Steve Von Till of Neurosis Discusses Latest Album ‘Honor Found in Decay’ + More
Neurosis singer and guitarist Steve Von Till was the guest on Full Metal Jackie’s radio show this past weekend. He spoke about the band’s new album ‘Honor Found in Decay,’ as well as creating music independently and on their own time. Read Full Metal Jackie’s interview with Steve Von Till below:
It was five years between albums before ‘Honor Found in Decay’ was released late last year. Creatively, how has that time between albums broken down? Is it a lot of time spent consciously thinking about new music or is it more about living a life of adventure that will ultimately manifest itself musically?
It’s more about just surrendering to the flow – it’s complete chaos, we have no set method and it’s definitely not time spent in the brain trying to conceive. This music comes from the heart and soul and it’s really just finding the time together over the years that are the hard part because we live quite spread out but most of it’s just waiting for it to demand attention.
It must be kind of cool not having people say, “Oh you have to put out this many records in this certain timeline,” so you sort of have creative freedom to let it come when it’s ready.
Absolutely, I mean we all work day jobs and have families and we run our own record label, so there’s no external pressure and that’s the way we like it. This music is so important to us as a form of expression that we really feel the need to keep it pure and the only way to really keep it pure is to keep all external influence out.
‘Honor Found in Decay’ is now being released on vinyl. What’s more obvious about Neurosis in that format compared to digital?
I think that’s the era we come from, the album time – where you sit and you put on an album and you absorb the whole thing while holding the artwork in your hand and reading the lyrics and just surrendering to it. I still love that format best myself, I think it sounds best and more natural, there’s more soul in it.
Would you consider yourself a purist when it comes to the styles of music that you listen to and recording and everything?
No, because you always go for what’s convenient too. I’ve got an iPod, probably like everyone else, but I still prefer to sit and play an album if I can.
What kind of stuff are you listening to these days?
All across the board, lately a lot of Joy Division and Amebix.
Visual presentation has always been such an integral part of Neurosis. You very recently announced discontinuing that element of the band; what made such a drastic change necessary at this point in the band’s career?
We always feel the need to push our boundaries and evolve and to go to new places we haven’t been and we’ve had visuals as part of our live performances since 1992. It just felt like it was time for a major change in that way. We started to feel that maybe it was a bit of a burden or that time has caught up to the multimedia aspect of what we’re doing and it no longer feels vital at this point – at least not the way we were doing it. It was time to just destroy it and put it away for a while and see what else comes new. Right now we’re enjoying just being completely liberated and playing under bright light and going for it.
Who exercises greater influence over what you do musically: other bands and musicians or the non-musical people central to your life?
I’d say the entire world probably influences us but it definitely has nothing to do with what other musicians are doing. I think music is the least influence on our music in some way because when you’re trying to find something original even though we’re all music fans and we love music and listen to a lot of music – when it comes time to create Neurosis music we have to let all of that slide and dissipate and not have other people influencing it.
Everything we see, everything we hear, everything we feel must influence some aspect of what we’re doing – it’s probably our emotional world and the world around us that influences us the most.
How do you feel about Neurosis being an influence to so many bands today?
That’s pretty much the biggest honor that we could have. We think about what our musical heroes meant to us and how we play this really unique, strange, self-centered, self-absorbed music and the fact that anybody else likes it is kind of amazing. The fact that it might go out in the world and be a positive influence and inspire other people to pick up guitars or find their own true musical path or artistic expression, that’s just a great feeling.
What can we expect from the band this year?
We’ll definitely be playing a few more shows around the United States and we’re hitting Europe in the summer and we’ll just see where it takes us.
Full Metal Jackie will welcome Kvelertak frontman Erlend Hjelvik to her program this coming weekend. She can be heard on radio stations around the country — for a full list of stations, go to fullmetaljackieradio.com.