Jan Pilik

Neurotic Machinery

Metal is a democratic musical genre and can appear in any country of the world. And after long years drowned by communist dictatorship, the Eastern countries of Europe are giving rise for names that can be as relevant as the ones that are seen in the USA, Germany, Sweden and other musical schools throughout the world. And NEUROTIC MACHINERY from Czechia, shows its musical talent on "Nocturnal Misery", their latest release. Metal Temple writer Marcos Garcia had the chance talk with them, to check about how things worked out in the past, are working by now and their future plans.
October 17, 2020
Jan Pilik - Neurotic Machinery interview
Hi guys. Thank you for this interview. So the first one for introduce you to the readers: tell us a little about the band, how the things started and all the way until this moment. It's a very long road since 2006, the year the band was founded.

The band was formed, as you correctly say, in 2006. It was based on a few members of a black metal band Neron, with the desire to shift genres, explore and experiment. Throughout the years, there have been numerous influences, numerous lineup changes and even more ideas - and that is also obvious when listening to the albums, through the years the style never stayed exactly the same.

"Nocturnal Misery" is your fifth release. When dealing with the song on the review, personally I thought that your music is not something simple, for it gathers many influences, from the past and even from modern Metal genres. Are these influences something that comes intentionally or they flow in a spontaneous form into your music during the songs' writing process?

It's probably safe to say that both is correct. During creation of the material, all the influences and ideas flow in organically, since there are five musicians with quite different tastes in music in the band. This proves to be an asset, since nobody is enclosed in a single-style bubble and everyone is open to experimentation. Michal is the main songwriter but he is open to suggestions all the way through the creative process. We don't usually clash and differences are always resolved without hot blood. However, during the final adjustments, when finishing the songs, we tend to think a little bit more and spice things up with intention – so the influences there are a bit more deliberate. All in all, though, the process is more about feeling and musical atmosphere than thinking and any kind of "strategy".

Once we have told about musical influences, what are the bands that influenced you as musician, and what are the ones that influence NEUROTIC MACHINERY as a band?

There are many, hard to speak specifically. As said a while ago, the musical tastes in the band are very diverse, so it would be quite difficult, if not unfair, to name just a few of those, who influence our view on music. And the full list would be easily for an hour's reading. As a band we enjoy also a diverse mixture of music – in our tour van you could probably play anything with an idea and never get told off. No matter the style.

Tonda Smrčka (A.K.A. Seabeast) worked on the mixing and mastering of the album. It seems to be his first work with him, isn't it? How did you have the idea to bring him in the project? And what do you think about his work with you?

We got a tip from our friends from another Czech band, and we couldn't have wished for a better one. Tonda's ear for music proved the ideal one for our material and we are much pleased with what came out of this co-operation. It truly was the first time we worked with him, but most likely it wasn't the last one.

It's a long way sing "Catalept" days. So how do you see the things from then until now? How do you compare "Nocturnal Misery" with your past albums? What are the different musical features between them?

True, a long way it is. We've learned something in every stage (album) of the way, and it's probably quite obvious when you listen to the albums chronologically. As for "Nocturnal Misery", the main difference are downtuned guitars and first time we've employed two harsh vocals. All this mixed with experience, darker times in our lives and thus a bit more anger in the music and lyrics resulted in quite a darker sound and gloomier atmosphere backing the overall stronger aggressiveness of the album. There are bits of black metal, djent or industrial influences, some progressive and melodic parts, but still the main drive is honest death metal music.

A matter that can make people curious: the use of two different vocalists. Obviously it creates an ample set of contrasts. But looking your past albums, it seems that, in the beginning, this wasn't the main idea, but something that happened in a very spontaneous form, isn't it? And how are things working with Jan Pilík, as "Nocturnal Misery" is his first with the band?

The thing unfolded quite spontaneously. Jan used to stand in with us briefly in 2014, and then again in 2018, when Ondra had to take a break to deliver his newborn. On the latter occasion, Ondra's return came a gig sooner than expected and since we were all there, we decided to play the gig with both of them. After that we realized that this setup was working well, giving us quite a bit more force on stage, so after a brief discussion, we kept Jan in the lineup. And "Nocturnal Misery" was then written with both vocalists in mind. How that worked is for you to decide.

Even with the actual scenario of this pandemic, what made the entire scene stop, how things are working for "Nocturnal Misery"? How is the press and fans receiving the album? And being an independent band isn't a problem in matters as distribution and press?

Well, our tour to support the album was planned between March 13 and May 22, it was supposed to include also some abroad gigs, but those exact dates ended up being the lockdown, so that gave us much joy indeed… But not to complain, these things happen, so we came to social media. There was a release party streamed online from our rehearsal room, we published quite a few playthroughs and some live interviews, and to our surprise, people got interested and kept ordering our merchandise – just now we had to order a second batch because it had been almost completely sold out. So as for fans, it seems we have pleased them. As for press, the reviews usually get very favourable marks, so we are well satisfied, too. The tour dates were either cancelled or rescheduled and just about now we are starting to tour again, so fingers crossed that it lasts. As for our independency, we haven't yet found a label or publisher that wouldn't have too many demands, and as an independent band we have full control over our music, and that's something we like. We do have some distributors though, who we cooperate with, and we are happy to work with them.

And about the lyrics? What are the ideas expressed on them? Is there a main concept behind "Nocturnal Misery" lyrics? Maybe an idea is permeating them.

"Nocturnal Misery" is not a concept album, however, there are recurring themes. We like to give our listeners a chance to find their own understanding and their own experience, so we don't like to explain too much. What we will say is, that the inspiration is a person's struggle in life, and those darker times in our own lives that were mentioned before in this interview.

"Nocturnal Misery" was released in the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic in Europe, so we can think that it cause a change on the band's plan, because shows could be going to happen if the pandemic didn't happen. So what did you done in these months of lockdown? And are there plans for future shows?

As we said before, it did change our plans quite severely. We streamed and posted and kept our fans in the loop. The tour has been resumed in summer, some shows were postponed to next year, some are happening now (autumn 2020). And we are of course progressively adding some shows as time flows and situation allows.

Ok, I know that's too early to think of, but are there plans for another release? Maybe you're thinking of a live album, of even an EP?

There are plans, maybe of an album, maybe of an EP… Maybe aliens will come and join our band (wink, wink). Well, we are planning stuff, but it's too early to be specific. The second we decide to drop the bomb, our fans and the press will know.

And about the videos to promote "Nocturnal Misery", why you choose "Slave" for official video, and "Nocturnal" for a lyric video? Is there a deeper reason for these choices?

"Slave" was chosen because we feel it kind of encompasses everything the album can offer. Also, we had an idea how to create the visual aspect of the song. And "Nocturnal" is the title song, so it seemed an obvious choice. The two songs are in our opinion good representatives of who Neurotic Machinery are now, so we probably felt it a logical way to go.

Well, that's it. I thank you again for this interview, hope NEUROTIC MACHINERY a great success, and please, leave your message for our readers.

Thanks Metal Temple for giving us space and exposure and for this interesting interview! And to all the fans: Thanks for being there not only for us, but for the whole metal community in these hard times! If you are interested in more from Neurotic Machinery, follow us on Facebook, check our Bandcamp (neuroticmachinery.bandcamp.com), or check out our music on Spotify and all the other streaming services or meet us at one of our future shows! And above all, stay Neurotic!

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