Neosupervital
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Neosupervital

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Apr
27
Neosupervital @ NUIG

Galway, Not Applicable, Ireland

Galway, Not Applicable, Ireland

Mar
21
Neosupervital @ Phog Lounge

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Mar
18
Neosupervital @ Central

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

This band has not uploaded any videos
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Music

Press


"Now in its seventh year celebrating Irish music, three-day fest HWCH challenges music lovers to catch 100 bands across six venues in Dublin...But it’s electronica that’s in fashion, and one man band Neosupervital is the shining star of the electro-crew, juggling funk guitar and pop synths – encouraging extreme dance action. Inviting audience members onstage, he takes to the floor, throwing himself off to the bar to the strains of a Chris de Burgh remix. You couldn’t make it up." http://www.the-fly.co.uk - www.the-fly.co.uk


“Neosupervital is Dubliner Tim O’Donovan a solo performer with a Korg, a drum machine and one of those old Casio guitar synths that ceased being the future of popular music in 1986. There’s certainly no pressing need for another electro revivalist group in music today, but thankfully, despite the array of evidence surrounding him on stage, Neosupervital isn’t like that.
His take on electro is similar to that of Sweden’s The Knife, which is simply writing good songs in a certain style, not producing paint-by-numbers reminders of why people tired of electro in the first place. And he can cut it live.
It’s a brief but highly entertaining show…while there’s a great deal of irony and humour in the performance, the songs are sad, amusing, wistful and cutting. He’s not telling a joke, he’s making great music.”
– Eyeballkid.com live review
- Eyeballkid.com


"...early Neosupervital EPs suggested the Pet Shop Boys trapped in an airless elevator with a German DJ collective. Which wasn't bad considering they'd been assembled on a laptop.
Earlier this year, Neosupervital opened for the Human League at Vicar Street, nearly blowing the elder statesmen offstage. With a debut LP on the starting blocks, Irish pop may be about to get itself a shiny new saviour." - Metro Magazine


You have been Neosupervital for quite a few years now, can you map out
how you started and what inspired you to first make music?

Well, I’d been drumming from an early age, then found I could play basic guitar and piano, but I couldn’t figure out how to write a pop tune, which is what all my favourite music was, and is. It was only on hearing the Dandy Warhols and Jesus and Mary Chain that I realized I didn’t have to be too clever, just put a bunch of chords together and put a decent melody over the top. What inspired me to come up with Neosupervital was the simple fact that there was nobody around making the type of music I wanted to hear, so I made it for myself.

How did you find your first few live performances? Was there a kind of
'finding your feet' approach, or were you very focused on exactly how
you wanted it to both look and sound like?

My first live show was at an event called Wonky in the Guinness storehouse. I don’t remember being too nervous or anything, just excited that I was finally getting to play songs that I’d written myself, presented in a way that felt right to me. A finding of feet certainly went on, and is still going on. I always knew I didn’t want to be onstage strumming a six string and staring at my feet, wearing a jeans and teeshirt.

How important is the visual aspect of Neosupervital?

It’s quite important in that I like to put on a show that I’d be interested in seeing if I was standing in the audience. It’s also great fun to dress up, and I don’t have a 9-5 job, so I only get to wear a smart suit on stage and at weddings and funerals. It also makes it easier for people to identify and remember you afterward I’d imagine.

In terms of music videos, 'Rachel' is quite beautiful. Can you explain
a little of how that came about and the idea behind it?

Well I was approached my Imogen Murphy, the director of the video. She had heard the tune and liked it and had a very strong idea of how to represent it visually. It took a while to hammer out the finer points, but she wanted to try and get the feeling of the song across without being too literal. We’re both big fans of smooth tracking shots and camera movement, as well as running in videos. Lots of videos have people running for no particular reason. We tweaked that idea with me running backwards on the beach – not easy. Unfortunately I never got to meet the lovely lady in the bikini on the rocks.

There are lots of crazy beats in your work, which obviously stem from
your love of drumming (and career as a drummer) - how much has it
helped?
Crazy beats! Hah! I tried to steer clear of them actually. Over the years in bands I’d always tried to refine my drumming, not to over-drum. When I first got my drum machine, I was trying too hard to be DJ Shadow with the aforementioned crazy beats. I then realized that most of my favourite stuff had very simple drumming on it, so I tried to stick to that and make the drums as simple as possible – obviously it hasn’t worked! Oh well.

