As a HUGE fan of Neon Insect's debut album, Glitches, I can say with authority that the follow up has been one of my most anticipated albums of 2019. Finally, New Moscow Underground is here and it's so much better than I could have ever hoped for. It's a big, rambling behemoth of industrial fury with a perfectly tuned EBM heartbeat. Not only does it shine as one of 2019's best albums, Neon Insect has crafted a benchmark album that holds a dark beacon for others to follow. For fans of industrial and EBM, New Moscow Underground is a must own record, and for those of you that may be new to this style of music, welcome to the seedy underbelly that fuels the rest of electronic music from the shadows.
Right from the get go, New Moscow Underground shows itself as a huge leap forward from its predecessor. This is no small feat, as Glitches was a fine album on its own. Neon Insect obviously spent a lot, and I mean A LOT of time planning out this record. From the story, to the bold backbeats, and the stark message behind it all, New Moscow Underground is one of those albums that make you stand up and pay attention. It's an album of magnum opus proportions, so much so that I expect it have ripple effects, influencing those who are touched by its genius. I don't mean any of that as hyperbole or hype either, Neon Insect is the real deal, and we're lucky to be around at this exact time to be able to experience this album together.
New Moscow Underground is OUT NOW! It's a glitched out, militant, and in your face masterpiece, and I couldn't recommend it higher. Not only can you get it on digital, Neon Insect has it available on limited edition cassettes and compact disc as well. While you're checking those out, you might want to snag on of those awesome shirts too! Now that I've gotten you hooked on what Neon Insect is laying down, how about a nice conversation with the man behind the music?
-Welcome! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us about your new album!
Hi! My pleasure. Thanks for having me and for finding my album interesting enough to talk about!
-New Moscow Underground is a massive album...you’ve got voice actors, collaborations, and a story to tell. How did you keep it all organized?
Oh god, I don't even know. I was able to get some experience with voice actors on "Glitches" already, which actually had a more cryptic and scattered story. You just needed to search for it if you were curious enough. However, that helped to know before, what amount of work to expect.
"New Moscow Underground" is really massive, as it is expanding on the previous album. I didn't want to hide too much this time around, so I added a short story to it at the end. However, for those who buy something physical, they will again find something that bridges some gaps towards "Glitches" and the future after "New Moscow Underground". It was a huge amount of work most people won’t even know about, but that’s okay. I always wanted to reward those who put more attention to details.
In terms of keeping it organized. I really don't know. I think discipline and prioritizing work is a huge part of it, because it can be very overwhelming. I found myself often starting something I wanted and not finishing it, because the time was running and I had to set priorities. Always having something to do, is also a good thing. Sometimes you have to run after your voice actors to get the lines or to have something re-done. You can't afford to let this slow you down. So...if you can't work on this, work on something else that needs to be done.
-How do you decide who you work with? Do you seek specific people out or are there some happy accidents?
Most of the voice actors I worked with I knew from the time - or at least remotely had a connection to the time when I was working in video games. I knew they were reliable and I could build something bigger with them. And then I always try to bring in new people for smaller roles. That backfired once or twice, but I was prepared for that. And now I have more people I know I can contact in the future.
As for the music collaborations: Slighter contacted me after “Glitches” was released for a remix and I just let him do his thing and had something back in no time. NVRS and KVMILLA are internet friendships I would say and the result ended up great. And then some real life friendships with my neighbour and rapper Earl Squanchy, who appears on Mazerunner. I just pulled him into my studio. Same with Johanna.
-Your sound is so visceral and raw...it almost sounds dangerous, like you’re peeking into a window of a world you aren’t supposed to see. How do you create such an immersive audio world for your listeners?
It’s a bit like a puzzle. There are things I learned over my last years as an engineer for video games...reaching from field recording, foley work, to sound design. Out of those sources I like to build spheres, weird sounds and whatever I can use. Sometimes very organic, sometimes very synthetic. For “New Moscow Underground” what you described was indeed the intent. Even the lyrics in “It’s Gotta Be Me” literally say exactly this. I think, it’s also the most self-serving thing ever. The dystopian setting is just inspiring.
-Who inspired your musical path? What got you started?
What got me started, was me being sick of playing dead people’s music in the school band (laughs). I really don’t know. I just knew, when I was a kid and listened to the music in a cassette player, I wanted to be a rockstar or something like this. I wanted to create music. Just had it in me, I guess. It sort of started when I was 15 or 16, when I got myself a demo cd of music maker. And then someone gave me his Cubase SX 1 or 2 license and a bunch of plugins. And then I went from there.
-One book, one movie, one album, what do you pick?
Animal Farm by George Orwell. He was truly an amazing writer
The Matrix by The Wachowskis. I still love the trilogy (don’t hate me, even Revolutions) and I can’t wait for Matrix 4
YEAR ZERO by Nine Inch Nails. If you want an amazing concept album, that’s one
-What has impressed you so far in 2019? On the flip side, are there any trends that you just can’t get into?
Trends I can’t get into...Battle Royale and most of those online trends I just miss out to. I’m not a trendy kind of guy I guess. Just recently I even got my first smartphone. That’s how behind I am sometimes (laughs).
What has impressed me this year is the outspoken youth in Germany. The green party here is currently a strong power, due to the youth and their Fridays for Future movement. That really has me impressed and it’s important to see the next generation actually care. But other than that, the year was quite underwhelming.
-Any parting words before we go?
Of course, thank you for the interview, for your support over the past 18 months and for what you are doing for the synth family with Echosynthetic on nightride.fm
To all the readers, thanks for your interest in my answers. I hope I could make you interested in my new album, which you can check out here: neoninsect.bandcamp.com/releases