Illegal Mind always had the pulse on the rhetoric. Their aggressive, tailored music brings an amalgamation of cultures, but mostly the poetry of truth. With their album Forbidden Content, they trademarked their hard rock to even make metal cower in its pants. This is their latest single, Turning Back.
Since Forbidden Content, what has changed for the band in terms of style and composition?
After releasing Forbidden Content, we made several changes to our music style and how we compose. We wanted to incorporate more of our roots into our music and add more Nu Metal elements to the mix. This involved lowering the tuning in some of our songs, including Turning Back. We also added heavier riffs and song parts to make our music more dynamic.
Another change we made was to adopt a more DIY approach to our music production. Due to our limited budget, we recorded the music in Maxx’s home studio without an outside producer. However, this decision was also an aesthetic choice, as we wanted to give the songs a raw, post-apocalyptic feel. Overall, these changes allowed us to evolve our sound and style while staying true to our creative vision.
Inviting in the metal
The opening might mislead you. With a kick-ass riff that might define itself to be one of the best they’ve ever written, Illegal Mind break open the shell. Their song is about staying true to yourself, forging your own way without wavering. That’s what the lyrics say, that’s what the instrumentals do as well. The vocals are relentless, no trace of backing down. The whole song is true to its essence, and that is what this band is recognized for.
Free has become one of your most popular tracks. What part of the track do you think people instantly connect with?
We believe that the popularity of our song Free can be attributed to its energetic vibe and the instant connection that people have with the pre-chorus, which features gnarly vocals and a catchy riff. This part of the song really seems to resonate with our fans.
In addition, we think that the theme of wanting to escape Earth’s never-ending conflicts and fly away to explore new frontiers is something that many people can relate to. We all experience struggles and difficulties in life, and the idea of leaving it all behind and venturing into the unknown can be very appealing to some. We’re honored that our music can serve as a source of inspiration and a way for people to connect with each other.
Illegal Mind create legal chaos
Turning Back has put you in the pedigree of various heavy metal pioneers. How do you write your riffs, around lyrics or the other way?
Haha, Thank you!
The process of writing our music varies from song to song. Typically, Maxx writes the lyrics first and stores them digitally. Then we play around with riffs and chord progressions until we create an instrumental that fits the vibe. Afterwards, we look for lyrics that match the instrumental and make any necessary adjustments to fit the song. For example, Turning Back followed this process. On the other hand, Free was instrumental first and the lyrics were written afterwards.
Your latest single is already steadily climbing streams because of the power house it is. What is the story behind this song?
Maxx: The inspiration behind Turning Back comes from a personal experience with my ex. When we first met, she loved that I was a musician and engaged in various creative activities such as shooting and editing videos, taking photos, and more. However, I made it clear from the beginning that my art and music were my first love and top priority, and if she accepted this, we could continue seeing each other.
As our relationship progressed, I noticed that she didn’t truly accept me for who I was. Instead, she was looking for someone to fill the role of a father for her future children and constantly tried to change me to fit this ideal. She criticized my hobbies, calling them childish and worthless, and told me that people my age should act differently. This kind of behavior eventually led to the end of our relationship.
It was this experience that inspired me to write the lyrics for Turning Back. While some may think it’s a trivial issue, it was important to me as it reflected a fundamental aspect of who I am. Ultimately, the song is about staying true to oneself and not allowing others to change you for their own convenience or satisfaction.
Channeling influences of music
How did the Alice in Chains kind of chorus get stitched to almost a metalcore verse section in a song like this? Who do you see as obvious inspirations in your musical journey?
We always loved mixing different genres and have always been a driving force behind our music. There is a belief that by blending contrasting elements, such as heavy and melodic, we can create a dynamic and interesting sound that keeps listeners engaged. We draw inspiration from bands like System of a Down and A Day To Remember, who have successfully fused different genres to create something unique.
As for our musical influences, they stem from the bands we grew up listening to in the 90s and 00s. We have always been drawn to the raw energy of nu metal, the catchy hooks of pop-punk, the emotional intensity of post-hardcore, and the gritty sound of grunge. These influences are evident not only in our musical style, but also in the overall sound and vibe of our music.
It’s almost funny to think that nu metal, which was once considered a new and experimental genre, is now considered old school. But it’s been almost 30 years since its inception, and you can still hear its impact on heavy music of today.
Whittling a new niche
There is a thrash metal grip on this song that makes it kick so hard. You’re in awe of what has been created, especially when the melodic chorus comes in as well. The riff bends away from the original melody, but has a link to the kind of groove you’d want a hard rock song to associate with. The phasing guitar is something you instantly connect to. This brings Illegal Mind and all of their energy to one of their hardest hitting songs, a fitting answer to doubt.
What lies next for Illegal Mind? Do we have more singles or an album for this year?
Well, a new single is coming in a few days, April 13th, Industrial Birth 2.0. Which is the second single from the upcoming EP “From The Ashes” which will be released somewhere during 2023. The songs are already recorded, we work on the mixes individually, giving each one a proper attention. And because it’s an age of singles, you’ll hear most of them before the album itself.
This track has very quickly climbed to become one of their most streamed. Though Free from their album remains the most popular, there is no doubt Illegal Mind want to create an army that will scourge the weak. Put your metal horns up and listen to their superb single here:
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Self professed metalhead, moderately well read. If the music has soul, it's whole to me. The fact that my bio could have ended on a rhyme and doesn't should tell you a lot about my personality.