When I read in the press that Pete Shelley had died on December 6, 2018, I was immediately thinking back to 1978 when I first heard of the Buzzcocks, whose singer, guitarist and main songwriter Pete Shelley was.
To be honest, the Buzzcocks initially puzzled me: My favourite bands at that time were the likes of the Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Jam or the Ramones - and despite the Buzzcocks also playing fast and awesome songs, they were completely lacking the anger and the fury of many of these 1st Generation Punk bands.
Pete Shelley did not shout in rage but sang in a clear and somehow innocent voice of relationship issues and the problems with the opposite sex occurring for adolescent male teens while struggling with insecurity, anxiety and inexperience — and he also wrote some great instrumentals!
But that was exactly what set the Buzzcocks apart from all other Punk bands — and over time I discovered that behind all the speed and impetuosity, Pete Shelley's compositions were in fact dead catchy, intriguing and alluring pop anthems.
As a tribute to the fantastic songwriter that the late Pete Shelley was I put together a playlist of my 20 favourite songs by the Buzzcocks.
The central core of her artistic work definitely consists of her first 3 albums „Another Music in a Different Kitchen“, „Love Bites“ and „A Different Kind of Tension“: neither the band nor Pete Shelley solo ever achieved the outstanding class of these works again in later years. Nevertheless these 3 albums are nowadays considered quite rightfully as milestones in rock history because the Buzzcocks were in terms of innovation light years ahead of other bands of that time; that said they were much closer to an experimental band like Wire than to more „traditional“ bands like the Sex Pistols or Chelsea.
When I started as your typical DIY-producer back in 1995 I usually mixed by trial and error and therefore made lots of mistakes — and I really mean LOTS!
It was only when we started recording Antichrisis’ 2nd album „A Legacy of Love“ at former Blue House Studios in Meerane in 1998 that I learned proper recording and mixing techniques from Jens Bachmann and Tilo Rockstroh, and from this time on I put a lot of attention to production when I listend to records of my favourite bands and artists: why did some records sound interesting, whereas others sounded dull and boring although the songs itself where not that bad? Soon I found out that not a small share of that certain something that made an outstanding song or album was due to the fact that a certain producer or engineer was in charge of the mixing console.
I realised that there quite a few producers with a very unique trademark sound that I really loved. Their work really inspired me and gave me ideas on how to produce Antichrisis — and here’s a list of those producers that became somehow musical godfathers to me:
I would never dare to say that I’ve even come close to the abilities and skills of these legendary mixing wizards, but they are nevertheless artists that still guide me on my way as an ambitious DIY-producer.
First of all, I’ve never been much of a fan of Facebook: confusing settings, ugly interface, dodgy terms of conditions etc. That’s why I never used Facebook regularly except for a few postings when a new Antichrisis-album got released.
But now with Facebook’s most recent enmeshment with Cambridge Analytica, I think it’s finally time to leave — and for that reason I have deleted Antichrisis’ Facebook-page, as I don’t want to participate in such devious games (see for example this article for more information).
And then there’s also Twitter, a social media platform that I quite like and which I’m using on a daily basis - but not through their website or Twitter’s official ugly-as-hell-client, but with third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific, as they are much clearer and more comfortable to use providing well-arranged and accurate timelines as well as offering very pleasant user interfaces. To cut a long story short: Twitter without third-party clients simply is unusable to me.
Lately Twitter announced that after June 19th, 2018, Twitter’s streaming services will be removed This means two things for third-party apps that push notifications will no longer arrive and that their timelines won’t refresh automatically. For anyone using third-party apps like Talon, Tweetbot, Tweetings, or Twitterrific, there is no way for its developer to fix these issues. (see here for more information).
I’m definitely not a freeloader, hence I would gladly pay for Twitter if they’d enable third-party app-usage and make it ad-free for paying customers — but as Twitter doesn’t offer any payment model like this, it seems that I have to say "Sayonara“ to Twitter, too; at least from June 19th on.
So goodbye to Twitter and Facebook: it was fun while it lasted (although Facebook was in fact more misery than fun ton me), but as you won’t let me pay for proper services, I’ll have to say "Tempting, but no thanks“.
Another Year Gone By
Blimey, that year seems to have whooshed past in the blink of an eye. So what has been the crack with Antichrisis in 2017?
First of all we’re still working busily on the forthcoming Antichrisis-album „Foxfire“. Our plan was to spend our annual vacation in October completely on finishing that album... but on the very first day of our vacation diggers and bulldozers turned up in front of our house to dig up our street.
And as it doesn’t make any sense to have recording sessions while there’s construction work hullaballoo right in front of one’s house, we had to change plans and fled down south for a completely relaxing and hubbub-free (but also completely non-productive) holiday instead. That’s why it will still take some time until „Foxfire“ will be released.
Nevertheless we’re also working on Ayuma’s first solo album which is going to be released next year — and besides I'm currently doing some soundtrack-work for an animated short film called „Relicts“ which I’m really looking forward to, as creating soundtracks really has become my main interest in the last few years.
But what about the music I have been listening to in 2017? To be honest, I’m that much occupied with creating and producing my own stuff that I don’t spend that much time on listening to music of other artists. It’s a shame, I know — but there’s only a limited amount of listening time left between working in a full-time job and running Antichrisis in your spare time. Anyway, there have been 5 albums in 2017 that caught my attention:
• „Every Valley“ by Public Service Broadcasting: this is an album of such emotional intensity that it really made me cry. When following the story of this concept album that depicts the history of the mining industry in Wales while focusing on the rise and decline of the country's coal industry, one has to have a heart of stone if not being close to tears when listening to the album’s last track „Take Me Home“. An absolutely fantastic and inspiring album.
• „Selections from 50 Song Memoir“ by The Magnetic Fields: It's as simple as that — Stephin Merritt never ever failed me (you hear that, Morrissey?)! Each and every album of his band The Magnetic Fields contains pearls and jewels in form of wonderful, out of the ordinary and enchanting Pop songs. To me, he's one of the finest, wittiest and most astute songwriters in contemporary Pop Music. "Selections from 50 Song Memoir" is nothing more than an adorable, stirring but also deeply entertaining album. One can't do much better — but I guess Stephin Merritt will.
• Almost the same goes for „Goths“ by The Mountain Goats: A band being bold enough to call one of their songs "Andrew Eldritch is Moving Back to Leeds" is just my cup of tea, especially when that song is performed with the disarming charm of singer John Darnielle. The Mountain Goats started as some kind of LoFi-Folk-project but developed swiftly in broader musical directions. On "Goths" they sound like an anti-gloomy version of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds — or like Paul Simon's Californian kinfolk.
• Although I'm not a fan of digital distortion, I have to admit that I was deeply impressed by "The Underside of Power" by Algiers: they're raw energy and fury reminds me of the early recordings by the Bad Brains — only that Algiers are not rooted in Hardcore or Reggae. Instead they deliver a hot boiling mixture of Gospel, Soul, Industrial, Metal and HipHop, and that Franklin James Fisher is a really fantastic and powerful singer! The only fly in the ointment is the production of "The Underside of Power": less distortion and compression would have done a much better job in my opinion.
• „Is This The Life We Really Want?“ by Roger Waters: agreed that Roger Waters’ voice has lost much of its tonal capabilities in recent years, but nevertheless this album radiates so much anger and rage that it left a real impact on me. But please, Mr. Waters: get off of that annoying BDS-involvement of yours: of course one can quite justifiably criticise Israel’s home policy (and I would opt for a two-state solution, too!), but according to that scale you would have to stand up against China, Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia or the USA just as well! When I last looked, Israel was still a functioning democracy — something that is hard to find in the Middle East. To me that BDS-movement is just another disguise for yer plain old and nasty antisemitism!
So all that’s left for Ayuma and me to do is to wish you all the best for 2018 — and don't forget: many people await New Year’s Day just to make a new start to their old habits. We wish you otherwise.
Holger Czukay died last night at the age of 79 — and although I have to admit that a lot of his music always sounded a bit too weird to me, I do acknowledge and honour his wonderful open-mindedness to all new musical ideas & influences as well as his phenomenal creative achievement both with Can and as solo-artist.
Holger Czukay was beyond doubt one of just a few German musicians exerting influence on countless musicians across the board, and I do hope that his seed of ingenuity and the spirit of a boundless musicianship will linger on.
Kurt Mitzkatis of German Rock e. V. did an Interview (in German) with Sid on the subject of the pros and cons of physical sound carriers and why Antichrisis does release their albums as digital download only these days.
Thanks a lot to Kurt for a very pleasant talk and also for providing the interview online on the German Rock-website, where one can also find another interview (again in German) with Sid from 2012.
"Atmosphere" is definitely one of Joy Division's masterpieces — and I always wondered what that song would have sounded like if Ian Curtis wouldn't have felt sad and gloomy about the person he was singing about, but if he felt angry and irate instead: not begging for not walking away, but with wide shoulders demanding to stay and face the facts!
Hence we did our version of "Atmosphere" in a more "pulling your punches"-way without compromising the beauty of its melody and its excellent arrangement .
When Axel of At Sea Compilations asked us if Antichrisis would be interested to provide a track for his Paul Roland tribute sampler "Alice's Curiosities" Ayuma and me were baffled at first, because both of us knew neither Paul Roland nor his music despite that sedulous soul being around the music scene since 1979 and having worked with the likes of Robyn Hitchcock and Nick Saloman (which we knew).
Anyway, as we started checking out Paul Roland's musical works we soon got stuck with one of his earlier tracks called "Blades of Battenburg" and decided to do a cover version of that song for Axel's sampler — but in a very different style from Paul Roland's original psychedelia goth version.
It's almost the end of the year (and believe me: 2016 was a real bastard what with taking David Bowie and Leonard Cohen from us and leaving us with The Donald instead) and so it's time to come up with my favourite albums of 2016. Here we go:
David Bowie: Blackstar Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker Kate Tempest: Let Them Eat Chaos Isolation Berlin: Und aus den Wolken tropft die Zeit Wire: Nocturnal Koreans The Hidden Cameras: Home On Native Land Swans: The Glowing Man PJ Harvey: The Hope Six Demolition Project The Divine Comedy: Foreverland The Thermals: We Disappear
Merry Yuletide and a very Happy New Year to all of you out there!
Found some really sad news after I woke up this morning: "It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries."
Leonard Cohen was one of my very first musical heroes: he was the one to introduce me to the beauty of melancholy, and he was also the one that I habitually came back to whenever life put on his boots and did some serious ass-kicking on me.
Whenever I think of Leonard Cohen I think of a real gentleman with an amazing warm and solacing voice and a wonderful sense of humour.
To be reminiscent of the great poet and songwriter that he was, here are my favourite songs by Leonard Cohen:
Anthem Closing Time Democracy Diamonds In The Mine Did I Ever Love You? Everybody Knows First We Take Manhattan The Faith The Future Going Home Hallelujah Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye If It Be Your Will Lady Midnight Lover Lover Lover Master Song The Partisan Seems So Long Ago, Nancy Sisters of Mercy So Long, Marianne Stranger Song Suzanne Take This Longing Tonight Will Be Fine Tower of Song The Traitor Treaty The Window You Got Me Singing You Want It Darker
Alan Vega died in his sleep on July 16, 2016 at the age of 78. He wasn’t exactly a great singer — but he was always cool as fuck and simply didn’t give a damn what anybody else was thinking of him.
When Punk and New Wave jumped into the spotlight in 1976, almost everybody was fiddling around with power chords on E-guitars — but he and Martin Rev came up with some keyboard sounds and rhythms that were so far ahead of their time that 40 years later they still sound modern or at least up-to-date.
Martiv Rev took care that all hell broke lose when he switched on his keyboard & rhythm box, and Alan Vega turned into the scary revelator of some of the most frightening American nightmares I ever heard. He groaned, moaned and screamed through these songs — but always with style and attitude.
Being pretty wet behind our ears, me and my brave young Punk comrades were trying hard to enter the dark streets at that time, whereas Alan Vega had actually seen these dark streets that we were dreaming of; and these dark streets weren’t moody and romantic as we saplings though; instead they were bloody cold, wet und violent. Alan Vega knew this — and that’s why he sounded like he did.
These are my all time favourites from this great artist:
Suicide: Ghost Rider Suicide: Dream Baby Dream Suicide: Rocket USA Suicide: Frankie Teardrop Alan Vega: Jukebox Baby Alan Vega: Rebel Rocker Alan Vega: Je t’adore Alan Vega & Pan Sonic: American Dreamer
By the way: you should also listen to the brilliant cover version of "Ghost Rider" by The Sods from their awesome 1979 debut album “Minutes to go”
It’s been a long time since the last blog entry — but don’t worry: there’s still a lot going on under Antichrisis’ hood. We’re still working on our upcoming album “Foxfire”, and I’m really excited about those new tracks that we’ve recorded so far. In order to give you an idea what “Foxfire” will be all about, here’s a few production notes on some of the songs that’ll appear on the album:
After the War: A rousing dystopian Electronica track, much in the vein of old classics like “Crossing the Line” or “The Point of No Return”. It deals with the subject of what will become of mankind if we stick with warfare, pollution and nationalism.
Close-Hauled: Melancholic Folk Rock inspired by North Cornwall’s rugged coastline. The story of a ghostly crew coming back for the soul of a lighthouse keeper whose delinquency lead to their death one stormy night.
Goodbye to Jane: One of Ayuma’s all-time favourites: she always wanted to do her own version of that song and so we re-arranged and re-recorded it in a way that sounds a bit like Nine Inch Nails would encounter The Jesus & Mary Chain.
Gravity on Mars: What happens if promises and hearts are broken and love fails? This gloomy acoustic guitar ballad will tell you. Sad & sweet but also with the silver lining of hope at the end that has become some kind of trademark for Antichrisis.
Is Anybody There?: As you might already know, I’m a sucker for those 80’s Synth Pop-acts like Soft Cell, Yazoo, or OMD. And as I’m also a big fan of Stuart A. Staples and Stephin Merritt, I thought it could be a great idea to merge these two preferences and create a catchy Synth Pop-ballad dealing with a guy who walks the streets alone at night.
Last Night: I’ve grown up with the first wave of British Punk — and the older I get, the more I’m fond of these musical roots. And though I do love to fiddle around with keyboards and synthesizers, it still feels great to plug in the electric guitar, turn up the volume and bang around on high speed — not the hardcore, but the melodic way. “Last Night” is all about the anger and the desperation - and its music sounds exactly like it.
Lost & Found: From Punk Rock to orchestral music: A love song written for my wonderful wife Ayuma; done in a rather unorthodox way just with harp, English horn and clarinet. No drums and guitars to be found here.
