In The Spotlight: NEMESIS ALPHA
Q&A with Rudy Leal
Recently HeadBangers LifeStyle teamed up with the nice people of ReverbNation for the second time to give 5 new promising bands or artists a chance to extra promotion and exposure. We were overwhelmed by the number of bands that submitted their songs. Believe us when we say it was hard to choose because there were many promising bands and artists between them. At the end of the day we received almost 1200 submissions. Now it’s time to put the winners in the spotlight. The third band we want to introduce to you is NEMESIS ALPHA.
Nemesis Alpha is a DIY melodic death/metal recording band from North Carolina [USA], initiated and lead by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Rudy Leal. Rudy, who works in the military, saw his dream come true when Swedish, well-known singer Björn “Speed” Strid [Soilwork, The Night Flight Orchestra] agreed to handle the vocal duties on the excellent debut album `Nemesis Alpha’ . During his time off, Rudy continued working on a second album, which will be released early this year. Again, Björn is on board to set the songs vocally on fire, but also two new partners in crime will be introduced.
HeadBangers LifeStyle is impressed by the technical skills, the melodic approach and the good performance of Nemesis Alpha and contacted Rudy Leal to introduce the band to our readers.
,,It made sense just to continue with the formula that’s always worked’’- Rudy Leal
What sparked you to start NEMESIS ALPHA in the first place?
,,Over the years I’ve played with a number of talented bands and I have always enjoyed writing music. However, once I joined the military, music took sort of a backseat due to the continuous deployments, training and everything that comes along with being active duty military. Between my deployments and on my time off though, I am continuously writing and recording music, which after a while starts adding up to a large catalogue of songs. Nemesis Alpha was a way for me to share all that music with audiences that may enjoy it.’’
Why did you start as a one-man band and go DIY?
,,For almost 20 years now I have written and recorded entire songs from start to finish, performing all the instruments, lyrics and vocals. Even when I was playing in bands, I would make the entire song, bring to the band, and then everyone would add their input. So it made sense just to continue with the formula that’s always worked.’’
Björn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra takes care of the vocals on your self released debut album `Nemesis Alpha’. What made you choose him for the job, also since you live in the US and Björn is from Sweden?
,,Some of my biggest influences and favourite bands are Soilwork, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity and a lot of the Swedish metal bands that came out about the same time. It was a dream come true to be able to work with Björn because he’s not only an amazing vocalist, but his voice is by far one of the most recognizable and incredible out there; and he can handle any type of song I throw at him.’’
Björn “Speed” Strid-Photo by Conny van den Heuvel of DCH Photography
You are working on a second album and for that you have added a multi-instrumentalist named Joseph Church to the line-up. What made you do so and what does Joseph has to offer?
,,I always wanted someone to come in and really get involved in my song writing, but I never felt anyone really fitted. I think I’ve been way too picky over the years by always trying to get someone that was a great guitarist, a great songwriter and someone real easy to work and get along with. I’m glad I waited though because Joseph has become my right hand man on everything. He’s an extremely talented guitarist and truly brings in something I never knew I was missing, that outside critic/perspective. We’ve got a pretty good little system of writing going on now where I write a song, he goes over it, chops it up, spices it up, then we come back together and really bring in the melodic technicality that I had never really done before. Writing together now, I can confidently and truly say this new material is by far the best that either of us has ever written.’’
Also a second vocalist is now added to the line-up: Marcos Leal of Shattered Sun. Why?
,,I’ve known Marcos for over 12 years now and since the beginning he’s had a unique vocal style and tone. I was one of the original songwriters/guitarists in Shattered Sun when we started so many years ago. We’re from the same town, we still talk pretty regularly, and we bounce songs/mixes off each other for feedback, so I was super excited for him to come on board for this second album. He brings a totally different feel and dynamic; and just like Björn and Soilwork, it gives Marcos an opportunity to display some of the incredible range that he wouldn’t usually do with his main band, Shattered Sun.’’
Is NEMESIS ALPHA slowly becoming a real band after all?
,,Yes and no. I think we would have to determine the definition of a real band first though. The way I would explain this band is more of a recording artist/band at this point and not so much a performing artist/band. When I get back home in a few months we do have plans to perform more frequently though, just with different members due to the singers’ other primary bands/commitments.’’
Marco Leal-Photo by Isabel A Uzcategui
When will the second album be released and what can people expect to hear?
,,We are currently in the mixing/mastering phase and are planning a potential February release. A single or two will be out verrrrry soon though. That’s the great thing about having 14 songs and over an hour and a half of music on this record, we can afford to release a few and it wouldn’t spoil anything really!’’
