Interview date

01 Septembre 2010




Interview Vincent Cavanagh (by phoners)

This title, "We're Here Because We're Here", is it a wink to the record companies that didn't want you?

No, not at all! We were not really looking for a record company. We wanted to be independent, to produce a peaceful album ourselves. It is very expensive to record an album, it takes a long time to pay, so we thought "no, no, no, the best thing to do is to buy our own studio and then record the all thing ourselves so the band is totally autonomist." It took a long time, but now we have our own studio, so we can continue to work in faster or normal taste. I'm not worry about the record industry because I know it depends of the schedule and it ask for a lot of attention, improving all the time, so it can be only good for each of us, really.

During all these years, what has been the importance of your fans?

Absolutely, very important for us. Because there was always a connection with our audience. Our audience can appropriate our lyrics and our songs for their own lives. Even though there are some difficult discussions and all theses things, it's a kind of universal human experience and we go through death, laugh, loss and betrayal and all these things. I mean people can identify with our band very much so we had this special rapport with the audience, especially in live. When we started Anathema, it was a live band. I think our compositions are the things I enjoy, it is fantastic that the essence we have with this band is live and the connection we have with our audience.

You didn't release a new album during seven years. Finally, do you think it helped you to do a good album?

Oh yeah, indeed it's better to wait. But I have to say that I think seven years is to long to any band! (Laughs). But that was the deal. We needed time when we stated doing everything ourselves, to buy our own studio. There were a lot of things we needed to go through, get new management relation, keep touring, and keep having money to buy equipment. So that's essentially the main reason why it takes so long. But it doesn't have to happen again like that now, because we have the studio, we have the management, we have a new agent, and we have a really positive work on everything. I think people are aware that the band is in a happier face and we have been in so much together, we get along very, very well these days so it's really positive.

Do you think people can be satisfied with only ten songs when they have waiting so long?

Yeah, I think because it's a long album. There is a lot to take in. I think there is only one song of five minutes, the rest is over six. All of them are between six or eight minutes long, so it's quite epic really. We didn't wanna do more than we have done with our music. It just depends like flower song that we chose. I like that. I think it's more concise. We did a complete work here, all of us. I think that comes before everything else. It has to make sense to itself. But for the next album, we won't let you wait so long, we have like a hundred ideas for the songs. But we are going to chose songs really carefully, how we take the next move. But it's a very interesting question.

We can almost understand hidden messages in the lyrics as in "Angels Walk Among Us". What were your states of mind when you wrote these new songs?

No one in particular, it is just what it was ask to be written I think. I think that one particularly follows that baring of the soul, one last goodbye in the silence. It's about the same matters subject because it's very personal. These things depend on what comes up, really. You can't carry negativity around, on your shoulder because it doesn't bring to you any good. But about the messages, hidden meanings of the lyrics, I quite enjoy when people have their own interpretation. A lot of people don't know the story which hides behind these kind of songs. So we let them interpret into their own story, about somebody they know. For me that's more interesting. Well, when I listen to artists, I actually don't want to know what they thought when they write the songs. I have my own interpretation. There are things that help you to feel less alone in this world, because someone else understands, feels... So we let people do their own interpretation with their own experience. That's very interesting, very cool.

Dany is the main writer of this new album. John and you have been pushed into the background. Is it something that happened naturally?

No. It seems that way because we wrote it on the cover (laughs) but it's not what happened. It's a real collaboration between Dany, John and myself. But I would say that Dany is more complete than John. Because Dany does more complicated things than John does. But John is pretty writer because he can’t see things through, he needs me for that. So John is not the main writer in that way. So what happened is that it has been orchestrated by me. I kind of making the demos and produced. It's a kind of a team between Dany, John and me.

There are a lot of acoustic parts in this album, there is no more metal and it's more heavenly. Does it reflect some personal changes in addition of musical ones?

I think so. That is always true if you are really honest with what you create, if it's a true reflection of who you are. It's natural, that's the way it has to come out. The music evolution is a personal evolution of the mind, your own experience, our own understanding of yourself and especially of your place in the world. It depends of your history and when you realise all these kind of bullshit (laughs) and moving on. I guess the way we write the music and what we do creatively is more conscious and conscious we don't linger on the style of our music or what people want us to do. It's like when you walk among a river when you write a song. It's a river itself, you have to gallop the way it moves and follow the visible paths and it's the same with the music. Because if you put yourself with an idea and you keep repeating, repeating a song will revealed itself to you and tell you how it wants to be. That's the trick, really. It's like a mirror.

Your music is an invitation to let our mind escape. Is it your main way to conceive the music in general?

