“Musically, it’s this weird and wonderful mind”

NEGATORY EFFECT have released their latest album Never Trust A Tuesday; it’s a brilliant record for encouraging someone to embrace the unknown and go out of their comfort zone. Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham spoke to Jethro and Lokisson about their sound, the album, mental health and who they would take to Ibiza. Here’s what happened.

How are you both?

Lokisson:  Yeah not bad, we’re good.

For those who haven’t heard your music before, how would you describe your music?

Jethro:  Imagine Nine Inch Nails, Gorillaz, The Prodigy and Slayer had produced a love child; that’s what our music sounds like. When I started the project as a solo project; I had gotten to the point where I thought metal was cookie cutter and boring. Everyone’s got their own opinion but mine is that most have slowly lost creativity; I wanted to try to infuse something into heavier music and I had an absolute passion for dance music. I used to DJ and went to Ibiza quite regularly; I thought sod it, they’re at the same tempo so why not combine the two.

It does sound very creative, I was saying to Lokisson outside the interview that with Never Trust A Tuesday you don’t know what’s coming around the corner. Is this the first album?

Lokisson:  This is the second album for the project but it’s the first album since Negatory Effect became a band rather than a solo project. That whole not knowing what’s coming next, that was always a part of it and that’s why I joined it. I kind of brought other bands that I am influenced by that I thought would suit the sound so on my side of it we’ve got bands like Fear Factory, Sybreed and HIM. We’ve also got stuff like from Power Metal; not so much sound wise but little jokey parts that sound funny and a lot of that comes from bands like Nanowar Of Steel where it’s camp, funny and we put those in there. It clashes in a really good way I think. These are serious songs that we have and the stuff we write about.

I was going to say I didn’t expect to hear a sampling of Boris Johnson’s voice on a track that wouldn’t be out of place on a Slipknot album.

Lokisson:  I do have a good story about that song. We had a guest on the last EP and we weren’t in the room together at this point; I got a message from Jethro telling me that he had found a guest vocalist for You Can’t F’ing Win. I said that I thought we were going to talk about guest vocalists and Jethro told me it was someone really good and that I knew him. I asked what had he done and then he said to just listen to it; and it was Boris Johnson. That for me is my favourite track on the album, it stands out amongst our weird sound and the point it makes is a really important one.

Jethro:  And the title was constructed when we were first talking about being a band because Lokisson turned around to me in the pub one day and said ‘you can’t f’ing win can ya?’. I decided that was going to be a song.

I also wanted to talk about how you put songs together. Do you already have in mind what samplings of tracks you’re going to use or is it a case of playing around and seeing what works?

Jethro:  That’s completely my department and it boils down to how much people have pissed me off during the day. I’ll go home, I will go into my studio and I will start messing with sounds and things. I will play a bit of keyboard, a guitar riff and I will just build it up from there. The BPMs of the songs are all over the place and those are more to do with actually how fast I want to go. I then get a riff or tune together and say ‘well I can write a chorous or a bridge’ and then the sampling side comes from when I have got the tune, I can have a rough idea on how much I want to take the micky out of the human race. So I try and find a sample that will do that.

Lokisson:  By that, I think he might have put a few of the angry songs together when he was annoyed at me. [laughs]

So Jethro, has Lokisson been muse for you in a way?

Jethro:  Yeah it’s not pretty half the time but it ends up just working. I don’t know, I sit back and I listen to what I did originally on the first EP that I released then I listen to what we’ve just released and it brings something.

Lokisson:  The two are so different. It’s grown so much yet you can tell it’s the same project.

This is first my first experience with Negatory Effect and I am still here so you have done something right.

Jethro:  On that point, you mentioned The Negatory Effect earlier. As a band, the name is Negatory Effect but we talk about the negatory effect which is what people do on a daily basis. Which is place a horrid sensation on other people and most of the time, they don’t realise they are doing it.

Lokisson:  And that’s what I do to him. [both laugh] I think where it works for us is that my impulsiveness can be my best friend and my worst enemy. It probably what frustrates Jethro a lot but then it also leads to really good songs. Musically, it’s this weird and wonderful mind and I come asking whether I can write about all these different things and suggest adding all different sounds. It creates these really good songs.

I met you Lokisson through Power Metal and I remember you telling me about this album saying how different it is. I wasn’t sure what to expect and ended up really liking it. 

Lokisson:  Yes, my loves are power and folk metal but what we do in Negatory Effect is that it scratches the itches I have as a song writer. The music is all Jethro and I could not write like that but it allows me to express things that power and folk probably wouldn’t. It works so perfectly for me when I do the lyrical side. The original message that Jethro started with are things I that agree with and can get on board with, the whole thing interested me then and it interests me so much more now.