Why should people listen to your music?
,,If you like melodic death metal, metal core, technical melodic, or any of the variations/sub genres that people categorize this style of music these days, you will love this music. If you’re a fan of older In Flames, older Soilwork, with a modern twist on it, this new album will be for you!’’
,,Every song on the new album is meticulously thought out and played with passion’’- Rudy Leal
What makes you different from other bands in the genre?
,,We are very melodic, but there’s so much more going on when you listen more than once. Yes, everyone plays 7 and 8 string guitars these days, but in every song we utilize the entire fret board to really show the range you can get from them. We splice together and dabble with a couple of different “genre clichés” also, so sometimes the music is death metal sounding, but seconds later it could break into a “djenty” breakdown with some melodic riffage in the background, then it’s clean guitars with a hoppy bass line. Every song on the new album is meticulously thought out and played with passion, which translates to each song being somewhat of an unexpected journey. You won’t be able to just guess what’s coming next in the song like a typical song structure.’’
Describe your music in 3 sentences maximum.
,,The music is dynamically melodic, with elements of technicality that require repeat listens to truly appreciate. It combines some of the best elements of multiple genres while still maintaining a unique sound and staying true to its melodic death metal roots. Overall it is a refreshing and adaptive approach for fans that love technical, heavy, melodic metal music.’’
Why do you like to play melodic death metal?
,,From the very first time I heard In Flames and Soilwork I was hooked. Through the years my musical tastes and preferences have changed but I still love anything melodic death. I play it because I truly love the sound and style; and in the end you have to do and make the type of music that you love!’’
How important are the lyrics for the band and what are they representing?
,,For the first album, I wrote about 90% of the lyrics, with each lyric being written for the specific song and not so much an overall album concept. I feel the lyrics should match the aggression, melody, or dynamic of a song, but overall usually the themes address loss, the state of the world, what the future holds, and everything in between.’’
,,I’m not in it for fame or money’’- Rudy Leal
What do you want to achieve with NEMESIS ALPHA?
,,I’m not necessarily going out of my way to get signed and live the Rockstar dream, but would rather just be able to write and record in my own humble little studio and release it when I want, no strings attached. If a label want to help with promotion/funding, that would be great, but in the end I just do it for my own enjoyment and for other people to enjoy. I have personally financed both of the two first albums, but I don’t do it for the money. I make and release the music I would like to hear and what I hope other fans like to hear.’’
What made you decide to (also) release your songs through platforms like ReverbNation?
,,I release the songs on every platform like iTunes, Apple Music, Band camp, Spotify, Pandora, reverb nation, etc. I don’t care about how many people buy it or how many streams the music gets. I’m not in it for fame or money, to me, I’m just happy people can enjoy it like I do.’’
How important are social media and the Internet for spreading the name of NEMESIS ALPHA and how do you use it?
,,Prior to the album release I do try to rev up the promotion to get the word out it’s coming but other than that I don’t feel social media should define who the band is. I post very once in awhile, and for sure way less than I should, but with this new album coming up; I plan on really promoting because I am so proud of how it turned out and I’m sure anyone that listens would truly appreciate it.’’
How far would you go for success?
,,I’ve personally financed the last two records with no intention of making any real money off of them, but I’m not really sure if success equals cash/profit? To me success is being able to make the music you want and have people really enjoy it; and not just one hit song like what happens with some music/artists. I want someone to be able to put on this album and listen front to back for an hour and a half, then say, “man, that was amazing, I’m gonna start it back over!”’’
Your biggest achievement so far?
,,My biggest achievement so far is finishing these two records while also being a full time active duty military member. I’m always deployed so I only have a few months between each deployment to actually write and record anything. Time management is key to everything and I’m amazed that I was able to do everything for the first one and we’re releasing the second one just a little over a year from the first album.’’
Are there plans for playing live?
,,As soon as I get back we plan on playing a few shows here and there, we’ll have to get a singer that can hit some pretty good notes [laughing], but I’m sure we can pull it off.’’
What is in the agenda for you and NEMESIS ALPHA the upcoming months?
,,I’m deployed right now on my 5th deployment in a row and will be gone for awhile, but while I’m out here, I’ll manage what I can for the album release from here, while Joseph helps out on his end. We’re organizing the track list, artwork, and the distribution options while finishing up any mix/master adjustments before it’s finalized. I really can’t wait to release this new album though, it will not disappoint, I guarantee it!!’’
Follow Nemesis Alpha on Facebook and visit the Website here.
Nemesis Alpha on Bandcamp here