By Rod Hunt
Unbelievably Bad Contributor
In a perfect world, The Neptune Power Federation live show would feature a giant animatronic Wizzard King holding a smoking bong in each hand that would rise above a flaming stack of amps and out over the crowd. We can only dream.
UB spoke with founding member and guitarist Inverted CruciFox, who works in satanic league with vocalist The Imperial Priestess, guitarist Search & DesTroy, bassplayer Jaytanic Ritual and drummer Mr Styx.
Did TNPF exist as a relatively well-formed concept in your mind before it became a band? And if that was the case, how does the band’s current line up and this new album stack up against that original idea?
Yeah the basic idea of an occult flavoured proto metal band has endured though lots of other ideas/concepts organically have entered the mix which is part of the fun. The arrival of The Imperial Priestess was not something I (or humanity at large) had factored in however she is now the iconic centrepiece of the band.
Was this third album more of a collaborative effort than the previous two albums, especially the debut? Assuming the answer is yes, in what ways did that impact the end result and did you have to relinquish some control?
Definitely. The first album was essentially a studio project in which our then singer Craigums (Your Mother, All You Can Eat, The Love Songs, Former World Air Guitar Champion) was laying down his best Rob Halford impression from his home studio over in the States and sending me the takes to mix at home. Troy just rocked up as a guest to lay down lead parts on the first couple of songs however was upgraded to permanent member halfway through the first solo. The band had never played together in the same room til after that album was released. These days we rehearse and work songs up like a normal band, and I’m happy to just bring in the shell of a song and let everyone do their thing. Each member really does bring something unique in terms of their music taste and skill set so you must let these mysterious forces dance, not lock them in a cage.
The album features a fair amount of additional instrumentation, samples, etc. Are you intending to recreate that live or do you view the studio and onstage as two separate things?
I kind of see them as two different things which I enjoy equally. It’s like my appreciation of Queen – I love their intricate, layered and classical approach to the studio but equally enjoy their stripped back, rougher live shows (in their classic ‘70s incarnation as opposed to what they’re up to these days). Having said that we have discussed the possibility of playing live with The Priestess’ backing vocals pre-recorded. As Jay said – it goes against every instinct of what we consider live music to be and yet for this band it seems like something we should aim towards. On yet another hand, I have seen this sort of thing go horribly embarrassingly wrong live (cough, Mötley Crüe, cough) which could be a warning not to go there.
If you were given the resources and production budget of a typical Iron Maiden show, what would you do with it for TNPF (and no you can’t say that you’d just take the cash and run)?
Dude, this would be all my dreams come true. We basically run the $2 shop version of the Iron Maiden stage show at the moment so a lot of stuff would just need to be scaled up. We’re very fond of our Beamz smoke machine so we’d probably just purchase another 100 of those. We have our version of Eddie called The Wizzard King (here’s his theme song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFuJgqMYnuw) who would shed his humble MDF based form to become fully animatronic with a smoking bong in each hand that would rise above the (flaming) stack wall and out over the crowd. There’d be lasers and pyro of course. Huge inflatable mushrooms that grow out of trap doors on the stage. I reckon I’d blow the cash in a heartbeat.
Can we dare to call this a ‘concept’ album? Is that a dirty word or one you happily embrace?
Being embarrassed by concept albums is a sign of weakness. The key is embracing such pompous concepts as an underground act and not when you’re bored and uninspired. KISS were in decline and had lost their mojo when they did ‘The Elder’. We’re getting ours out early.
Considering that the band features three members of Nancy Vandal, have you found that many fans of NV have come to also embrace TNPF? Is that a leap too far for some?
Some have ported across. NV fans that were along for the entire ride know my tendency is to change shit up rather than get stuck doing the same thing so you could view this as just another leap into even further foreign territory. Having Troy and Loz (The Imperial Priestess) playing guitar and singing at their standard could be jarring for NV fans though I imagine.
Neath A Shin Ei Sun is available now on LP/CD/digital:
TNPF album launch shows:
Sunday November 12 – Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney
Friday November 17 – Transit Bar, Canberra
Saturday November 18 – Small Ballroom, Newcastle
Saturday November 25 – Last Chance Rock & Roll Bar, Melbourne
Saturday December 2 – Hy-fest 2017, Wollongong