Loving You So Long: Oh, I just love guitar-driven disco songs: Blondie, Gang of Four, New Order, Gossip — they’ve all done really great stuff when it comes to that kind of music. Hence I came up with this “Four to the Floor”-track that also provides a very snappy bass line.
Like a Snow Walk: Not really sure it that’s going to be the definite title of that song as we’re still working on the lyrics momentarily, but it’s nevertheless a great track with tribal drumming, uplifting keyboards and a hymnal piano line, which could be because of some indeterminate Ultavox-Midge Ure-inflluences.
The Night’s Still Young: Getting back to these old punk roots: a song about what it felt like when we were young, it was Saturday night and there was something in the air that promised adventures and brill fantastic incidents. The night was ours, and it usually kicked off Friday evening and finished in the early hours of Monday morning.
She Lay Waiting: This is exactly what you’ll get when you put Pink Floyd, Anathema, Lee Hazlewood and Oasis in the blender and operate the damn thing on full speed: walls of guitars crushing down in that song that came to me during our journey to the Baltic Sea two years ago.
St. Materiana: Yet another song inspired by and about the sea. This time it takes place in Tintagel, Cornwall, and it deals with the subject of star-crossed lovers. If that topic was good enough for William Shakespeare, it’s definitely still good enough for Antichrisis. Except for the fact what Mr. Shakespeare didn’t use Metal-drenched Punk Rock for background music.
Subways of Time: Things get a bit unusual here: A country waltz played by piano and strings? But don’t worry: It just works! A sparse but doleful ballad about the passing of time and remembering the ones we once shared parts of our lives with.
You Could Not Follow Me: Now comes the marching band. Honestly… Like young Leonard Cohen would have a little get-together with Procol Harum at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Rather odd but catchy!
These are just some of the tracks of our preselection for “Foxfire”: Could be that there will be some additional tracks, too; but it could also be that one or two of the aforementioned songs will be discarded in favour of some other tracks — let’s just wait and see. We haven’t set a release date for “Foxfire” yet as some of its songs are still in the making, but as soon as we’re reaching the mastering stage we’ll let you know.
First of all, I’ve never been much of a fan of Facebook: confusing settings, ugly interface, dodgy terms of conditions etc. That’s why I never used Facebook regularly except for a few postings when a new Antichrisis-album got released.
But now with Facebook’s most recent enmeshment with Cambridge Analytica, I think it’s finally time to leave — and for that reason I have deleted Antichrisis’ Facebook-page, as I don’t want to participate in such devious games (see for example this article for more information).
And then there’s also Twitter, a social media platform that I quite like and which I’m using on a daily basis - but not through their website or Twitter’s official ugly-as-hell-client, but with third-party apps like Tweetbot and Twitterific, as they are much clearer and more comfortable to use providing well-arranged and accurate timelines as well as offering very pleasant user interfaces. To cut a long story short: Twitter without third-party clients simply is unusable to me.
Lately Twitter announced that after June 19th, 2018, Twitter’s David Bowie's music guided me through so many years of my life — his work was the inspiration for all I ever wanted to achieve as a musician and songwriter: He opened doors that would have blocked my way. But now the Starman returned to the sky , and these are his songs I will never forget:
Five Years Starman Ziggy Stardust Rock 'n' Roll Suicide Space Oddity Cygnet Committee Wild Eyed Boy From Freecloud The Bewlay Brothers The Man Who Sold the World Station to Station Fantastic Voyage Wild is the Wind Sound and Vision Warszawa Heroes Sons of the Silent Age Ashes to Ashes China Girl Thursday's Child Absolute Beginners Where Are We Now? Blackstar Lazarus Baal's Hymn Port of Amsterdam The Loneliest Guy Life on Mars Look Back in Anger Speed of Life Sorrow
David Bowie (08.01.1947 - 10.01.2016)
"And the mountain moved its eyes to the world of realize Where the snow had saved a place for the Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud"
There once was a most beautiful planet called Eorthe But mankind really fucked it up Only a few survived Dōmes Dæg Two tribes emerged: Enoe and Mandoag Mandoag tried to hunt us down with their spiral wings They built bastilles that we absconded from Beware of Mandoag searchlights Her boat was waiting for us on the shore We cried when we saw what we had done How could we be so ignorant? Even the crows had disappeared We built Baduhenna with our last resources We gotta get away although we could have had it all The last rite before the take off Our spaceship on a preset course to Alpha Canis Majoris We're desperate and scared: there is no home anymore It's so dark and cold out there There's no return Au revoir, Terre
We just released our movie score to A. Forster's SciFi filmlet "Baduhenna". This score was quite a challenging task as "Baduhenna" turned out to be a movie without any dialogue: like in the silent film era the music had to underscore the entire movie reflecting the emotions of all characters of the pursued Enoe tribe.
The soundtrack album contains the original motion picture edit as well as all its tracks separately (for those of you who prefer to listen to single tracks or wish to download individual tracks). We've also included bonus tracks "Understanding Everything" and "There Were Crows (Snowflakes Mix)" as they fitted just perfectly to the album's over-all atmosphere.
"Baduhenna" is completely different from previous works of Antichrisis as we had never done a score before. Just like our previous album "Not Fade Away" it comes as digital download only and is available at Bandcamp, on iTunes, Amazon and lots of other digital market places.
Although this movie score is entirely based on synths and keyboards, it doesn’t mean that we won’t be doing our more “traditional” stuff any more. On the contrary: Antichrisis' next album “Foxfire” will definitely pick up the threads of “Not Fade Away” again.
At Sea Compilations just released a comprehensive anthology named “German Gothic isn’t Dead” which contains — as the compilation’s title implies — a profound overview of today’s Gothic Music in Germany, curated by Axel Meßinger. There are 30 bands of different kinds of style like Gothic Rock, Gothic Metal, Dark Punk, Wave or Electronic to be found on this really impressive anthology — and Antichrisis is part of them (although I doubt that Antichrisis can be labelled as “Gothic” nowadays): we contributed a previously unreleased track from our forthcoming album “Baduhenna” called “Overture” in order to give you a first impression of what our next album will sound like.
“German Gothic Isn’t Dead” can be downloaded for free via Bandcamp, but as Axel has did put a lot of work in this compilation, donations are always welcome.
By the way: We are temporarily working on the very last track for “Baduhenna”, hence the album is going to be released at the latest in October 2015. Hope you’re looking just as forward to it as we do!
His books never ceased to make my life somehow bearable in times of distress: they always provided comfort, wisdom, deep understanding and an all-embracing benevolence. Thank you so much for your wonderful writing, Mr. Pratchett - or as the Librarian would have put it: “Ook!”
Terry Pratchett (28.04.1948 - 12.03.2015)
“There’s a light that never goes out” — The Smiths “There isn’t a way things should be. There’s just what happens, and what we do-“ — Terry Pratchett, “A Hat full of Sky”
It’s Xmas again and therefore time for Antichrisis’ consuetudinary “End of the Year”-Rankings. Actually 2014 saw some very fine album releases — and these are my favourites hitherto:
Die Nerven - Fun Alvvays - Alvvays Warpaint - Warpaint The Raveonettes - Pe'ahi Sleaford Mods - Divide & Exit Kate Tempest - Everybody Down Scott Walker & Sunn O))) - Soused Adrian Crowley - Some Blue Morning Marianne Faithfull - Give my Love to London Robert Plant: Lullaby and… the Ceaseless Roar
Peace for all Creatures on Earth & A Happy New Year to You!
We’ve just returned from a wonderful vacation in Rugia: 3 weeks just me & Ayuma, the wind & the sea along with gulls, crows, cranes and cormorants. We’ve been out and about each and every day, exploring the island from north to south and getting as much fresh air as we possibly could. It was my first time at the Baltic Sea and I was really amazed by the sheer beauty of Rugia’s ravishing landscape which provided lots of inspiration for new songs.
When we returned home there was a parcel deposited for me at our local post office: it came from Russia and contained a beautiful art book as well as an impressive painting of two cranes, which was a strange coincidence as we loved watching those cranes on Rugia preparing for their migration to Spain and North Africa, and their grace and beauty left us simply gobsmacked. Those flocks of cranes with their typical crane calls became somehow very special to us, hence this beautiful painting of two cranes by A. Zhuravleva sent to me by Alexandra and Simon (2 Russian Antichrisis-fans, I guess?) got a very special place in our flat, too. Thanks a lot for that gorgeous present, guys!
So now after 3 weeks of total abstinence from the Internet, emails and telephone calls we’re back to our daily routine again — and unfortunately there’s a big construction site right in front of our house as they’re doing some serious channel digging there, which means that we have to live with a soundscape that reminds slightly of World War II at the moment: absolutely no way of mixing tracks or getting any recordings done under these circumstances. But construction works (hopefully) don’t last forever, and as soon as those guys have finished their job we will proceed with our musical activities.
From time to time we’re receiving requests by various people asking for a song that has been taken down from our website a few years ago and isn’t available for download any longer, and ever so often we’re trying to answer these requests by sending those people the desired track itself or its download link via email.
It’s a free service by Antichrisis for our fans -- and one would expect a few lines in reply like “Thank you for sending me that song” or something like that. But strangely enough this never ever happens: seems like those acts of courtesy have gone lost in the endless width of the Internet. So maybe we won’t bother with those kind of requests in the future any more -- mind you, we’re just a little bit old-fashioned when it comes to exchanging pleasantries.
But there’s also something very pleasant to report about -- and this is about those fans that have purchased our latest album “Not Fade Away” at Bandcamp: they’re sending us nice comments almost every time, and not just a few of them have actually paid much more for the album than we’ve been charging. This is really kind and generous, hence a very warm-hearted “Thank You” from Antichrisis to all those of you who bought “Not Fade Away” so far.
But while talking about albums: As already mentioned we’ve been planning to release Antichrisis’ new album “Foxfire” this year -- but due to some unexpected incidents we probably won’t be able to stick to this schedule. But no need to worry: forbearance is not acquittance. Only the vocal recording sessions have to be postponed for the time being; everything else is just fine.
So instead of having a whinge we’ve already started working on the next but one Antichrisis album which will contain the soundtrack to an imaginary film that Ayuma and me have been kibbling in the windmills of our minds, in a manner of speaking. There will be no more pop songs on that album, instead it’ll be a very dark and disturbing electronic symphony much in the vein of “Cantara Anachoreta” but by other means. The first few tracks that we’ve created do sound just gorgeous and we hope you’re going to like it even it’ll be something that Antichrisis has never done before.
But as soon as these aforementioned incidents are sorted out and we’re able to proceed with our vocal recordings, we’ll be finishing and releasing “Foxfire” as soon as possible.
Due to public demand we’ve made Antichrisis’ renowned demo “Missa Depositum Custodi” available for free in our download area. The .zip-file contains all tracks of the original demo as well as some unreleased songs of that era, but please keep in mind that all that stuff was recorded back in 1996 on an 8 track cassette deck -- hence its sound quality is what modern hipsters would call “genuine Lo-Fi”.
Upsadaisy - 2013 is almost over and looking back it was quite a strenuous year what with our enforced removal in July and all that — and it really took us some time until everything went back to normal, especially as we had to deal with a completely new recording situation in our new flat (see previous blog entry).
But now we’re back on track again, enjoying the holidays and working on new songs as we’re still planning to release a new Antichrisis album in 2014. At the moment the following tracks are in the pipeline:
1. A Swan in the Rain 2. After the War 3. Goodbye to Jane Revisited 4. Gravity on Mars 5. Is Anybody There? 6. Last Night 7. Let You Go 8. No Going Back 9. St. Materiana 10. Stay 11. Subways of Time 12. The Night’s Still Young 13. There Were Crows 14. Understanding Everything
There are also 2 other nameless tracks ready to get recorded but I haven’t finished their lyrics yet.
Switching from Logic Pro 9 to Logic Pro X turned out to be a real bliss: so many once complicated workflows became extremely simplified (especially if it comes to MIDI FX), the new drummer feature is just awesome and Flex Pitch is an absolute timesaver. Logic Pro X is an amazing DAW and those guys at Apple really seem to be focused on developing it even further as one can tell by its latest updates.
I also got myself Zebra 2 and Diva by U-He for Christmas: these are 2 remarkable softsynths and together with Alchemy and Spectrasonics’Omnisphere & Trilian they are definitely the most expandable, configurable and best sounding softsynths on the market. One really doesn’t need much more than these virtual instruments for great and versatile synth sounds.
But enough of that before I’m at risk of sounding like one of those nags from marketing department, but these chorus of praise is actually just based on my own experiences with the aforementioned products.
By the way: here’s my infamous Top Five list of 2013:
1. “If” — Glasvegas 2. “No Man’s Land” — OMD 3. “The Valley” — Christian Kjellvander 4. “Timeless” — The Airborne Toxic Event 5. “Das Schiff der grossen Illusionen” — Christian Anders (oldie but goodie)
As we’ve got really nice neighbours in our new flat we didn’t want to annoy them with the hubbub caused by Antichrisis’ and Ayuma’s recording sessions, hence we got ourselves a pre-owned vocal booth that we had to pick up with a rental van in Hildesheim at Christoph’s place.
It was quite a trip, but it was worth it as that little vocal booth provides excellent sound insulation so that we won’t tick off our neighbours even if we’d do some vocal recordings in the middle of the night -- and even Whisky, our tomcat, seems to like that nifty little cabin.
After two really stressful weeks we’re eventually getting back to normal: our relocation went surprisingly well, and though our new home is definitely smaller than our old dwelling we’re already feeling cosy and comfortable here in Zirndorf. Even Whisky, our tomcat, seems to be satisfied with his new habitat.
So I could be just as well working on new Antichrisis tracks again -- but thanks to Apple Logic Pro X was released a few weeks ago, and as we’re finally having a proper broadband connection here again, I was able to download those 42 GB of Logic Pro X and its contents in the wink of an eye. Of course this means that I’ll have to get familiar with all the new functions and elements of Logic Pro X, but as far as I can tell Logic Pro X seems to be a very promising and significant step forward: can’t wait to put my hands on the first production with Logic Pro X, but I’ll have to learn a few new tricks first (and thanks to those magnificent Logic-tutorials by MacProVideo I should be learning these aforementioned new tricks and functions within a reasonable time).
By the way: Ayuma and me had our 5th wedding anniversary on the 1st of August -- and we’re still enjoying every single day with each other as lovers, best friends, companions and soul mates. It feels exactly like in Bruce Springsteen’s “If I Should Fall Behind”:
“We swore we’d travel side by side We’d help each other stay in stride But each lover’s steps fall so differently But I'll wait for you And if I should fall behind Wait for me
Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true But you and I know what this world can do So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see And I'll wait for you If I should fall behind Wait for me”
Thanks to bastard landlord we’ll have to change our residence again: we’ll be moving to our new tenement by the end of July, that’s way there’s gonna be some kind of radio silence during the next weeks.