Yeah, I think it's our escape. So it's a really deep escape for us, really. But it's not really escape from reality; it's more a kind of carry of our own conscience. I wouldn't say it's an escape. What's escapism? Escape is kind of when you drink alcohol; take drugs or when you are watching the TV, I consider that more a kind of escape. Because if you like the music it's a really deep experience, especially if you write the lyrics, it has to be the opposite of escape. Finally, you have to get into who you are. But indeed, if you are doing that, if people can escape through that, why not, absolutely.

It is said it is easier to write sad music and sad lyrics than happy ones even if we are in a good mood. Is it also the case for Anathema?

Possibly. But I don't think we write sad songs you see, even though they all have a melancholic aside. What you can find pretty sad on the album is, it's like middle-land, somewhere between... You know some of people ask me "why do you write sad songs?". To me, they are not sad, it's joyful. I got a lot of intensity with that kind of music and it makes me happy!

Why have you waited so long to integrate officially Lee Douglas in the band?

There was no decision, she was just connected to a lot of things of our lives. I would say she was just ready. She is one of our bests friends, but she doesn't part of a family, we are two families in the band. It just makes a perfect sense. I think it's a kind of heavily because nobody were expecting that we would do the music at all and here we are, five people who grown up together, play the music together. It feels strange! (Laughs). So that's how it happens, it is just naturally. Lee is a natural singer.

It seems that "Hindsight" had disappointed some of your fans because of its concept. Do you understand these reactions?

Yeah, some people have waiting for it for a long time and some people were waiting for new material. For us one of the reason is why we had to overacting. We had to work a lot to do this record, me and Dany even played an acoustic concert with a cello player. We knew the chance to record the songs like that and it was a big step forward for the band that usually followed only one path. We wanted to turn on the light on what we have done in the past and gave to it different colours. And the last reason was that we take the songs that the record company has listed. We had to buy new equipment for the studio we needed to record "We're Here Because We're Here"... So yeah...

It is quite surprising to know that you will play in Beirut in few days. What is your fame in this country?

I'm gonna tell you a story : The last time I was there, I was flicking through the national TV, but I was watching a live TV talk show, on the sofa with other people. It was a bizarre experience. It was not like being famous ! (Laughs). The reaction of the audience in that kind of country is really intense. We already went to Tunisia just recently as well which is something similar. And I hope one day we can get in other places in the Middle-East. Apart of Lebanon, we would like to play in Jordan and Syria, sing across the country even if they can't with the current president. I hope young people finally get what they say, there are a lot of young intelligent, artistic, open-minded people in these countries. They just like me and you, going to a concert to have fun.

Of all the countries you have visited, which one has your preference?

I can't say that 'cause I'm gonna upset people, quite a few ! (Laughs). We've been all over Europe and in South America. For the band I think there are too many audience, and the audience is really, really good everywhere. But if we don't talk about that, I could say that Paris is my favourite city in the world. Then it must been New York and I have loved going to London, that was a good experience as well.

You will come back to France in October for your show in Paris, it's in a smaller place than where you played the last time you came...

This one, we are in a headline show. The last time, we were supporting a couple of bands and we've been a classic place before, in the Olympia. This time out it will be a real headline show. Hopefully, we have two great supporters Petter Carlsen a fantastic song writer from Norway, and Anneke Van Giersbergen, the former singer of The Gathering. We already have a collaboration with her. My advice is to take your ticket early 'cause it's gonna be special.

Does the capacity of a concert hall is important for you or you just need to be in sympathy with the audience?

I think the biggest audience in front of we played was twenty-five thousand people at Wacken. To me that's not abnormal because I'm use to play on big stages. Obviously, I'm looking forward to that. But there is something more intimate about smaller show. We played too many time in front of a couple of thousand people or three thousand people who are very enthusiastic. Those kind of crowns make a huge sound and it's fantastic. I think for a band like us, it's more a matter of ambiance. I still love to play in festivals. I think they are both good ways, really.

What is your best memory with the French audience?

Olympia in Paris. Because it was an ambition of mine to play in this venue. And now we are gonna back here in headline (laughs), that's gonna be special. I love this venue. I liked to listen to the show there and I was saying "wow, I'm gonna play in this place", there is a beautiful sound. I was really, really fuc***g excited! (Laughs). That was great, at least as my expectations, it was fantastic.

Have you something else to say to the fans who will read this interview?

Come to see us on October 10th. We will play almost everything we can, we will take it as long as we can. That's gonna be great, a great night of music. There is humility, collaboration and rapport between the stage and the audience, so it should be good!

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