EMQ’s With Neolia
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Israeli Progressive Rock/Metal band, Neolia. Huge thanks to their Bass player and founder member, Tomer Mash, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
Hi Ever Metal, how do you do?
My name is Tomer Mash, and I am the founder and bass player for Neolia. Neolia’s vision started off as a story idea I came up with, and slowly started to evolve. It led me to feel like it is something I could get inspired by, and not too long after I started writing the music for Neolia. There were 3 pretty detailed tracks and some lyrics, but no vocals. After touring Europe with a punk-rock band, I reconnected with my old friend Ron Minis and we started jamming and trying out musical ideas. After testing some vocalists and also losing one to a sudden heart failure, we found our vocalist Ben Reiss and other talented musicians and not long after we went into the studio and started a long recording and production process.
At the end of 2014, we had our first show in Tel Aviv and made sure to perform as frequently as possible. We played shows and festivals in Israel, including acoustic ones. In 2018 we had finished mastering our album with Howie Weinberg and started coming up with ideas of how to release it along with connecting different labels. When we realised that things were not going to come out the way we wanted them to, we decided to release it ourselves and when the era of Covid-19 sort of ended we slowly started releasing some singles to test the waters. In 2023 we finally arrived at this point today that we are releasing the fruits of hard work, which is our debut album.
How did you come up with your band name?
We were on a mission at some point to finally find a name and so we put our thinking hats on along with searching the web, and finally, after a nerve wracking competition the name ‘Neolia’ was chosen. The name Neolia originated from the psychological term Neolelia. The term Neolelia is equivalent to the term echolalia, which is a mental disorder in which an individual invents words that don’t exist, but that same person is certain that everyone around him understands him completely. We feel that we have created some sort of a unique language of our own and felt an instant connection to the word but at the same time tried to come up with a more easy-to-digest version for it.
What Country / Region are you from and what is the Metal / Rock scene like there?
We are based in Israel and spread across different areas, but mostly around the centre of Israel Honestly, it’s a very competitive scene, as it is composed of many great bands that are very driven and eager to succeed. Although it is a small scene, it is diverse and packed with talent. You’ll always see members from other bands supporting each other in shows and buying merch. We all know each other and do our best to help out. For example, Tomer always goes to concerts to shoot photos. After Covid, something changed here, and more bands started to form and we noticed a significant increase in show attendance. Usually, bands and fans have a very down-to-earth relationship here, and we love hanging out with fans and getting to know them.
What is your latest release?
Our latest release was a live video of our previously released single – ‘Your Prophecy’. This is a personal track to me, as it describes the process of detachment of my father from his family (my brother, wife and children) and being isolated and less and less communicative as the years went by. While the main character (Alex) experiences his mother’s death, whose circumstances remain unclear, his father starts avoiding him, and so Alex imitates him and does the same. As time goes by things just start to get worse and they disappear from each other’s lives almost completely. The title of the song is a moment of realization that the father’s actions act as a sort of prophecy that is something that he has become almost unable to overcome.
Who have been your greatest influences?
That is probably one of the hardest questions I’ve ever had to answer. The thing is that ‘Neolia’ is sort of a sum of my entire life. With Metallica, Megadeth, Pantera and Guns & Roses being my most listened to bands when I was just introduced to music around the age of 7, I was also listening to all of my father’s tapes and later CDs that had classical music, progressive rock, rock and blues, pop and many more. At a later age, I was introduced to Death Metal such as Napalm Death, Caracas, Death and more. Later while watching MTV at night I was experiencing the new age of metal like Sepultura, Tool, Rage Against the Machine and later Deftones and Mudvayne, who were definitely a great influence on me. But at the same time, Jazz and fusion music were engraved in me during high school. Later in life, as I was becoming a working musician I had different opportunities to enter into my musical world and I played in different bands slowly learning Latin, African, Moroccan, Georgian music and more. All of these had slipped into my creation while writing for Neolia. But if you want the short version go with Tool, Mudvayne, Faith no More, Sepultura, Incubus, Snot, Hed P.E. And The Mars Volta, The Sound of animals fighting, Sikth (came more from Ben’s side).
