In 2014, “Revelator,” the lead single from William Control’s The Neuromancer heralded, “The Neuromantic Boys are here,” marking the dawn of an official William Control backing band and the genesis of eventual independent venture for Control Records. Now, rather than being those two handsome blondes flanking the dark Control, the ‘Boys—Kenneth Fletcher (vocals/keyboard/bass) and Ian MacWilliams (guitar/bass) along with later-added drummer Nick Rossi and synthesizer warrior Adam Crilly—are stepping into their own spotlight.
So, then, does William Control’s band not just sound like William Control?
Fans will be either pleased (or bummed, in the case particularly gloomy) to discover that the band’s outlook is borderline cheerful. Much like MacWilliams and Fletcher were the light flanking Control’s darkness, the Neuromantic Boys are the Control Records answer to the pastel era. Their ultimate aim is to be as true to the ‘80s synthpop as possible.
“If you’re a fan of William Control, there’s obviously elements from that, but it’s going to be happier, poppier. The lyrics are still going to be on the darker side, but definitely not as dark,” explains Fletcher. “We’re trying to make music that’s kind of ‘80s-sounding in particular. We’re into a broad spectrum of stuff, like Depeche Mode, New Order and later stuff like Nine Inch Nails, and we’re kind of just trying to make our own sound from that.”
Fletcher imagines the band creating an idealized version of the most memorable music of that decade, much of which, he points out, often fell into the unfortunate category of “one-hit-wonder.”
“There were a lot of “greatest hits”-based things. Flock Of Seagulls had some great songs, but I don’t go into the deep cuts of Flock Of Seagulls,” he jokes. His vision of the Neuromantic Boys is for their music to encompass all the traits that made those songs so catchy to create consistently memorable albums you can listen to front-to-back.
Setting aside the Neuromantic Boys from their electronic contemporaries is the way they function. Having grown up on punk music and in the punk scene, Fletcher admits that he’s not familiar with a lot of synth-lead artists today. What he and the ‘Boys do know is how to write songs to be played by a band—afterall, being a live band foremost was their origin.
“A lot of electronic music is all electronic-based. It’s all like one repetitive bassline for the whole song, then different things get added in and taken away and it creates the whole mix,” he says. “Whereas, our approach to it is: every time we write something, I’m imagining playing it as a full band. There’s very little stuff we wouldn’t try to play on guitar, for instance. Most of it is written to be played by five people standing on a stage. That’s how we’ve been writing songs for 20 years, so for us, it’s like, we really don’t know any other way.”
Last fall, William and Neuromantic Boys frontman Kenneth Fletcher stopped at the Alternative Press offices to discuss their careers and mistakes made along the way on the–ind...