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Johnny K. (Biomechanical)

Interview with Johnny K. from Biomechanical
by Michael Dalakos at 18 May 2005, 5:17 AM

Biomechanical has to be one of the biggest hopes of Heavy Metal music for the future. Their soon to be released second album, Empires of The World, is a journey to almost every genre of Heavy Metal music. I had the chance to chat with the band's vocalist, Johnny K., who was more then happy to answer all my questions.

OK John, first of all congratulations for your great new album. Let’s start this interview by summarizing the band’s activities after the release of your first work and prior entering the studio for the second one.

Thanks man, your review was one of the first to hit the Net and it was a great surprise for us to get this kind of reaction!! A lot of work has been put in for the realization of this album and this kind of reaction is justifying all the hard work. Well, the first album, Eight Moons, was released in October 2003. Since then the band filmed a video (for the The Awakening song) and played quite a few gigs in the UK. Headlined the second stage at the Bloodstock UK metalfest and toured the UK with fellow metallers FourWayKill and Infobia. We also went to Holland and played at the Headway (Prog-Metal fest).

The writing for The Empires of the Worlds started some time before the release of Eight Moons so when the debut album was released some of the tracks for The Empires of the Worlds were already written. After the release I was concentrating in promoting Eight Moons and also wanted to complete the writing of the new material. The writing was spread over a period of time because as I said we had a lot of promotional work to do for our debut album. The final track (Absolution) was written in the summer of 2004. Shortly after that I got the guys at my studio and recorded a four track promo. The tracks on the promo were Disintegration, The Empires of the Worlds, Assaulter and Existence.

The demo was titled Existenz and was sent to record labels only. It was done so that we could secure a new contract (we signed to Revolver for one album) for The Empires… and hopefully get a deal for the future albums too. We did get offers from various labels and we either had talks with small labels who offered weird contracts (i.e. 5 album deal with no prospect of promotion etc etc) or we had to deal with the fact that bigger companies couldn’t comprehend our style (most of the labels sign either melodic Power Metal or brutal Death Metal at the time) or other big labels wanted the band to get themselves somewhere first before committing any further. It was a bit weird I have to admit. At some point we thought it would be better for us to open our own label but the prospect of doing so is staggering. The amount of work involved is humongous. But we thought it would be the only way to make sure we would know exactly what is going on with the band and also we were confident that we had the same contacts as some of the small labels who offered us various deals. So from September 2003 onwards we were looking for ways to release this album and a few months later we got an e-mail from Lee Barrett (Elitist) who told us he was interested in signing Biomechanical with Elitist / Earache records. We realized very soon that both labels were very keen on Biomechanical and that they not only didn’t care how much cash the band has spent in self promotion or any of that crap but they also believed in our music 100%! After negotiations we finally got signed in September 2004!!

After that we talked about the production and we were very happy to find out that Andy Sneap was interested on doing the mix on the album!! It was a great conclusion to a very long journey! The release is set for 6th of June!

What can you tell us about the recording sessions of Empires Of The World?

The recordings were all done in my studio. The pace was quite relaxed as we started recording before we got signed. I basically recorded and produced the recording sessions. I also do the vocals by myself as I think it gives me time to pull the best results out of what I can do. I can never settle for second best when it comes down to recordings for vocals or otherwise.

I think you have to be like that if you want to be true to your self and the fans of the band. The guitars were recorded through a Line 6 Pod and the bass with the Bass Pod. Later on I took all the midi and audio recordings to Andy Sneap and mixed it at the Backstage studio from the 16th of January 2005 for nearly two weeks.

Is the new album a concept one? I have noticed that the last song is divided in four parts.

The Empires of the Worlds continues the story from Eight Moons. It is a concept album but not in a way where the story will be read like a book if you know what I mean. I wanted it to be more subliminal. I would like people to discover it from the net or in an interview like this one instead of having the story presented to them very clearly on the album. In its core it’s a sci-fi story of a man who has grown with a gun in his hands. Fed with hatred all his life he grows into a ruthless creature with no remorse or any respect for life.

Half way through the album he awakes from this false reality fabricated around him and re-awakes on the track Regenerated. The blow up point where he realizes the truth is Truth Denied and his final stand against all he came to hate is Absolution. Part one is the conflict between him and all evil manifesting itself in the form all of the Empires from this and other worlds. Part two and three are about the fall of his spirit in the abyss (From the Abyss) and the ascension and catharsis of his soul through self realization on the track Absolution. On part four (Disintegration) he becomes pure energy and obliterates his enemy.

As I said this is a futuristic story but in essence it describes real life situations and facts that trouble us but in a not-in-your-face way. The album explores the fact that we are all in fact slaves to our genetic make up. An ancient code that commands us from the dawn of time forces us to fight and obliterate each other. The code needs to live on and in order for this to happen we create conflicts, pain and misery. All atrocities masked with phrases such as in the name of God / Country etc. Meanwhile we are all watching reality bleeding through our TV sets, silently comfortable that we are thousands of miles away from whatever war takes place at the time.

The Empires is a reference to the thirst for power from the Human race. Most nations have created Empires and dreamed of taking over the world or craved for power at some point in history. All driven by the code, all blinded by it, just followed to their deaths. And even today with the advent of technology we can’t see the truth and attempt to better our world.

This album is about our spirits who are in an embryonic status. Blinded by the self fabricated world that we have built around us we fail to awake over and over again. It’s a heavy subject but it’s something that has been in my mind for quite a while and I always wanted to talk about it through songs. Thankfully Jon Collins, our bassist and lyric writer, has the same ideas for lyrics and it all worked out really well.    

