Welcome to New Fury Media, how xTOUGHx are ya? If you’re not familiar, xSPONGEXCOREx swept the internet by storm in past years, mixing memorable SpongeBob SquarePants lines with metalcore breakdowns to fantastic effect. The man behind it, Neil Schneider, has done more than just that for the music scene though – he’s also drumming away, mixing/mastering several projects, and more. We spoke with Neil on the success of the xSPONGEx and what else he’s up to these days:
New Fury Media: xSPONGEXCOREx took off like crazy, being featured in Alt Press, Metal Injection, and even Acai’s streams. How does it feel to have that far of a reach on a silly idea with great execution?
Neil Schneider: xSPONGEXCOREx continues to blow my mind 8 years later with how much it blew up! It’s such an awesome feeling seeing something you create be loved by so many people and getting so much praise for being a silly yet original with solid execution. Yet, at the same time it’s such a weird feeling, because I created the project completely out of boredom. It was supposed to be nothing more than just a few songs to make my friends laugh and yet here we are 8 years later and I somehow made an entire community laugh as well. It’s a very strange yet rewarding feeling and an accomplishment I will be forever proud of!
New Fury: Your gangster Spongebob vinyl variant sold out almost instantly last pressing, what was your reaction?
Neil: So yeah, the Gangster SpongeBob variant selling out in less than like 30 seconds was absolutely insane to me! When Silverback Gorilla Records and I were in talks about doing that last pressing I had some doubt wondering if many people would even want another pressing yet I was blown away by the response! Gangster SpongeBob variant sold out in 30 seconds and then the rest sold out within a half hour. Absolutely wild!
New Fury: Aside from xSPONGEXCOREx, you’re mixing/mastering everything from black metal to pop-punk with great success. How do you flow seamlessly between genres so well?
Neil: The mixing and mastering ride has been a wild one as well! I went to school for audio engineering back in 2010 but never got very serious with it until 2016 and didn’t finally hit my stride until late 2020 where my mixes became consistent in quality. The ability to mix completely different genres such as Black Metal and then Pop Punk relies a lot on my love for the genres and just music in general. Luckily, believe it or not, Pop Punk and Black Metal share similar qualities! A lot of the time the production is very organic. You take a band like early Real Friends and then let’s say something like Whoredom Rife and you compare the sounds, sure they sound completely different, however the production is fairly close. Real Friends is definitely more in your face whereas Whoredom Rife is drenched in atmosphere but both the productions are very organic in their sound. So with that in mind, in every mix I do I get a general sound going and then listen to other bands within the general to get a feel of what elements to include or take out of the mix. It can definitely be a challenge but it’s an absolute blast!
New Fury: Would you ever consider being a part of the songwriting/recording process for bands?
Neil: Oh absolutely, and I have! I generally don’t though unless the band asks for my help or if have an idea that I think would be pretty solid but I actually did the drums for BlackBraid which is the most recent release I’ve mixed/mastered. He told me he had all these songs ready to go but had no drummer and I told him that I was also a drummer and could totally help out on that end so I did!
New Fury: Between Calling of Phasmic Presence, Diplegia, and Apastron, how do you balance the workload?
Neil: Balancing the workload is definitely hard for sure, but luckily all of my own personal projects that I’m a part of are all mainly studio projects. We honestly just get to them when we have time, I’d say the most active two at the moment are Calling Of Phasmic Presence and Apastron, however Diplegia and Vintertodt both of new music in the works but we’re just working on it whenever we can get to it which actually works the best for all of us! No deadlines, no stress, just work on them, have fun and put out tunes when we got em done!
Check out Neil’s website and stream xSPONGEXCOREx for a guaranteed laugh/headbang!