Interview with Nemesis Alpha

1) Hi! Tell me about your band and what kind of previous experience do you have as musicians?

We are called Nemesis Alpha and we are primarily a studio project/band. Band members include me, Rudy Leal, Joseph Church, Marcos Leal (Shattered Sun, Ill Nino) and Bjorn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork, The Night Flight Orchestra). I write and record all instruments/music, along with Joseph on guitars and additional keys/synth. Marcos and Bjorn both handle the vocal duties. Marcos and I use to play in Shattered Sun together for years when the band was first formed, then I joined the military as he kept that band still going today. Marcos has also taken up vocals for Ill Nino, while Bjorn has been the front man for the legendary band Soilwork for decades now and more recently, The Night Flight Orchestra for also a few years now.

2) Why did you pick your band name? How did you form? Why did you decide to play the genre or genres you do?

For the first album it was a one-man band where I wrote and recorded all the music, so I wanted something that fit that theme. I chose the name Nemesis Alpha because, to me, it conveyed the idea that although there may not be a full band, the music is just as technical, melodic, and heavy as any full band with multiple members. After the debut album, Joseph and I met and immediately started meshing our styles and writing much more technical music, which we used for this entire new album, “Eternal Machines”. I met Bjorn at shows over the years but he’s a busy man juggling his two main bands. I asked and gauged his interest in this project and luckily, he liked it and came on board for the first album, and again for the second. It’s been a dream to have his incredible range of vocals on this project and I can’t wait to keep writing with him. I’ve known Marcos for well over a decade now because of our time together in Shattered Sun and I thought he would be a perfect fit to bring in for this album. We worked the vocals together and he went way above and beyond his normal vocal range, bringing screams and cleans I’d never heard him do before. Overall having two singers with totally unique voices really brought diversity to the music and album together.

3) What can you tell us about your latest record?

Eternal Machines can be considered a semi-concept album with each song leading into the next, telling the story of how humans are constantly evolving. Each song concurrently explains the journey from the inception and creation of machines and technology to the eventual surpassing by our own technological creations and advances.

The first few songs take us through the past and current negative effects humans have had on the planet and life, while the middle songs continue the journey of how the machines have also evolved. Eventually the last songs and the finale describe the surpassing of our species, our insignificance, and how its eventual effects on future generations.

For this album, I wanted to completely revamp the sound and make it as brutal, technical and melodic as possible, and I feel we really accomplished that. We actually had to cut a fair number of fades and small transitions because when going to press physical CDs, we realized we had maxed out the time available on a compact disc at 74 min. and would to have gone double disc.

4) What the kind of album feedbacks are you waiting for?

We’re not really looking for pats on the back or extreme praise, we just want to know that people enjoy and appreciate the album and all the work that went into it. From the album artwork and layout, to the production, engineering, mixing and mastering, we want to show people our love for making this type of music. That being said, if we get any negative feedback, we will consider it and depending on what it is, take it into consideration so that it might give us new ideas for the future. In the end, we make music like this because it’s what we love and want to hear, and we’ll just be glad if it gets into the hands of other fans that like it also!

5) Are you gonna to make some world tour in the future? Do you think this is available for everybody option to tour around the globe? What do you think band have to do to get such opportunity?

Currently we are only a studio project/band, so it would be impossible to get everything lined up for something like that. Bjorn and Marcos have their main bands and are always on tour, and I am in the military so for me that’s not an option at all. The way I see it is that Joseph and I can get some members to play live locally and maybe regionally but getting all of us on one straight tour is unlikely. We will continue to keep making and releasing music the way we do now, with our current goal finishing an album every year or two.

6) Do you believe in heavy music scene without money?

I’ve lived the broke days of playing music, as well as the days of me having a full-time career, having a little more money, and doing it as a hobby. Although I would love to play music full-time, having the freedom to not rely on album sales, deadlines, and tours has been amazing.

I do feel that it can be done without money, but it takes ten times the dedication and work to get it done. I’ve seen it firsthand when bands break up or kick out members for financial reasons instead of friendship and/or musicianship; but I guess it’s all part of the business. I have been lucky, and unlucky, enough to be constantly deployed and make a little extra money to completely fund the entire project since it started. Now that we have signed with Sliptrick Records, it’s been great to have that backing as well.

7) What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?

I remember the Napster and LimeWire days and at first thought it was amazing because it was all free; and back then we would give our music away often just to get more fans and exposure. These days physical albums/CDs are far and between because it’s all about the digital downloads, streams, views, and likes. Honestly, I am a fan of both because of the speed and ease of download/stream to your phone, but I still buy physical albums/vinyl from my favorite bands, especially at shows.

8) Who are your musical influences? Have you ever think your band could be so famous as your favorites?

We are heavily influenced by older melodic death metal like In Flames, Soilwork, Dark Tranquility, and At the Gates, but we also get a lot of inspiration from newer technical bands like Obscura and Allegaeon. The idea is to make music that’s both very technical, yet still have those heavy melodic elements in it.

I think we could possibly become a somewhat well-known name in the more underground metal world, but we’re not striving to be famous, just get known enough for fans of this type of music to hear about us. If this album gets to at least twice as many people as the debut, we can consider that an accomplishment.

9) Do you have a formal music education? Do you think it’s a Kind of important thing?

I don’t personally, I was self-taught from the age of about 13, learning by ear and tabs. I wish I would’ve learned guitar theory and much more of the classical side of guitar because it can give you the foundation for songwriting and structure, but I’ve found it not knowing also gives me a wild, by-ear improvisation ability. Joseph has studied some guitar theory so he wrangles me in sometimes because I will play all over the place. Together we have learned to blend improv- and theory to make some unique and interesting melodies on this album.

10) How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?

That’s a tough one. I am active duty military and deploy a lot, so finding time to sit, write, record, and mix is almost impossible at times. When I’m not deployed, I am either training, working out or trying to do fun stuff with my family before I deploy again. My strategy has been to literally lock myself in my little studio for a full day or two and not come out until I have a killer song draft. From there Joseph and I get together, collaborate and refine until we both feel it can’t get any better. We then send it off to Bjorn who also must find time between tours, bands, and other obligations to record the songs. It’s the same thing with Marcos, who also works full-time when he is not on tour. We all have multiple other responsibilities, so our solution is scheduling through e-mail or messaging to make sure we get things done.

11) How do you handle mistakes during a performance? Or you can assure there are no any mistakes during your gigs? Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

A few mistakes are part of the show, as long as it’s not crazy noticeable or happening all the time. When Marcos and I used to play in Shattered Sun together, we prided ourselves on being the craziest live show, with no one ever standing still, no matter how technical the parts. That meant, just not drinking a crazy amount and just knowing your limits. Overall, with any band, I think mistakes are normal and to be expected as long as they don’t get out of control.

12) What’s next? Thank you!

We just released the first single/video, Soul Deceiver, off the new album and are releasing the second by the end of July. The album, “Eternal Machines”, will be out September 13, 2019 via Sliptrick Records so be on the lookout and pick it up!!

In the meantime, check out our social media for updates and thanks for having us!