I guess it’ll take us until September before our new studio is hooked up and we’ll be connected to the Internet again -- but fortunately we’ll be having a proper broadband connection then.
We’re busy preparing our removal at the moment, so there’s no time for working on new tracks right now. But as soon as everything’s set up, organised and arranged at our new dwelling and we’ve had a bit of a breather, we’ll be back to record and produce new tracks for Antichrisis as well as Ayuma.
In the meantime German-speaking readers might enjoy a very in-depth Antichrisis-interview with brand new German Webzine Sakona.
Nevertheless Ayuma and me are wishing you all a beautiful Summer Solstice celebration -- and Merry Meet again in September!
It’s been a bit quiet lately -- but don’t worry: Ayuma and me are busily working on new tracks and you can be pretty sure that there will be quite a few surprises in the bag when we’ll have finished the recording sessions for the new Antichrisis album “Foxfire”.
Unfortunately we have to grapple with our bastard landlord at the moment: that nasty piece of work is trying to kick us out hence we had to contact the tenant association already to take legal measure. But as we’re preferring to live in peace we’ll have to spend our Saturdays with house hunting from now on.
Nonetheless our creative powers are still flowing and we’re both coming consistently up with new and exciting musical ideas, therefore “Foxfire” is taking more and more shape -- so stay tuned for more news as soon as we’ve found ourselves our new residence.
When we released “Not Fade Away” last year, quite a few of you mentioned that they would have preferred not all album’s tracks being published on Bandcamp before as it spoiled the surprise of listening to a new album. And although I think that something like keeping an album or its tracks secret in the age of the Internet, your request shall be our command, as from now on only one or two songs of an album will be published before the album itself sees its release.
To be honest I’d still prefer to release any song as soon as its ready -- but in that case the majority of votes seems to be against me.
Nevertheless we’ve been diligently working on new tracks (thanks to my new Mac Mini which is really an awesome and powerful yet underestimated little machine): we’ve been finishing “Understanding Everything” two weeks ago, and a new song called “Be Gone” is already in the works.
At the same time I’ve put the finishing touches on Ayuma’s brand new track “Wenn Ich Dich heute seh’”-- and there really are lots of other new songs in the pipeline, hence Antichrisis’ new album is developing pretty well even if you won’t be hearing any new songs until “Foxfire” (the new album’s title) is released.
It’s been a bit quiet lately, but that doesn’t mean that nothing happened: first of all, I had to get myself a new computer because my old and steady iMac had reached the point where it just wasn’t powerful enough any more to deal with all those Logic-projects for Antichrisis and Ayuma. So I switched to the new Mac Mini (the fastest Mac Mini of course, with Intel Core i7, 2,6 GHz, 16 GB RAM and 1 TB Fusion Drive - that’ll do!) and it took quite some time until everything was configured the way I needed it.
Then there was also my 50th birthday on Winter Solstice: fortunately armageddon got cancelled hence nothing could spoil my little birthday party with Ayuma, however I guess I still need some time to realise that I’m really 50 now -- but as long as the Rolling Stones still hit the stage (or in Keith’s case fall from palm trees), I guess I’m still allowed to perform and record songs, too.
And while we’re looking back: here are my favourite songs of 2012:
Neil Young & Crazy Horse: “Walk Like a Giant” Of Monsters and Men: “Your Bones” Santigold: “The Riot’s Gone” Lana Del Rey: “Born to Die” Bruce Springsteen: “We Are Alive” First Aid Kit: “Emmylou” The XX: “Angels” Exclusive: “Nachtmensch” The Dead Lovers: “The Storm” The Raveonettes: “Young and Cold”
Good news for all Antichrisis-fans in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus: renowned Russian label Irond has released a licensed version of “Not Fade Away” on CD, including a beautifully designed booklet. The collaboration with Irond was a really pleasant experience, and they did a great job -- so check it out on their website.
Doing a bit of in-depth-research on the Internet is always an interesting thing, especially when it comes to checking how your band’s doing ; even more when one receives lots of emails from fans that go like this: “It is great that there’s a new album by Antichrisis, but I don’t like downloads that much so can you please release “Not Fade Away” on CD?”
What puzzled me most is the fact that though we’ve been receiving loads of these aforementioned emails we only had almost insignificant sales figures as well on Bandcamp as on the iTunesStore -- as if nobody would be interested in our new album at all (but nevertheless a very big “Thank You” to all those fans who actually purchased “Not Fade Away” online: though you’re just a few, your support is highly appreciated and most welcome!).
Anyway, because of our really modest sales figures in comparison to the email feedback we’ve received I’ve been starting Antichrisis’ research engines and here’s what I’ve found out:
We’ve made “Not Fade Away” available for download on Bandcamp and many other popular online stores and sold less than 200 copies of the album so far (again: thanks to our honest and in some cases even generous customers!); but after an hour or serious investigation I found out that “Not Fade Away” is also available on several BitTorrents where it had been downloaded (at least as far as I could find out about corresponding download figures) over 25.000 times in only 4 months after its release.
So let’s do some arithmetics now according to the rule of three: 25.293 illegally downloaded copies = 100% 182 legally purchased copies = ?%
The answer is: obviously only 0,72% of those interested in Antichrisis (at least I presume that only those interested in our music would bother to download our album via BitTorrents) are paying for our music, hence it’s hardly surprising that Reartone Records and Tunguska Records, the last two labels that Antichrisis has been working with, had to call it a day because one simply can’t stay in business with that kind of payment behaviour — and as a result due to these facts we simply can’t afford a CD release on our own because according to these figures that would mean a foreseeable financial disaster for us.
But just for the sake of it let’s start dreaming a little bit: if only 50 % of those who downloaded the album illegally would have paid for “Not Fade Away” for example on Bandcamp (where the album is on sale for 7 Euros), we would have earned 88.522 Euros. We could have re-invested that money in better equipment for our home studio; we could have afforded to release a really extravagant collector’s edition on CD and vinyl with proper booklet, artwork and all that stuff and we could have also afforded to pay for a PA and for musicians to go on tour and play live — but that’s just daydreaming…
Fact is: the vast majority of our listeners are stealing our music — and yes, we know your line of reasoning: “It would only be stealing if the goods that have been stolen from you would no longer be in your possession which is definitely not the case with digital goods, so stop your sobbing!”. But that would mean that all kind of digital goods are left to villainy, be it literature, photography, cinematography, music or any other kind of art that can be distributed via the Internet — and that’s undeniably far beyond fairness! If you don’t want to pay for our music for whatever reasons you have, that’s absolutely o.k.; you’re welcome to listen to our music for free via streaming audio on Soundcloud or on this website -- but for fuck’s sake don’t fucking steal our music which is unquestionably our intellectual property (pardon my French, but it really makes me blow my fuse!).
Another fact is: Ayuma & me are working really hard on our music and we won’t stop making this music because music is our heartbeat and we fortunately don’t have to earn our living with the money we’re making from Antichrisis (which is approximately about zilch) but from going to work each bloody morning to make ends meet. Nevertheless we know lots of really good bands and artists who simply had to give up their musical career and their projects because they simply couldn’t afford it any longer — and it wasn’t because no one would have been interested in what they were doing but because no one wanted to pay for their work and preferred to download it illegally from the Internet instead!
But that’s enough ranting for now: most of all Ayuma and me would like to thank those loyal Antichrisis fans who purchased “Not Fade Away” so far once more; and here’s our blessing for our “illegal downloaders” (you know who you are): hopefully one day you’ll get ripped off quite neatly, too!
We’ve finally managed to get our new album “Not Fade Away” into the iTunes Store and to Amazon’s MP3 Store which means that from now on you can choose between 3 different download facilities:
iTunes Store (or search for “Antichrisis” and “Not Fade Away” in your county’s iTunes Store) Amazon MP3 Store (or search for “Antichrisis” and “Not Fade Away” in your county’s Amazon MP3 Store) Bandcamp (international availability but you need to have a Paypal-account)
Just use the shop that suits you best -- the main thing is that worldwide availability should no longer be a problem.
Here we go: Antichrisis’ new album “Not Fade Away” is finally available as download-only edition via Bandcamp as of now for a minimum price of €7.00 and a minimum price of €0.50 for individual songs (if you feel like paying more you’re welcome; if not enjoy the decent price tag, anyway) .
I’ve also taken the chance for overhauling Antichrisis’ website because I’ve had it up to here with black — and also because Holger Warschkow of Dark Feather suggested that it’d be time for a new Antichrisis logo. At first I hesitated because I really love the original monicker (no wonder as I’ve been doodling it by myself), but after giving it a second thought I came to the conclusion that Holger was right: Antichrisis has gone through so many changes since I’ve started the project in 1998 and the new logo somehow represents the new musical horizons that we’ve set sails to perfectly.
“Not Fade Away” seems to be just the right title for that album because many of you might have got the impression over the last years that Antichrisis may have possibly ceased to exist. But Antichrisis is still up and running though no longer as the sextet that we’ve used to be, but as a duo consisting of yours truly and Ayuma instead. And not only have Ayuma & me gotten this album together but we’re already working on a lot of new tracks; so Antichrisis definitely hasn’t faded away but is rather bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as it were.
This new album is also the first album in Antichrisis’ history that is released as a digital download only, without an external record company (Blue Yonder Records is our very own label) or an external producer: everything was done by ourselves, from cover artwork to the recording sessions in our home studio, as well as from production to mastering. Hence we may not have reached the perfection of previous releases like “A Legacy of Love Mark II” but Ayuma and me are nevertheless very satisfied and proud of what we’ve achieved with that kind of DIY-work ethic.
To Ayuma and me “Not Fade Away” feels like a Greatest Hits Album because it really is a selection of our favourite songs, and we hope you’re going to love this album as much as we do!
Last but not least we’d like to express our gratitude to Alexander “Näx” May, Tilo Rockstroh and Frank J. Hennig for their wonderful input and contribution: it’s always a pleasure and a privilege to work with these guys! And also a big “Thank You” to all our fans out there: your feedback and support means a lot to us!
The last few months have been fairly busy for Ayuma and me, as we have been working on the last tracks to complete the forthcoming Antichrisis album (which will be distributed via Bandcamp, as you might already know). The last song that we’ve been working on called “An Endless Flow” is now finished and does sound magnificent: a wonderful ballad with a slight touch of Electronica and Irish Folk!
Another song that we were working on is “Understanding Everything”, but we had to face a little drawback there equipment-wise: my stout and tenacious little iMac (Intel Core2 Duo, built 2007, with 2.40 GHz and 4 GB RAM, if that’s of interest for you MacHeads out there) simply isn’t powerful enough to handle a project that consists of almost 80 audio and MIDI tracks -- and as I didn’t want to come up with a half-baked version of that song I’ll have to wait until I’ll get myself a new iMac later that year to get “Understanding Everything” done.
But that won’t stop Ayuma and me from releasing the new Antichrisis album within the next few weeks, as we’re already having enough songs in stock. So we’ll now have to decide which of these songs will make it on the album, then getting the final mastering done, getting to the bottom of the album’s artwork -- and as soon as everything’s worked out we’ll let you know about further issues.
We're currently very busy with finishing the last few songs for the soon-to-be-released Antichrisis-album which we will be distributing by ourselves as a download only-version via Bandcamp. There is no official release date yet, but as we're getting on really well with all the stuff like mixing, mastering, cover-layout and so on, I guess everything's going to be ready by February 2012 -- but as always we'll keep you informed on this website and via Twitter about further developments (and due to some requests there will also be a solution for those of you living in areas with no proper Internet connection).
This forthcoming album is also the reason why we haven't released any new song on SoundCloud recently, as we'd like to have some exclusive tracks for those of you who are willing to spend a few bucks on the album -- but of course there will be a preview of those exclusive tracks as soon as they're finished.
So until then Ayuma and me (as well as our cats Sheela & Whisky) are wishing all of you -- with a quotation of John Lennon -- “A very happy Xmas and a happy New Year, let's hope it's a good one without any fear".
Ayuma and me are back from our holidays in Cornwall: unfortunately we had to return much earlier than planned due to the fact that yours truly had managed to get hold of an awful inflammation on his foot which made further walkings on the Coast Path definitely impossible: such calamities surely never happened to me when I was younger — bugger!
Nevertheless we would like to thank all the kind people that we’ve met on our short but nevertheless wonderful journey — especially Rob Lloyd & his wife Teresa from Boscastle as well as Mrs. Watson who runs the lovely St. Christopher’s B&B (next to the Napoleon Inn, which is a highly recommendable pub in this little village with its outstanding coastline and the amazing Museum of Witchcraft).
Nevertheless we’re using our remaining days of vacation to work sedulously on new tracks -- and so Ayuma and me managed to finish “Walking With Angels” which you’ll hopefully be enjoying: it’s another lighthearted piece of pop music by your heretofore rather sepulchral gloomsters!
As all you keen readers of Antichrisis’ blog might have already noticed, releasing a new album is a very unsteady operation these days: plans for releasing “The Legacy remains” went down the drain when Reartone Records called it a day a few years ago, and now that Tunguska Records also kicked the bucket it seems that Antichrisis’ scheduled album releases do stand just the same chance as a mayfly in a thunderstorm.
But as so many of you out there have requested an album, Ayuma and me were asking ourselves how we could accomplish an album release on sensible terms.
One good thing is that we wouldn’t need a studio as we’re able to record and produce all our songs at home -- and even if our technical standards might not come close to those of let’s say Bob Rock or Rick Rubin, we’re still achieving something that doesn’t sound too bad for an autodidactic independent production.
Now getting these self-produced tracks on CD is a different story: compact disc manufacturing and printing of booklets ain’t something that I’d call dirt cheap, but thanks to the blessings of the Internet it is nowadays within the bounds of possibility to distribute a downloadable version of an album on decent conditions.
So we decided to release a download-only version of the new Antichrisis album by the beginning of next year: you’ll get all tracks in highest possible quality (i. e. without any bit-rate reduction just as you’d expect it from any standard CD) as well as specially designed artwork (front cover and back cover) - and it goes without saying that all this will be reasonably priced.
All that’s left for you to do then is buying the album, download its tracks and artwork, burn the songs on CD (if desired), print the cover and off you go: a brand new Antichrisis album, directly acquired from the artists without being charged for any kind of intermediate trade or stock-keeping: of course we’ll keep you informed about further details concerning track list, release date, pricing and source of supply on this blog.
This also means that availability for free downloads of Antichrisis’ songs from SoundCloud will be stopped by 23 October 2011. Of course you will still be able to listen to all tracks in full length via streaming audio, but with the forthcoming release of the new album we’ll have to draw the line somewhere eventually.
