RM: Well, as you just said, perfection doesn’t exist. Always one bit missing.
VC: Exactly. Even with our latest record, some parts just didn’t work live. For example, ‘The Lost Song, Pt. 3’, the whole second part of it had to be completely changed on the road. We would’ve done it on record had we gone on tour, to begin with. So that’s the plan this time. Hopefully, we don’t make any mistakes.
RM: Do you plan to take a break, let the dust settle and return to finalize the album next year?
VC: No, not really. We’ve got a few shows left, then we’re going back to London where me and Danny (Cavanagh) live, I’ve got a little studio there, so I’ll be doing a few days of finishing off. Then a break for a big show with Opeth at the Wembley SSE Arena. And then another 10 days or so of finishing it all off. The beginning of December, we go to the studio and it all starts from there.
RM: So, what’s the inspiration and emotions behind the new album? You always tend to have a story here and there, some personal emotions.
VC: There’re quite a few connections to the ‘A Fine Day to Exit’ album (released in 2001). There’s a story in the artwork of that album, where a man had reached a point where he decided to fake his own death and start a new life. On the front cover of the album you can see, that he basically disappeared, walked into the water and was never seen again. The implication is that he started a new life. So this new album is essentially about what happened to him afterwards, at least in some of the aesthetics it is. Not all songs are about that, it’s not a concept album at all. But there are some connecting themes and it probably will also be in the artwork. If we wanted to write a song about us, about feeling completely and utterly alone and lost, then we’ve got it. Then you can put it into the context of some third person. It’s very human, very deep and emotional, everything that happens to that person. And it’s very personal to us, but it’s being framed in the context of that person’s story. At least for now, as we’re very open with lyrics or artwork. Also, we always try to make an album a complete experience, just like one song, and this one won’t be an exception. I’m very-very confident about it.
RM: There are videos of new material, circulating around the Internet. What’s your take on this? Would you prefer it to be a surprise for masses till the release date?
VC: Well, you’re asking me if I would prefer it to be 1971. I would, but we just do what we can. To be honest with you, if I let it bother me, it would bother me, but I don’t. It’s one of those things, that are inevitable. It’s like bad politicians, they are inevitable. If I let them have a negative impact on my life, it’s my choice. Same applies to Internet culture. But I don’t have to.
RM: With each new album, Anathema progresses in some way, experimenting, exploring. If you can imagine, what do you think Anathema will sound in 10 years?
VC: I think it will still be soulful. It’s the one thing, that connects everything we’ve done from the beginning. There’s soul on ‘Serenades’, and there’s one on ‘Eternity’ and ‘Alternative 4’ and ‘Judgement’ albums, and in things we’re doing now. That’ll always be there, it’s in the people, in the songwriting. You either have it or you don’t. That’s the thing about a soul, you can’t fake it, it’s like trying to fake emotion or a tear. If you’re a good actor, you can probably get away with it, but we’re not actors. I would also hate us to become a purely cerebral band, who only focuses on technique and show off things. Anathema is one of those bands, that would never appear in top-10 polls. You know why? We all are very good players, but we choose not to show off because we don’t need it at all. What we need is the songs, that’s what we need.
RM: Earlier this year you participated in Starmus Festival, dedicated to Stephen Hawking. Can you tell your impressions/emotions from that evening?
VC: Stephen Hawking had almost spiritual sort of aura around him. When he entered the room, it was like Dalai Lama had entered the room. A lot of that is due to a reaction of everyone else to him, but he also has a presence about him. You can see it in his eyes, there’s something there. You feel like you’re in the presence of enormous, universal intellect, that you can’t possibly comprehend. Also, what you have to realize about professor Hawking, is that he is actually very funny. He’s up for anything, up for a good laugh. He wanted to play with us, wanted to do a song with us, wanted to be on stage, it was his choice. He never got a chance to do it with Pink Floyd and probably now never will, so it was, kind of, his last chance to be a rock star. It was wonderful, it was a big-big honor. Also, the whole festival week was very enlightening in many ways, especially since it was few days after Brexit vote. So, to leave England where all these idiots had voted to leave the EU and be amongst the presence of some of the cleverest people on this planet, that was something. It was one way to cope with the problem.