Interview with John K. of Biomechanical

Hey, John, how thrilling is 2005 shaping up to be for Biomechanical?

It’s going well dude, what can I say things are good with Earache and hopefully our new album will do well. From doing the mix with Andy Sneap to flying over to America the experiences have been great. We will see how things go from now on.

The early reviews for the new "Empires of the Worlds" are really stellar. I've been listening and it SMOKES!

That’s great man. It has been a long time in the making and it’s awesome to get this kind of reaction. The writing started around the time when ‘Eight Moons’ was out and carried on sporadically throughout 2003/ 04. It was done during the promotion for ‘Eight Moons’ and also our search for a new record label. The recording was quite relaxed, as I said we didn’t have a deal at the time , we were taking our time while looking for a new record contract. Eight Moons got some great reviews and shortly after we got noticed by Elitist Records’ main man Lee Barrett. Lee offered us a deal and after negotiations we signed a four album deal with Elitist/Earache. The completion of this album was a very long journey but it was one that came to a conclusion in the best possible way.

The new CD is way more aggressive and brutal than "Eight Moons" which was very introspective. What's the main theme behind this one?

This is something we’ve been saying all along on our promotional interviews for Eight Moons. We wanted people to know ’The Empires…’ would be a heavier album so there would be no surprises and you are right it is a heavier album. Its form is different too. You can hear more of a sustained tempo consistency especially near the middle but at the same time it goes from one extreme to the other with slow paced tracks such as ’Long Time Dead’ to extra aggressive tracks such as ’Truth Denied’ The story from ‘Eight Moons’ continues through to ‘The Empires…’. As you know from before we chose to use a futuristic storyline as a vehicle in order to bring forward some of the issues that we wanted to talk about. On this album the lyrics deal with the aggressive nature of humanity and it explores issues of how we came to be the way we are.

Can you describe what the dramatic four-part Absolution set is about?

Sure thing, Absolution is the final part of ‘The Empires of the Worlds’. It starts with a warning. The character of our story sends this warning back to him self in the past to tell him about the future and make him see that he has to awake from the false reality he has been living in. Then he confronts what he considers to be the ultimate evil. Evil that manifests itself in the shape of all of the Empires of this and other worlds. The Empires represent our endless crave for power. Controlled by our genetic code we fall to our deaths in the name of God/Country, unable to see we are following The Code, powerless and without any questions. ‘From The Abyss’ is about the spiritual descent to darkness and the last moment before Absolution, which is about the catharsis of the soul again though self-realisation and Disintegration is the final part were he becomes pure energy in order to obliterate his enemy.

Is the any of it supposed to be a statement towards the militarism of yours (UK) and my country (US)?

Not at all. ‘The Empires’ is dealing with humanity as a whole and not as individual counties. The creation of militaristic forces is something that every country on this planet has developed for defensive or offensive purposes. As I said earlier in this album we talk about the fact that humans crave power and have formed Empires throughout the course of history or have wished they could have had the chance to do so. It’s in our own blood. We are genetically made to expand our existence and ‘eat up’ the different kind of human species. Pretty much like a virus. As far as I’m concerned it’s a global thing and the references in the songs don’t concentrate in specific countries.

People are sometimes at a loss to describe your music, calling it power-thrash, progressive-thrash, progressive-power-thrash, etc...what do you tend to refer to your own music as?

Just call it Metal. Had enough with labels : )

'Eight Moons' was produced extraordinarily well by you, so what did Andy Sneap really bring to the table on the new one?

Thanx dude. Nice of you to say so. Andy is a great producer and an awesome mixing engineer. The band and the record label were looking for the next step on the mixing front and to be honest with you I wanted to give the album a shot it deserved. Andy’s name was at the top of the list and we were very glad he took the project on board. I recorded and produced the album , so I had a definite idea of what I needed production wise and Andy co-produced and mixed the recordings. He gave the album a very crisp yet powerful feel and also mastered it too. I did give him a nightmare though, at the beginning I started the mix with the orchestral parts and he had a puzzled expression for a while, he was like "what tha fuck is this??". Vox and guitars/drums/bass kicked in and he breathed a sigh of relief. After that it all went smoothly Needless to say band and label are very happy with the final thing!!

Did your new label, Earache, give you artistic freedom for your vision of 'EotW' or did they push for a certain sound?

Actually I have to say man, the guys from Earache showed us complete trust, something that blew me away really. They did ask for pre mixes of the whole album but due to my set up it was impossible. They have shown complete faith and it’s very flattering to us knowing they have this kind of trust in us.

Were there any extra songs written that didn't make the cut for the CD?