But enough of that for now: we’re hoping that you’ll like the idea of a self-distributed downloadable Antichrisis-album, and in the meantime Ayuma and me hope that you’re going to enjoy our new track “Creatures of a Jade Lagoon” that we’ve just uploaded to the music section of this website.
By the way: thanks to Rüdiger Abend there is now some live footage from Antichrisis’ performance at the Markthalle Hamburg in 1999. Of course not the best audio quality, but nevertheless a nice remembrance of Antichrisis’ first stage appearance ever (although with a completely different line-up than today): Watch it on YouTube.
A few days ago we received a sad email by our label Tunguska Records: unfortunately Tunguska had to close down due to the fact that it’s almost impossible these days for a small ambitious independent record company with low budget but much better taste in music to make ends meet.
This means that there won’t be any new Antichrisis album for now, which is a shame as our collaboration with Tunguska Records was a really pleasant experience -- hence we’re wishing Julia Dobberstein all the best for her future plans!
Good news is that this drawback won’t stop Antichrisis in any way: we’re going to release all the songs that were planned for the aforementioned album on our website within the next few months and we will also carry on with continuously writing and producing new songs, because in the end Ayuma and me are in it for the music and not for business purposes.
As long as we’re still loving, dancing and dreaming, there will also be new songs!
I often receive mails asking me about the equipment I’m using for creating Antichrisis’ tracks, so I thought I’d better answer that question here and now for anyone who might need some recommendation concerning musical equipment.
Me and Ayuma are both working on iMacs, and while Ayuma’s recording her vocals in Garageband I’m completely addicted to Logic Studio as my favourite digital audio workstation instead.
When creating a track I usually start with the drums - and for me there’s no better software for creating awesome sounding drums than Toontrack’s Superior Drummer: easy to use, great sounding kits and lots of expansion packs and producer presets for all kind of purposes. If more “non-natural” sounding drum sounds are required I’m always turning to Spectrasonics’ Stylus RMX which offers an almost insane flexibility and gazillions of stirring drums and percussions.
There are two different ways for creating bass tracks for Antichrisis: Either I’m playing my good old balky Vantage Avenger 4-string bass through IK Multimedia’s Ampeg SVX amp simulation or I’m using Spectrasonics’ magnificent bass module Trilian via MIDI-keyboard instead.
When it comes to guitars, I’m usually using our Takamines for acoustic sounds and my Epiphone Tom Delonge model for that certain electric twang. Again I’m playing those guitars through another amp simulation by IK Multimedia called Amplitube 3 which I prefer over Native Instrument’s Guitar Rig 4 Pro especially when it comes to crunchy and distorted guitar sounds.
But let’s move on to the keyboards: I’m using a plain simple MIDI-keyboard by M-Audio as my master-keyboard and I’m preferring the following plug-ins for creating great and outstanding arpeggios, leads, pads and all other kinds of strange noises:
So all that’s left is sound processing itself: For these purposes I’m always coming back to IK Multimedia’s T-Racks for engineering and mastering, and if it comes to FX I’m quite often making use of Uhbik and Toontrack’s EZmix, but Logic’s own implemented FX-section is also highly recommendable.
But always keep in mind that it’s not the equipment that counts but your own creativity and skills instead!
A new year is lurking curiously round the corner and so I’m jumping at the opportunity to introduce a new design for Antichrisis’ website which I hope you’ll going to like. And please don’t worry: New Antichrisis songs are already on the way, too, but it’ll take some time until I get around producing and mastering them.
In the meantime -- and because now is just the right time for this -- here are my TFCOATs (Top Five Christmas Songs of all times):
“Christmas Day” - Dido “Stop The Cavalry” - Jona Lewie “Harlem Country” - Kirk Brandon “The Christmas Song” - The Raveonettes “Fairytale of New York” - The Pogues
Best Wishes and a Happy New Year to all of you - and let me know what you think of the new website design.
I sometimes receive emails asking me for an autograph -- and I have to say that I haven’t got the faintest idea why some people are so set on getting something so ordinary like my signature; in fact there’s nothing special about my signature (the only thing that distinguishes a signature from an autograph is simply the fact that a signature is written on an ordinary piece of paper whereas an autograph usually comes on a glossy photograph).
If truth be told there are myriads of people possessing a signature of me: my employer, the guy at the cashier’s desk, my health insurance company, the communist party, the credit card company -- my signature is so bloody widespread amongst all those authorities, companies and institutions that it cannot possibly be considered as something special.
But what all these aforementioned institutions and authorities assumedly don’t have is one of my songs: unlike my signature these songs are part of my personality, they contain a great deal of my spirit and soul, my creativity and my feelings. They are so much more personal than any autograph; actually they are something really special.
Just two things to think about: in the past painters didn’t sign their artworks. Why the heck should they? A signature out of the blue would have spoiled the whole painting, and besides it was more important that the painting spoke for itself than its creatorship. Try to spot an autograph on one of Rembrandt’s portraits and you’ll see what I mean -- in fact that’s the reason why it’s sometimes so difficult for art historians to allocate certain pictures to certain artists.
And here’s another one: I once had the chance to attend one of Terry Pratchett’s excellent readings, and I’ll have to admit that even I was tempted to get a signature of my favourite author at the end of the event -- but then I saw the mind-bogglingly long queue of fans waiting for him to sign their books, and a considerable amount of them was not only handing over just one paperback to sign but their complete collection of discworld novels instead.
I really admired Terry for his braveness and friendliness, although one could easily see that he had severe pains in his right hand (mind you, the poor chap was doing lots of readings in these days). So I thought it would suit him better if he would not have to sign my book, too, and went off without an autograph -- because his spirit and his genius is in his novels, not in his signature.
“Adrenalin” uploaded - and some breaking removal news
Just finished mixing and mastering “Adrenalin” which can be downloaded for free here. It’s the very last song that I’ve produced in our old tenancy in Zirndorf, because we’ll be moving to Renzenhof next week. This means also that I don’t know yet when we’re going to be connected to the internet again (dealing with german Telekom in such cases is never exactly what one would call a pleasant user experience), so there possibly won’t be any news from Antichrisis for quite some time. But as soon as we’ve sorted everything out we’ll be working on new tracks again.
In the meantime we hope you’re going to enjoy “Adrenalin” as much as we did when we were working on that song - and we also hope to be back on the track real soon!
A few months ago Holger Warschkow of Dark Feather asked me for a contribution to his zine’s 10th anniversary edition, and I was more than glad to agree to provide a remix of “Crossing The Line” that I was working on at that time.
Maybe a lot of you might think something like “Duh - does the world really need another dispensable remix? Aren’t remixes just a bad case of flogging a dead horse with making some extra money from an already released song?” - and of course I can’t completely deny that attitude.
But there’s something else about remixes: In the older days (yes, I was born in the sixties, so I should know all about those good ol’ times!) a band recorded a song on tape and once it had been mixed and produced that song could not been altered any more - it was on tape, it was done, and the only thing you could do was a bit of remastering when you felt the need for it.
But these days are gone: Nowadays with all those hard disc recording-prospects there is no such thing like a “finished” track any more. Thanks to your software sequencer’s total recall-capabilities one can work on a project, finish it - and re-open it again 12 months later with all the proper settings just for adding an idea for a new guitar line. And me, I surely love that kind operation method.
Besides, since I’ve released the first version of “Crossing The Line” I couldn’t help but notice that this track needed a more powerful Techno beat to make it work — maybe there are some things that you’ll only find out after having “lived” with a song for a couple of weeks.
Anyway, that’s the reason why I picked up “Crossing The Line” again and revised it for Dark Feather No. 10: the groove’s emphasis is now focused completely on danceability and there’s also a more aggressive midsection as well as additional vocals by Ayuma.
Just uploaded a new song called “No Going Back”: Some of you may remember this track because its demo version appeared on this website long time ago. “No Going Back” was written during the time I wrote lots of other stuff for “The Legacy Remains” (i. e. the album that never was), but I wasn’t really satisfied with the original version.
But when Ayuma started singing that song I instantly knew that we were working on the real thing. I also noticed that my primal scintillation of recording “No Going Back” as a plain vanilla ballad without any drums and bass was a flop, as the song seemed to lack the sparkling brilliance that is now added by the rhythm section (thanks to Toontrack’sSuperior Drummer and Spectrasonic’sTrilian).
I’m really proud of this version because Ayuma’s vocals bear that special kind of melancholy airiness that emphasizes the overall feeling of that song: the battle is over and you have lost - and there’s absolutely no way of ever going back. But at the same time this means that there’s no more burden on your shoulder: though you’ve been bereaved of something that once was so precious to you, you are now free from a situation that was only causing pain in the end. Let your tears flow for the past, but the future’s promise lies already ahead and it’s sounding like a sparkling waterfall from afar.
Maybe this is one of Antichrisis’ most catchy tracks so far - but don’t get fooled by the song’s overall easiness: still a deep sense of valediction is lurking under its surface.
Although I’m pretty occupied with watching the Football World Cup in South Africa these days, I’ve anyway found the time to upload a new Antichrisis track called “The Point of No Return”.
This song has seen quite a few transformations since I’ve written it sometime in 2002; at first it was called “The Way”, but I could never get my head around finishing it — until I played the demo version of that song to Ayuma last January: As soon as she heard the track she was instantly hooked to it, and after rehearsing a couple of times she came up with those great vocal lines you now hear on that recording. Besides, “The Point Of No Return” contains also great performances by Frank J. Hennig and Näx, so thanks a lot for your contribution, guys!
But after I had finished mixing the 78 tracks that “The Point of No Return” consists of I swore to myself that I would never be recording as many tracks for just one song again — possibly!
A new year has arrived, and we still have to put up with the likes of Angela Merkel and Guido Westerwelle over here in Germany - but fortunately from now on Antichrisis isn't bound any longer to GEMA (German performing rights society), which means that all new tracks by Antichrisis can now be used for internet broadcasting and non-commercial purposes of all kind (under Creative Commons License). That's good news, I guess (especially for all those internet radio stations who couldn't play Antichrisis songs in the past due to these issues)- and as legal matters are sorted out now, some exciting new tracks will see their release in 2010.
By the way: I won't be doing any blog-entries in German any more. I can see by the emails I receive that the vast majority of Antichrisis-fans seem to come from abroad, and I'm sure that our German fans will be able to understand entries in English as well. It's simply a time-saver for me if I only have to write entries once, so I hope you'll understand this decision (and it's also a good way of annoying gladsome Guido, our linguistically challenged foreign minister).
A few weeks ago I've met Jens, our former producer, again: He's now working for Laboga Amps and VIG Guitars, and we spent a very cool evening in Nuremberg with him and his endorser Tommi Denander, who turned out to be a really nice and folksy bloke - and one can really learn a lot by having a good time with such professional musicians.
My wife Ayuma also came up with some great new songs last year which I'm having the honour to produce. If you'd be interested in German music with a very special touch, check out her songs at MySpace or at Ayuma's own website. By the way: Ayuma also did the female vocals on "Here Comes The Night" and "Ocean's Too Wide" - and "The Point Of No Return” is already on its way.
And here's another piece of news: Julia Dobberstein is working on a re-release of "Cantara Anachoreta" with all tracks remastered by Harris Johns, new stunning artwork by Ben and "Beautiful Wolves" as bonus track. There's no release date yet, but as soon as this collector's item will be revealed, I'll let you know.
And if anyone out there would like to follow Antichrisis on Twitter, just look for http://twitter.com/Boscastle (Yep, it's "Boscastle" and not "Antichrisis", as everybody would have assumed. Those who know me will get the reference, anyway).
Bob Dylan was definitely right when he sang "The times, they are a-changin'" in 1964... and if it comes to music business, times have changed pretty much within the last few years. Having grown-up in the heydays of Punk, I totally and wholeheartedly agree that this change was indeed necessary, that it's about time that greedy record companies have to worry about their prospective revenues and realise that they cannot treat their customers like cash cows.
Being a musician myself, I'm torn between the two sides: on the one hand the internet and its possibilities of sharing and distributing music (but if we want to call a spade a spade we should include a term like "illegal downloading", too!) has turned out to be nothing less than a big "Up Yours!" towards the record companies' pricing policy, but on the other hand it has also caused a lot of severe problems for the kind of really devoted musicians and labels trying to make a living from what they're doing.
Experts affirm that today there's only 1 % of legal purchasing of songs and albums, which means that there is only 1 in a 100 songs that the artist or his record company actually gets paid for - and you can't run a business on that terms. That's why our label Reartone Records simply can't afford to release the long awaited Antichrisis album "The Legacy Remains": there's absolutely no chance of breaking even with new independent releases of that kind, hence I totally agree and understand Reartone's decision although I certainly regret that "The Legacy Remains" will now become some kind of "lost album", and that all the work we've put into its production so far was in vain.
Reartone cannot release any new albums as long as the aforementioned situation stays like this - and that doesn't affect Reartone Records only: Even a successful independent company like Chicago's Touch & Go Records with bands like TV On The Radio, Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Coco Rosie has to reduce its output because they just can't cover the costs any longer. Mac McCaughan of Merge Records commented this with the words: "If a company that did everything the right way can't survive in this environment ... then who can?"
But what does all that mean for Antichrisis? Well, there won't be any CD or album releases in the near future at all (unless another label would be interested in signing Antichrisis). As aforesaid, I can understand Reartone's decision and I totally agree with them, hence there's no bad blood between Reartone and Antichrisis. If the economical situation should change, there's no obstacle for resuming our collaboration.
In the meantime (or for the future - who knows) , Antichrisis will be stripped down to being a 1-man-project again like it used to be in the early days of "Cantara Anachoreta". I'll be doing everything on my own again including mixing and production, and as soon as new songs are finished I'll make them available on this website via streaming audio. I don't have any idea at the moment if there'll be a way making these new tracks available for purchase, because I don't like any of the current online distribution possibilities for independent artists: there are too many different internet platforms with too many different terms and conditions, which makes it difficult to work time- and cost-saving. But as soon as there's a proper solution on the horizon, I'll be trying to provide a good and easy way for acquiring Antichrisis' songs by purchase.
Anyway, I doubt that there will ever be an album by Antichrisis again, as I really don't believe in albums any more: they are a thing of the past, and the future's definitley in releasing separate songs as soon as they are ready and leave it to the customer which individual song he or she wants to have - it should be up to them if they want to burn it on CD or not. Online distribution is the future of any multimedia content, whether we like it or not - but it's all still in its infancy!
So "The Legacy Remains" will possibly never be released and Antichrisis will be reduced to being a 1-man-project again. I definitely won't stop making music, because it's simply such a vital and important part of my life. Of course I could now finish the songs of "The Legacy Remains" on my own, but to tell you the truth it just wouldn't feel right, because these songs were the collective achievement of a band that unfortunately doesn't exist any longer, and it would be quite unfair towards my former band members if I'd release those songs single-handedly now.
