Feb. 7, 2013 10:46
An Act of Submission
“I’m not going to talk about personal shit,” says Scott Kelly, vocalist and guitarist for Neurosis. “I’m not going to talk about it. We’re not going to do that.”
Details be damned, Kelly does admit this: personal issues contributed to the delay and depth of Honor Found in Decay, the band’s first full-length album in five years. He continues, “We didn’t intend to take five years between records, but that had more to do with our lives and what was going on. That was what caused the delay, but the experiences we went through really came through on the record. The songs are more open emotionally than they have been before.”
Steve Von Till, who shares the vocal and guitar duties, said in a promotional trailer that there can be no legacy if the band doesn’t “continually burn down the past and plant seeds in the ashes.” Neurosis—whose lineup also includes Dave Edwardson (bass), Jason Roeder (drums) and Noah Landis (keyboards)—arguably cemented a legacy already as an influential metal band that defies boundaries. Still, this death and rebirth theme epitomizes the band’s artistic fire, and from the ashes arose an album with newly frayed emotions and a deeper electronic assimilation.
“It just so happened that Noah really nailed it,” says Kelly, responding to the album’s much-praised keyboard contributions. “It is very clear that he has moved into another space with his work and comfort level. His sounds really drove the record in many ways as we were writing it, more so than previously.”
Kelly sees the band’s divergent side projects as a positive influence as well. He adds, “Anytime you work within this craft, it helps broaden the scope. If [songwriting] is like a funnel, it makes the funnel bigger and allows more things to come in.”
As Neurosis approaches its 30th anniversary, the metal vets remain relevant by employing a novel approach. The band members prefer to support themselves with day jobs rather than live off the band and risk letting the business side of things overpower the art. This allows them to avoid long, punishing tour cycles that might sap their creative energy and enthusiasm. This mindset is evident when Kelly describes what other bands should do to find their own magic.
“Do whatever they must to find that spot inside themselves and commit to doing it,” he explains. “It is an act of submission. It is not like practice, practice, practice, and you’ll get better. You must turn your soul over to the shit. That is how it happens. You just have to turn it over and let it go.”
Appearing Feb. 16 at The Summit Music Hall in Denver.
V For Victory
In the past, Neurosis vocalist/guitarist Scott Kelly has talked about using psychedelic drugs and struggling with addiction, so he currently pursues a sober path. Still, as Neurosis heads to play in Denver later this month, he praises the state’s new marijuana laws. “I think that is great, man,” he says. “Decriminalization is a victory as far as I am concerned. It will help the economy and keep people out of prison. I don’t see weed as problematic, and much less so than alcohol and tobacco, let alone heroin, speed, cocaine and pharmaceuticals. As far as medical use, he adds, “Sure, why not? I am not a doctor, but totally. It makes perfect sense for me.”