Neon lies is the solo, dystopian post-punk/minimal wave project of Goran Lautar. From Zagreb, Croatia.. Lets get to know a few more things about ‘them’, since ‘II’ was recently released via Black Verb Records. Read til the end…. Surprise pending!
Welcome to Last Day Deaf. We would like to know more about Neon Lies; How did it all start then?
Thank you for having me. Neon Lies started in autumn 2015, as part of a vague idea to try something alone on stage and in studio, out of frame of my band. With other members of Modern Delusion I had already started to explore the beauty of synth sounds, so it was kind of logical way to go to that direction. Also, I was personally on a turning point in my life so I needed some new, sort of soundtrack at that moment, to do more intimate, personal music, that had certain feeling of urge to really expose myself in front of an audience and not to give a fuck about that. I also got bored with playing the guitar. And rehearsals. And few more things.
You have so far released 2 albums, an EP and a single. If you had to choose one, which would be your favourite song and why?
Well, not easy to say. When I play live, I always try to change the song order to make it adjustable to the temporary feeling before concert or even during one, can be gentle, can be intense, so in that sense each night a different song can be favourite one. Maybe better to say which song would maybe best represent my concept that I’m trying to communicate. From the first album, I think, songs ‘Safe In Room‘ and ‘Sex Without Faces‘, from second ‘II‘, would be songs ‘Pressure‘ and ‘Kill Us‘.
First ’cause was first, got sense something can be done that way, also I like shivering feeling of controlled paranoia sometimes, specially on drugs. Second one ’cause it’s my first song of intimate or, let’s say personal exposing and is still a good feeling to do it live. Third one ’cause same reasons as the second one, and for the end song ‘Kill Us‘ was kind of conclusion of doing Neon Lies last couple of years and feeling of impotence and power at the same time. So, for me, it’s hard actually to pick just one, could brag about all other songs for the rest of the day.
Could you describe us what kind of song writing and recording process do you follow? In other words, a Neon Lies track from scratch to finish…
It’s about collecting little ideas and put it on paper or on tape, and put them together from time to time. Much of that process is very spontaneous, and in the end never sounds as was it was sounding in my head. My knowledge of doing electronic music is very basic, actually, I do not use computers for producing and recording, do it directly from synths to tape recorder Tascam 4 or 8 track. Some songs got their final shape after numerous live gigs, and then recorded, adding each gig little by little to its structure, specially with lyrics. Shortly said, pretty much of everything is happening by pure chance, I let those songs to build themselves very often. Actually, I hate to record, and it’s a stressful process for me with many not sleeping nights. Primarily, I do it to be on stage.
Do you feel that some cities have a certain sound that people tap into? Tell us about one your most beloved one that makes you feel like your sound fits in and why.
In my work, if we talk about inspiration, I feel that I could come from everywhere, do not connect myself with my hometown Zagreb, actually I hate it pretty much. Of course I connect myself to people… friends there, and people from the local scene which is flourishing at the moment. But town as town, hm, have to think little. Initially, for me it’s about individual people who can inspire me, not sights or sounds that much. But, yes, I like towns with individuality and courage. My sound, I see this in a locked bedroom of any town, actually. Or office. I like big dark buildings with just a few windows with light, imagining miserable or beautiful life inside. And yes, of course I like some towns to visit and play more than others. I do European tours mostly on public buses, and there’s a lot of time to watch and think about it. But also sometimes I disconnect from environment during travel because it’s too much of everything. Last bigger tour in November/ December 2017 was 30 cities in 45 days.
The track ‘Safe In Room’ contains the following lyrics:
‘Tonite I’m all alone
Sitting behind closed door
I put some staff inside me
I’m kneeling on the floor
People scare me to the death
I’m loosing my control
Safe in room’
In these crisis’ years do you believe that isolation is a common syndrome? Please discuss…
I guess it is pretty much common. Isolation can be that reaction. I do believe that we’re at the start of some kind of dark age. I see it every day in my home country Croatia, I see how Church and nationalists again are taking over with those greedy invisible arms. At the same time, we witness the end of the West as we knew it. Pretty deserved. West was built on oppression, anyways. And what makes most people most depressed is that particular uncertainty how will our society look just in a few years time. In my whole life I have witnessed some kind of shit, don’t forget I’m from a generation which witnessed and tasted war in 90s. And you see how people do not learn or progress. Mostly. what makes you nihilistic and to think, ok, anyway 90% of everything was and will be shit to quote that guy Sturgeon.
Which albums do you consider as the most influential ones in relation to the Neon Lies’ sound?
For sure Suicide‘s first album from 1977. At least as chronologically first influence. Its hermeticism and intense and sense of drama. But, yes, I try not close myself in any genre lately. I pick up many things, e.g. lately from noise artists. Also one of good things doing music alone, you don’t feel borders and ‘obligations’ of your musical niche, you can play as a little kid. And I really do not know how will Neon Lies sound on third album, hopefully end this year.
How did the recent gigs go? Are you satisfied with the audience’s acceptance? Is ‘II’ a good live experience?
I play very often, maybe too much lately. After that mentioned, the last European tour in the end of 2017, this year I’ve been two weeks on a Spain tour, and doing a bunch of regional gigs around and in Croatia, too. Going again in Spain in mid May, playing also in one wedding there(!).
After all those countless gigs, you slowly build your self confidence and skills, eventually turning on inner auto-pilot on stage which helps you to relax and dive into it with full heart. Now I can say, I only need some loud PA to know it’s going to be good night, that’s all. So, for me, playing around ‘II‘ is very positive experience. Never playing same set anyway, but most of the songs now from that album. From the other side, I do not seek for audience’s positive acceptance at all, only thing I really like to have from them, is their attention.
In the near future, apart that Spain, I will be spending a few weeks in northern France to record some of the new material, with maybe a few gigs there. Also, usual regional concerts, one to mention is supporting 80s German band No More in Graz, Austria in mid April. Also, expect a few festivals in summer in Croatia, I didn’t start to book any festivals yet, maybe few of them this summer, direction Germany, and in September a longer European tour.
To continue with the live shows, which upcoming shows do you have in your plans? Any festivals? Would you be interested in visiting Athens/ Greece for a live show?
(First part answered before). Definitely. Never played there yet. Maybe you’ll also get a mail from me to help with some contacts there, haha.
To mention, apart from my main labels Black Verb Records ( Berlin ) and Cosmic Brood Records/Doomtown Records (Zagreb), I had some good collaboration with Greek labels Geheimnis Records and Do What Thou Wilt Records,
To end with, is there anything you would like to share with our readers and your listeners?
Thank you for the talk.
Yes I do. I’d like to share with you and your readers a few free download codes of my new album ‘II‘, you can download it at link:
CODE 1: xysq-ys9n
CODE 2: u9lc-v36p
CODE 3: s8dy-egv3
CODE 4: den8-x6le
CODE 5: 2hta-bzwl
CODE 6: gdy7-ym2s
Photo credits: Ivan Kapustić (1st one), Dani Luiz (2nd one)