Interview with Steve Von Till of
Neurosis, Tribes of Neurot, Neurot Recordings, and solo project "As the Crow Flies".
CRITICALTOM: First off, thanks for the promos. I was under the impression that Neurosis was a Hardcore band, but when I hear "Sovereign" I can’t picture the dorky Hardcore fan with his taboggon and baggy jeans listening to it. It is too non-commercial and intellectual.
STEVE: (laughs mostly).
CT: Is this the kind of music you guys envisioned 15 years ago when you
STEVE : Yes and no. We knew what we wanted to do but not always how we wanted to do it . . . Our vision is always beyond our abilities. Our vision has been there and it has been the driving force behind our music.
CT: Is the music on Sovereign typical of the other Neurosis albums?
STEVE: No, we’ve evolved. We’ve always had a good sense of dynamics, though. It’s definitely our latest stepping out, but it’s different. We’ve never been into following the trends. We’ve been compared to a lot of diverse sounds
CT: What other bands would you say fit "loosely" in your category?
STEVE: A band called . . . (I missed it and time ran out before I could remember to ask). They are slighly younger than us but have the same goal of putting out intelligent music. Tarantel. Galloping Coroners from Hungary who are some kind of weird cross between hard punk rock and psychadelic energy.
CT: The song titles for the "Sovereign" e.p. and your solo cd sound very spiritual. Tell me about that?
STEVE: They are spiritual. They come from within. We are very spiritual people. We draw a lot from spiritual things. We’re definitely not Christian, though.
CT: Each of these releases are completely different styles of music, yet the have the same mood in each.
STEVE: They are. They learn from each other, teach other.
CT: How do you write a song like Stained Glass?
STEVE: It just comes. I wrote it on the spot. I do it when the wife and kids are asleep. I usually start playing and then the song just comes from within.
CT: Are you into philosophy?
STEVE: A little. It can get real boring after a while, though.
CT: I mention it because I think each of these projects illustrate what Nietzsche would call "Dionysian" art.(to the reader: for the most part I think Nietzsche is a windbag, a Woody Allen pretending to be Arnold Swartzenegger kind of guy, but I think Nietzsche is right about this point, that art is either Apollonian, meaning "plastic", or Dionysian, meaning "inner, from the soul").
STEVE: You almost feel like you are a medium for the music. Right on.
CT: About Tribes of Neurot, why do you use the term "tribe"?
STEVE: More to express a sense of community. We’re all musicians who kind of think alike.
CT: The word "Neurot", is that French?
STEVE: No. That’s just a word we made up.
CT: I think the music here is a lot like the Passengers album done by the members of U2 along with Brian Eno and others.
STEVE: I’ve not heard it but I have some Eno stuff. I am a fan of his ambient stuff. Tribes of Neurot has the same spirit.
CT: Does it really take 6 people to make this music?
STEVE: Yes and no. It is so many possibilities at once. Some tracks are just one person; some tracks are all of us. It just depends.
CT: How would you describe your music to someone who has not heard it?
STEVE: Original, epic, emotional music that transcends boundaries. They need to be really open. It is music that requires attention. If you give it that commitment it’ll give something back.