Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Not Above Evil Interview

1.Can i get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Not Above Evil was formed in late 2009 by Sideeq Mohammed, Daniel Mucs and David Gwynn with the intention of developing a unique brand of metal driven by brutality and technical precision. Only a few months after getting together the trio recruited fellow University of Manchester student, David Horton to serve as a lead guitarist and released the band's debut EP. In addition to receiving generally positive reviews the six songs off this self-titled EP would later form the basis of the band's first full length record, Deification, which they released in summer 2010. It was this release that earned them a reputation for their ability to meld heavy, technical riffs with intricate guitar melodies as well as for over the top, death-metal vocals. Critics described the album as 'well written' and 'played with confidence, self-assured, devilish pace and a crushing appetite for precision' but the consensus was that Deification was, ironically, a stepping stone to greater things. The band's second album, The Transcendental Signified, marks the debut of a new guitarist after the departure of David Horton in late 2010. After an almost year long search with many auditions and shows as a three-piece the band settled on Damien Levette to take on the role of lead guitarist alongside David Gwynn.
2. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

The lyrical content is largely philosophical based on our lead singer's studies and life experiences. There is also a lot of grim imagery which matches the screamed vocal style, but a lot of the songs have themes of bettering yourself and breaking out of bad situations.

3. How have the gigs you guys been doing been?

Pretty good, we've had some ups and downs like any young band, but we recently headlined a show in our home town playing the new album all the way through. We're supporting Aliases soon, the new band from ex-SiKth guitarist Pin.

4. What equipment do you guys use?

Marshall 1960 cabs, Peavey Valveking combo, Peavey Bass amp (don't know the model), Blackstar series one head, PRS and ESP guitars, Ibanez basses and Premier drums with gibralter hardware.

5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Our main influences are modern metal bands such as Mastodon, Lamb of God, Sylosis and Tool. We're all massive metalheads and are into 80's thrash especially. We all have different side tastes though, such as 70's prog rock, classical music, blues, prog metal and some indie/punk.

6. Do you remember your first show and what was it like?

Haha nerve wracking, I managed to break a guitar string mid song halfway through the set but I luckily had a spare guitar so just threw that straight on between riffs! We've been playing live over 2 years now.

7.What made you guys decide to form a band?

We were all looking to form a technical metal band and didn't know each other beforehand, but through some friends and the internet we came together to make music. Originally the band was intended to be more like Opeth/Dream Theater but collectively we were more into technical and thrash metal.

8.What is your opinion on sites posting your guys material and other bands material?

There's no point fighting it, and to be honest at this stage in our career it's better for us as it gives us exposure we otherwise wouldn't get. You can stream our latest release at the following link:

9.Is there any bands that you guys enjoyed playing with more then the others?

We have some really good friends in Manchester and we all support each other's bands. Some of the very talented bands we have shared a stage with are: Spires, Bisonhammer, Soma Dark and Incidium, who are playing their last gig in a week's time so we're all gonna go and say farewell with some headbanging and jager!

10. How do you guys feel about the classifications in metal? like deathcore, metalcore and other subgenres and how some get a negative rep.

I don't care too much for them, my favourite bands are always those that fearlessly push limits and don't give too much notice to labels. I think mainly they're a product of journalists who have to try and relate a band's sound as quickly as possible. I've always thought if we make a piece of music and we all enjoy it then it is a Not Above Evil song, even if it isn't necessarily metal.
11. What song do you enjoy playing the most?

I can only speak for myself when I say this but I enjoy playing Legion as it has a slew of super fast heavy riffs, and I only have a tiny bit of backing vocals at the end of the song so I can spend the rest of it headbanging relentlessly!

12. When not doing things with the band, what can you guys be seen doing?

We're all a bunch of nerds! Myself and the other guitar player have computer programming jobs, our lead singer is doing a Masters degree and our drummer is finishing a computational chemistry doctorate before taking a job doing Mathematical Modelling. Apart from that we like going to gigs, having a drink and playing music in some side-projects.

13.Your biggest band moment?

Getting a song onto rock band 3 DLC is pretty amazing, and from seeing it it has one of the hardest solos I've seen in that game! We've also had some really positive reviews of our latest cd and as explained earlier we'll be sharing the stage with one of my favourite guitar players from SiKth.

14. What is your opinion on the current state of metal?

Metal seems to be in good health. There's demand for it and it's nice to see people want to hear challenging music. There does however seem to be some apathy since music became so easy to get hold of, it can be really tricky trying to get a crowd for your shows or even for your friends to give the latest album a spin. Maybe that's because we live in a big city and there's constantly amazing gigs on.

15. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Me and the lead singer wrote a list of possible names each, and Not Above Evil was the only one that we all liked. I think one of the other potential names became a song name but I'd have to get the singer to confirm that.

16. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

We're gonna keep challenging what we're capable of as a band I hope. We'll probably have a new album within a year and this will be the first one our guitarist Damien will be a primary songwriter on, so we're looking forward to what he's got. We're also starting to get more magazine coverage and better gigs, so from here the only way is up!

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