How have you found the more electronic 'application' of beats and
sound? Did you teach yourself on equipment you picked up here and
there?
Yeah, all self taught. Nothing beats reading the manual back to back. There are actually live drums on the album, which I recorded then cut up and looped. I found them to give a subtle swing to the rhythm track that the machine couldn’t give. Working with beats in such a way makes you very aware of how the rhythm track works in a song, and as a result has affected the way I approach drumming now, I think.

With a lot of electronic music there is a tendency towards mixing the
sound with a love of black humour (or so I find), for example acts
like Human League and others - you also seem to channel this. Why do
you think it is?

Yeah, I’ve noticed that. Maybe it all starts with the fact that in nearly all synth/electronic acts, people like to don shades and be somebody else. As soon as the shades or makeup go on, they have licence to be somebody else, have a laugh, perform in a way they wouldn’t normally. Gary Numan, Jimi Tenor, Pet Shop Boys, Schneider Tm etc. Maybe the fact that it’s electronic music means they can distance themselves from normality a bit easier too, as the sound of a Moog doesn’t exist in the real world. As regards (black) humour, I think all the best music, electronic or otherwise, has a bit – Leonard Cohen, AC/DC, Neil Young, The Ramones.

Your releases so far have been really intriguing and well--received,
you mix tracks like the beat-heavy 'Alt Day' with the seven minute
great 'Fog' - are you providing some kind of narrative in there -
where every song has some kind of common 'Neosupervital' thread/voice?
And if so, how would you describe it?

Wow, you remember The Fog! I wouldn’t say there’s a common thread apart from the fact that it’s my voice in there. I deliberately wanted to make the stuff on this album sound more uniform, with the same basic instrumentation of bass, drums, synth and vocals in all songs if possible. I also didn’t want to mask my voice with vocoders just yet, much as I love them – I wanted it to be obvious it was a human being singing the tunes. The robot stuff will come later…

You drum with Bell X 1, where you get to exert some vocal input, with
Neosupervital you are the vocal input (!) - is singing a large part
of who you are?

I don’t really sing with Bellx1 actually. Well, I do, kind of – I sing to myself when I’m drumming so I know where I am in the songs, but thankfully nobody has to hear that, unless the drum mic picks it up. Yeah, I do love singing alright – I love the harmonizing aspect the most, though. I was always stacking vocals on my old tape recorder at home, to see how the harmonies sounded. I love the way vocal harmonies can completely alter the flavour of a tune, how say a gospel style harmony gives a totally different feel than a barber shop style harmony – but they’re all harmonies nonetheless.

How is it to waver between Bell X 1 and Neosupervital? The sound is so
different with the band, and the dynamics must give you so many ideas
for your own work.

I wouldn’t say I waver! My secretary schedules my diary to enable me do both in an efficient manner! Certainly being around any musicians gives you inspiration for your own stuff. It’s also interesting to see how other people write songs and come up with ideas. Nobody does it the same way.

Do you admire a lot of eighties music? Supporting The Human League
must have been wonderful - but I also believe you love acts such as
Ben Folds, Money Mark and A Tribe Called Quest, who provide a really
interesting and intelligent narrative take on music. Who else inspires
you, Tim?

I love 80’s music, not because it comes from the 80’s but because there are so many great tunes and ideas and new sounds, as well as great memories tied in of where I was when I heard a lot of the stuff for the first time. It was a time when there was lots of new technology floating about, and the three minute pop tune, kick started again by punk, was given lots of sonic makeovers by people with synthesizers. Yeah, the Human League show was great – we’re opening for them again in December. I love any song with a good beat, a good melody, harmony, and wit and intelligence. If they all arrive in one song, all the better. I also love stupid stuff – but to be properly stupid you have to be a bit clever in the first place, I think.

Finally, your album comes out soon, what have you put into it and what
does it mean to you? Also, what other projects are you working on? Are
you looking forward to your Irish tour?

