Biomechanical | Interview with John K.

UK Thrash-Metal band Biomechanical may appear to have risen to the forefront ranks of the Metal scene over the last two years with a certain comfortable ease, but things haven’t exactly been smooth to the band’s driving force, vocalist John K, who saw the entire band back down on him after recording the parts for their third full-length album due to personal and professional differences.
Unabated by such trials and tribulations, John K have rebuilt Biomechanical’s line-up from scratch and completed the work on “Cannibalized”, which is set for release on 11th February 2008. Scratch the Surface had the chance to find out more about it from John K.

With such influential names like Napalm Death, Carcass, Morbid Angel and At the Gates filling their back-catalogue, UK independent record company Earache owned by underground legend Digby "Dig" Pearson was the label that gave birth to Grindcore with the release of Napalm Death’s debut album “Scum” in 1987 and nurtured its entire infancy with consequent releases from such seminal grind groups as Carcass, Brutal Truth, Terrorizer, Extreme Noise Terror and Anal Cunt. Earache Records is also credited for introducing Swedish legends Entombed and At the Gates to the world, whose debut albums have proven to be hugely influential on the years to come and even today we can see young bands from the four corners of the world playing Stockholm Death and Gothenburg Death-Metal. With the roll of the years, following the departure of bigger names and the signing of some dubious acts, the label lost some its momentum of yore. Well, things are about to change as Earache Records 21st century is determined to regain some of the ground lost to labels like Nuclear Blast and Century Media by spearheading the current revival of Thrash-Metal old style with the releases from SSS, Municipal Waste, Evile and Biomechanical. The later, despite having their name frequently lumped in the re-emerging Thrash movement doesn’t quite fit the model of retro-party-style Thrash Metal, sure they’ve taken a definite old school influence, but injected it with a multilayered technological sonority akin to film soundtracks that is becoming known as their very own brand of Judas Priest meets Strapping Lad.
Signed to Earache Records since 2004, the British Thrash Metal band fronted by Greece-born Yiannis Koutselinis, better known as John K is proof that the UK label is back on track. A British Thrash Metal band led by a Greek fellow?!?

“I moved to the UK in 1995.” Says John K when quizzed about how he ended up leading an UK Thrash-Metal band. “Tried out a few bands but nothing was really happening back then, so I gave up the band searching and concentrated on film scoring from 95 to 99. Started working at a studio from 1998 and in 1999 I started Biomechanical. The idea was to make an album just to get it out of my system. I didn’t pursue a big career from it.
But it seems the band got life of its own. I found that people were really interested in it so I got managed by the producer of the Cult and then was signed to Revolver Records. Small label but helped us to get noticed by Earache records with which we signed a record contract.”

Prior to Biomechanical did you ever had other projects/bands within the metal spectrum?

“I used to be in a band called Deceptor long time ago. Also I’ve recorded an album with Balance of Power whilst being with Biomechanical.”

The last six months have been rough on Biomechanical’s driving force John K, who saw the entire band back down on him, leaving the difficult task of completing the new album all to himself and in search of suitable replacements. During that time did you felt like giving up completely?

“It was very hard times but I just finished an album that took 14 months to write, record and produce. Quitting was not an option at that point. Had to press on and I am glad I managed to hook up with the new guys.”

Now backed up with a new band carefully chosen through various mediums and a third album ready to be unleashed, do you see this as a fresh new start for the band?

“It has to be man, gotta put the past behind you and do the best you can. The new guys are great people and wicked musicians so I can’t wait to get on the road with them.”

How about the new members, is the current line-up of Biomechanical a strong unit ready to endure the hardship life of a touring metal band?

“Time will tell, but from what I can hear from the rehearsals the new line up has a lot to offer musically.”

I guess the new members didn’t have the chance to give their input into the new album right? Are you receptive about future contributions of them?

“It was a very tricky situation. I wish I could replace the parts so that the new guys would have their stuff in the album but we simply run out of time. Chris Tsangarides is a very busy man and the next time he would be available would be January 2008. This would mean that the album would come out May 2008 and I couldn’t afford to have the album coming out so late.”

What can we expect from “Cannibalised”, can it be seen as a logical step forward when compared to the previous one “The Empire of the Worlds”, or is there major differences to be noticed?

“It’s much more vicious than the other two albums but this is something to be expected with an album titled Cannibalised. It feels right. It does feel like the style of the album is the logical evolution of the Biomechanical sound.”

Is there a concept behind “Cannibalised”?

“Yeah, “Cannibalised” closes a story that runs through “Eight Moons” and “The Empires of the Worlds”. It talks about the human spiritual death. The emotions are told from the character whose story runs through the other two albums. Each song has to do with his emotional state as he realizes that there is no way out of this reality and accepts that his spirit will perish.”

In zoology, the term cannibalism is extended to refer to any species consuming members of its own kind, so symbolically would you say men are getting more and more cannibalistic?
Human beings are increasingly and constantly sucking the life out of each others.

“I once watched a documentary called Animal-Cannibal and it was about cannibalism in the animal kingdom. A lot of principals were exactly the same as the ones that humans exercise within their society.
There was a group of monkeys who formed troops, went to the camp of a different family which carried a different genetic code. They kidnapped a baby and ate it to make a point. Rings a bell? The same relentless code resides within us, masked, unseen but definitely there.”