Anathema | Full Interview

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We’ve focussed on the more modern sound for this tour — but there’s a special reason for that, as you will see in 2015!

Ahead of their Bristol show in a few days, our Benedict Edwards had a chat with Danny Cavanagh from the prog-metalling Anathema.

A nice simple one to begin – just how excited are you about your September tour?

We think this will be a special tour for us as the band has settled into a new way of playing and we have all these new songs! Also we have a good atmosphere between band, crew and support band, this is also important for generating positive feelings. Most importantly, we anticipate a good audience – and this is the main thing of course.

‘Distant Satellites’ displays much more of a minimalist approach than your previous work. Was this something you actively planned from the beginning, or something that evolved naturally?

Yes that was actually planned, after making the previous records with a lot of layers, this was a natural reaction to that. The album ‘Falling Deeper’ also had this minimalist approach, and I believe it helps to create a record that has clarity without becoming too dense — ultimately the message of the songs only needs a certain amount if musical support for that message to be heard.

It almost feels like listening to a 12” LP, turning it over halfway through and hearing a new sound from the second side. Is the electronica-heavy approach of the latter half an indication of your future direction?

It’s a sign that the door has been opened for that approach to music to really come through, but it will never dominate our music. More likely it will be an important part of the equation in much the same way that guitars and piano are already.

You’ve spoken previously about the talents of Christer-André Cederberg, and quite rightly so as he did a fantastic job of producing your last two records. Were you at all worried about handing the mixing duties to Steve Wilson when Christer fell ill?

I was only worried until I found out that Steven was available – and after that I wasn’t worried because I know how good Steve is at this kind of work. In fact, although the circumstances were unfortunate in terms of Christer’s illness, (he performed a miracle to finish the album on schedule) it was actually a great pleasure to work with Steven again.

Much has been made of The Lost Song, your three part attempt to recreate a song erased from your hard drive. How close do you think it is to the missing original?

I would say it’s an entirely new song now — created from that track that was lost — how close is it? Probably in the same kind of area as that lost song, in terms of the key and general feeling, but it’s become something entirely new now. I’m kind of glad that song was lost, I really don’t think the other three songs would have happened without that being the case.

You have a self-titled song on the new record. Do you feel it represents everything that you’re about as a band?

Not at all, it simply represents something personal and honest and full of feeling, which is often the case for us. Only that song could have had that title, but it’s not a statement about the band, it’s something deeper, kinder and less pretentious than that.

This isn’t your first time in Bristol of course, but this time around you’re set to play the quite unique Thekla. Is playing a gig in the bowels of a ship going to be a new experience for you?

We’ve done this before in Hungary and we’ve played a cruise, but I will enjoy Bristol – an interesting city for me, having loved some of the 99s music that came from the area. I like the city and will definitely take time out for a walk – look for me in Starbucks or another coffee house!

To me, your very early material feels worlds away from the music you make these days, almost like different band. Does it feel the same way to you?

If you have heard falling deeper, you’ll see that melodic sensibility has been there from the start and as such, really only the musical approach, production and vocals have drastically changed. Of course that’s a big deal, but the main thing is that the creative heart of the band is much as it was — with the exception of Darren White and Duncan Patterson, two very important people in our evolution.

Can you give us any teasing hints about your set list for the upcoming tour? With around 25 years’ worth of music to choose from, it’s near impossible for us to predict.

We’ve focussed on the more modern sound for this tour — but there’s a special reason for that, as you will see in 2015! It’s exciting to bring in these new sounds and textures into the gigs, we are really happy with the results in rehearsal – let’s see what happens on the road!

Thanks Danny — Anathema play Thekla on 27th September.

Check out ‘Anathema’ for starters: