Over the years the extreme metal scene in Montréal (Canada) provided the world with some excellent bands, like Cryptopsy, Augury, Beneath The Massacre and Unexpect. Neuraxis are another high quality band from that area. Despite releasing two great albums in the form of Trilateral Progression and The Thin Line Between, they’re still relatively unknown. Hopefully this will change with Asylon, their latest album. I had the pleasure of doing an interview with guitarist Rob Milly. He was more then happy to share his thoughts on the creative and recording process of the new album, the recent line-up changes and the relative obscurity of Neuraxis…
Thank you for doing this interview with Home Nucleonics. The main reason for our little chat is your latest album, Asylon. Are you happy the way it turned out?
Yes, it would be the album i am the most proud of with Neuraxis. Everything from writing the music, the concepts of the lyrics, working with the new members and the recording process was great also.
In my view Asylon continues the path set on Trilateral Progression and The Thin Line Between, although your new album has a somewhat heavier and gritty production. What’s your take on it
It has the vicious and unrelenting feeling from Trilateral and also has some darker stuff that we touched upon on Thin Line but this one really has lifted us to a new level. I prefer the production on Asylon, its has a more natural and real sound than on our previous album.
Asylon also marks the recording debut for Oli Beaudoin (drums) and Oli Pinard (bass). What did they bring to the table creatively and how did they presence influence the creative and recording process of your latest album?
The starting process of writing Asylon started before the Oli’s joined. I had started compiling riffs for about 3 songs and Alex had new lyrics and a clear idea of what the concept would be. We hired the Oli’s first for live shows and we got to know each other and it was obvious they were a perfect match with me and Alex. After that the process started really smooth and fast. I would send the members a skeleton of a song i wrote and Oli would add his drums parts and also suggest arrangements. Oli Pinard would write his own bass parts that really were different from my guitar parts. Together with Alex we would finalize the structures of the drums and everything just flowed out smoothly. It was intense work that we tackled for about a 6 month period. The recording went really good as well. We call Oli Beaudoin Tiger because he tears up his drum kit so viciously. He nailed his parts in 3 days. The guitars were just as intense, because he handled all the rhythms and leads as well. We call Oli Pinard Fetus, and he nailed his bass parts really fast as well. Alex had a lot time to record his vocals this time and it really helped the process.
The recording sessions were led by Chris Donaldson (Cryptopsy), a fairly young but very talented producer. How did the recording sessions go compared to your previous experiences? How is it like to work with him?
The process was as smooth as we have ever had. Chris was a pleasure to work with. Usually we are always pressed for time when recording but this time everything went according as planned. Also it was recorded in June so the weather was great.
What I really like about Neuraxis is your ability to fuse intelligent songwriting, melody, technicality and groove together and sound heavy like hell. How do you manage to pull that off? How important is it for the band to write actual songs instead of epic piles of technical riffs?
I suppose it has to do with my musical influences. I started out listening to classic metal and thrash metal, and then death metal so i think this influenced my writing style. The main thing is to have solid songs. We are not interested in showing off every skill we know. Its cooler to show in moderation so it doesn’t get repetitive.
Neuraxis is no stranger to line-up changes. It is a nuisance to you or do you see it as an opportunity to break some new ground?
With every new line-up Neuraxis has evolved and we try not to put out the same album each time. It’s like a renewal every few years. Of course going through the situations when things are not working out with a certain member can be emotionally and physically draining.
A couple of years ago I saw you guys performing at de Baroeg (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) promoting Triaterial Progression. I was really blown away by the sheer intensity of the band’s performance. Sadly enough Neuraxis is still a relatively unknown band, despite having a coupe of really great records under your belt. What’s your take on the situation?
I think Neuraxis has just not been able to tour intensely so of course this is the main way to gain new fans. In a way its ok that we have not become hugely popular. It enables us to experiment and not be held down because of demands of labels, managers…etc that get in the way when a band becomes popular.
Montreal, Quebec, the city were you’re from is quite famous for its share of talented bands, like Augury, Martyr, Cryptopy, Quo Vadis and Unexpect to name a few. All these band have specific sound of their own, while many, mainly American, counterparts do their utmost best to sound like Cannibal Corpse, Suffocation or Morbid Angel. What are your thoughts on this?
I think Quebec has a wide array of bands that are inspired to do something original. It’s hard to pin point why but it could be the French culture. It’s a mix of European and American cultures. The population isn’t has big compared to the US so it enables us to have a more distinct sound.
Neuraxis has a lot of touring ahead of you, though it’s mainly in the US and Canada. Is there any change the band will return to Europe and The Netherlands? I would love to see you guys live again!
We are currently touring with Deicide and then we go out with Sepultura shortly after. No plans yet for Europe. We are going to check into this because we NEED to come back again.
Time for the last question. What are your absolute highs and lows with Neuraxis and what further goals do you have with the rest of the guys?
Highs are making music that we love and working together as a team to create something we are proud of. Touring and making new friends and fans is a huge high as well. The lows are just when things don’t work out with a fellow band member. It’s like loosing a brother or best friend.
Thank you for your time. If you got any final thoughts or remarks, please put them here:
Thanks for the interview and support for Neuraxis. Hope we can play for your readers in The Netherlands sometime very soon. Hails!!!
Written by Raymond Westland