When Ferret Music recording artists Twelve Tribes called it a day in 2007, Dayton metal fans mourned the loss of an internationally recognized powerhouse act with a decade and a half of touring, MTV appearances and a significant back catalogue of critically-acclaimed albums under their belts. To the delight of local headbangers, it wasn’t long before vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Schindel began pulverizing eardrums the Mouth of the Architect and channeling Norwegian black metal maestros with Bringers of Disease.
But, metal fans in some circles held their breath that he’d someday reunite with Twelve Tribes bandmates in some capacity for a project, or, fingers crossed, a full-blown reunion. While no reunion is currently on the books, Schindel, former Twelve Tribes bassist Matt Tackett, and Tackett’s bandmate Jay Bird from short-lived Goodlife Records band Waking Kills The Dream, emerged in 2011 with classic metal inspired trio that nods to metal forefathers like Zepplin, Sabbath, St. Vitus and the like.
You Indie recently caught up with Schindel to uncover Neon Warship’s origins, influences and recent releases, including a recording with local engineer/producer Brian Whitten. Here’s what Schindel had to say…
You Indie: Neon Warship is a relatively new endeavor for you. How did you conceive this band?
Kevin Schindel: I had wanted to start a new project for quite a while. I was looking for some people to jam with when my friend Matt called me. He had been getting together with our friend Jay Bird and wanted me to get together with them.
You Indie: What did you do to prepare for playing live? How have people received the band at your live shows?
KS: A whole lot of experimental jamming! For the first three months we just played and recorded our practices to see what would happen. It was about a year before our first show, but it was well worth it. We’ve only had four shows so far and they’ve been really fun.
You Indie: Who is in Warship and what are their strengths?
KS: Matt Tackett plays bass, Jay Bird handles drums, and I do guitar and vocals. I can only speak for myself, but playing with Matt and JB has been a great experience. They have the ability to pick up anything I bring to the plate very quickly. It’s cool because we can just jam, record, then listen back to it. I love writing this way because you never know when you might accidentally stumble across something cool. Bird’s drum fills always accent my riffs and Matt has great suggestions for the song writing process.
You Indie: I’ve noticed that Neon Warship navigates early metal sounds like Black Sabbath, but also borrows from modern stoner metal bands like Shrinebuilder. Is that a deliberate direction?
KS: I definitely wanted to start a band with an older classic rock feel… solos, bluesy singing, epic song writing. Bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin have always been big influences on me, but I wanted a heavier sound. Something I take from my love of metal music.
You Indie: Is this your first time playing with Matt Tackett since Twelve Tribes called it quits?
KS: Yes, it’s been quite a few years since we last played together. I was really excited when he asked me to get together again. We always had great chemistry.
You Indie: What is it about Matt Tackett’s style that compliments your own writing?
KS: If anything it’s his ability to keep up! (laughs). I tend to throw a lot of stuff out there. Seriously though, he is just an excellent musician, from bass to guitar to banjo! Also, we have history together and share the same musical interests. It all starts there.
You Indie: Twelve Tribes was an almost full-time band that was playing relatively large tours overseas. Has it been difficult adjusting to building a fanbase from the ground up again?
KS: Well, we really haven’t put ourselves out there yet. Our focus has been working on our songs and getting them recorded. It would be awesome to be out touring a lot again, we’ll just have to see what happens.
You Indie: Neon Warship has been recording with Brian Whitten as of late, correct?
KS: I just have to plug my friend Brian now. He has just done an amazing job recording us.
You Indie: Does Translation Loss, who released albums by Mouth of the Architect and Bringers of Disease, have a contract option to release that? Would you like to release this through them, or will you be shopping it to other labels?
KS: As for the label, nothing is in the works yet. I will be sending it to the Translation Loss guys. I would love to work with them on this, but I do have plans to shop around, too.
You Indie: When wass the street date for that effort? Was it a single, EP, full-length?
KS: It’s a five-song EP that we just finished mixing. We released it at our December 17 show at Blind Bob’s.
(Find out more about the band at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Neon-Warship/207093676000422.)