You have signed a deal with Earache. Do you think this will boost the publicity of the band?

Most definitely. Earache has been around for a long time. The guys know what they are doing and both the promotional and distributional department is superb. They have expressed to us in several occasions how much they believe in the band. So far they have more than proved themselves with the fact that they financed the mix with Andy Sneap and also sent us to the U.S. for the SXSW Festival in Texas. A video is on its way as well and they are talks for up and coming tours. The guys from the label have been absolutely great!

Will you shoot any video clip for the promotion of the new album?

Funny enough we just finished a shoot for our video!! It was great fun, man. We chose to filmThe Empires of the Worlds. We all agreed that it was that one track that encapsulates Biomechanical’s music. We had Enemy Within in mind too but it was a bit too long.

The director is Adam Mason and he and his crew were fantastic. They did a great job, but I have to say, it was fucking hard work, man!!! We started filming at about 10:30 am and we were head banging like bitches for hours on end \[Laughs]. Fuuuuck!!! Next day we couldn’t move \[Laughs]. After the band shoot (get this) I had to be in a swimming pool where we filmed some really cool dark water sequences. I didn’t get out of that pool until 11:30 so the whole thing didn’t end until midnight.

It was a lot of work but I have a feeling it’s going to be awesome, dude. I can’t wait to see it!

Can you define the major differences between the new album and the previous one?

Well, Eight Moons was slightly more melodic and less hard than The Empires. Also the production was a lot darker. It did suit Eight Moons a lot and I find that The Empires lingers on a particular type of tempo and mode (especially near the middle of the album) than Eight Moons did. Hence Eight Moons had 9 tracks and The Empires has 14. The melodies did remain on the writing of The Empires. I chose to distribute them differently in the songs though. For instance the title track has a melodic chorus whereas The Assaulter has a melodic bridge and a brutal chorus. Same goes for Relinquished Destiny. Absolution has no such thing as Verse/Bridge/Chorus. So, my intentions were to break the mould of the usual song writing pattern and try something slightly different this time around. Also the actual music is a lot heavier but at the same time we are going to the extremes of very subdued tracks (Long Time Dead) to more brutal (Truth Denied) type of sound. All of course gelled together with the film scoring orchestral writing (something that has remained consistent in both albums). Also the complexities in the writing are more apparent in places but we are careful not to overdo them and lose the essence of the actual songs. All in all The Empires is a heavier album but still melodic and the orchestral writing has very much the same intensity as Eight Moons.

You combine your screaming vocals with the extreme music of the band. Do you think this is one of your trademarks? Generally, how important is it for you to have a personal sound?

From my observations I have come to the conclusion that singers nowadays either sing melodically or brutally. I always wanted to combine the two styles and also to mix high pitch vocal singing with more extreme stuff. Not that it hasn’t been done before but I felt there is space to take this style a bit further. The personal sound issue is a weird one. I would feel very pretentious to say we are totally different from anyone else because this is simply impossible. 30 years of Metal music being put together from some of the best musician’s on this planet is enough to make any new band sound like someone else.

However we are doing our best to create something new and avoid copying riffs and melodic lines and always we are trying to come up with something new to us. It’s an ongoing thing. Song writing is an evolutionary process. It shifts and evolves and it – hopefully - becomes something new. We are very pleased to hear that a lot of people regard Biomechanical as a band with its own sound as we know it’s a hard thing to achieve nowadays.

Lots of people think that heavy metal is dead in England. How exactly is the situation up there?

The Bloodstock metal fest (in Derby) was sold out last year and I expect the same this year too. I think it’s a good indication that Heavy Metal is still very much alive over here. I just think that metal bands need the chance to grow and it’s very much a case of these bands getting backing from their record labels. It’s also encouraging to see that there are many new bands out there releasing some good stuff!

Touring plans. Are there any? You have visited Greece in the past but you did not play in Athens. Why is that?

Earache is working on it at the moment. I can’t give you any details on touring as there isn’t anything specific yet but we are looking into it and hopefully we will come to Greece again. We wanted to play in Athens but the organizer who brought us in Thessaloniki had nothing to do with organizing gigs in Athens so this is the reason why we didn’t play. As I said I am very confident that when Earache sorts out a tour for us Greece will be a definite stop!

I know you have experimented in the past doing a video by using some Manga animation. Do you still like the idea?

I did use some footage from Akira for the song Distorted. You know I am so annoyed I can’t use this video. I spent a long time putting it together and the animation went so well with the song, it’s unreal!! I contacted the Japanese publishing company but they wouldn’t give me the rights as Akira was contracted to Warner Brothers. There is a chance they might release it as a movie (with actors, not an animation). If I had a chance I would love to make a vid with just Manga style animation though!! I love this stuff.

If you had the ability to change one thing in the music industry, what would that be?

At this point? I would love pure metal to be back in its former glory. It’s a hard thing to happen. Many labels spread themselves so thinly budget-wise that they don’t get the chance to invest properly on the bands they take on board. I really hope things will change for the better for Metal music!

Is there an album by a band you’re waiting for with great anticipation?

I am a massive John Williams fan so I can’t wait to hear what he has done for Star Wars Episode 3!!!

Thanks for your time. Please close this interview with a message to all our readers

Metal On you muthas!!! Thanks for your support dude and for all you crazy metalheads we hope to see ya on!


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