Unfortunately no. As a songwriter I never write thirty songs and choose 12 or 13. I look at the album pretty much as a film project. It’s like shaping several cues from the same story and I then get a good feel of tempo/texture and number of tracks. So it’s mentally all laid down before I start writing. It’s easier this way (for me at least).

You guys did a video for "The Awakening" from the last CD and now you've shot "The Empires of the Worlds" for the new one. Any idea where it will be shown at?

We shot "The Empires…" a few weeks ago and I can’t wait to see the final cut!! We worked our tits off man. We are talking about 12 hours head banging!! What tha?? A lot of CG will take place so it’s too early to say anything about it. It will be posted on the Earache website as soon as it’s done, we’ll let you guys know!

"We are genetically made to expand our existence and ‘eat up’ the different kind of human species. Pretty much like a virus."
Any plans for a DVD of the band?

We have tons of stuff on DV so I’m sure some of this footage will see that light of day. I am not sure for a live DVD I think it’s too early for something like that, we’ll see how it goes

Do you ever get irritated with others constantly comparing your singing to Anselmo, Halford, Tate and the band's music to Pantera, Priest, etc.?

Not really. I understand why people do it though. One of your questions was about the trouble some people have labelling the band. I think all the references you mentioned is a result of the problem some people have in getting the band pigeonholed. Nobody would bother with that if we would play let’s say, melodic Power Metal as most bands draw their inspiration from a specific source and the same goes with Death Metal vocals for instance. The Death Metal growl sound is a standard in that kind of music but nobody bothers with comparisons as everybody is used to the idea that it’s OK for growls to sound similar and there is nothing wrong with that.

The thing with Biomech is that we play a style that derives from traditional metal with a forward edge of our time (as much as possible without sacrificing the traditional roots) all bonded together with the orchestral film scoring type of writing. The source is multi directional and that makes people eager to label the band. As a result you get the comparisons that you mentioned in an effort to put the band under a certain label.

To be honest I’m not going to pretend we are doing something totally different, After 30 years of Metal history it’s impossible to sound 100% original. And of course we have influences. Who doesn’t? But we always try to do something different all the time and I think we are going towards the right direction.

Any chance some of the cover tunes you guys have played (Painkiller, Raining Blood) will see the light of day?

Hmmm, not sure to be honest. If we ever do a live DVD or a live CD we will might include those tracks but for now we will only play them live.

Was Biomechanical basically getting so that you had to stop devoting time to your other band Balance of Power?

That’s correct. I found my self giving Biomechanical less that 100% and that bothered me a lot. Thing is I’m not just a singer for the band. I deal with song writing, production and even some times with the management and this can be a full time job. My experience with being in BoP and Biomechanical has shown me that -for me at least- artistically it’s impossible to be in two bands. As a musician you have something to say and I think you can easily lose direction by playing in two or three bands. I personally find it disorientating and I would prefer to focus in my band only.

You recently had a chance to play in Texas. How'd that go over?

‘Don’t mess with Texas’ is written on my official Texas fridge magnet : ). Man that was cool. The people were very nice and the festival it self was great. SXSW is an awesome music meeting. I’d go again if I had the chance. We played @ the Back Room in Austin. Great place and the guys there were very professional and extremely helpful. We made some friends over there and we hope to come back to the US soon!

Did you get a chance to rip it up with some local bands and drink a ton of brew?

Yeah man it was a good time! On the first day we went out to the festival in 6th street and saw a couple of bands in a DimeBag Darryl tribute gig. There was a guy with a huge video camera and he was filming. The problem was that he loved the music so much that he jumped in the mosh pit which was happening on stage! I would love to see the footage man! We did spend a lot of time with our buddies at The Back Room and I know Matt and Jon had a long session with them :) We had a promo day too (basically spreading the word about Biomechanical) and ended up talking to the guys from Novembers Doom (great dudes) and drinking until late with lots of Jack Daniels stickers and flashing badges in my drink, it was different : )

What kind of touring do you guys have lined up for this year?

We had a long chat about the touring with Earache. In essence we are a new band and we have just managed to get an Agent involved in the whole mix. So hopefully we’ll have some news soon on the touring front.

Any chance of Biomechanical hitting the States again sometime?

Earache got us a year long Visa to the US so I would think they would wanna send us back as soon as possible. I surely hope so! We had a great time over there!

What do you think of the new Priest and Dickinson CDs and what else you looking forward to this year?

The Dickinson CD has eluded me so far, (being super busy with promo stuff). The Priest CD wasn’t what I expected unfortunately. I hoped for a more powerful album, but hey, there is always the next one! I just got the latest Star Wars CD and it’s pretty good and I am waiting for the ’War of the Worlds’ soundtrack to be released soon! (Also by John Williams)

Any last words for everybody?

Just Metal On and thanx for your support!!!

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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