Anathema interview (02/2006)

With: Daniel "Danny" Cavanagh, Vincent Cavanagh, Jamie Cavanagh, Lee Douglas, John Douglas
Conducted by: Ivor
Published: 07.02.2006

Band profile:



Anathema does not need a real introduction. The band has been around long and has established itself as one of the most original bands that know and like what they are doing. Music full of sincere emotions has become dear to many people around the world.

Green Christmas festival was the first time for Anathema to perform in Estonia. They were one of the two headliners of the festival, closing the eventful day on Friday. The band did what people expected. They gave a very good passionate show that many will cherish.

Recorded during the Green Christmas Press Conference, 16 December 2005, 20:00

Kadri Ratt (organizer)
Mati Palmet (Kuma Raadio)
Anniki Ellen aka Magic (Pläkk)
Ivor Lõõbas (Metal Storm)

Danny Cavanagh (DC)
Vincent Cavanagh (VC)
Jamie Cavanagh (JC)
Lee Douglas (LD)
John Douglas (JD)

Kadri: Hi, your'e from...
VC: I'm from the press, we're doing interviews for Ding-Ding TV.
Kadri: Oh...
VC: Ding-Ding TV!!
DC: Ding-Ding TV! So, Vinny, you're the press then?
Kadri: Guys, this is a bad joke. (Laughs.)

(The band is directed to the seats, Vincent pushes around, switches names on the table; lots of moving and stuff going around the table. Kardi proceeds with introduction.)

Jamie, Vincent and Lee

VC: One at a time then. Don't be shy!
DC: What's your question?
Mati: My question?
VC: Yes!
Mati: Remember by the phone I asked you.
DC: Oh yeah! Is that you? Right.
Mati: But I'd like to ask, going on from that point. You said that it is absolutely impossible that you turn back to the metal.
DC: Impossible. Yeah.
Mati: But what do you think about that here are several people in this room downstairs waiting for the old-style Anathema.
DC: When the concert's finished then let's see if anybody is disappointed.
Mati: It's finished?
DC: When we're finished, after the concert. We'll see if anybody is disappointed, or not.
Magic: Can you give another press conference after the concert?
DC: I could.
VC: No, well we could but we won't.
DC: It'll be all right. We're still heavy. You haven't seen us yet but we're still a rock band.
JD: We still do old stuff in the gig. We still play, you know, stuff.
JC: Yeah, we've been playing some from the first album, like on these last, you know... So...

DC: But there's no point in going backwards, you know what I mean. There's no point in returning to "The Silent Enigma." Why? What would be the point in going backwards, musically that would be, like, retarded. You know what I mean.
Mati: You mean that...
DC: There is no point in looking backwards or... You know what I mean, it would be fake to try and do another metal album because people want that. You have to follow your heart.

Mati: Just I know that there are many people who like the old-style Anathema "raaargh."
DC: Yeah?
VC: (Bangs his head on the table.)
Mati: Remember?
DC: So? Look at his face. You made him cry! Apologize, you've made him cry... There's no fucking way. Ever! He never sung like that.

Mati: It's the same like... It is very stupid to go on the stage on the motorcycle. But Rob Halford has to do it because the old fans are waiting for it.
DC: Yeah, but we haven't painted ourselves into a corner.
VC: Ah, you're million miles away from this one.
DC: Oh shut up. We haven't painted ourselves into a corner. You know what I mean. We're just a music band. That's all.

Danny: We're still a rock band

Magic: So, you're doing music for youself, not for the public?
DC: We're doing it for both.
Magic: So, why don't you come to the stage on a motorcycle?
DC: Because that's not what Anathema fans are about.
JC: I haven't got a motorcycle licence.
VC: Manowar tried to do that once in a festival. And then the fucking bike wouldn't start!
VC: He comes on like that and brrt... brrt... and it wouldn't start. It just looked ridiculous. It's ridiculous. It's a joke!

Ivor: What do you think what kind of music will you be playing in let's say five years?
DC: I don't know. Strange stuff.
VC: Very strange.
VC: Stuff that hasn't been invented yet.
LD: Futuristic alien...
VC: Futuristic alien...
(Some joke I couldn't get written down.)

Ivor: Do you believe in aliens?
DC: No.
JC: (Laughs.) Of course, I do.
VC: The real question is have they been here before? Are they among us right now?
Ivor: So, what do you think?
VC: No.
DC: I think maybe the human race was colonized.

Press: But musically are you looking for something new to try?
VC: Always.
DC: Always, yeah, often.
Press: But anything specific for example?
DC: Well Lee's in the band now. So, we've got female vocals, that's a new brush to paint with, you knon what I mean. That's like an extra thing. We've got song that's influenced by gospel music, by old American gospel music. We've got something that's a bit influenced by that. We're not going to do R'N'B or Rap really. But apart from that we're going to try different things.
JC: There's lot of rhythm coming into, it sounds lively, you know. It's alive, a lot of rhythm going on. And I think the drums are going to be really important on the next one as well. Everything is always important. It's new for us anyway. Not exactly techno 'cause it's live instrument playing but you know...
DC: It's influenced by that.
JC: ... inspired by that, it's influenced by that.