What first got you into music?
There were two active elements in my life around the age of 6. One was my oldest brother who introduced me to Metallica and Pantera, Tears for Fears and probably other bands, and the second one was my best friend and downstairs neighbour at that time. With my brother it was very easy as I was just open to consuming whatever he suggested – of course not everything stuck, like Billy Idol, one of my brother’s favourites that didn’t end up in my repertoire. My neighbour and I were like two peas in a pod, we used to hang out constantly and listen to Rock and Metal all the time, and the turning point was when he got his first electric guitar. I then knew I had to get a guitar myself, so I started nagging my parents. That finally broke down at the age of 10 and got me an old Russian acoustic guitar and a Russian teacher that couldn’t even speak Hebrew.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
I think a dream of mine is to collaborate with Mike Patton, Faith No More, Mr. Bungle but I would definitely love to tour with Tool, Deftones, Opeth and more.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Why won’t you make it a bit harder at 1am at night (haha)? But just out of the top of my head I would say Download Festival. It has a variety of Rock and Metal genre-based bands, and at the moment feels the most natural for us to blend in. We are modest people and understand our current place at the moment, but we are not afraid to pursue our goals, and Download Fest is definitely one of them.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
That one’s easy. We each received energetic stones that relate to our nature and personal characteristics. For most of us, this is not an ordinary gift, but we can definitely relate to it. I usually keep mine in my pocket or on my speaker in my home studio.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Our message goes to all the people that participate in our shows and our creation in general. It’s to always continue to find your ways for expression, stay attentive to the souls around you and strive toward a joint creation.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Probably Dimebag Darrell, cause I feel like I have missed out on not seeing Pantera live. He is to me one of the most interesting, inspiring and charismatic guitarists that ever lived.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
The thing I enjoy the most in being a musician is fundamentally being able to transfer energy in the form of sound and expression to others and being able to transfer that energy or light, if you will, back and forth. It could be a smile or just closing my eyes and absorbing it all.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Humanity should be above Money. Help each other, nurture empathy and kindness, openness and support in any way possible.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
‘Far Beyond Driven’.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Love Cassettes. Not sure why because I don’t use them anymore but something inside me would love to go back to them. Probably nostalgia.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
It was definitely an electric gig we did at the Barby Club in Tel Aviv in front of more than 500 people along with our good friends from Walkways. It’s not that we never had other good shows or maybe even better, it’s just the massive energy and excitement that came with it.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
I love taking pictures, so maybe that’s it. I basically love creative things in general, but I also love helping people so probably a combination of these two elements.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
My friends and family. But I’ll bite and play along. Lars Ulrich, Bill Burr, Russel Brand, Jim Carrey, Maynard James Keenen.
What’s next for the band?
After the album is released we are planning to continue releasing more content and start writing new music for our next album that we hope to release in not more than 2 years from now. Other than that we wish to point our energy towards touring as a support act and try to get on as many festivals and big shows both in Israel and abroad.
What Social Media / Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Apple Music – https://music.apple.com/us/artist/neolia/1564634191
Facebook – www.facebook.com/neoliaband
Youtube – www.youtube.com/neoliaband
Tiktok – https://www.tiktok.com/@neoliaband
Bandcamp – https://neolia.bandcamp.com/album/neolia
Official Website – www.neoliaband.com
Time for a very British question now. As an alternative to the humble sandwich, is the correct name for a round piece of bread common in the UK either a Bap, a Barm (or Barm Cake), a Batch, a Bun, a Cob, a Muffin, a Roll or a Tea Cake?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you for being a part of our journey, supporting us and our creation and for taking the time to read and write about us. It is truly amazing for us. Keep up the amazing work, and hopefully see you out there.
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.