The reason that the band has now ceased to exist is due to the fact that we've never been a live group but a studio band. And as all band members are living far away from each other in different parts of Germany, the only occasion we got together was when we met in Reartone's Bluehouse studio for rehearsing and recording. So the end of the collaboration with Reartone Records implies the end of the studio band Antichrisis, too. But I'm glad that both Näx (uilleann pipes) and Frank (vocals) have assured that they would love to contribute their input to Antichrisis in the future, too, so there'll be still some guest musicians around!
Nevertheless my deepest gratitude goes to Jens Bachmann (former guitarist and producer), Tilo Rockstroh (former keyboarder and sound engineer) and Jens-Nils Kuge (former Drummer): these guys did such a great job for Antichrisis on "Perfume" and "A Legacy of Love Mark II", and I'm sure that "The Legacy Remains" would have confirmed what outstanding and unique musicians they are. It was an honour and great pleasure to work with them, and I sincerely appreciate the time we've been recording together.
A new chapter of Antichrisis is aborning - back to the basics, in a manner of speaking, and these basics will sound a lot like "Ocean's Too Wide" or "Crossing The Line" (already available on this website's Music section). And as I don't have to focus on album productions and studio sessions any more, there'll probably be some new tracks here quite soon... so stay tuned!
Last year was definitely a good year for softsynth-aficionados like me: first we had G-Force's significant update to their famous M-Tron called M-Tron Pro, which offers much more sounds and tweaking possibilities than one could have ever expected from a Mellotron-replica, then came Spectrasonics with their groundbreaking Omnisphere (which will receive another important update on January 26th with more than 2000 new patches - and don't ask me when I'll ever find the time to check them all out!), and finally in December Camel Audio released their long awaited sample manipulation synthesizer Alchemy, which I had the chance to work with during the last two weeks.
First I should confess that building sounds from scratch isn't exactly my cup of tea: I love to have a proper library of inspiring sounds that I can tweak and work with, and in these terms Alchemy is simply gorgeous even if not as packed and well-assorted as Omnisphere, but then Alchemy doesn't require 40 GB of free space on your hard drive like Omnisphere does, instead it just asks for reasonable 2 GB.
Alchemy is equiped with over 300 presets sorted in categories like Arpeggiated, Bass, Brass, Drums, Guitars, Keys, Leads, Loops, Mallets, Organs, Pads, Sound Effects, Soundscapes, Strings, Synth, Vocals and Woodwinds, but don't expect any "traditional" sounds: that's definitely not what Alchemy is all about, moreover it aims to create new and outstanding sounds - no wonder, because it allows you to tweak and manipulate every aspect of any given sound, and best of all it also allows you to import your own audio files and put them through its additive, spectral or granular grinder... only the sky is the limit of what you can do to any sound snippet loitering on your hard drive! To find out more about Alchemy's numerous possibilities take a look at Camel Audio's tutorial videos here.
I was most impressed by Alchemy's arpeggiated sounds, its drums, pads, loops and strings: these sounds are so unique and inspiring that I could hardly stop myself from fiddling about with them for hours and hours - really great stuff! I only wished the guys at Camel Audio would have equiped Alchemy with more than just 10 drum sets, because each of them is a case of sui generis and high musical quality.
Alchemy's sound effects and soundscapes on the other hand are the categories that I won't have much use for, but then it's a bit unfair to judge strange sounds like these after I've worked my way through Omnisphere's sound library just a few weeks ago: Sure Alchemy's soundscapes and sound effects do sound interesting and vivid, and there's also a lot of morphing going on, but I think Omnisphere remains simply unexcelled concerning weird and eerie atmospheres and sounds - but keep in mind that someone else might see (or hear) things different, because these categories are of much more use for composers & producers of movie scores and computer game tracks than for your average and humble musician.
All in all Alchemy is an extraordinary and wonderful softsynth offering myriads of editing possibilities that even Omnisphere can't provide. It works like a charm, contains hundreds of unique and inspiring sounds, is expandable (CamelAudio are currently offering 2 expansion sets on their website and there will be more to come) and put up for sale at more than reasonable price. It only took me just one hour until I had to realise that Alchemy will become one of my favourite softsynths!
And as this is the end of the year, here are my favourite songs of 2008:
Bruce Springsteen - Dream Baby Dream Duffy - Rockferry Tindersticks - Boobar Come Back To Me Kings of Leon: Sex On Fire Silver Jews - Suffering Jukebox Santogold - You'll Find A Way The Ting Tings - That’s Not My Name The Raveonettes - Yound And Beautiful Vampire Weekend - M79 Glasvegas - Geraldine Moby - Disco Lies Bloc Party - Mercury Dido - Grafton Street Anne Clark - Full Moon Amy MacDonald - This Is The Life The Walkmen - In The New Year Portishead - The Rip David Byrne & Brian Eno - Home Soko - I'll Kill Her
Spectrasonics, one of my favourite software companies, has recently released their new virtual instrument Omnisphere, which is really some kind of monster in a very positive way: It is the most inspiring and genuine software instrument I’ve ever come across, and within only a few days it has become almost indispensable for my musical work with Antichrisis.
Omnisphere comes with a vast core library of over 40 GB with thousands of sounds that can be tweaked, combined and manipulated in any way you want. The sounds are not just your average workstation core library sounds, instead some of them are entering spectacular new territories like f. e. the burning piano, which is - as you might have guessed - the sound of a piano being set on fire (which is exactly what those weirdos at Spectrasonics did to achive that special sound). Also the integrated arpeggiator is just brilliant and very easy to handle, the FX-Rack contains everyt bloody effect section you ever wanted and Omnisphere’s sound browser is simply one of a kind because it allows you to actually tag, sort and find the sounds that you’re looking for, which is something that no other virtual instrument has come up with so far.
You see, I’m really excited about Omnisphere and so I can only recommend it to every songwriter, producer or musician around. Check out Spectrasonics’ website for more information here.
By the way: G-Force have released a new version of their famous M-Tron, which is a very great and useful virtual instrument, too. It is my favourite “secret weapon“ for those moments, when most digital sounds are sounding a bit too clean: those old Mellotron soundbanks add exactly the kind of vintage dirt that will make your songs breathe!
Next thing I’m looking forward too is Camel Audio’s new synthesizer Alchemy: it’s not released yet, but the teasers on their website do sound amazing.
Ayuma and me had a really wonderful wedding in Nuremberg (strange enough it took place on Lammas with a New Moon and a Solar Eclipse - that’s what I call Good Omens!) with an amazing party the day after (thanks to all our friends and acquaintances for making our wedding party such a great and beautiful event) as well as a more than brilliant Honeymoon in the Swabian Highlands (special thanks to Franky’s in Tuebingen for providing a splendid and hillarious evening).
As soon as we’ve returned from our honeymoon I’ve started working on some new tracks: one of them is called ˮCrossing the Line“ and can be found on this website’s Music-section — hope you’ll like it (even if its lyrics don’t deal with the subject of marriage at all).
I've been pretty busy during the last weeks working on lots of new songs and preparing things for our wedding day. Yes, Ayuma and me are getting married on Lammas, and I'm really looking forward to the ceremony as well as to our wedding festivity the next day... and of course to making this noble woman, entrancing inamorata and faithful friend my wife!
I’ve also started digitalizing all my old tapes, which means that heaps of previously unreleased material still has to make its transition from ye good ole analogue tape to the digital shelves of my Mac. As soon as everything’s indexed, transformed into mp3 (Sorry for that, Harry: I know you would have preferred Ogg Vorbis for some strange reasons, although I think you just love to have audio data with a file extension that bears resemblance to the name of a mad Klingon high priest!) and thoroughly inspected in terms of aural tolerance, I’ll be putting a reasonable amount of Antichrisis’ early stuff on this website.
In the meantime I’ve received some very nice and interesting emails from Arseny from Moscow and Robert Negut from Bucharest which I haven’t replied to yet: Just a little more patience, guys — as soon as Ayuma and me have returned from our honeymoon, I’ll be returning to you, too.
I’ve also had a few requests for my current top ten which accidently turned into a bloated top sixteen - but that’s personal charting for you:
Soko - I’ll Kill Her The Killers - When You Were Young Royksopp: What Else Is there? Silver Jews: Suffering Jukebox Flooging Molly - Punch Drunk Grinning Soul Attila the Stockbroker - And I Wont’ Run Away The Raveonettes: The Christmas Song Franz Ferdinand - Walk Away Jens Lekman - Black Cab Santogold: Say Aha Midnight Choir - The Train Bruce Springsteen - Long Walk Home The Pack: King Of Kings The Monks: He Went Down To The Sea The Thermals: An Ear For Baby The Mountain Goats: Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod
Year after year people think it's big fun to be cruel to animals — just like in Pamplona, where bulls are being driven through the streets to end up as sacrifice on the altar of machismo in the arena afterwards.
And year after year, something like this happens:
"Several men have been badly hurt in the San Fermin bull-running festival in Pamplona, northern Spain. The men are in hospital suffering from concussion and bruising after being trampled on Friday. Doctors said all casualties were in a serious condition in hospital; festival officials said they were injured when they fell under the hooves of stampeding bulls while running with the herd during a nine-minute dash through city streets to the Pamplona bullring.Each year thousands of people flee bulls and steers in the nine-day festival."
Bad news first: The release of "The Legacy Remains" will be delayed due to business matters! As the promo campaign for "A Legacy Of Love Mark II" has just started recently (which means that those being unfamiliar with Antichrisis up to now will perceive "A Legacy Of Love Mark II" as a brand new album release of May 2006) , it would be rather imprudent to present "The Legacy Remains" within the next few months. I'm afraid you will have to wait for X-mas or January/February 2007 for Antichrisis' new output...
Nevertheless this gives us the chance to release an album full of great material, as so many new songs have been written and recorded hence only the finest tracks will make it on "The Legacy Remains" — it will definitely be worth listening to!
Besides, everything else is working out fine. After a rather long and cold german winter, spring has finally sprung and I'm looking forward to some more recording sessions with Antichrisis as well as Blindflug, a german speaking project of Bernd and me.
As I do enjoy performing live, I've also put up another side project with Bernd, Flo and Katja, Antichrisis' new female vocalist, called Folkstone Gang. We're doing both cover versions as well as our own stuff, and if you should happen to live in the Nuremberg area, you might want to see us live at
4th July 2006, Irish Castle, Nuremberg
16th December 2006, Pegnitzbühne e. V., Nuremberg
Keep in mind that the aforementioned gigs are Folkstone Gang- and not Antichrisis-gigs, which means that only a few Antichrisis songs will be performed. Nevertheless I'm sure you'll enjoy a very special evening with good songs and a very "folky" atmosphere!
Those of you just interested in Antichrisis will have the chance to see Antichrisis Unplugged (i. e. Katja and Sid only) live on stage at the Balladentag on 24th September 2006 at the Kofferfabrik Fuerth. This event is organised by Florian Baessler, a highly appreciated singer/guitarist, and it'll give you an overview of the singer/songwrighter-scene of my home area. As it is some kind of festival, the playing time of each artist/band is restricted to 15 minutes, notwithstanding Katja and me will play a fine selection of old and new Antichrisis-material (By the way: Blindflug Unplugged will also appear on stage). Please note that Antichrisis Unplugged will already start at 3:20 pm; admission is free!
I guess that's all for today: A very merry Beltane to all of you and many thanks for your loyal support! And maybe I'll be seeing you at some of the aforementioned gigs.
Of course I've made mistakes insignificant ones as well as fatal ones
but then I'm only human:
I believed when I should have doubted I dared when I should have been cautious I've been chasing dreams when I should have come down to earth I got weak when I should have shown strength I did surrender when I should have fought on
But there were also a few things I did right:
I believed though I had my doubts I dared where no one else had the heart I tried to live up to my dreams even if it meant to overcome sanity and reason I could be weak where everybody else expected me to wear a disguise I did let go when hanging on would have caused nothing but pain and devastation
and even if I should fail again it'll be with dignity
A new year has arrived and we are getting on fine with the production of our new album "The Legacy remains", which will see its release in the first half of 2006 on our very favourite label Reartone Records. We have recorded 23 songs until now, but only 12 or 13 will finally make it on the album; yet a definite selection will be made not until all songs have been mixed.
Over the last year Bianca, our former singer, has left Antichrisis, but meanwhile we have found a more than equal successor in Katja, who has just received her baptism of fire at Bluehouse Studio and who really fits perfectly into the band.
Of course these line-up changes did cause some extra work, as all those tracks already recorded with Bianca have to be re-recorded by Katja, but nevertheless this won't affect our time schedule for the release of "The legacy remains" that much.
I am glad to introduce a new webmaster as well: Bernd has just taken over Jens' job (by the way: A big "Thank you" to Jens for his great work - he really deserved to be relieved). Besides, Bernd is also a very gifted singer and songwriter, and we recently brought a german-speaking side project named Blindflug into being, that already sounds very exciting.
Thanks for your feedback, your unfailing support and your loyalty!
Question: Antichrisis were a band always sort of veiled in mystery as to the people behind the monicker. Your debut was a creation of one Moonshadow, while on the second record there are completely different people. Can you throw some light on your line-up development and also what's the line-up now? Sid: Well, It may come to you as a surprise, but Moonshadow and me are just the same person! Moonshadow was my pseudonyme on "Cantara Anachoreta", but because of some drastic personal experiences I decided not to use this name any longer and picked up my "normal" name again. I also wanted to make clear that the audience shouldn't focus on the people behind Antichrisis, but on the music of Antichrisis itself, and with letting Moonshadow "die" (on a metaphorical level) I tried to make clear that I do not want any idolization or anything like that - All that counts is the music itself!
So "Cantara Anachoreta", Antichrisis' first album, was done almost on my own, with support of former guest-singer Willowcat. That cooperation wasn't very satisfying on the long run, so I was searching for a new female singer who I found in Lisa. She did a very good job on Antichrisis' second album "A Legacy of Love", but as she had been just a guest-vocalist as well, the search for a permanent member went on and found it's end when I met Dragonfly, who turned out to be the female vocalist on “Perfume”.
Näx, the "Prince of Pipes", joined Antichrisis shortly after the release of "Cantara Anachoreta", and we got on together very well from the beginning, musically as well as personally. He is a great and gifted musician who has become a vital part of Antichrisis since then and who likes to do weird interviews.
While Dragonfly left the band in 2003, the other guys appearing on "Perfume" (Jens "Gnu" Bachmann on guitars, Tilo Rockstroh on Keyboards and Kugator on drums) meanwhile have become permanent members of Antichrisis, too, and appeared on "A Legacy of Love Mark II" along with classical singer Frank W. Hennig.