I’ve put a few man hours, a few euros and few buckets of man sweat into it. It means that Neosupervital actually physically exists in people’s homes and cars and ears rather than being just a live show. I’m also writing stuff with the fabulous Veda for a pop project called Ladyface she has underway – it’s very interesting writing with someone else for a change. Neosupervital live is now a band, with Jessie LoveAcion on bass, Miss K on synths and DancinVin on fresh moves. They’ll be appearing at most of the dates around the country, which I’m very excited about. Unfortunately they have real jobs as well, so it can get a bit tricky at times. At least I can always turn up to deliver the pop to the people
- Dublin Event Guide


Electro-pop pop prince Neosupervital, if nothing, adds a little colour to Ireland's occasionally monochrome music scene. With the bespoke suit, the wraparound shades, the anachronistic electronic guitar, he cuts an endearingly incongruous figure. His music is an equally out of step collage of pre-programmed Casio beats, boreal synths and a voice that varies from quivering falsetto to detached automaton. The question of 'is this guy for real?' is redundant. Neosupervital is a celebration of the artificial - the music, the image, the faux-rock posturing, the arch 'oh-so-clever' lyricism is all an elaborate construct. The only solution is to stop worrying and have fun, or "close down half your brain" as the man himself handily advises us on the opening bouncy pop ditty 'Now That I've Found It". The day-glo beats and campy chorus of 'All Because of U' and the more muted paen to the motor car, 'Drive' are two slick slices of eighties synth pop. A charming, effervescent and disposable debut. 3/5 - Clare People Newspaper


...and then there's the mentalist one-off that is Tim O'Donovan of Neosupervital, who has imparted nearly every good idea electro-pop has ever had in the service of his own deeply demented muse, and who brings to this miniature marquee a raucous, deliciously nerdy sound-and-vision extravaganza very similar in spirit, if not in size, to Electric Picnic 2005's bravura performance from the Flaming Lips.
In a skintight suit and huge glasses, variously commandeering a beatbox and, marvellously, a keyboard-guitar straight off of Top of the Pops circa 1985, he is accompanied by two women in sequinned tube tops - sunglassed, ponytailed, red-ipsticked and impassive as mannequins, who play bass and keyboards, and who unsmilingly, urbanely frug on either side of him during 'Rachel' and 'Alternative Day' like the women in the Robert Palmer video; and a man later introduced to us as 'Dancin Vin' - Tim's doppelganger in every way, down to the glasses, too-tight suit and the shaggy bowl-cut - spends the set doing nothing but throwing shapes, coattails flying, like a secret service agent having a Disco Inferno moment. Following a spot of two-way audience participation (revellers invited onto the stage, as well as Tim himself in the audience, breakdancing), the spectacle is then ratcheted up several lunatic notches by the arrival of glitter-costumed flag dancers Tim apparently ran into "last night, in the forest", who spin pennants above the stage in silvery circles and gyrate as if possessed; and the otherwise mute Danin Vin is given the last word, falling to his knees in the gigs final moments in an electro-pop ecstasy and tearing off his clothes to reveal a Neosupervital teeshirt. We've already bagged our spot on the forst floor at Big Tree 2007. - Hot Press


Review Snapshot:
Man makes Midi Guitar cool, releases decent album and manages to potentially annoy Bono too, result! ...oh, and some pie charts.

The CLUAS Verdict? This album has been determined to have a soap box inertia/drag coefficient of 7.710056 out of 10

Full review:
Neosupervital, amongst other things, is a guitar legend. A pretty strange statement to make about an electropop artist, I know. He's not a guitar legend in the traditional note-perfect bluesman/shred-god sense, but he is doing for the Casio DG-20 Midi Guitar what BB King did for the Gibson ES, Buddy Holly did for the Strat and Tommy Iommi did for the SG; and that is to make it his own, and make it cool. It certainly gives his live performances a dynamic that might not be possible behind a keyboard. The question is, does it mean he can make a good album? After all Joe Satriani knows his way round a fretboard but that doesn't mean you'd want to listen to "Surfing the Alien" on continuous repeat.