I made a note of some song titles. Share/Care; am I right in thinking that looks into polyamory?

Jethro:  100%

Lokisson:  Jethro had written that one and knew what he wanted it to be about.

Jethro:  Yeah, we’re both polyamorous and very open about it. Not that we’re a couple, we’re a band couple. Even though our drummer Rob [Reeves] refers to us as the moaning wives. [both laugh] It’s fascinating when you speak to people who aren’t polyamorous and don’t really understand it. An example that comes to mind was when a friend of mine came to me after I tried to say we could be a thing but it would be polyamorous. They then turned around and told me they didn’t share. 

Lokisson:  I knew the story and Jethro wanted a song about polyamory. It’s a serious song but there’s quite a bit of tongue in cheek in there. For me, it’s this thing about sharing. To polyamorous people, it’s not about sharing. If I have two partners, it’s not like they each get 50% of my love, they both get 100% of my love. It’s a belief that love is infinite and what we do is try and say that in the song but also poking a bit fun of those comments saying that you only get a piece of a polyamorous person.

Jethro:  There are a lot of layers to polyamory and I think that song completely expands on that. It’s all put into that robot voice I love using which is a plugin on the computer called AU Speek and that explains the actual terminology. Whilst you can explain the terminology to people, it doesn’t mean they’re going to get it but you can also have so many types of polyamory and you can have different types of caring for someone and loving them. The last sentence I say in the track which is “I’ve been growing my hair since you left me” and that is about a relationship I was in that absolutely fell apart, they told me if I grew hair and beard, they would never have sex with me. That showed me they didn’t care for me, they only cared for what they wanted me to be.

Lokisson:  It’s an interesting song as verse wise, I take the micky a little bit with it but on the other side it is a serious song. It’s about the misconceptions of polyamory and shallowness of people whilst trying to explain we are like everyone else and about how much love we have to give. 

Jethro:  The underlying thing about that song is that it’s a pop song. It’s wasn’t designed with dance or metal in mind, it was me breaking away and trying something RnB and Pop style.

Lokisson:  Channelling his inner Miley Cyrus really.

Jethro:  Well yeah. People look me; 6ft2, long hair down to my back and a big beard and people wouldn’t realise I really love listening to Miley Cyrus.

What were the most challenging parts of making the record?

Jethro:  There’s two challenging parts and these two challenges appear with any record; it’s where to start and it’s where to stop.

Lokisson:  I do hear that.

Jethro:  I had been creating quite a lot of rough tracks and ideas which will then get made into a thirty second skit. We could have put another fourteen tracks on the album but it’s knowing where to start and where to stop. I think when I listened to this fully on Soundcloud after I uploaded it; we use Google Drive but the only problem with that is I can’t let it play the whole way through. The idea of creating songs is know what song is coming after, getting that balance of where credit to Lokisson, he can do it better than I can. He knows where to put things.

Lokisson:  I look at that side of things. We both do a lot, I listen a lot and I approach from an outsider perspective then out the songs into order. I’m not always right but it’s one of those things where I agree it’s hard to know when to start and when to stop. We started this when we were finishing the last EP and we had a few demos we played around with. We then started floating ideas with these songs, coming up with ideas and recording some demos. It came to us naturally, we negated that challenge to a degree and decided certain songs would be a release.

Where to stop was the most challenging as originally this album was meant to be an EP and then we had a couple more songs which fitted then a few more. We added them to the album as they were perfect for this. This is where they fit. It was challenging but also came very naturally for this album and we are both very lucky for that as it’s not always that easy in music. This was a very natural process for us to a large degree. We negated a lot of the challenges by going with our instincts.

One of the things we like to do at Rock Out Stand Out is spread the message about mental health; what is awareness like in your local area?

Jethro:  It’s amazing here in Nottingham. It’s like the alternative epi centre of the UK but being an alternative person sometimes goes hand in hand with certain mental states because you don’t want to conform to the rest of the world. Everyone is very supportive, there’s a lot of mini day festivals. One that comes to mind is Mind Over Metal which a friend of mine runs.

Lokisson:  It’s a great cause that she does that for. I think as well that in the alternative subculture, there seems to be a much wider understanding and we seem to have that in Nottingham at the moment. There’s seems to be an acknowledgement that we have problems and they encourage us to talk about it. Whereas, I think people who aren’t in the alternative subcultures feel like they can’t talk about it or they don’t know who to talk about it to. I could be wrong but that’s how I look at it; I feel as an alternative group, we feel we should be able to talk about it. I suffer with mental illness quite severely, it took a long time but talk about it. You’d be surprised how people get it and understand it; that’s one thing general society can take from alternative subcultures, is talking about your mental health. There are people who will understand and support you.