Question: What do you think of politicians? Sid: Let's have a look at good old Douglas Adams, for he has always a lot to offer concerning life, the universe and politics:
"One of the major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
To summarize: It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made president should on no account be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: People are a problem."
(taken from "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe", Chapter 28, by Douglas Adams).
There's not much to add to this...I deeply distrust every politician, because I do distrust everyone who thinks that governing people is their vocation — in many cases they turn out to be just a bunch of power-hungry villains. As Bob Dylan once put it: "Don't follow leaders — watch the parking meters"; or even more radical with the words of Kevin Rowland of Dexy's Midnight Runners: "The only way to change things: Shoot people who arrange things!".
Life is a peculiar thing: somehow it always seems to turn out different than one thinks. Everything that appeared so consistent and inextinguishable yesterday will easily vanish like morning dew in tomorrow's sunlight. Stupidly pain has the vice of firing artistic creativity (at least as long as it doesn't exceed a certain level where it turns into plain agony — been there, done that, threw away the T-shirt), so that Antichrisis' musical inspiration will be provided for much more than just the next few albums (beware of sarcasm here).
But apart from your mastermind's emotional life Antichrisis is developing magnificently: The reason for the delay of this website update was primarily due to the fact that I moved from A to B and that it took me a while to get everything sorted out and reconnect to the wondrous world of the wide web again. But now I'm back on the track working vigorously on the production of our forthcoming album "The Legacy remains".
In this regard there'll be a quite a few surprises and exciting news within the next few weeks, but I'll hold that back until the next update for reasons of anticipation.
Due to your requests comes my current Top 10-list that accidentally turned into a Top 30-list because of my musical indecisiveness:
"Teignmouth" - Patrick Wolf "I'm waking up to us" - Belle & Sebastian "Turning of the Tide" - Midnight Choir "Love hurts" - Emmylou Harris & Gram Parsons "We oh we" - The Hidden Cameras "Smile at Everyone" - Minor Majority "Understanding Jane" - Icicle Works "Balkon gegenüber" - Kettcar "I lost it" - Lucinda Williams "One thing" - Runrig "So called Friend" - Texas "When you were my Baby" - The Magnetic Fields "Head on" - Pixies "Uncertain Times" - The Raveonettes "Serenade" - Dover "Goodbye Horses" - Q Lazzarus "If I told you you were beautiful" - Minor Majority "I will not forget you" - Sarah McLachlan "To win just once" - Saw Doctors "The last Beat of my Heart" - Siouxsie & The Banshees "Live before you die" - Social Distortion "Reconsider me" - Moneybrother "Buried Bones" - Tindersticks "Neon Moon" - Midnight Choir "Common People" - William Shatner "Please don't leave" - The Ramones "Like a Cannibal" - Mila Mar "Ode to L.A." - The Raveonettes "Landungsbrücken raus" - Kettcar "Come back from San Francisco" - The Magnetic Fields
And don't forget: The limited digipack edition of "A Legacy of Love Mark II" is still available at Playbaker at a bargain price!
In the end there's a quotation of victorian poet Alfred Lord Tennyson that crossed my mind while I was going through recent occurrences:
I hold it true, whate'er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892) "In Memoriam" (1850)
Mission accomplished: We've just finished re-recording and remixing “A Legacy of Love”! The album will see its release within the next few weeks (digipack with bonus-track); we'll let you know in due time about its definite release date.
The album will be called “A Legacy of Love Mark II”, because it's actually meant to be an update to the original “A Legacy of Love” album of 1998. We just left the vocal parts and a few instrumental solos untouched, whereas everything else got completely rearranged and re-recorded by the new Antichrisis line-up.
I was never completely satisfied with the original "A Legacy of Love"-album because Antichrisis didn't sound like a proper band at that time (of course it couldn't because I had to play most instruments on my own). But as the songs on this album deserved a second chance, I thought that it might be a good idea to let the recent Antichrisis line-up re-record the entire album so that you'll get an idea of what Antichrisis sounds like today. And as our fans demanded a re-issue because "A Legacy of Love" got out of stock a long time ago, we'll be killing two birds with one stone.
My gratitude goes to Jens, Tilo, Kugator and Näx: “A Legacy of Love Mark II” wouldn't have become what it is without your artistic skills and creative input!
We’ve been working busily on the final completion of the pre-production to our new album as well as on the re-release of “A Legacy of Love” during the last weeks, although I have to say that “re-release” doesn’t quite take the bisquit as we’re not just doing your average remixing and remastering-job, moreover we’re re-recording guitars, drums and keyboards completely: The E-Drums we used in 1998 got already thrown out and were replaced by Kugator’s excellent drumming.
All in all “A Legacy of Love” will be completely revised, edited, restored, remixed and remastered before it’ll see its re-release by the end of the year. Those who already liked the original album will presumably go haywire with this new edition!
Many of you have written emails in which they were complaining about the missing “My favourite Top Ten”-section that was part of our old website, hence a selection of my current favourites right here:
Life fades away - Roy Orbison Don’t play that Song (You lied) - Ben E. King Levi Stubb’s Tears - Billy Bragg Warning Sign - Coldplay Brand New Start - Paul Weller Love is Only a Feeling - The Darkness Mary’s in India - Dido With Whom to dance - The Divine Comedy Duke of Earl - Gene Chandler Boys of Melody - The Hidden Cameras Sleep Well Tonight - Inspiral Carpets Ascension - Kirlian Camera Du sälde vära hjärtan - Lisa Ekdahl Pillar of Davidson - Live The Gift - Midge Ure Dark Island - Mike Oldfield Whale - Rescue Mission Hear My Song - Vernon Midgely Ring on the Sill - Cowboy Junkies Until the Morning Comes - Tindersticks Ciega Sordomuda - Shakira All My Little Words - The Magnetic Fields These Arms of Mine - Otis Redding Shakin’ all over - Johnny Kidd & The Pirates Say Hello Wave Goodbye - David Gray
That’s all for today — we’ll keep you informed about further developments!
Question: Many gothic metal bands have used female vocals very well but also in excess nowadays. How do you feel about it? What is the main difference between a female and a male musician to you? Sid : Yes, it seems that the Nightwish-syndrome has taken over the gothic metal-scene, quite often in order to disguise the male singer's incapacity, but that point doesn't concern us at all: I am a pretty good vocalist myself, but I like the idea of integrating a female voice because of the different colour that this vocals provide to the big picture of Antichrisis.
This doesn't necessarily mean that I'd prefer the male voice being responsible for the aggressive or powerful parts of the music whereas the female singer does all the soft and lyrical bits — this kind of stereotype is much too predictable and boring, hence I'm simply avoiding this mode of operation.
The difference between a male and a female musician? I don't see any difference in general because in my book musicianship doesn't depend on gender categories, just on artistic ones — and if it comes to singing, it's merely reduced to the fact that there are not that many men able to sing soprano, whereas women hardly reach the pitch level of the bass.
Question: What comes to your mind when you hear the word christianity? Sid: Christianity means nothing to me but a religious fraud: Though it is pretending to be about love, it sows the seed of hate and intolerance — and a damn lethal seed it is as one can tell by the track of blood christendom has left in history!
That doesn't mean that I'd disdain any person who's a christian believer — nope, because everyone's free to believe what he/she likes as long as they're not harming any other living being; and if they think christianity's their cup of tea then good luck to them: It certainly isn't mine!
Question: Do you think that love is far away from hate? What is more difficult: to love or to hate? Sid: I think love and hate cannot be put on the same level with each other, because while both being undoubtedly powerful emotions they are nevertheless of completely different derivations: You have to have a reason for hating someone, but you don't have to have a reason for love!
On the other hand, love can easily turn into hate sometimes, as I've tried to explain in "Trying not to breathe" with the line "I hate you and I love you for what you've done to me": If the one you love leaves you, then two strong emotions are fighting against each other within yourself, and this is nothing but a horrible outburst of devastation!
Being torn apart between love and hate is a most dangerous process, because it can easily end in self-destruction: Someone broke your heart, but you still love her/him because of the good times you've shared, and at the same time you hate that person because she/he has the power to make you feel so tremendously bad — it's like being a small iron particle in the centre between two strong magnets: Unable to move and unable to escape...
Nevertheless I think it's much easier to love than to hate, although I don't deny the fact that hate is a very vigorous and vital force in human life; but love with its ability to strike you sometimes out of the blue is definitely a spiritual force. Hate can only be an ulterior motive for a certain time, it has to find its end at some stage, at the latest when it's achieved its object; otherwise it'll burn you out and leave you all barren, whereas love can go on forever and ever without doing any harm at all: There is no end to unconditional love because it is the divine impetus of life itself: The more you love, the more you'll obtain!
Question: How do you feel when you hear about pornography with children through the Internet nearly every day? Do you think that one day it will be common to watch those pictures on TV? Sid : I do hope not — but this male dominated society is a rather sick system, and there's already enough abominable pornographic stuff in the internet and on TV right now. The fact that not only a few men are turned on by pornography and prostitution shows that a majority of the male gender is neither able to develop a healthy sexual self-awareness nor to perceive women as autonomous human beings.
Question: Which are the main feelings you want to transport through your music? Would it be melancholy or beauty -- or both? Sid: The main idea behind Antichrisis is that music and lyrics as an individable entity should be a reflection of my soul, a mirror of my dreams, my visions, my desires and my emotions. Hence this music is of very personal and intimate matter, for it reveals my inner self completely.
Melancholy and beauty are both part of my world of emotions, as well as love and hate, sadness and joy, fear and hope, strength and weakness, desire and lust, depression and confidence.
Question: Antichrisis has released 3 excellent albums so far, but hasn't achieved that much recognition. Do you have an explanation for that phenomenon? Sid : Thanks for your compliment. I guess the point about Antichrisis being not that popular as it deserves to be (at least in my humble opinion) is that Antichrisis is not "hip" enough!
It's not easy for the audience to "consume" our music, because the music itself challenges a listener's open-mindedness! If you listen to a Cradle of Filth-album for example, you'll always know what the next song on the CD might probably sound like, because bands like CoF as well as many others are strictly limited to just one musical style; but if you listen to an Antichrisis-album for the very first time, it's simply impossible to predict what'll come next — or would you have expected a Pop-tune like "Nightswan" after the Intro ("How can I live on top of the mountain?") on our 2nd. album? And even if you think you might have got the idea behind Antichrisis, then the next album will be completely different from the last one.
Question: Have you ever played live? I would be really interested in your gigs which must be a great experience. Another band I know once mentioned that their dream would be to play in an ancient church. Have you ever thought similarly about this as well? Sid : We have actually been playing live when touring Europe (Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands) together with Tristania, The Sins of thy Beloved, Siebenbürgen and Trail of Tears in spring 1999, but it wasn't exactly a satisfying experience for us: poor organisation, lack of essential equipment, bad promotion and other unpleasant circumstances made this some kind of "Tour de Force" — 19 gigs within 3 weeks without a day off, surrounded by a horde of permanently drunken Scandinavians wasn't that much fun! Anyway, we tried to make the best out of it and act as professional as possible (quite tricky if you haven't the chance of doing a soundcheck!), so we could at least prove the audience that Antichrisis is also a splendid live-act! Unfortunately Näx couldn't be with us on that tour, as he had to pass his exams at that time, so the tour-band included just me, Dragonfly, Brown Jenkin on Guitar, a mad session drummer and our japanese friend Roland on Keyboards and Sequencer.
Nevertheless I do enjoy live performances, although I'd prefer an old pagan temple to a Christian building for an Antichrisis-gig — as long as there are enough sockets somewhere: Otherwise it'd be a rather "unplugged" experience (which wouldn't mean a serious problem to Antichrisis either, as we're capable of doing an acoustic set as well).
Question: You do seem to be fascinated by ancient cultures, am I right? Sid: Yes, you are: I'm interested in matriarchal cultures all over the world, especially in those of Northern-European, pre-Celtic origin.
I do also admire Celtic Art: I remember having seen photographs of early Celtic Art when I was about 14 years old, and from that very moment I've been fascinated by the rich symbolism and the beauty of that artistic school; and so I tried to go deeper into Celtic Culture, reading every available book that I could lay my hands on. I spent about 10 or 12 years on reading and learning until I began actually understanding the spirit of all I've read about, which goes far beyond plain knowledge - spiritual awareness cannot be learned, it has to be experienced.
Of course it was of great importance to me to gain knowledge through literature, but really experiencing the Celtic Spirit happened when I visited some of the ancient quoits in England and Ireland and listened to the old ballads not only with my ears, but with my heart!
Question: In which ways have you succeeded in mixing acoustic and electric music? Sid: When I wrote the songs for "Cantara Anachoreta" and "A Legacy of Love" I usually started with evolving the basic chords on acoustic guitar, but for "Perfume" things were different, because of its emphasis on electronic sounds and grooves. I started with just some basic rhythms and bass lines when working on the "Perfume"-material, which was a modified way of creating and arranging songs.
Personally, I don't see any reason for drawing a parting line between electronic and acoustic instruments: They both have their advantages, and they're both wonderful tools for creating the musical soundscapes of Antichrisis.
Question: What does the word love mean to you? Sid: Love is pure magic, and like every magical power it contains both creative and destructive energies. Come to think about it, the most miserable periods in my life were always caused by the negative outcomes of love (i. e. broken relationships), but at the same time I'm aware that the most beautiful moments were also because of love. If wanting to experience love, one has to be strong enough to face both heaven and hell: The higher one rises, the deeper one falls! In order to avoid all that trouble, you'd have to stay mediocre — but despite of all that I've gone through, this would not be my cup of tea, anyway!
There's a wonderful song by Hazel O'Connor that goes: "If I had another chance, I would have the same romance with you and life, the happiness and the knife. If I had that time again I'd change it not another way..." — and I guess the same goes for me: I'll never regret to have loved, even if it always ended in tears. But there's no price to high for love, and if you do love, you have to accept the fact that it makes you very vulnerable, that it might even kill you. It's a question of all or nothing, I'm afraid. Edna St. Vincent Millay once wrote about this: "My candle burns at both ends, it will not last the night; but, ah, my foes, and oh, my friends, it gives a lovely light". Or, with Tennyson's words: "Tis better to have loved and lost than never loved at all".
To me, love is the most sincere and honest feeling, a divine power that can make us goddesses and gods, a feeling that is associated with closeness, truth, respect and unconditional faith. I don't know if this is just an ideal that'll never become reality, but even if the quest for true love should be bound to fail: Wouldn't life be rather poor without this dream?
Question: What is your definition of true love? Sid: That's difficult to explain: To me, love is like the most beautiful song ever heard, like dissolving in an endless sea of light and passion, having found what you've been looking for all your life, drowning in your lover's eyes, a blissful dream without end — but also being there whenever you're needed, always standing by your lover's side whatever may come, always being sincere and true to the one you're with. There are too many facets to true love than can be mentioned, I'm afraid.
