In exciting news for metal lovers, UK band Anathema are returning to our shores for the second time in their 25 year career, this time with an acoustic show.
Founded in 1990 by brothers Vincent, Daniel and Jamie Cavanagh (as Pagan Angel), Anathema began as a death/doom band.
This year, though, the group are mixing it up again by bringing an interpretation of their music, which is completely different to the show they brought us last year.
“We did a full electric set last time, but we’re showing the acoustic side of the band now,” Vincent Cavanagh says. “I have to explain, though, the acoustic sound is not what you’d expect from an unplugged show, so to speak. It’s more of an ambient band.”
“A lot of it revolves around what Danny does on his guitar. He taps rhythms on his guitar into a loop pedal and then plays rhythms, bass lines and melodic phrases and riffs over the top. I do a lot of floaty guitar over the top which sounds like a keyboard, or synth or organ. Then there are the three voices and piano as well so it can sound pretty full. There’s a lot of energy in the sound as well. There’s a lot of intensity in there.”
Speaking to us from his new home in London (he’s been living in Paris for seven years and recently moved back to the UK), Vincent says he was surprised at the reaction he received from Aussies on their first tour here.
“It was great. It was our first ever trip over there and we couldn’t believe the response we got from the Aussie audiences. For us, being over the other side of the world, it’s very difficult to gauge what kind of an audience we had,” he says.
“The cool thing was, we got to do a lot of ‘meet and greets’ before the shows, so we got to meet people in advance and then play the shows, and the response was amazing. There were really cool audiences over there. We’re really looking forward to getting back there.”
And what is he most looking forward to? The Liverpudlian just loves the fun and the banter (AKA, the craic).
“I just love the craic! The craic with everybody; the laughs! I love the people over there, I really do. I love the people we work with as well. They’re really spot on. The organisation is top notch,” he enthuses.
“We come from a part of the world where there are no airs and graces and it’s exactly the same down there. We love all of that; it’s a very familiar place for us. It felt very familiar the first time we went. I thought I could bloody live here! It’s the people who make it.”
The ‘acoustic’ show came about after Vincent and his brother Danny set off on a tour together and experimented with their songs.
“Danny and I have been doing acoustic tours for years. We kind of just wanted to get away, just him and me, without the band. We were very close at the time and we just wanted to get away and play those tunes, and it all evolved from that,” he says.
“Danny did a lot of solo concerts on his own, whereby he bought a looper pedal and figured out how he can make his own shows work and then, when I joined with him again, it started evolving.”
Anathema rose to recognition with their album, Serenades, released in 1993 and since then, Vincent says he, and his music, has changed significantly.
“I’ve changed immeasurably so; you’re talking 20 years. I was just a kid when I made Serenades. I’m not even the same person anymore. To be honest, I’m not even the same person I was 10 years ago or five years ago. As an artist and a writer, things have changed for me just in the past few years,” he says.
“I do a lot of my work now on synthesizers and programming beats and that kind of thing. Electronic stuff has changed my life and opened up my world to a different form of composition. The music I make is ambient instrumental music too so I’m a completely different person.”
Last year, Anathema won ‘Best Song of the Year’ award at the Prog Music Awards for ‘Anathema’ off Distant Satellites.
Despite the accolades, Vincent is critical of his own work, which he reckons is more constructive than paying heed to outside opinion.
“Every time we go into the studio, it’s only on reflection, once it’s done, that we can make our minds up about how we feel about it. But regardless of praise or criticism, it doesn’t really affect us. What matters is how we feel about it. Did we accomplish what we set out to do? And more importantly, are we finished?”
“If there’s nothing more you can do to make it better, then you’ve done your best. So at that point, you’re kind of bulletproof, whether people like it or they don’t. From my perspective, I don’t think we hit that mark on Distant Satellite. I think we came closer to that on Weather Systems. But whether you do a great album, or whether you could do better, they equally inspire you to do better next time.”
You can check out Anathema and be a part of the craic on Tuesday October 27 at The Gov.
By Libby Parker