Such is the immediacy of the songs, it doesn't take long to realise that it is indeed a very good album. It's filled with the same endlessly positive, hooky, fun electropop we've come to expect. It's perfect Saturday night feelgood stuff. If anything though, it might seem a little too familiar. Four of the twelve songs here have already appeared on previous EPs/Singles released as far back as 2002. That said, the versions that appear on the album are all re-recorded and are without doubt superior giving far more clarity and punch to the sound without removing appealing quirks like the way the bass is allowed to sit almost (but not quite) too high in the mix. It's not just superior production and mastering that makes the new versions superior, the fat has been trimmed in terms of editing and arrangement. "Jazz Fascist" for example was originally a little languid, the new version has the snappiness its humour deserves.

That feeling of familiarity crops up its head on much of the new material too, it never really strays into unfamiliar territory. Sonically it doesn't push things forward for electro or sound stubbornly individualistic in the way his contemporaries from Berlin or Detroit do. It doesn't stop you enjoying it though. Neosupervital's music should be thought of like a home-made go-kart or soap box racer. Incredible but brief fun, when you get to the bottom of the hill, you immediately want to go back up for another go. Eventually you will get tired of it and want to do something else, but that's no reason to knock it. In fact like soap box racing, the only adjective to accurately describe this album is "wheeee!!". Of course the more literary Cluas writers will tell you that "wheeee!!" isn't an adjective. I say they haven't been down a forty-five degree slope in something with no brakes, held together by only a crude knowledge of engineering principles and boundless optimism often enough.

Of course, it's not all uplifting stuff. There is one song; P.H.B. (Pathetic Human Being), the concept of which, according to the PR bumf anyway, was rather than filling an entire album with negative angst, Neosupervital would fit all his annoyances in life into one song. This idea is pure genius, it means not only are we spared a slit your wrists in your bedsit album but the resultant angsty song will cover such a wide range of stuff, everyone will find something they can identify with in it. I've illustrated this using pie charts below.

Here is a diagram of Neosupervital's angst based on the lyrics of P.H.B.
- Cluas.com


Tim O'Donovan likes synths. Tim O'Donovan also likes sharp suits, sunglasses resembling Kit from Knightrider, the Human League and Dr. Groove drum machines. Tim O'Donovan, in case you didn't know, is Bell X1's touring drummer by day, and Neosupervital the rest of the time. And Neosupervital, in case you didn't know, is this country's most exciting electro-pop prospect since Daniel O'Donnell's Frankie Goes to Hollywood covers album. If you've seen Neosupervital, you'll know that his live show verges on the absurd at times, especially when accompanied by DancinVin (the straightest gay man in Dublin, if his Vogue strut is anything to go by); and his songs, whilst certainly not as slapstick as they could be, still rely on the droll delivery, crowd-participation and between-song banter he excels at. It's with some initial trepidation, then, that the album is approached; but if there was ever a sneaking suspicion that the whole Neosupervital persona began as some sort of joke, it's firmly allayed over the subsequent 43 minutes. Despite the moniker, there's nothing strictly vital or innovative here, at least musically. Opening couplet Now That I've Found It and Rachel are both dipped in 80s-synth-serum and rolled in retro disco vibes; Nothing is a decidedly sweet love song replete with catchy bassline and (un?)intentionally hilarious layered backing vocals, and single Step Into the Sunshine (Baby Alright) is Human League android-on-acid-satisfying. Where Neosupervital truly excels, however, is lyrically; his tongue-in-cheek monotone ripostes and sharp narratives (Jazz Fascist, Artscool Girl) may not be as profound as your average muso would favour, but they bring a wide grin, if not a belly-aching laugh to proceedings on regular occasions. By the time the ninth track P.H.B. (Pathetic Human Being) motors 'round, energy and consistency is in danger of flagging; but the Kids In America-meets-Gary Numan throb of Drive and ready-made dance remix of Behind the Couch ensures a triumphant conclusion. Unlike his 'other' band, Neosupervital is under no pretence that his solo work is derivative; yet, instead of camouflaging that fact, he celebrates it. This is one man who definitely should give up the day-job. - Entertainment Ireland.com


METRO LIFE

There is a long and proud tradition of self-proclaimed nerds making great pop music. One thinks of Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, and Talking Heads. Strangely, it is a tradition to which few Irish artists have, to date, been attracted. Rather, indigenous acts seem split between the urge to worship at the hard rock altar (Thin Lizzy) or to set themsleves up as guitar strumming messiahs (Bono, Damien Rice etc.)
One glance at the cover of the debut album from Dublin electro-popper Tim 'Neosupervital' O'Donovan tells you he was never going to fit comfortably into either of those camps. Posing in an ill-fitting suit, his features puffy and pasty, O'Donovan (who holds down a day job banging the drums for BellX1) looks less like an ardent rocker than a junior accountant undergoing a personal crisis.
Yet for all of his nerdy pallor O'Donovan can bash out a handsome ditty. Spilling over with glitchy melodies and lullaby choruses, Neosupervital is in the tradition of great synthrock records, doffing cap, especially, to early Depeche Mode and New Order. To this, O'Donovan adds something original, the patented Irish singer-songwriter capacity for self-pity on a vast scale.

