V.I.T.R.I.O.L Interview Anaal Nathrakh

V.I.T.R.I.O.L Interview Anaal Nathrakh

21st September 2016 0 By DJ Pixie

The powerhouse of Dave (aka V.I.T.R.I.O.L) from Annal Nathrakh kindly took time to answer a few questions

We caught your set in Manchester at Rebellion Bar (Saturday 3rd September ), how did you guys find this?


It was a good show, we thought.  We’d not seen that venue before, but it was a cool place, and the staff were very helpful.  I hope the place does well.


Your new album ‘The Whole of the Law’ is out on October 28th, can you tell us a little about this?


It’s our new album. Beyond that, most things I’d say are redundant – obviously I’m biased and think it’s brilliant.  But I would say that, naturally, so there’s little reason for anyone to take my opinion seriously.  Better if people listen to it for themselves once it comes out.  There’s a track available to stream online as a preview, and I believe there’s going to be one or two more made available between now and the release date.  So check them out & make your own mind up.


What is it like going from the song writing process to being in the studio?


Our song writing happens in the studio.  We work a bit differently from most bands in that we don’t write songs by jamming them or slowly laying out structures etc.  Mick arrives at the right feeling, and then channels it – obviously there are considerations of structure etc, but it’s nearly all done at an intuitive level, what feels right for that moment etc.  So there’s quite a long period of getting ideas etc in our heads and letting them swim around and take shape, but when it comes to making the actual songs, it’s mostly just about letting the ideas out rather than formal song writing.  I do the same with the vocals – I keep lists of ideas, titles, snippets of lyrics etc, but I don’t usually actually hear the music until we’re recording, and I just wrap my ideas around the music and do what feels right as a reaction to what Mick’s written.  It’s not the typical way of writing music, but it works for us, and I like to think that it helps the music feel spontaneous and energetic, because that’s how we actually make it.


What is your favourite track on the album?


At the moment, probably Extravaganza! because it’s a bit different.  The favourite song changes all the time.  We did a few shows over the past few weeks and we played Depravity Favours The Bold at them, and that stuck in our heads like the worst kind of ear worm.  So until the past couple of days I’d probably have said that.  But at the moment it’s Extravaganza!  The King Diamond-style vocals really stand out, and mix with a cool spooky kind of atmosphere that lends a nicely sardonic tone to what might otherwise sound, I don’t know, reassuring maybe.  It’s a good mix that’s more than the sum of its parts.


To new listeners how would you describe your music?


I wouldn’t.  Partly because that’s more a job for journalists etc – like I said, I’m obviously going to be biased because it’s only natural that you would be, and I also can’t be entirely objective because we’ve lived with the songs under a microscope – we just won’t hear things in quite the same way as a normal listener.  And partly because explanations like that are redundant in comparison with actually experiencing things like music yourself.  It’s a bit like the difference between reporting a sensation and expressing it.  Describing music is like saying ‘my leg hurts’ – it’s devoid of emotional content, which is what the sensation of listening to music is all about. Listening to music is more like actually shouting ‘OUCH!’ when you’re in pain – it’s directly expressing something rather than just referring to it.  And given how easy it is to hear music with things like Spotify etc that you can get nowadays, new listeners are best off actually listening for themselves.


Would you say mythology plays a large part for a base of topics within your band -‘The Serpents Lair‘ / ‘Excalibur‘ ?


That particular mythology, not particularly.  We chose the name because it felt right and we liked the film, but that was about the end of it.  It wasn’t a mission statement or anything like that.  But I do include a lot of mythological or religious references because I see them as metaphors.  They’re like densely packed parcels of meanings, each of which interplay differently depending on the context of use.  So for example you could use lots of words to talk about the oppression of arbitrary authority, the instinct to destroy and liberate, the facility to create anew and so on.  Or you could use a semi-mythological metaphor and say ‘when the lion devours both dragon and child’ – the latter is far better to me because it’s more elegant, it conveys a lot of meaning in a short space, and it includes a slightly mysterious reference that might spur someone on to broaden their horizons.


Why did some of you guys choose to use stage names such as V.I.T.R.I.O.L and IRRUMATOR?


Initially, it was to avoid there being any personalities to interfere with the music.  Listen to it, don’t think about the people who made it, basically.  After a while people knew that Mick’s name was Mick, so it was a bit pointless for him to use the name.  It behoves him for people who know who he is, because of his work as a producer and so on.  I tend to still use the pseudonym on albums, because I think of the viewpoint expressed on albums as something of a character – it comes from me and how I think, but I’m not trying to present myself to the world in the way that, say, John Grant or Leonard Cohen might.  It doesn’t matter who I am, and using a pseudonym even though I’m not exactly mysterious and unavailable underlines that.


Now that the new album is done, is it nice to have new material to play live to your audiences?


Yeah, certainly. It’s hardly as if we get bored with songs, but it’s been cool to play Depravity… and see that people are receptive and can get into it in an immediate way.  It’ll be interesting to see what we can make of other new songs in a live band format.  I imagine we’ll be able to do them justice, so again it’ll become a case of seeing how they go down and enjoying the novelty of playing them.


If you could invite anyone to feature on your next album who would it be?


We actually spent some time in London recently chatting with someone who we’ll hopefully be able to collaborate with at some point.  But we’ll see how that works out, and I’ll keep it under wraps for the time being.  Overall, the answer that would always apply, and always has done since we started would be King Diamond.  A wail-off.


Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?


Nothing specific.  I’m no font of wisdom or advice.  Just thanks.  The support we receive is genuinely appreciated.

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