John K. vocalist for Biomechanical - interview by Nailer

"Eight Moons" has just come out in America on Revolver Records. How are the initial sales going and is there any buzz developing for the band?

As far as I know the CD is out in the UK and Europe. Revolver is still working its way to the American distribution so hopefully it won't be long until the album will be out in the States. As I said, the album is just out and I have no idea other than that there was a good order for Europe from Plastic Head!! The most important thing is that a lot of people out there are talking about it. From message boards to chartrooms, etc. the album is circulating through fans and people who are interested about it and also the reviews are really important to us and so far we have had some great reviews! I suppose all I can say for now is so far so good.

When I first listened to the CD, I was amazed by the great production quality. Where did you learn your production skills?

Thanx man, I'm glad you liked it as I have worked really hard to produce it. I worked as assistant producer with Steve Brown (producer of 'The Cult' and the Mannix-amongst many others -) and he taught me production and sound engineering. At the time Steve opened his own publishing company 'Freedom 4' and he employed me as a programmer. I was left on the studio producing music for most of the projects the company was taking onboard. There through work I had to learn a great deal about sound engineering and production.

"Eight Moons" basically tells the story of a down and out guy who creates a world of his own where he transforms into a creature, Mekan, that obliterates his fears in an escapist world called Eight Moons. Correct?

Yeah that's it. I wanted to talk about a normal person someone who could be you and me. I wanted to talk about the fears we face in every day life and our will to obliterate them and abolish them from our lives. It's about that small dark space in the human soul that is there for us when we need it. Some people discover it and some people don't. The ones that do manage to escape and survive another day from the horrors of life. The character I chose to tell the story faces his fears that take the form of unspeakable terrors. Terrors that could be as horrible as real life even though I have to say reality is scarier than the most extreme fictional horror stories.

Didn't you feel like writing about dungeons and dragons and kings and wizards ...haha?

Not my bag I am afraid dude. Nothing wrong with it and I think there are some great bands out there who write for this kind of stuff but we prefer to talk about human dark emotions and feelings through a futuristic or a metaphysical approach for the time being. I am a big fan of Manga and comics such as 'The Spawn' & 'The Darkness', etc and I always wanted to fuse metal with these worlds. The topic might change on future albums but more than likely it will be about real situations.

Is the Mekan character a band mascot that we'll see again like Maiden's Eddie or is he just for the CD storyline?

That's a good question, not sure yet to be honest. We will keep him for as long as he goes through the stories of the albums and then we will reconsider. Even though he is the main character we chose to keep his existence a bit low key so that the story will be more ambiguous and will reflect on anybody who listens to the album.

So far there are three albums that involve him: 'Eight Moons', 'The Empires of the Worlds' and 'Cannibalised'. When these will be done and dusted then we will take it from there.

You've chose to use 20th century harmony used by film music writers and composers merged with the guitar riffs. To us uneducated, what the frig is the structure of 20th century harmony?

It's true I did use 20th century harmony due to the fact that I am a big film music fan. I love composers such as John Williams (my most favourite) who has written music for the biggest films including the Star Wars trilogy. I also like Jerry Goldsmith (Alien, The Omen ), Elliot Goldenthall (Pet Cemetery, Interview with the vampire) and many more great composers. When growing up, I was listening to their scores every day. Later on, I realised that a lot of these film music composers have been inspired by orchestral contemporary music that was spearheaded by the genius of Russian Igor Stravinsky and many other composers who were writing very innovative music at the first half of the last century. When I discovered metal I felt the same emotion when listening to some of the heavy writing that John Williams does in some of his scores (The Battle in the Snow from 'The Empire Strikes Back' is a prime example). I always wanted to combine the two and -hopefully- create something powerful and interesting.

To explain (if I can without sounding like a dick) the 20th century harmony, I would have to say that it doesn't conform in channels of the conventional harmonic structure i.e. very rarely stays on one key and sometimes there isn't a defined key in the composition!!

The first 60 years of the last century shaped the future of the contemporary orchestral writing as composers created new musical devises and techniques and developed a huge palette of sound formations and compositional styles.

"I wanted to talk about the fears we face in every day life and our will to obliterate them and abolish them from our lives."
Still the same traditional elements remain the same: counterpoint, harmony, rhythm and contrapuntal writing also is employed in order to produce these works. But instead of staying in one key you go anywhere you wish within the theoretical restrictions (and even beyond): Any chord can progress to any other chord and any rhythm can jump from any time signature to any time signature whatso ever. The sky is the limit.

Now were does our music come in? With the writing of a metal album you have to be careful. I mean I love 20th century harmony but it can alienate the listener very easily. So I had to be very careful to do it in a way were the harmony remains interesting but you also have a song to listen to. So the same format of Verse-Bridge and Chorus remains the same, the only thing that changes is the chord progression and the hormonal writing between the two guitars, bass and vocals and also the differences between rhythmical patterns.

Short answer huh? You asked!!

You have a lot of different vocal ranges on the CD, from Halford high to the gutteral sounds of Phil Anselmo. When did you discover you had such powerful vocal skills?

I am a big fan of these guys and also I think Dickinson and Tate are great too!! I started singing with a covers band and there I learned a lot about vocal placement and endurance as we worked really hard on rehearsals (nearly every day) and we did quite a few live gigs too. It was a very important time for me. I observed and studied many singers, from Dickinson to Axel Rose (don't ask) and it helped to develop a good vox style.

Do you ever have any trouble performing the songs live?

It took me a little while to adjust to the band situation after I stopped singing for a while. That was after I joined a hard rock band for a while. The crap we went through put me off of bands for quite a while. It's only when I met the guys from Biomechanical who are great musicians and totally ego free that I re-discovered the need to be with a band again. But now I feel extremely comfortable singing live. It's great fun!!