Question: Some individuals seem to find erotic literature and pornography to be showing women as inferior, while others believe that it's a positive way of portraying the female body, making women more worth in a man's mind. What do you think about this? Sid: As the term "pornography" has derived from the Greek term for "presentation of whores", it's quite obvious that pornography doesn't deal with respect for women. Pornography doesn't intend to show women as individuals or subjects, but as sexual objects of men.
Pornography is unable to portray the female body in a positive way, even in cases when it tries to hide its true aim under the cloak of "fine arts", because the standards defining the female body are made up by men: They define what or who is to be called "sexy", "beautiful" or "erotic" (although men talking 'bout eroticism is always a bit like a blind talking about colours!); and after all men have decided that women always look best when being victims: Either victims of male fantasies of rape and violation, or "just" victimised by the way they have to expose and exhibit themselves in front of a camera.
Referring to sexuality itself, the majority of men are a bunch of ignorant creeps. Their only sensual interest seems to be reduced to some mindbogglingly obscure movements of their naughty bits, while their sexual stimulation seems to consist of goggling randy at some gynaecologically exposed parts of the female body. They don't see that sexuality is some kind of erotic "culture", which is much more than quick movements of the pelvis.
Pornography is nothing more than the product of the sick minds of those scruffy wallies we call "men", and it's jolly obvious that it was never meant to be for the sake of appreciation or adoration of women, but for degrading, abusing and exploiting them.
Question: I think I can easily say that "A Legacy Of Love" is a manifesto of love and friendship: do you think that people influenced by this album have changed their view on these issues or have perhaps discovered a new truth for themselves? Sid: We've received lots of feedback to this album, and the reactions to it were quite peculiar: In the beginning, after the album's release, most people were puzzled and confused because they expected a gothic album similar to our debut, "Cantara Anachoreta”, so they were not at all prepared for the Folk Pop-experience of “A Legacy of Love”.
But after a while they seemed to understand more and more the album's deeper meaning: Gothic Metal would have been a too limited musical diction to express all the feelings I wanted to manifest on that album. My ambition was to create an album that would outlast time, both in form and content, and I think we have achieved that goal: One can tell this easily by all the requests we receive for a re-release of "A Legacy of Love” (the album is meanwhile out of stock); seems a bit like if this album was too far ahead of its time and that just now people become aware of its emotional and musical value (and I'm sure it'll be exactly the same with "Perfume").
Many people were touched and moved by "A Legacy of Love", because this album reflects the most primary human experiences of love and loss in an almost painful yet simultaneously beautiful way: Maybe one of its main effects was that it made people realize that they were not alone: No matter if you're in love or if you'd just lost someone you've loved — when you got home at night, there was always this album to provide confirmation and bliss, or consolation and hope.
I doubt that "A Legacy of Love" changed anybody's life, but it made them see things in a different way: It made them realize the beauty of love as well as the importance of holding on to one's dreams even if having to face drawbacks from time to time.
In the end, that's what art of any kind is all about: to create the state of catharsis for the audience that makes people feel better instead of dragging them down.
Question: With your sort of pagan influenced view of the world, how do you see love and life as opposed to war and death? Sid: Death belongs to the natural cycle of love and life, whereas war is a destructive force made up by sick human minds. According to my point of view, death is not the end, but the transition to another level of existence. Love is the ultimate source of everything, a power that brings growth, splendidness and fruitfulness. As long as love exists, there is always hope and faith and beauty.
Of course there's also a dark side of love, but this aspect only arises from disappointment and betrayal by humans; i. e. the lack of the pure energy of love — but I guess I've said enough about that darker side in some songs like "The Sea" or "The Farewell".
Näx: I like love more than war and death. Death is a part of the big game and I don't fear it. Just trying to be prepared.
Question: I have got a feeling that the cover of "Perfume" was prepared in a hurry: It looks so very poor and its content inside is also very modest. What sense does it make to put your lyrics at the Website only? Don't you think that a buyer deserves its printed version in the booklet? Sid: Point taken. First: I'm a big fan of the cover artwork that Peter Saville and Martyn Atkins did in the early Eighties for Manchester-based label Factory Records, esp. for Joy Division. No naked female vampires or fake plastic skeletons or what else you have on your average contemporary goth-covers, but plain and straight, Bauhaus-inspired (not the band, but the famous school of arts in Dessau) artwork that didn't draw the listeners attention from the music. And as I do like that style a lot, I wanted to have something similar for "Perfume", and so we did the booklet-design together with Guido Meyer de Voltaire, who -did a great job. Whether you like it or not, the cover of "Perfume" was done with purpose and care — and most of all it does look neither "gothic" or "metal". Proper job.
Second: We didn't put the lyrics in the booklet due to objections of Napalm Records. They've had lots of problems with the rather thick booklet of "A Legacy of Love" that caused many complains by record dealers: Peasants browsing through the CDs in the store did take the booklet out and had to fiddle about like hell to get it back in the case again, most of the times in a very crinkled or even ripped condition.
So we had to find a way to let buyers have all the lyrics either wedged on 4 sides of a CD-booklet, which would have only been able with using a font not larger than 4 points and hence causing serious sight-damages to the innocent customer, or putting them on properly lay-outed and more easily readable pdf-files on our website, which allows even non-CD-purchasers to get hold of the lyrics.
Question: Do you think Perfume has met the expectations of your audience? Will Antichrisis ever hit the airwaves of commercial radio station or do you consider yourself as being not "mainstream" enough? Sid: To be honest, I don't care about our audience or its expectations very much: First of all, my music belongs to me and no one else — if other people like it as well, then this is just a lucky coincidence and not the main reason for my musical output. That's why I don't want to push Antichrisis in any way whatsoever: As a human being, I'm constantly developing, and these developments will cause effects on Antichrisis' music as well.
At the moment our music is published by a record company — maybe one day we don't need record companies any more, but who cares? I got some recording devices at home, and I certainly won't stop writing and recording new stuff anyway, may it get published or not. I'm not in this business for fame or money.
In the end, I'm just a songwriter who simply does what he has to do — although I think Antichrisis does provide a certain commercial appeal as well: Songs like “Goodbye to Jane”, “Our Last Show”, “Wasteland” or “Like the Stars” with proper support could easily enter the charts, as they are both catchy and mainstream-compatible though still maintaining that special Antichrisis-touch.
Question: So we've got the third album of Antichrisis. I have to tell you that while listening to this album for the first time I had a feeling that the album sounded too modern, that you drift towards pop music too dangerously. My feeling was for sure influenced by the fact that the songs form “Perfume” were easier and somehow nicer; they fell faster into your ear. But after listening to it few times you realize that it is the same band, only refreshened and more "cheerful" Do you agree? Sid: First of all let me ask you a question: What kind of complete nonsense is this to evaluate music by criteria like "too modern" or "drift towards pop music too dangerously"? Do these terms say anything about the actual quality of music? No, not at all — it's just the sort of pseudo-know-it-all-terminology used by people who have stopped listening to music with their heart but trying to analyze it with their so called brains instead!
Either you like a song or not, either you find it awful of great — but trying to evaluate music with terms like being "too modern" is nothing else but a sure sign of utter backwardness! When Richard Wagner first hit the scene back in 1841 with his opera "The Flying Dutchman" critics laughed at him, calling his music "too modern" as well. Guess who's the laughing stock now?
But anyway: As you've already found out, "Perfume" may sound different from "A Legacy of Love", but it's still Antichrisis — even if it's another side of the same band! We just used a different form of musical expression, as we do consider repetition as dead boring. We're musicians, not parrots!
"Perfume" has become a very powerful and vital record: Whereas "A Legacy of Love" was the perfect soundtrack for a cold autumn's evening with candlelight, "Perfume" is meant for dancing — maybe that's the more cheerful side of Antichrisis you're referring to.
Question: Sid, you were born in 1962: What makes you continue in the fields of music after all these years. Perhaps music is such a large part of yourself and your life that you simply couldn't live without it? Sid: Yes, music is one of the most essential gists in my life, and it's not a matter of age at all: it only depends on how devoted you are. If it's just a pastime, then you'll lay down your guitar as soon as you've settled down and other things have become more important. But if you're a passionate musician, nothing will stop you from expressing your emotions through melodies, harmonies and rhythms.
Of course my musical taste has changed through all these years: Although I still listen to that old school of '77 Brit-Punk (Those were the days... sigh!), I'm nowadays also listening to classical stuff, Irish Folk, TripHop, Country & Western and Reggae (just to name a few): As long as it is a "good" song, I don't give da damn about its musical style.
Question: Näx, you're using traditional instruments such as uileann pipes and bodhran. Are you dedicated to folk music? Näx: Yes, I can`t deny that I am dedicated to folk music, especially to the traditional Irish music. Sometimes I think that I'm even addicted to it.
When I got into contact with Antichrisis it became apparent that the sound of the Irish uilleann pipes would perfectly fit into Sid's music, so we started off to experiment with this mixture.
Beside of this musical aspect it is really interesting for me to play traditional instruments and music in a non-traditional context. I would like to make the traditional music and the uilleann pipes become known to people who have no special interest in this stuff. Everybody knows what the Great Highland Pipes sound and look like, only a bunch of people know that there are regional forms of bagpipes like the galician Gaita or Böhmischer and Mährischer Bock in Germany, which may sound a bit crude sometimes. But there is another sound which is well known by films like "Braveheart", "Rob Roy", "Titanic" or musicals like "Riverdance" or "Lord of the Dance", and nobody knows which instrument creates this sound. They only know that non of the average bagpipes sound like this, but also no saxophone, clarinet or oboe. Perhaps a keyboard?
Besides of making music with Antichrisis I want to show people that there is an bagpipe-instrument, which is held in high regard in Ireland and amongst folk fans, but which still can be discovered by the worldwide rockpopmetaltechnopunkgrungegothic-andwossisname-audience.
Question: “Perfume” contains very exclusive kind of music; with it's odour influencing all senses — this time your music is more rock-ish, psychedelic or even sensorical, but however it is still Antichrisis, thanks to Näx's characteristic instruments. Do you agree with this recapitulation? Sid: Of course Näx' special uilleann pipes-sound has become some kind of trademark, but most of all it's the songwriting that provides the typical Antichrisis-touch: Though I may always use different musical ways of expression, I have developed a very characteristic "handwriting" if it comes to creating and arranging songs: there are no bagpipes on "Carry me Down", "Something Inside" or "Gates of Paradise", yet these songs still sound like Antichrisis.
Anyway: Näx is a brilliant artist and I just love working with him!
Question: In the booklets preface of "A Legacy of Love" you say that both darkness and light are given to us to make us prosper and grow. Do you consider composing and writing as an adventure and what are your inner conquests? Sid: I'll have to admit that I haven't got the slightest idea why I had to go through all that tough shit during the time the album was written: O.K., the result of all these emotional misfortunes lead to a very heart-touching album, but if broken-heartedness is the price for the songs on "A Legacy of Love", then this price could be considered much too high!
But no need to argue: These things have happened, and I'll have to deal with it somehow, whether I like it or not. There are good times and bad times in everybody's life, and accepting the interplay of both, the necessity of experiencing both to become aware of life's everchanging cycles, might be an important step on our path to self-awareness.
Composing and writing songs is just one part of my inner conquest: I would not call it an adventure, furthermore something like a gift that makes it easier for me to come to terms with life.
Question: When did your interest in music start? And how was your musical development? Sid: My first-time acquaintance with music started with listening to Roy Orbison (him of the sunglasses and the angelic voice) on the good old valve radio (those were the days!), subsequently superseded by Glam-Rock-protuberances like T. Rex, Gary Glitter. Slade, Sweet and The Kursaal Flyers.
But soon after my 14th. birthday, being on holiday somewhere in the outback of Bavaria, some blessed DJ played "God save the Queen" by the later-to-be-awful Sex Pistols (them of the plugged bass-player) on the wireless , and from that very moment I turned into a punk. Blimey, it was just my luck being a punk in a little quaint village that seemed to be bogged down somewhere between the Palaeozoic and the Precambrian era on the evolutionary scale!
As entering upon a punk career meant getting utterly fucked up almost every night, I thought I'd do myself a favour if I went into that Dark Wave/Gothic-business instead, which to everyone's surprise served me pretty well during the next 5 years: The likes of Joy Division, Bauhaus, Killing Joke, Theatre of Hate, Christian Death (them of the good-looking singer!), Throbbing Gristle (them of the grotty singer) or Cindytalk weren't exactly what one would call a boisterous bunch, but after all they made me give up drinking.
A couple of years later I accidentally realized that Irish Folk could be even more melancholic and depressing than any Cure-album, and by getting myself an acoustic guitar, I turned out to be a neo-hippie long before Tracy Chapman or The Walkabouts were invented — and I also found out that buskin' is a hard way of making some extra money.
After one wicked weekend (we're talking about the golden age of every weekend being amazingly wicked) I was feeling kind of sentimental and put on the dead-gorgeous "Pretty Vacant"-single by the later-to-be-unnecessarily-reunited Sex Pistols, but unfortunately the record player (that popular stone-age device for listening to music before CD-players were invented) was on 33 1/3 rpm instead of the much more suitable 45 rpm — and that bungling of mine suddenly turned into pure enlightenment: Punk did sound so much more annoying if played at lower speed! But a few months later I had to find out that some creeps had nicked this brilliant invention of mine and called it "Doom Metal": you just can't trust anybody!
To cut a long story short: Some time in the Nineties I thought it would sound quite nice throwing all my musical preferences in the big boiling cauldron and seasoning the strange dish with a strong dash of pop music — and that's how Antichrisis got on the menu!
Question: Is there a concept behind the lyrics of “Perfume”? Sid: No — both "Cantara Anachoreta" and "A Legacy of Love" had been concept albums, so this time I wanted to try something different, hence each song of "Perfume" is meant to be some kind of snapshot of my life: There are moments of joy and love (for example "Gates of Paradise", "Dragonflies" or "Like the Stars") as well as moments of being pissed off by human stupidity & cruelty ("Hole in my Head" and "Goodbye to Jane") and also some spiritual songs just like "We are the Witches" and "Carry me Down"; all in all a pretty extensive collection of my world of emotions.
Question: Perfume is released by Napalm Records, is it your real first release for them? I think in the past you have suffered by very poor distribution — not to mention promotion! Sid: "Perfume" is actually our second and last album for Napalm Records — our contract is carried out now and we're free to find a more suitable label for us.
I wouldn't go as far as to say that Napalm Records would have done "bad promotion”: After all, they're just a BM/Gothic-label, and they're used to promote bands and artists of that genre.
But they've made the mistake of taking Antichrisis for a metal-act, so they were bound to fail in promoting a band that's simply beyond musical limitations.
