revelations everything else from rock, instrumental, psychedelic rock, singer-songwriter, ambient, rock 'n' roll or folk music. We are a very active label and we also organize a two days festival every year which is mainly about Swiss music & art connected to music – there are bands and exhibitors. Also Thomas is strongly involved in this festival which was happening only two weeks ago.
Next to Neo Noire, you seem to be active in quite some other bands too, of which I mainly know Zatokrev. How are those bands doing, any new work coming up anytime soon?
With Zatokrev we are currently working on a split LP before we'll keep working on the follower album of our latest one called ‘Silk Spiders Underwater...’. We still play shows, especially we are very excited to play in Iceland at the Eistnaflug festival again this summer. Then I got my solo project called The Leaving, for which I currently don't have much time left. I also play in Crown – a French doom/industrial band, also there are new songs in the works – plus I founded a new band some time ago together with good friends (bass-player of Zeal & Ardor and drummer from MXPX). But this project has to wait a bit as well as we all are super busy at the moment.
Back to Neo Noire, what does the band name stand for?
We like the Neo Noir movie genre and its striking use of light and shadow and unusual camera placements. We felt kind of the same about the first few songs we wrote for Neo Noire and so Thomas came up with the idea of naming the band Neo Noire. For us, the name also expresses the feeling of a new beginning. A new black can be any color. In the song Neo Noire there is a line where Thomas sings „my black is fading, life gets neo noire…’. This explains very much the way we feel about it.
Not only the music on ‘Element’ is impressive, but the sound is great too! How did the recording process go?
We recorded drums and bass at the Rec Studio in Geneva with Serge Morattel. Guitars and vocals have been recorded in our flat. Mix and master was done by Raphaël Bovey at the MyRoom studio in Lausanne. The guys in Neo Noire liked how the last Zatokrev album was sounding so we decided to work with the same people. It worked out fantastic with them. I can just recommend them again and again.
What do the plans for live shows look like for Neo Noire?
For the moment there are several shows planned across Switzerland, Germany and Spain. More shows are in the works. We wanna play!
When you look back upon your musical career, which are the things that you are most proud of?
I'm especially proud of many of my decisions. I often decided things against the advice of others which was a good thing in the end. I grew up in a world with not much understanding for my musical passion. So many people tried to dissuade to do what I'm still doing today. I don't have any education and where we live it's something completely insane. But I don't regret anything. I had build up some kind of self-confidence and maybe a little bit of megalomania to defy the frustrated and narrow-minded people around me. I learned to follow my heart, to stand for my own and to do my own thing and to feel comfortable with it.
These days, there is a lot of discussion going on about the state of the music industry. As a record label manager and creative artist, how do you feel about developments on the internet, like downloading (legally and illegally) and media like Spotify?
It sucks for all of us but it is how it is. Nowadays a young dude feels himself as a supportive person when he invests 15 Euro every month in Spotify and for that he can stream everything he wants any time. in the past it was a cheap price of one CD album. People don't buy music anymore. Young people grow up in the thinking that music is for free. I know a few over 20 years old guys which never bought a sound carrier and that's the way it goes. Luckily we got that little bit of a vinyl hype, but who knows how long it will last – and still this hype is not mind-blowing enough to solve the disbalance. So bands have to play live more and sell merchandise. Luckily there are still many platforms (talking about Europe) where bands can play live. A plus is regarding that internet thing, that it's way easier for unknown artists nowadays to present themselves via numerous web channels, but even that is getting harder and harder due to the satiety of the music market – it's a big competition out there. Also digital technology makes it possible that bands can purchase recording material for an ok price and become producers on their own to save a lot of money they would otherwise have to invest in a professional studio and a sound engineer, but not everybody has the flair and the time to do it that way.
After coming in with a bang, what will the future hold for Neo Noire?
We'll try to play as many shows as possible. Already we started to work on new songs. We're a new band still and to me it feels like we are still in a deep development process and that there will be way better and more special stuff we should be able to write together.