The West

Day jobs keep art pure
Neurosis. Picture: Supplied

For many bands, one of their primary aims is to be able to make a living from their music; being able to quit their jobs and focus solely on creating and plying their trade on tour.

Not so for arty Californian sludge metal peddlers Neurosis. Despite being 30-year veterans of the music biz, the five-piece's members have gone in the opposite direction, deliberately deciding to keep their day jobs as opposed to relying on their art for sustenance.

Singer Steve von Till - who spends most of his time as a primary school teacher and family man - says it's all about balance and keeping their output "pure".

"There was a period where we didn't really get an opportunity to sell out but we were trying to stay out on tour as much as we could during the year to try and make it something which would support our families and our living," he says down the line.

"People start to take certain things seriously that they should never take seriously when they feel pressured to do it just to 'make it' or make a living, whether it's corporate sponsorship, playing with stupid bands . . . there's a lot of dumb s… out there people can do.

"And this music is way too important to us on a spiritual and emotional level to bring down to that kind of base, mundane level."

Not to mention, the touring lifestyle for bands who aren't stadium fillers isn't always everything it's cracked up to be.

"(Working day jobs) makes us better human beings, because we're not just out there rotting in a damn bus or van all the time, in our own heads doing nothing productive all day except for the 90 minutes we get to be a productive human being; we get to be fathers and husbands and productive members of our community."

Which isn't to say Neurosis is some studio-only pet project these days; von Till and co will be making the trek Down Under for the first time next month - including a stop at Capitol.

It will please many thanks to Neurosis' status as one of the most beloved and influential metal bands kicking around.

With songs regularly stretching past the 10-minute mark, von Till says the outfit can create an almost trance-like atmosphere at shows - even if they no longer employ a visual artist to light things up.

"At this point of our career we just realised the music speaks for itself, especially in this day and age where everybody's plugged into a screen all the time; that multimedia, visual thing doesn't seem necessary," he says.

"So it'll just be us surrendering to the music and delivering 100 per cent. All we wish to do is embody the spirit of the music and just leave it all on the stage emotionally and spiritually. But the intensity and feel and the amount we're willing to disappear into the music and allow the music to just take us into different places, that's where it really becomes kind of a wildcard; how deep a trance can you get to?"

The West Australian

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