Ivor: One of your fans read that Lee is now in the band and figured that your music would incorporate some elements from The Gathering for example.
VC: Now, that's just silly, isn't it? Just because Lee doesn't sing anything like The Gathering.
LD: I don't listen to it, to metal music. I don't like metal music. So...
DC: (Whispers.) Don't say that Lee.
LD: I'm sorry... I'm into the Carpenters.
VC: Lee doesn't know The Gathering and I don't even have The Gathering album. Danny likes them but that doesn't really matter. It's just something that somebody will...
DC: It's only 'cause I fancy the singer.
VC: It's bit silly really. It's a small-minded idea 'cause we got a girl in the band.
DC: You know, it's like people are interested in that scene. So, it's like if you do a song, they go "Oh, that's a bit like Katatonia, or that's a bit like Paradise Lost, or that's a bit like The Gathering, or that's a bit like Tiamat, or Judas Priest. Actually, you're just looking at one scene, you know. We're influenced by Beethoven, as much as anybody else.
VC: Yeah, I'm more influenced by Tom Waits than... The Gathering, you know.
DC: But that's fair, people like metal music. I suppose just heavy metal. I'm not saying that you're like that but there's some people, metalheads, just like metal. Our crowd is like open-minded metal fans. They like all different things. They like metal because when metal is played really well there's nothing quite like it. It's great when it's played really really well. But there's a lot of shit in the metalscene now, 90% of it's just shit. Right. Or bands that some people think are good and they're just not. And our fans, people who like our stuff are just open-minded. They realize how good Jeff Buckley was. They know that Radiohead are a good band, they know the Pink Floyd or The Beatles were wonderful. And they also know that metal when it's done great is really really good. And if we want to do a techno song we should be allowed to do it. And we will. (Whispers.) Just to piss you off...
Ivor: That's a great idea.
DC: That's just open-minded. It's not a big deal. It's not that important. It's just music to make people feel happy. That's all it is, that's all it is, communicating a bit of light, bit of happiness, bit of hope to people on a little level. And having fun doing it. That's all. It's not important, it's not going to change the world.

Vincent: Stuff that hasn't been invented yet.

Magic: What makes you happy?
DC: Hope...
Magic: What makes you laugh?
DC: These guys make me laugh.
Magic: Only these guys?
DC: Yes... No! Little stuff, good comedies...

Press: You have mentioned your new album. Can you tell us when is it going to be released?
DC: Next year. (2006)
JC: Can you be more specific!
VC: Sometime next year.
JC: That's not specific enough.
DC: We haven't got a record deal yet.
VC: It's going to be relased at 3:14 PM on the err... 27th of September.
DC: It would be nice to do an Internet release first, release a few songs on the Internet, if it's possible. I'd like to do that.
VC: Yeah, that would be good.
DC: 'Cause people've been waiting a long time. So, instead of waiting for a contract and waiting to record and waiting to promote and release a record... That's going to take until September at least, next year. But I'd like to do an Internet release first. Just a few songs. But that's not decided. It's a bit difficult. You might hear like three or four new songs, say three new songs in like April, mid-March or April, if it's OK.

Press: Do you have any expectation of the audience here? Any idea...
DC: It's going to be great.
VC: We've never played in Estonia before...
DC: It's going to be great.

Magic: What do you know about Estonia? About Estonian metal scene.
DC: I don't know much about any fucking metal scene.
VC: I know that you won a Eurovision song contest two years ago. And one fellow was from Aruba.
Magic: And what is the reason that you know that?
VC: Because I watched it on the tellie. And I've seen them win. I wanted them to win 'cause it was a good song.
DC: The nearest I've got is looking at some Antimatter photos a couple of years ago when they played here.
JD: Yeah, and they had the all-girl band in miniskirts playing.
DC: Keyboard player was nice.
DC: I just don't know about the history.
VC: Another thing, I know that the language is linked to Finland and Hungary. And that's just about it.
DC: I don't wish to be ignorant. Is it a good system or does it suck like everywhere else?
VC: Seems nice so far. We've just had a sauna. Super! We've got here right, backstage looked after really really well. Just had a sauna, nice bit of soup.
DC: John's got... yeah, look at these socks.
VC: John's got his dancing queen socks on. It's going to be a good night.
JD: I got me sister's socks 'cause mine stink.