Do you have any personal favorite songs on the CD?

Don't know about one track that could be my absolute favourite. I love them all the same but if I had to choose I would say Eight Moons.

Is there anything on "Eight Moons" that in retrospect you would change?

Not on the album. If I would change something it would be the recording conditions. We had to relocate the studio @ some point and that was a bitch!! It took us a long time to get back to business.

Eight moons, huh...Why not Seven or Nine?

Good question my man! I wanted to write eight songs for an album and that was before the band was formed. So, one day I was talking about it with my other half and I said: These songs will be like eight moons around a central story. Then she said "great album title" and that's how it happened. Later on, I was amazed to find out by the album's lyricist that the moon has actually got eight phases. Weird shit huh?

I've read that some comic books may have inspired your writing ideas. Which ones?

As I said earlier 'The Spawn', 'The Darkness' and these type of comics.

You British guys really recolonized the mature readers market. Ever try to write a comic?

I would love to but I would like to be able to draw in order to get my ideas across. I totally suck at drawing!

Let me throw some popular comic names at you if would be kind enough to give us your thoughts:

OK I have little problem here:

The only thing I collect is John Williams' Cds. I have about 95 of them and am still getting more. So even though I love other things in life I can't say I am a collector. i.e metal Cds and comix are by far suffering as a consequence of me spending all my time and cash on Mr. Williams' scores. So I can't say I am an expert in comics but I will give it my best shot.

(forgive me but I might have to pass on a few)

Alan Moore (Swamp Thing, Watchmen)--Swamp thing: At night you can almost see it. (I like the narrative approach) I'll have to pass on Watchmen

Frank Miller (Daredevil, Batman)--I like batman more than daredevil

Todd McFarland (Spiderman, Spawn)--love the Spawn (full stop!!). Spiderman is a super classic character but I didn't like some of the later versions.

Neil Gaiman (Sandman)--Great illustration, dark stuff with modern fantasy.

Grant Morrison (The Filth, Invisibles)--Invisibles: smoking blue mold?? (glam-psychedelia); The Filth--Pass (came across it but the story was smudged, I think I need to know more)

Kevin Smith (Green Arrow, Clerks)--Green Arrow: Great stuff; Clerks: Pass

Jim Starlin (Warlock, Ironman)--Don't know enough about these comix, gotta pass.

Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan)--I like the futuristic feel and the great character (I think he is called Spider)

Jamie Delano (Hellblazer)--"I'm a nasty piece of work, chief. Ask anybody." Grungy urban horror, good stuff

Garth Ennis (Preacher, Punisher)--Don't know much about these ones other than the Punisher is coming out as a movie?

Counter question: What do you think about comics being turn to movies?

I think visually it's a great time to bring comic characters to life onscreen, but that a good script should be most important.

As with stuff I came across other than the comix you mentioned? Hmmmmmmmm I think it would be D.R. & Quinch's "Totally Awesome Guide To Life". I came across it once and I thought it was brilliant. You probably know it already but I had to give it a try :-)

Fill in the blank:
My fellow band members would probably say I'm "a-cocksucking-buttramming-motherfucker-of-a-producer-who-deserves-to-be hanged-by-the-balls-and-turned-in-side-out-from-his-anus-and-then-to-be-thrown-in-a-sea-of-toxic-waste-to-drown" to work with.

A video is supposed to be done for "The Awakening". Is it now finished and ready to unleash on us? Will it be available for viewing online??

Yep, the vid is ready and it should be on line soon!

You're touring soon with FOURWAYKILL and INFOBIA?

We are starting on the 22nd of October so I hope things will go well.

Is the next CD still going to be called "The Empires of the Worlds"?

Yes that's true. The material is ready and we have slowly started to record the foundations. We will step up the recordings Jan 2004. It's going to be a heavier album compared to 'Eight Moons' but it will retain melodies and orchestral arrangements throughout the album.

Has anything been started on that or CD that you can drop on us or is it still too early?

Too early my man, not to worry I will keep you up to date with all the new MP3s

What kind of MP3's are going to be available to the people that sign up on the website as Biomechanical members? Maybe your performances of "Cemetary Gates"and "Creeping Death"?

The new MP3s will be probably a priority link to the MP3s of the new tracks from 'The Empires'. Unfortunately we don't have any live recordings of the tracks you mentioned.

What other metal bands do you listen to? Any unknown ones that the world should know about?

The classic bands, you know, Maiden, Priest, Pantera, Metallica and from the latest I quite like Disturbed and Mudvayne. From the underground? Hmmmm... Gutworm is a very good grind-core band. I like Sikth and Labrat as well. UK has many more bands worth mentioning, from the power metal, Shadow Keep, from the grind core scene, killing Mode, Chaosphere and of course I would like to mention FourWayKill and Infobia with which we will be touring on the UK soon!!

Any chance of you guys playing any shows over here in America?

Man, we would love to!! We have to see how things go with festivals and things

How can a person purchase a copy of the CD "Eight Moons"?

It's in the shops in the UK (full list on the 'buy CD' button) and it will be out in Europe very soon!! On the internet it can be purchased on the HMV website: http://www.hmv.co.uk and from the Amust4music (our management) website: http://www.amust4music.com/biomechanical/start.html

Cheers for the interview and Metal-On!!!!

John KFrank Hill6/10/2005
John KFrank Hill10/23/2003

Frank Hill2/1/2008
Eight Moons
Frank Hill10/8/2003
Empires of the Worlds
Frank Hill6/12/2005

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