Finnish electro/EBM/pop formation Neuroactive this year released its seventh studio album entitled “Minor Side Effects”. I think we might consider this new album as a real special one as master mind Jarkko Tuohimaa reunited with his two original band mates Vesa Raine and Ville Brusi. It also is the first album released on the Belgian leading electro label Alfa Matrix. “Minor Side Effects” is a mature production revealing multiple noticeable songs with a very own sound DNA. Jarkko Tuohimaa answered a few questions about the new work.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Whilst reading this interview, you can check out the album below.
Q: The new album “Minor Side Effects” is for sure a special one and even a milestone in Neuroactive’s history as all original- & core members have been reunited. How did this happened and how did it feel to work back again after all these years?
Jarkko: First of all I must say it’s been really fun working with all of them again after all these years. And it’s great if it raises some interest among listeners too. That said I have been in contact with them most of that time. During these past years I have done some remixing and mastering work for their music projects: Huminoida, Flux Fin and Aeronaut V.
Biggest difference on working with them is: everything is now done separately. We communicate thru web and send back and forth audio files. We used to record all stuff in my studio. I think it gives vocal recordings more privacy to concentrate on performance.
Q: Neuroactive no longer release albums at regular basis, but we now had to wait for six years on the new work. I can imagine there’re other things in life than only music, but how does it feel as a musician/artist to remain all these years without holding a new album in your hands? When did you finally start the writing and recording of the new work?
Jarkko: I must say it’s always intriguing feeling to have a new album in your hand. There is a very special feeling about this one. I feel it holds some legacy ingredients of Neuroactive thrown in a new bag.
When you have done as many albums as I, you end up having quite a lot material in the drawer. There are many songs which are quite old and refreshed for this album. Newest material is the songs Vesa is singing. In my head I’m always working on a new album; never really stopped doing new music. I have just said to myself: don’t push it. It will be ready when it’s ready. There isn’t really a point trying to make an album every year. That’s not something I want from music. There is certain beauty over a long period music creation. You must know when it’s done.
Q: Tell us a bit more about “Minor Side-Effects”? What is this album all about? What did you try to reflect by the title of the album and the explicit link with the artwork?
Jarkko: There has been a lot of connection with Neuroactive releases to medical things and human anatomy. That’s kind of history speaking there. First connection you can draw from the album title is: there are Neuroactive drugs which might have some minor side-effects (probably quite big ones -I assume). Artwork was made from that initial idea. Second bit ironic idea of the title is that these tracks should create some sort of addiction (as good music usually do). The album was at first titled as: “Side-effects”, but after one doctor prescribed me some drug and said: ‘this drug is known to have only minor side-effects’. I ended having quite serious side-effects. So there is a real life connection to this title. It’s funny that way…
Q: Two songs from the album have been sung by guest singer John Peverieri from Halo Effect. How did you came in touch and what did John added you don’t have? How did this collaboration happened?
Jarkko: I came in contact with John when I did a remix from Halo Effects ”Again”. I was really fond of his vocal style. So I asked him if he could sing a song for the next Neuroactive album. John agreed to work with me. John did really a great performance and lyrics on both songs. I have enjoyed working with him. This is quite common for me to work with people whom I worked in the past.
Q: Neuroactive is a band you can directly recognize because of the typical sounds and arrangements. What makes this particular sound DNA? Can you reveal specific tricks and maybe some criteria when it comes to production? What about specific equipment?
Jarkko: There are certain things in sound that intrigue me: Clarity, Crispiness, Some Saturation, Punctual Clear Bass. That is the essence of my sound. That’s what I seek for in mix. I have worked as a professional sound designer over 2 decades now. So mixing is quite important to me and comes with the profession. During the recent years I’ve been interested in modular synths. It’s the uniqueness of these self built and collected systems that makes it interesting. The latest album is made with hybrid setup. There is some hardware and some software. Mixing is done in the box with Logic Pro.
Q: The new album also is your first album released on Alfa Matrix. After having worked with smaller –and unfortunately defunct labels like Cyberware Productions and A Different Drum, you’re now (finally) signed to leading label. How do you look back at label experiences and what’s the importance of a label today?
Jarkko: Call me old-fashioned, but I see lot of relevance working with a label. Importance is same as it has always been. Usually the biggest pros are connections and client base that already exist. I see Alfa Matrix as a movement… it draws like minded. I’m very glad to be on this label… it’s been amazing.