Press: I'm going to ask my favourite question. Every band has a dream, some goal they'd like to reach or some people or band they'd like to step up with, on stage I mean. What is your dream? Or have you already completed it?
VC: No.
JC: No.
Press: What would it be?
DC: It would be different for everybody in the band. You have to ask individually. Who would you most like to play with, Jamie?
JC: Who I'd most like to play with?
DC: Yeah, anyone?
JC: Ah...
LD: All of them are dead.
DC: Dead heroes, you know.

DC: I suppose if... I mean, we've already succeeded, on a lot of levels we've already succeeded. 'Cause we've stayed together. And you know, it's a good unit. And it's fun. And the music is still progressing, we're still going uphill, we haven't reached the top of the hill yet. We haven't started going down. So, on a lot of levels we've succeeded, you know. So, we can just, like, keep doing music that we want to do, have fun doing it and reach people, play concerts and make people happy and just like make ourselves happy. That's it. And maybe, you know, earn enough money maybe to get a little house. I'd love that. That would be success for me then, have a little house somewhere.
VC: Or maybe just like to reach kind of size or level of audience that we feel the music has air.
DC: That's not the way I see it.
VC: I mean, when you think about it. There's no reason for our music to be confined to, like, metal audience or any type of genre like that. There's lots of different types of people.
DC: Yeah, but that's not going to happen!
VC: No, it isn't. But, you know, like she said about dreams, you know.
DC: No, that's not my dream. The guy from Radiohead "If you're in the band and you are envious of the position we are in, forget it! 'Cause it's fake and it's shit!" You know the hype, the bollock that you have to go through if you're on a major label. If you're really famous, everybody, everybody changes their attitude towards you. And that's not real, that's not healthy, you know what I mean. It's fucking difficult to stay sane in those circumstances. It's not what I want. It's not what he wants. But to build that own club of people and be successful doing that, we've already done that. If we could... I'd like to play with a few great bands, I'd like to get do an album that you hear that somebody like Thom Yorke thinks its a really good album. That would be amazing for me. 'Cause I love his stuff. You know what I mean. But to be famous and sell 10 million records, no! Leave that to people with more confidence.

Danny: On a lot of levels we've already succeeded.

Ivor: Has your attitude changed during the years you have played?
DC: No shit, doesn't anybody's?
Ivor: Can you describe in which way it has changed?
DC: Growing up, becoming more mature and less childish.
VC: Attitude towards what? Just general?
Ivor: I don't know, towards your music, towards the world, fans.
DC: Well, we've always had good attitudes really. We're just good kids. We've always been good kids, we've just grown up a bit.
VC: I think I care more, these days I just care more about especially the music and what we do than I used to.

Kadri: You are away from home a lot and during the year you have a lot of concerts. While being on stage, do you ever get the feeling that this timing is all wrong, the feeling totally wrong and you just don't want to do it. Have you ever gotten to the point where you feel that "Why am I doing this?"
DC: Yeah I did last April. But that's just 'cause I was ill, you know. But I don't feel like that anymore. It was just... If you're in a bad place in your head, it doesn't matter what you do and it's not going to be fun. And there was a time there that I thought "Oh, shit!" But I sorted the way out. It's OK now... I love playing, I love being in a band. It's always funny with these guys and the concerts are always good. So, no complaints. It's a very nice thing to do.
VC: Me it's the opposite. Like, when I'm at home sometimes I just think "What the fuck am I doing here?" you know. "I wish I wasn't here."

Magic: You are always telling that you want to make people happy with your music. But still your music sounds quite depressive.
DC: Not the new stuff doesn't.
JC: Yeah, not any more.
VC: Yeah, but...
Magic: The new stuff you will release next year?
VC: You can cry to a song but it'll still leave you with a smile on your face at the end of it. You'll be glad that you have gone through that. It won't depress you, instead lift you.
Magic: In case if you understand the words. But if you are listening just to the music, without understanding the words, then it's quite depressive.
DC: OK, fair enough. But I don't find that kind of stuff depressive. Have you heard the "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven? Piano... Now, people would say that very melancholic. Does it make you sad? 'Cause me, I think it's so incredible that how can that be depressive? The fact that it exists is just incredible.
VC: Yeah, Albinoni's "Adagio"...
DC: So, it's like I don't find it depressive that kind of thing. I just find it inspiring.
JC: Most of my favourite songs are in minor keys. And it's just a minor key, the fact doesn't make it depressive.
DC: The songs aren't saying there is no hope, or woe is me, I live in a forest, my girlfriend doesn't love me. You know what I mean? It's...
JC: My dog is dead!
DC: (Laughs.) You know what I mean? We don't sing in a song about that. Anathema represents hope. It's not a big deal but hope is an important thing to have in your life. And that's what this band is about.
Magic: About hope?
DC: Yes.
Magic: Do you believe in it?
DC: Of course. (Laughs.) I have to. Otherwise, you know, it would be...

