Date: April 2018
Interview by: Sabrina Selkis
Photography by: Live by Sara Matos, others by Karla Da Silva
Who said Rock&Roll was dead? London based-band Neon Animal strongly disagrees and they are on a mission to bring it back! With their debut album “Bring back Rock&Roll From The Dead”, they are definitely proving they have what it takes to take on such a massive challenge.
Read our interview to find more about Neon Animal.
Your debut album “Bring back Rock&Roll From The Dead” is out 23rd of March 2018, how would you describe this album?
Mark Thorn: I would say it’s a melting pot of my favourite elements of rock ‘n’ roll spanning the last 45 years with a modern twist. It’s got the surprises that in terms of scope of style that you might have heard in the early 70’s combining elements that wouldn’t be fused together nowadays which is due to the organic approach we have in that we try to let the song exist in it’s own right rather than just making a heard it all before genre record where each song sounds similar. Thus each song is unique and has a distinguished identity and the fact that we’re not trying to just recycle. It’s an album full of character.
Jonathan Gaglione: Simply put I would describe it as a classic rock album. We do have elements of more modern genres in there, but the common denominator is certainly the timelessness of the sounds, arrangements and to a degree of the topics treated too. We wanted to make an album we could look back at in 10 years and be able to safely say it is still meaningful. We worked really hard on every aspect of it (including artwork, by the very talented Joni Belaruski, who also plays drums in The Great Malarkey) so we were particularly wary about avoiding making a “flavour of the week” record.
How was its creative process? How well did the band collaborate for its debut album?
Mark Thorn: Often i had an unfinished blue print for a song that was maybe missing that essential ingredient although generally the idea was there. We nearly gave up on the title track and left it alone for months. Then Iv came along and it just clicked into place. There was that magic moment in the studio where that elusive rhythm put the missing piece of the musical jigsaw in place. “Spin”s completion was quite cosmic in a sense as i had wrote the lyrics and had an idea for a chorus and Miguel came had something that became the verse. It was like it was waiting for him to arrive and wave his magic wand over it as did Jonathan on “I’m Killing Myself…” noodling away in the background and i was like “That’s it!”. “From Hero To Zero” was probably an exception in that Miguel had the entire structure mapped out and i loved it immediately and i looped it at home for days hoping some lyrics would appear to do his instrumentation justice. They did thankfully and it even inspired a completly different vocal approach that was hitherto unknown to me.
Jonathan Gaglione: Mark and I have known each other for some time now, however the over all line-up was still very fresh when we started working on BBRNRFTD. It was not an easy process, but nevertheless a necessary one. It took months in some cases before we could all come to an agreement where we were all happy with a song, but I would do it all over again. We didn’t know each other too well so we had to explore each other’s sound first and find the chemistry that is needed to write a good album together.
Do you have any favourite tracks? And why?
Mark Thorn: I love “I’m Killing Myself & Everyone Else Is Helping Me” because of the way it juggernauts in from the word go as the 1st track on the album and takes control and it’s an alternate take on the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Someone who’s taking resposibility for their actions but not control of their life. “Spin” too for it’s punchy, anthemic disenchantment with the political system. It’s kind of like a cross between the Sex Pistols “Anarchy In The Uk” meets Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It”! I like “Kiss Like Dynamite” too as it’s fun and sexy and good to dance to.
Jonathan Gaglione: This is the End. It has a depth lyrically and musically that really struck me. This was clear from the moment Miguel laid his guitar parts down in the recording studio (“O Silo” in Porto). It’s hard to describe in words but we all had some sort of transcendental moment, it was like we had been taken somewhere else for 6 minutes and then got dropped right back in the studio once the song had ended.
The album was mixed and produced by your guitarist Miguel Martins. Was that a smooth ride?
Mark Thorn: No and thankfully not! A smooth ride doesn’t always produce the best results and having a band member at the helm was a bonus as i knew it would be a labour of love for Miguel and corners would not be cut and he would sweat over the mixes until he was satisfied which is no easy endeavour for such a perfectionist!
Jonathan Gaglione: As smooth as it can be when you have a producer breathing down your neck! Jokes aside, it was great – we all learnt to recognize when Miguel was putting his producer hat on (which is not the “BDSM copper” hat he normally wears on stage), so we just dealt with it. It’s what was necessary to make a good album, we all knew that from the start.
Can you give us a sense of the British Rock&Roll scene today? Is it particular to London in your opinion?
Jonathan Gaglione: Not really, there are many valid bands outside of the capital. If anything, I think not being immersed in the rat-race 24/7 is good for a band. I swear time runs slower outside of London and that enables you to do more things with your time. Rehearsal and recording spaces are cheaper too which is definitely a plus. You see loads of very well rehearsed bands from outside London for all those reasons.
How did the band come to be formed?
Jonathan Gaglione: We always get that question, but we don’t have a solid answer for it yet! The London scene isn’t as big as you would imagine. We meant business from day 1, even as individual musicians, so it was just a matter of time before our paths would cross.
Was music always what each members wanted to do?
Jonathan Gaglione: Absolutely!
For more information check them out here : http://www.neonanimal.com/
“Bring Back Rock ‘n’ Roll From The Dead” is out NOW! You can now listen to the full album on Spotify!