I was going to ask if you thought there was anything we can do more of as family members, friends, loved ones so people feel more comfortable speaking about it.

Jethro:  I answered that question through a song I wrote on the album PreMisconception; the track is called Burning Fire and that track is about mental health. It’s about how horrible it is and how you feel alone but it’s also about taking control of it. I don’t tell people very often that I suffer with chronic depression, I will have these horrible feelings everyday and it was of my own making. I got low and I tried to end my life; it’s now there with me all the time but I get myself through the day by knowing it lives with me, I don’t live with it.

Lokisson:  In terms of mental health, everyone deals with it differently and that’s OK. You get those people who tell you to smile and that makes me cringe but there are people that will find that helpful as that might be what they need to hear to get them through the day.

Jethro:  That’s a very key point, everybody deals with it differently and has different ways of doing things. Unfortunately, especially in this country, people like to pigeonhole people. The age old saying what’s good for the goose is good for the gander and all that, it isn’t; people need different outlets. I keep getting told that I need to seek help again with my mental health and I won’t go to do that as the services aren’t there for me to just turn up and have counselling like I used to. Everyone wants to put in the box of doing CBT and I keep saying that doesn’t work in my head.

Lokisson:  To me, you got to find what works for you. Not just in mental health but in life. If it works for you, it can only be a good thing and I know with mental health, it’s difficult. Especially when people have never really found what helps them with it and it’s so hard, you got to keep trying these different avenues to help yourself. For some it’s medication, for others it’s therapy and for some, it’s being told to get off your arse and carry on. Everyone needs a different medication for the same illness and mental health is not a disease but it’s just as crippling.

What do you both like to do to unwind and relax?

Jethro:  It depends what you need because sometimes you need that release and get a bit of dopamine or I sit down and rekindle my love for epic models; WarHammer 40k but in the 6 ml version. Other days, it’s writing demo songs for the band; especially if it’s stress that someone can cause you. Also enjoy the best form of fiction.

Lokisson:  For me, it depends on the stress. I do like gaming; particularly in the last five or six months. It’s something I can do on my own but sometimes when I get home, I just want to cuddle, have a talk, shower or do nothing. The main thing I would say for me that I do to relax is music, not in the same way Jethro does as he likes to write. I stick my headphones on and I can spend sixteen/seventeen hours with music on. I love so many different things in life, it all comes back to music. I will listen to, play bass or practice vocals.

Jethro, you were talking about going to Ibiza earlier and I thought of this question. Which five people would you take with you to a dance holiday?

Jethro:  Stephen Fry, I don’t who else. I will be honest, people might think it’s a façade but I really dislike people.

Lokisson:  Notice how he said Stephen Fry and not the rest of his band. You and Stephen Fry in a club, with cameras on you both would be amazing.

Jethro:  When I say I don’t like people, it’s a serious thing but I love them at the same time. So, I wouldn’t take anyone; I would find five people in the club that I’ve never met.

Lokisson:  We need to get Stephen Fry to do an intro on one of our songs.

Jethro:  I actually want to get a sampling of Melchard from Blackadder now.

Lokisson:  My five people would change depending on how I’m feeling. I will definitely include my partner Izzy; I love her to bits. I would also go for Edgar Allan Poe, Harold Bluetooth and, if he existed Ragnar Lothbrook as if you’re norse pagan, you got to include them. Potentially Fritz Haber, purely because he saved the world with fertiliser but then killed a million people with chemical warfare. To me, I would love to delve into that mind and ask how they feel about themself as a person.

Do you have any messages for Negatory Effect fans and our readers?

Lokisson:  To our fans; I appreciate the support. The band comes from a place of hatred but I appreciate the support and anyone who enjoys the tracks we do. I hope they know the anger that comes from it is genuine and it’s how we feel but it’s like Jethro said, it’s about the hatred for people but also the love of people. The support is massively appreciated, we love the support.

Jethro: I do want to give one shout out to one guy that goes on BandCamp and has bought everything we have done so far. His name is David I; I’m going to try and get his address to send him a patch. I appreciate it when people start dancing to the songs. 

Lokisson:  To your readers, I hope those reading this makes you want to listen to our music as I do think we are well worth the time.

Jethro:  To your readers, I have one thing to say; go out there and listen to different genre, whether you want to like it or not, whether you have been told you shouldn’t like it because it’s not cool. Go out and explore music, you might something you like that gives you inspiration to like something better.

Thank you both for taking the time out to speak with Rock Out Stand Out today and best of luck with the album release.

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