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Stereoboard Speaks To Anathema's Vincent Cavanagh About The Band's UK Tour & Plans (Interview)

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 Written by Ben Bland
Stereoboard Speaks To Anathema's Vincent Cavanagh About The Band's UK Tour & Plans (Interview)

Stereoboard.com caught up with Anathema's vocalist/guitarist Vincent Cavanagh ahead of the band’s upcoming tour. Check out what Vincent had to say about the tour and Anthema's plans for the future...

Vincent, great to talk to you, looking forward to the upcoming UK tour?

Yeah definitely. It’s a pleasure to be able to play this album live. I think it’s the best setlist we’ve ever been able to play live. We’re able to play longer sets without constantly digging into the back catalogue. Everyone seems to agree that these new songs are great songs and the best that we’ve ever done. I think we’ve always been strong live but I think we’ve taken it to a whole new level. That’s where I get the enjoyment from really.  

ImageYou’ve always seemed to be more popular in areas of Europe than in the UK, although that seems to be changing a little now, has that been frustrating for the band?

Well I don’t live in the UK any more so I can’t really comment until we go on this upcoming tour as to how things are changing but I know we’ve got more press back home recently. I don’t know why we haven’t been more popular there. I certainly don’t think it was anything to do with the music, more the business and marketing side. We’re picking up in the USA as well now. We’re going to be having a proper US release later this year which is great and we can hopefully tour there as well. I just want the music to reach its audience really. We’re not writing it for commercial reasons after all. We’ve always maintained that integrity but I certainly think we’ve always got the chance for a wider audience and to have that in America would be amazing.  

You still get mentioned in magazines like ‘Metal Hammer’ and ‘Terrorizer’  back in the UK which is interesting considering your music has changed a lot since the days when you were a metal band...

Yeah, well we’ll always probably have that. I think it’s a really cool thing. Obviously there are people at those publications that still like us even though we’re not a metal band at all. I think it’s a testament to open-mindedness. I think our music will always do the talking. 

Do you think it was always inevitable that the band would move away from its earlier sound?

Yeah I think it definitely was, always. I personally didn’t listen to a lot of that kind of music until after my 18th birthday or whatever. I was always into the classical side of things and stuff as well, as shown by songs like “Crestfallen”...which sounds classical even though it is with guitars. When you’re young you want to make a racket but I think our purest, most honest side has always been through other things.  

It took a long time for the new album to emerge, seven years in fact...it’s not going to take that long this time is it?

No, we’re already working on it. We’re working on a couple of things. We’re going to be in the studio to demo all the ideas we have right now, we have tons of ideas about. We’re planning a couple of releases so it’s definitely going to be a busy year.  

The latest album was quite emotionally upbeat in comparison to your previous work, is this something you see continuing?

I don’t know really. It’s hard to say. Yes and no.  

Lots of people are very quick to label you as a ‘progressive’  band nowadays. Is that a description you’re inclined to agree with?

Yeah absolutely. I think people have started to realise that progressive music is more than just guitar solos. In terms of artists looking to challenge themselves even in the face of success and whatever, then yes I think definitely we are that kind of band. I mean, look at Radiohead, they’re huge but always challenge themselves and evolve in some way. That’s how I see ‘progressive’ anyway.  

Danny always comes across as the principal songwriter in the band, is this always the way things are?

I think he’s just the most prolific. He writes a lot of stuff that people think of Anathema if you see what I mean. I sometimes write stuff that is totally different, with no guitars in for a start. I’ve kinda ended up finishing ideas off, especially with John. It’s us three really and we get it done but Danny often comes up with the original riffs and ideas. There’s nobody better to interpret his music than us.  

The band is made up of two families basically (Vincent, Daniel and Jamie Cavanagh / John & Lee Douglas), with the exception of Les Smith, does this make it easier or harder to work together as a band?

It’s much easier, especially these days. There’s no bickering or sibling rivalry or anything. We’ve all known each other since we were tiny...I mean we’ve known John and Lee since we were kids. It’s funny though because I have nothing to compare it to. I guess it would be more difficult to be in a band with others though; finding people you can have a long-lasting relationship with is hard. The friendship came first and then the music.  

Lee Douglas’  contribution has been becoming more and more important to the band, how important do you think she is now?

She’s as vital as anyone else in the band for sure. She’ll be singing as much on everything as much as the music allows. We won’t use her for the sake of it. Danny’s a good singer too so I think we’ve got all bases covered. It’s amazing because we never used to know that she could sing and it was only when she was in her twenties that we said “NO WAY! YOU’RE A REALLY GOOD SINGER!” Why didn’t she tell us before? It’s perfect really, uncanny.  

It’s unusual to have such musically talent siblings and friends who have grown up together.

It’s bizarre yeah. We could never have predicted it. Others saw it before we did, even before we could play instruments. We were just consumed by music all the time.  

Are there any bands around at the moment you’d like to recommend to the readers at Stereoboard.com?

Well, not so much bands but composers definitely. Johan Johansson is amazing and obviously Clint Mansell and John Murphy. Max Richter is great as well. Frankie Sparo did an album called “Welcome Crummy Mystics” in 2003 that was amazing. I’m into all that soundtrack stuff really. I still love Aphex Twin and the Warp Records stuff as well but he hasn’t done anything in a while. I miss that guy. 

Where do you see Anathema in five years time?

I think we might get quite big if things continue going as they are at the moment but musically we might be doing anything. Hopefully we’ll just get more sophisticated and do something different with our live show. If we’re gonna put on a show we’ll do it right. The visual aspect is important but we don’t wanna do the same thing as everyone else. 

Thanks for talking to me Vincent; it’s been great to speak to you.

No problem Ben, hope you enjoy the London show when it comes round.

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