RockMuzine’s Eugene Kabanets (RM) met with Vincent Cavanagh (VC), singer and guitarist for British band Anathema, before they performed one of their concerts of ‘An Evening with Anathema’ tour.
RM: Just as we start, the rumor is: Lee (female singer) and Daniel (drummer) had problems abiding Dutch laws yesterday? Can you tell us what happened?
VC: Oh, they got arrested by transport authorities for not having tickets. But I think our tour manager stepped in last minute and sweet-talked them around. But they still paid a fine. Now they have tickets… for a fine! You know, it would’ve been so much better if they went to jail. Then there would’ve been an opportunity for a photo.
RM: That’s very ‘metal’.
VC: Well, I mean, it’s a day off. They wouldn’t have missed the show. We would’ve got some publicity out of it. It’s the best we can do these days (laughs). It’s not exactly rock’n’roll, not exactly punk rock.
RM: Apparently, Anathema’s new album is coming out soon. If you had only two words to promote it – what would they be?
VC: Huh, can I have three? “Listen to it”. You know… Promoting it is not something I’m interested in. I’m only interested in making it and then, afterwards, playing it. It’s the only thing I’m interested. I can talk about it all day, about what’s it all about, about the recording process or what I think the music is about. I can talk about that. But actually promoting it, going like “Hey, buy our new record because it’s great!”. Because it’ll make you feel better about Brexit or the situation in America? All that stuff, I’m not interested at all. With a band like us, I assume it’s pretty normal. It would be strange if you were to write such an honest music, soulful confessions almost, that kind of music, and then go out and try to sell it. It’s weird like you’re selling your soul. We don’t have that at all.
RM: I think everyone can find something to relate to in your music.
VC: That’s the thing with our music. I think everybody, no matter what you’re into, what your age is, where are you coming from, what your history is, there’s something in our music for everybody. I think it’s easy to find if you are given the opportunity. So, our only job is to make it. After that, when we give it to record companies and magazines and else, it’s their job to give it to everybody else. We’ve done our job, now it’s theirs.
RM: That’s fair. You said you can talk about new album all day long. Can you elaborate on the recording process for a new album?
VC: Oh, we haven’t even started.
RM: So, you’re playing raw material on this tour?
VC: Yeah, it’s very much ‘work in progress’. The idea is to play some songs live and see if they grow on tour. There’s something about playing to the audience… Something… Ah, it sounds so pretentious, but there’s some kind of synergy in the room, whereby on some conscious level you know you’re playing to the audience, even if you’re ignoring it. It makes you play in a certain way, it makes you treat things in a certain way. If you were in a rehearsal room with guys, that’s cool, but playing it in front of the audience that hasn’t heard it is something else. I think it keeps you on your toes. And it keeps the song on its toes as well. A lot of new songs are still in a fluid place, it could go one way or the other. So we’re trying different things, different sections of instrument here or there, trying a little tweak on a vocal tune, extend this part, shorten that, just seeing how it works. It’s the first time we do it.
Usually, we go to the studio with at least the music written and write the rest of it there. But what happened, at least for the last few records, usually all of the lyrics and vocals got written in the studio. This time we wanted to take the pressure off, because when you go to the studio – it has to be fun, right? You should be able to relax, enjoy the process and concentrate on the important part. If everything is done, recorded, rehearsed, then you can concentrate on production and those little ‘extra 10%’ on the record, that will make it more complete. When you recorded basic parts, like drums, guitars, pianos, everything else is so much fun. So the idea is to get that done quickly and enjoy the rest of the session, putting those little details and so on.
You know, the album like ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by Pink Floyd, wouldn’t be half of the album it was without those bits of incidentals, and production, and the talking, and the interviews, and the way songs weave into each other, all of that was done over a long period of time in a long session. But they (Pink Floyd) did the same thing, they’ve gone on tour playing the new stuff, then went into the studio for 6 months and didn’t come out of it until they were absolutely ready and satisfied with it. And what did they do? They made like one of the biggest selling albums of all time, and one of the best albums of all times. And certainly one of the most complete albums of all times, that’s definitely the one thing you can say about ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and about everything that Pink Floyd did. It’s pretty timeless, it’s a vision totally complete and finished and there’s nothing you can do to it to make it better. I think that it the only goal in music. I mean, perfection doesn’t exist, but you can reach a stage where you completed the picture, finished the jigsaw like it’s actually done. People might not like it, you might not like it, but it’s complete, it’s done.
Continue to part two of the interview…