Chad Bowar: You have an entirely new lineup. What happened with the other guys, and how did you put together the new band?
John K: We basically had a massive argument over a few gigs with a UK metal band. I was really burned out, as I was working 14 months on the album, and from January 1st, 2007 until the album was done, I didn’t have a single day off. Things became even harder near the end because I worked 17 hour days for about three weeks. So things were pretty heavy for me. Chris Tsangarides had to interrupt the mixing because we went over the time we had planned for the mixing.
So I went back home for a week, but I still kept working on the album and the work was as intense as before. In that week we had four gigs to do with the UK band I mentioned earlier. As time came nearer, I realized that I simply couldn’t do the gigs. It would be too much for me, and I was certain I was gonna get ill, as I would have to work 20 hour days to finish on time.
I had no choice but to pull the gigs. I was very apologetic about it. I felt awful, but there was no question about it. The album had to be prioritized over four gigs. The reaction was pretty bad, at first indirect, but then it was suggested that the band should go and play without a singer, something I knew wasn’t professional unless you have the right amount of instrumental tracks. As soon as I told them how I felt, things got really heavy. They decided to vote out and play without a singer. I broke after that. I basically had to let them know that they either respect the fact that I put something like 95% of work for this band and allow me to make an executive decision once in a while (especially when it comes down to my health). If they couldn’t respect that then good luck to them. They made up their minds about three weeks after that and left Biomechanical. I still respect what they offered to the band so I wanna wish them all the best.
After that I had to go and finish the mix so I was pretty down as you can imagine. I had to pick myself up and find new band members. I was frantically looking on the internet to find people and thankfully I came across some incredible talent. Jonno Lodge was the first guy I came across. Incredible drummer, very much into Dream Theater and very versatile. After that, I was floored by the awesome skills from Greek guitarist Gus Drax. He is an incredible guitarist and has a great future. Then I was contacted by the guitarist from Chaosgenesis, Chris Van Hayden. He sent me a video and I have to say this guy is incredible. I had to double check he was playing the 7 string. He was handling it like it was the easiest thing in the world. Amazing. And lastly I was contacted by Adrian Lambert (ex-Dragonforce), and after a short audition, I knew that his super-fast playing was exactly right for Biomechanical. Again an awesome talent. It was hard work to find these people, but it’s worth it because they have been working non-stop on the material and can’t wait to hit the road.
What’s the storyline of this CD?
It ends the story that preceded Eight Moons and The Empires of the Worlds. This album is talking about the human spiritual death and the decline of the human society. It’s dealing with the issue of spiritual atrophy. As technology gets more advanced, the spirit gets more saturated with information, making any attempt to think impossible. Drowned in mundane things we’ve been turned away from the true state of our world and almost fed ignorance. And this can only lead to spiritual atrophy. On this album we use a character who realizes there is no way out of this reality, re-inserts himself into the Matrix, becomes one of the many and awaits his spiritual death. The album doesn’t run like a story but it’s a take on his emotions.
What has the early response been like?
Thankfully fantastic. You can never know these things. You can only do your best and take it from there.
What are your expectations?
At this point I can tell you that a lot of things that I was hoping would happen have already happened. I’m really pleased and grateful that awesome magazines have not only given the album incredible reviews, but they have also went out of their way to write massive features on us, offer a cover (Metal Hammer Greece) and really praise Biomechanical. The same goes for the Internet press. Their words have been incredible. And last but definitely not least fans are coming back with awesome comments about Cannibalised. To be honest I’m taken back from the reaction, again as I said because you just don’t know how these things can go. You do what you gotta do and take it from there.
How did you first decide to combine technical thrash with cinematic and orchestral elements?
I’ve been a huge film music fan since I was a kid. When I was introduced to metal I very much instantly felt that the two styles can merge successfully. It would be stupid of me to say that this is something new when Deep Purple played original material with an orchestra ages ago. What we can offer here is film music that comes from the classical composers who influenced the greats of film music, draw inspiration from the traditionalism of film music and avoid keyboard writing oriented orchestral music. It’s not an easy thing to do. You have to respect the riff of the given song, but at the same time write orchestral music that doesn’t just accompany the band. The orchestra is part of the song as opposed to it being a secondary element that enhances the sound.