Magic: OK, most embarrassing situation with Anathema?
Band: (Laugh.)
DC: I don't know.
VC: Embarrassing? I don't really get embarrassed.
JD: I don't really get embarrassed.
VC: I don't mind stripping off naked and walking in front, you know, the old cow, in the field.
JC: Go on then!
VC: Alright, don't mind me. (Stands up and strips down his pants.)
VC: See, I don't really get embarrassed. And Lee doesn't mind either. So...
LD: Yarrrrrmm... I'm just used to it.
VC: Yeah, she's just used to it.
VC: Embarrassing?
DC: No, not really that many embarrassing moments. Lot's of funny ones.
VC: I mean we just get into all sorts, you know. Like John over there, on the end, he's nut case sometimes, you know. Climbs out of the roof of the tourbus at 80 mph and hangs on by his fingernails. Sorry John.
JD: That was 10 years ago.
LD: He doesn't do it any more.
VC: No, he's getting sensible now.

Ivor: I'll ask the opposite. What was the best moment with Anathema?
VC: The best moment...
DC: It's just good generally at the moment, you know what I mean. There have been no best moments.
LD: I liked the Greece's last gig.
DC: Yeah, that Greece concert was special. The one in 2004, April 2004. That was good.
VC: That was good.
DC: A turning point in the band.
VC: But just gotten this next album, the next one really. Listening back to this new album and the new songs finished is going to be the biggest so far, I reckon.
Ivor: So, every album for you is the best at the moment?
VC: Definitely. I mean, of course. You've got to look forward, you've got to strive.
DC: I think we're still going up the hill, you know. We're still going up the hill. That's the way I look at it. Some bands, like, they go up the hill quickly and then fall down again after three albums. But we're still going up. Maybe that's 'cause we started when we were shit, you know. (Laughs.) We were pretty shit when we started. But anyway, we haven't started losing it yet. So, yeah, there's a lot of good songs left.

Vincent: You've got to look forward, you've got to strive.

Magic: You seem quite serious, why don't you laugh?
DC: 'Cause it's a straight situation we're in at the moment, it's a straight situation. This is not normal.
Magic: How so? You are quite famous.
DC: No, we don't do this often.
JC: This is not very often we do this sort of thing.
Magic: So, actually you must see this like a new opportunity to feel new strange situations and to have fun. But not look like...
JC: Yeah... It's daft and it's fucking stupid, isn't it? (Laughs.)
DC: I just think it's a bit weird. I can feel a lot of different vibes in the room, you know.
Magic: Can you express them? Can you explain them to us, what are you feeling now?
DC: Ehh... (Laughs.) I don't know. I can't really explain it. Like I feel something and I know it. It's not your fault. This isn't a normal situation. Come up with a beer after the gig and you'll see a totally different thing. We are down to earth, we are normal and we are funny. You'll just have to believe me. (Laughs.)

Kadri: OK, our time is up now. So, if somebody really really wants to ask a really last question.
Mati: Just one question. What is that what keeps you together and moving in the same direction. What point of views are accepted by all the members of the band? Can you name any?
VC: We agree on all sorts of levels.
DC: Do you have children? Do you have kids?
Mati: Yeah.
DC: And what do you teach your kids about right and wrong. Common values, respect, love. That's what you teach your kids. Same thing, isn't it?
Mati: It's the same thing that keeps you together?
DC: It's just fucking normal, normal stuff. Friendship, love, family, music.
Mati: It sounds too normal.
DC: We are normal.
VC: Yeah.
Magic: Are you? (Laughs.)
DC: I'm off to hang myself. (Laughs.)

Kadri: Thank you very much for your company.
VC: Welcome.
JC: No problems.
VC: Thank you!

Posted on 07.02.2006 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 65 users
07.02.2010 - 15:15

When I read RULES OF POSTING I understood no-one can say what he/she wants. I'm not agree with mixing techno with metal. it's sh*t! PEOPLE WHO LOVE ANATHEMA, LOVE IT THE WAY THAT IT IS OR MOSTLY IT WAS. Not a fusion . Anyway, They don't like metal? Lee, you don't like metal? Do you know it is Anathema? really... Do you? I bet you don't.
Exista un sambure de adevar in toate... [ There is a seed of truth in everything...] - A Romanian proverb.
05.03.2010 - 13:04
Account deleted
Well, I'm a long time Anathema fan ... hmm ... I like Anathema s music for a long time ... that's better ... anyway, the more metal era, or the more rock era (or whatever you call it) it's always Anathema and it's always MAGICAL!

So, just listen to the music, listen to what you like, and remember that it is their music, not yours, not ours. They do not owe you nothing, and you/we may not criticize them for playing what they want and like. Would you like your mom, sis, bro, friend, colegue - to tell you how to lead you life, arrange your socks, eat your soup, when to use the toilet ...

If you do not understand that, sorry and with all due respect, but you are a fool.


Nikola F.

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