Cooing in a fragile voice, O'Donovan delivers songs of unrequited devotion which, if performed on an acoustic guitar, might have one reaching for a sick bucket. Smothered in a fuzzy synth swell, though, his heartfelt ditties corrode the listener's cynicism: opener Now That I've Found It deals in brittle harmonies and teary eyed lyrics; Artscool Girl (correct spelling) reads like a gushing love letter to an unattainable hip chick. One fears that, should he ever get a girlfriend, Neosupervital's mojo might flee the building. Gor now, howeverm the sound of one man and his laptop mooching in a bedsit has rarely sounded so compelling. - Metro Magazine



When not drumming for Bellx1, Tim O'Donovan dons a snazzy tin of fruit with shades hipper than even Bono's and becomes Ireland's number one electro pop superstar: Neosupervital.
With this, his debut LP, Neosupervital has condensed his exhilarating live show in to twelve pop gems. His Casio MIDI guitar gives his show a unique dynamic, and on record avoids coming across as cheesy. Instead we are treated to a series of fun, positive hooks, with dancey choruses that seem ready to burst with energy. Lead single 'Rachel' stands out with its terrific disco vibe.
It is in his lyrics that Neosupervital really excels. Witty and upbeat throughout, it is clear this is one Irish songwriter who's not keen for us to take him too seriously. In 'Alternative Day' he is quick to poke fun at the shallowness of his "so hip it hurts" image, and it is sure to have a few NCAD types squirming in their skinny jeans and Converse.
Though it proves no great reinvention of 80s pop, 'Neosupervital' is fun and thankfully stands out from an often po-faced Irish music scene.
IN A NUTSHELL:
80s electro pop is back with one neosuperstylish bang
IF YOU LIKE THIS, TRY:
Pet Shop Boys, Human League - 02 - University Observer


Discography

Debut album 'Neosupervital' released September 1st 2006 on NSV Music.

Available on iTunes, Virgin Digital, HMV Digital worldwide.

Single 'Dance With You' released July 10th 2009. Free download.

Second album 'Proceeds' due for release in Ireland on NSV Music 2010, r.o.w. after.

Photos

Bio

Neosupervital is Tim O'Donovan, a multi-instrumentalist from Dublin. He wants to make you dance.

A debut album, Neosupervital, was released in late 2006 to much applause and a whole lot of live action, including opening slots for acts like Tom Vek, Money Mark, and Divine Comedy and a Neosupervital headline tour around Ireland.

The video for Rachel was picked up by MTV2 and this was swiftly followed by a tour with the Human League in the UK and Europe.

Returning to Ireland, NSV appeared on various high profile shows on national television and radio, played live at all the main summer festivals (Oxegen, Electric Picnic etc.) and capped off a successful album campaign sharing a stage with Wolfgang Fleur, (ex-Kraftwerk) and Dave Ball (Soft Cell) in early 2008.

Tim spent 2008 getting his new studio together in the countryside, with writing and recording commencing in early 2009.

The resulting new Neosupervital album is called 'Proceeds' and contains ten prime slices of electronic pop.

'Proceeds' is due for domestic release in early 2010 and features the singles 'Dance With You' (currently enjoying extensive national radio play) and dancefloor favourite 'Do What You Feel' (to be released on limited 7").

The sweaty, dance-heavy live Neosupervital experience will be travelling internationally in 2010.

Neosupervital tunes have been used in TV shows (Raw, RTE tv, Ireland, 2008) and feature films (Eden, general release, Ireland, USA, 2008), and Tim has just produced and co-written the debut album from Ireland's finest electro diva Veda, as well as writing his first feature film soundtrack.