I’ve been a fan of Neverworld since their first album and have already interviewed their main guitarist/singer Ben Colton previously. As they’ve just released their second album Dreamsnatcher, it seemed like the right time to get in touch once more and see what’s been going on…
For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!
Hello! We are Neverworld! Our sound is basically a mixture of traditional, power, progressive epic metal with a huge emphasis on melody. Basically if you like King Diamond,Queensrÿche, Fates Warning, Judas Priest, Helloween etc then I’d like to think you would quite like us too!
Give us a bit of background to Neverworld
Well we formed in September 2009 so we’ve been around a while now. Our vision was actually very simple really. We consider ourselves to be story tellers. An audio visual band is how I personally like to describe us. So we set out to do just that, telling our stories with melody and metal! In 2010 we released our début EP ‘Welcome To…’ and it got a lot of great reviews which was awesome to see. After a couple of years on the road solidly we started putting together the first album ‘Visions Of Another World‘ which we released in March 2014, again to critical acclaim. So we’ve been very lucky with the press and fans so far. About 18 months ago we started writing and recording our new album ‘Dreamsnatcher’ and just last week we released it on time for once! It’s been a fun ride so far. Sure we’ve had our ups and downs but we’ve played some amazing shows with some amazing bands along the way and these guys are my brothers. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter of Neverworld with these dudes. When you are in a band with your best friends…well it doesn’t get any better than that.
What are your influences?
As a band we are obviously all into metal but our influences are all quite different and I think that is great for song writing. For me I love so many bands. Music has been my passion since I was 4 years old so I’ve got a pretty huge music collection. My favourite styles are traditional, progressive, classic rock and AOR. There are a lot of bands out there who don’t get much attention and I often find they tend to be my biggest influences. I love all the big guns too like Maiden, Priest, Manowar, Van Halen, etc. but I’m also a huge fan of bands like Winger, Fates Warning, Crimson Glory, Magnum, Circus Maximus, etc. Guitar-wise there are so many great players out there. Especially now but I’d have to say Reb Beach, Tony Clarkin, Eddie Van Halen, Scot Gorham, Andy LaRouque, Slash, Dave Murray and Adrian Smith helped me get better and find my style more than anyone else. Singer wise, again there are so many. Rob Halford, Kip Winger, Ray Alder, Geoff Tate, Biff Byford, Ray Gillen, Brad Delp, Michael Eriksen, Midnight, Mike Andersson right through to David Bowie, Stevie Wonder and Luther Vandross believe it or not. What I love about the dudes I’ve just mentioned is that you know exactly who it is when they start singing. That is the mark of a great singer for me. Power, range and identity.
I listen to a lot of stuff because I hate to get bored of music. If I love a band or a song I try not to play it over and over so I tend to listen to lots of compilations I make for the car. Right at this very minute I’m listening to Magnitude 9, Cloudscape, Anubis Gate, Avantasia, Redemption and Circus Maximus. I’d like to just give a shout out to a few bands. Not just because they are friends of mine but because they are genuinely awesome. Bands like Neuronspoiler, Elm Street, Wardrum, Avenging Benji, The Deep, Kill Confirmed, Fat Nelly and Enbound. Outstanding music, please go check them all out. You can thank me later!
How do you feel that you fit into the wider Metal scene?
It’s really hard to say. What I do see with us is a broad age range listening to our music and coming to the shows. I think that’s a wonderful thing to be able to bridge the age gaps. I’m talking people in their mid teens to people in their mid 60’s! That’s awesome right?! I think our music has a lot of layers and depth. I’d like to think that we would appeal to all kinds of metalheads. Our music can be dark and brooding but also upbeat and positive. Like the moods of most people. Kind of a weird take on it I guess but people generally listen to music to make them feel a certain way. I think we cater for all but I will leave that up to the listener to decide!
Give us a bit of background to Dreamsnatcher – any particular concepts or ideas you want to discuss?
We really wanted this album to be a big step up in everything. Songs, production, musicianship, etc. I think we achieved what we set out to do and that was better ‘Visions Of Another World’. This album has more depth. More light and shade. It’s got its rockers and it’s got its epics. It pretty much sums up Neverworld and what we do. Song themes include a homage to the movies In The Mouth Of Madness and The Warriors much like we did with ‘They Live’ on the first album. There’s a dark ballad on there about falling for a girl in a dream, a song about serial killer lovers, a nice epic track about facing your fears. There’s a lot going on on this album. We worked very hard at crafting it and I took my time with the lyrics and vocal melodies to make sure the stories got told in the right way. It’s got a song for every mood and that is something we really wanted to have too.
How do you feel your sound has progressed between Dreamsnatcher and your previous album Visions of Another World?
It’s a massive cliché but it’s a more mature album. There’s nothing worse than treading water as a musician and I absolutely refuse to do that. One thing I really admire is when a band retain a signature sound but never make the same album twice. Fates Warning and Winger get a special mention for that. It’s hard to do. The only way to do it is to evolve and not be scared to take risks. In-between albums go learn new techniques. Go and listen to new music. It really does help you move on and get brand new ideas you’ve never thought of before. Half of the first album was written about 7-9 years ago. Of course we are all much better musicians now and that shows with the new album. I have no doubt the next one will be even more diverse!
Are you happy with how the album turned out?
Hey I’m a perfectionist so no! Haha I think there comes a point when you have to stop over analysing and just get it out and let the critics/fans decide. I’m happy with the songs. Like I said it’s a real step up from Visions and for that reason alone I am happy. I’m very critical of myself vocal wise but that just comes down to always wanting to deliver my absolute best. On the whole I think it’s the best album we could have put out at this point in time and I guess that’s all we could do.
How do you go about writing your songs?
There’s no rules here as such. Sometimes it’s a solo riff written at home and taken to the studio to be expanded and sometimes we either pair up or usually 3 of us will sit there bouncing ideas. There’s no science involved with us. It really depends on what story we are trying to tell and picking the music/melody to suit the theme. This band has some very talented musicians, all with different influences so it makes for very interesting writing sessions!
How did the recording process go?
Well the first album was an absolute bastard to make and this one wasn’t. It was a lot of fun actually and really helped us bond together that much more. Every week we would go into the studio and just write and record the demos as we went along. It was a great way of doing it and we just had a really good laugh too. We have a great work ethic but we are always laughing. It’s a great combination. Recording is fun. It’s being creative which is what being a musician is all about. I love the process until it comes to vocal harmonies! Haha! I hate doing them but the rest is all good. All in all the album took 18 months to write, record and release. Much better than the 3 and a half years Visions took!
What’s your favourite song on the album and why?
This is the hardest question you’ve asked! Because they are all quite different it’s hard to pick. I think I have a favourite to play live and a favourite to listen to. ‘Armies Of The Night’ is a great live track. Loads of solos, riffs, energy, etc. As for my favourite on the album I’m going to say ‘Into The Mouth Of Madness’ just because it kinda has it all. The big build up intro, the verses are cool, the chorus is cool and catchy. It’s just an epic of a track!
What does the future hold for Neverworld?
Hopefully quite a lot! We are going to be busy this year in terms of playing live and supporting the release. We are currently planning a small tour for October but will have quite a few shows up until then too. I think we are likely to go back into the studio this year to do a limited edition EP and then next year we will be writing and recording a concept album. I won’t give too much away on that just yet but it’s something that would suit us to the ground and the 3rd album seems to be the right time to do it. To keep up to date on all things Neverworld make sure you like our Facebook page and check out our lovely new website http://www.neverworldmetal.co.uk
Thank you for talking to me and I sincerely hope everybody enjoys the new album. It’s available on the site and waiting for your ears now!