In the beginning of our cooperation with Napalm Records I had the impression that they were interested in entering new musical territories, and that signing Antichrisis was meant to be their first step in that direction, but in the end I realized that they would have been much more satisfied if we'd just recorded "Cantara Anachoreta" Vol. 2 and 3 instead of developing into those directions we've headed for with “A Legacy of Love” and “Perfume”: In fact, they considered both albums as being “too commercial”, but at the same time they're not capable of using this commercial potential for their own and the band's sake
Question: You have just returned from the studio where you‘ve recorded your new album „Perfume“: Can you give us some impressions about the time you spent there, including the material you have recorded? Sid: We spent 5 weeks at the Blue House Studio in Meerane: We had recorded „A Legacy of Love“ there, too, and as this had been a very pleasant and cooperative experience, we decided to record our new album there again. The Producer, Jens Bachmann, who also runs the studio, is a really great guy: He's not the sort of producer who tries to enforce his own idea of sound on a band, but someone who listens carefully to the band‘s conception and tries to transform their ideas as good as possible into music. Besides, he‘s a brilliant guitarist as well and we were glad that he liked our new stuff that much that he offered to join us for the recordings.
So this time, with the additional support of Kugator on Drums and Tilo Rockstroh on Keyboards, Antichrisis appeared as a "proper" band on an album instead of being just some kind of One-Man-project as it were on previous recordings.
We have recorded 10 songs for “Perfume”: "Something Inside" is a song about someone finding himself trapped in memories of the past, being forced to relive a traumatic situation again and again until he‘s able to let go off the past. Matching the lyric's character, this song comes up like a haunting nightmare, the acoustic equivalent to lying awake in sleepless nights with torturing thoughts banging against your head.
"Gates of Paradise" deals with the subject of being struck down by love but getting up again, and it's the only track on the album where I've done all vocals on my own. The song itself is quite strange: It's based on a shuffle groove, which is normally to be found in traditional Blues or Jazz, but there's also a wall of sound by analogue sequencers, transforming this song into a rather electronic shape, whereas the electric guitars pick up the shuffle beat again - pretty weird!
"Hole in my Head" is one of the new songs that we've introduced also on last year's tour: It's about the ignorance and blindness of other people towards the things that really matter, about their predilection for self-righteousness and prejudice instead of thinking for a minute of being tolerant. It's a very groovy track, a mixture of TripHop-sounds and heavy guitars.
"Carry me Down" is our new interpretation of a song that appeared as "Baleias" on our first album and as "Baleias Bailando" on "A Legacy of Love": This song has become some kind of Antichrisis-theme over the years, and I like the idea to present it on every album in a completely different manner: Though it may still be the same song, it always sounds completely different in order to give some kind of musical summary of Antichrisis‘ current development. This time the song has turned into a bewitching blend of TripHop-Grooves, shamanic chantings and heavy guitars.
"Wasteland" is my vision of a perfect pop-tune: Catchy but yet unpredictable! It starts quite mellow and smooth, but as soon as the refrain appears, the guitars break loose. In my point of view, a good pop song shouldn't sound too clean, as it always needs a certain kind of racket to disguise its beauty: That makes it much more interesting than offering everything unveiled!
With "Like the Stars" we've entered a completely new territory: Our first song coming up with vocals in Rap-style — but don't be afraid: they fit perfectly into the song, the song itself sounds just great and as soon as the refrain starts, you'll be blown away by Näx' enchanting pipes and the gorgeous backing vocals: another fine example for a perfect pop-tune!
And for all of those who thought that Antichrisis would have turned into a bunch of sweet-toothed popsters, there's "We are the Witches": A song that picks up the pagan thread of "Cantara Anachoreta" again, sounding as if Black Sabbath had decided to kick ass again — but this time with bagpipes from hell! Heavy as a ton of lead and equipped with a refrain that‘s based on a traditional english witches' Chant.
I've been always very satisfied with every Antichrisis-release — there was only one thing that has always bugged me, and that was the very bad version of "Goodbye to Jane" on our first album, because of the vocals that had been done in a very uninspiring way, hence I always wanted to re-record the song again. We did a new and much more powerful version, with brilliant vocals, splendid bagpipes and an absolute unbelievable amount of E-Guitars creating an amazing Wall of Sound.
As most of the new songs have turned into really powerful and energetic tracks, I wanted to create some kind of „breathing-space“ on the album as well — and so "Dragonflies" arose in my mind. When listening to this song you‘ll find yourself easily at a pond on a warm summer's day, the reflections of sunlight on the water and Dragonflies dancing on its surface, and that's exactly the atmosphere I wanted to capture with this track!
The last song on the album and at the same time the first cover-version we‘ve ever recorded is Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love": I always thought that doing cover-versions is a heavy burden, because one usually doesn't cover bad songs and it's always hard to beat a classic original or even to match it up, especially if it's such a great song as "Whole Lotta Love". So doing a cover version does not mean just to „replay“ an old version, but to show a renown song in a new light without treating it in an disrespectful way. But instead of merely repeating the original‘s somehow ridiculous machismo-attitude, we've turned it into some kind of feminist-electronic-dancefloor-metal-with-lots-of-bagpipes-and-naughty-noises!
All in all, our new album has become a very powerful and vital record: Whereas "A Legacy of Love" was the perfect soundtrack for a cold autumn's evening with candlelight, "Perfume" is meant for dancing.
Question: It took quite a long time to come up with Perfume, aren't you afraid of losing touch with the fans? Sid: I'm not afraid of losing touch: Our fans have the chance to contact us via email, and we try to answer every email and every letter we receive as soon as possible.
As I'm doing most of the songwriting on my own, it's quite understandable that Antichrisis works in a different way than a "normal" band does: I do create the majority of songs, lyrics and arrangements all by myself, I do have to come up with the album concept, hence songwriting takes a bit longer compared to other bands where two, three or even more people are working together on the songs in the rehearsal room at the same time.
Of course I could come up with new stuff much faster, but I'm quite self-critical, so I'm always waiting until I'm absolutely convinced of every track that's bound to appear on an Antichrisis-album: If I have the slightest doubt about a song it goes straight into the dustbin.
I'm also quite sure that our music is good enough that people will remember it even if takes us a while to come up with a new album: just think of how long it takes Depeche Mode or Pink Floyd to come up with a new one!
Question: In which ways have you succeeded in mixing your obviously various background influences to such a wonderful and unique sound? Sid: I do listen to a large variety of different musical styles, be it Punk, Folk, Metal, Classical music, Dark Wave, Country & Western, Reggae, TripHop a. s. o. and one can learn a lot just by listening carefully to different styles, hence theres a multitude of influences reflected in Antichrisis, which makes it quite impossible to describe Antichrisis’ sound without ending up with a slightly dumb expression like Celtic- Folk-Doom-Black-Gothic-Britpop-Dark- Wave-Grunge-Ballad- Metal or any other pompous description like that.
Antichrisis can't be described in musical terms except with adjectives like unique, refreshing or thrilling. I mean there are bands that do sound like Joy Division, bands that sound like Massive Attack or bands that sound like The Pogues — but there's only one band being able to come up with a compound of all these and many more musical ingredients while still creating its very own musical vision, and that's Antichrisis!
I don't bloody care about artistic limitations: inspiration comes in any shape it likes, and it'd be a shame trying to restrict it to just one kind of musical expressiveness: if a song comes to me as a folk ballad, I'll translate it exactly that way into music; if it comes to me as a piece of gloomy doom metal, I'll have to let it happen that way! Musical limitation means standstill to an artists creativity.
Take "Forever I Ride" for example, where you'll find at least four different musical patterns within one song: It starts like an up-tempo folk-song introducing a medieval brass band in the bridge, then turns into a stirring metal-refrain, followed by a bewitching atmospheric ballad with fairy-like vocals, when suddenly a ravishing black metal-part with a powerful female lead and wistful Irish bagpipes emerges a.s.o. — there are bands who would make at least 3 complete albums out of the ideas that I've put into just one song!
I do not actually create songs: They come to me like dreams or visions any time they want, they are prodigies of inspiration and that is why I actually cannot plan or propose anything. It's like sitting by a river-bank, watching the petals, leaves, boughs or other things floating by while picking up the most remarkable ones. The songs do seem to create themselves as they go along, both musically and lyrically. All that's left for me to do is giving them a certain shape like a gardener trimming a tree.
Question: The lyrics on "Goodbye to Jane" deal with a girl being abused by her father. Is this just fiction or a true story of someone you know? And what's your opinion about child abuse? Sid: Unfortunately "Goodbye to Jane" is based on that kind of real events that one can read about every day in the papers. It makes me sick to see all that male violence against women and I think that men committing crimes like rape are definitely emotionally deranged yet nevertheless menacing madmen who should get locked away forever!
I do think that the story behind "Goodbye to Jane" displays the typical outgrowth of a patriarchal system that denies female values and oppresses women thoroughly. As Marilyn French once put it: There's an unnoticed war going on, a war against women! Our western culture has lost respect for womanhood: pornography, prostitution, sexual harassment etc. seem to be quite common today, although all these occurences do indicate that society's out of balance, that we continually disavow our roots (i. e. respect for women, as each and everyone of us got birth by one!), and Jane is just another victim of a development where even children aren't save any more.
Maybe I had to write a song like "Goodbye to Jane" to do at least some kind of justice to the victims, although my words surely fail to describe the terror, the pain, the fear and the hate that a girl like Jane must have experienced and suffered from.
The song ends with Jane's suicide although I'd wish that it'd be the other way round, victims of male violence don't often have a chance to survive: either they get killed or they are suffering for the rest of their life.
Question: When listening to your vocal performances, I can detect a certain passion and also an ability of acting in different characters. It seems that you're identifying yourself with each song. What do you think is the quality of a good singer? And don't you think that many young bands of today's scene do not feel real passion for what they're doing? Sid: Being a good singer requires the ability to re-live the situation of the song you're singing: song and singer have to melt into one, the song's story has to become part of the vocalist's emotional world. This is only possible if the lyrics do reflect your feelings and experiences — then singing a song can become something similar to playing the leading role in a drama: like every good actor you have to become another character, reveal other facets of the human soul. A good singer is always able to immerse into a world of its own when singing a song.
A musician (just like every proper artist) has to be a visionaire; if not, his art would be nothing more than mere craftsmanship. Many young bands seem to care more about meeting an audience's expectation or copying their idols instead of developing their own musical language — that's not vision, but a frame without a picture. All that matters is musical inspiration, the artist's vision, and not a certain image or crazy outfits.
Question: In summer 1995 the debut demo "Missa Depositum Custodi" was released: Seems it was a great success in the underground, but it seems that it was mainly sold in Germany. What do you think about the demo nowadays? Should you have worked longer on the material before recording it or is it exactly the way you wanted it to be? Sid: There has been an edition of 500 copies of "Missa Depositum Custodi", and it has been sold-out within 6 months after its release, which is quite good for the first demo of a newcomer. You are right: most of the copies were sold in Germany, just a few in Greece and Italy. There hasn't been a 2nd. Edition because as the demo got Antichrisis a record contract, it had fulfilled its purpose and is now simply a collector's item.
I still like "Missa Depositum Custodi" because whereas the sound of the subsequently released album "Cantara Anachoreta" is much better with the songs being performed much straighter, the demo with its more "baroque" attitude and insufficient sound (that's homerecording for you!) nevertheless manages to create an own special atmosphere. Of course many things could have been done better, but I consider recordings as some kind of snapshot: The attraction lies in the spontaneity and not on some perfect technical standards — true feelings are always miles away from being immaculate, I guess.
"Missa Depositum Custodi" is simply the best I could come up with at the time I recorded it.
Question: Your reference to classic characters like Romeo and Juliet in "Our Last Show" gives a theatrical aspect to the story: Would you consider yourself as a modern Romeo? Sid : No, I don't think that I'm a modern Romeo: I may be a very romantic person and though I sometimes felt like one of those star-crossed lovers that William Shakespeare mentioned, I'm not a victim of misunderstandings and intrigues like Romeo was. I just think that we're nothing more but actors on life's badly illuminated stage, forced to take part in comedies or dramas without any chance of getting to know the script or to rehearse.
Question: Where can I find Planet Kyrah that you sing about so beautifully? Does it have something in common with the novel "Little Prince" by Saint-Exupery? Sid: Kyrah is a fictional planet of unconditional love that can only be stepped on by lovers. It's a symbol for true love's purity, chastity and innocence, hence I do like the comparison with the little prince's planet, as it shares the same bittersweet aura of transitoriness. Blissfulness and sadness are sometimes almost the same, and the older we get, the more we become aware that nothing, not even the most wonderful moments, do last forever!
Question: I'd like to know the reasons about your choice of Antichrisis as monicker... Sid: Antichrisis is a greek anagram meaning "Sacred Dances to honour Queen Isis", and it stands for the pagan-matriarchal tradition that Antichrisis was and still is connected with. There's absolutely no satanic or whatsoever background as quite a few people presumed who misspelled the bands name as "Antichrist".
Question: What comes to your mind when you think of Black Metal? Sid: Just another fake teenage rebellion by predominantly male middle-class nitwits going through puberty, obviously taking pulp literature, b-movies and themselves much too seriously.
Question: The sound of "A Legacy of Love" seems more direct than the one of "Cantara Anachoreta"... Sid: Thanks for that compliment, but I'll have to admit that we'd spent more time in the studio than we did when recording "Cantara Anachoreta", and we had better equipment, too.
Besides, theres also a mental difference between those 2 albums: The emphasis of "Cantara Anachoreta" was a more spiritual one, whereas "A Legacy of Love" is mainly determined by emotional values.
But maybe it's also a question of musical matters, because there are hardly any manipulated sounds to be found on "A Legacy of Love": About 80 % of the sounds we used were created by acoustic instruments, recorded almost without any special sound effects — that's why this album sounds as if you had a strange kind of folk-band in your living-room.
Question: What is the hidden message of the raven's cry on "Forever I Ride"? Sid : In Northern-European mythology the raven is the bird of death and rebirth (just like the vulture in Egyptian or African myths) that calls forth the end — and so the raven in "Forever I Ride" is the harbinger of love's decline, forcing the fool to saddle up again.
Question: I do sense some anti-Christian undertones in some of your lyrics. Do you have an opinion on religion in general? Sid : As I am a very religious person myself I can't see anything wrong in believing in higher powers, but organized religion like Christianity is always a dangerous thing: I mean, who needs to have his or her personal beliefs organised by an institution? It's utterly senseless! Go and think for your own (as Granny Weatherwax would say), believe whatever you want to believe, but never try to force your religious point of view on others!
The Goddesses and Gods are among us, they are in the wind, the trees, the fire, the earth and the sea and they'd also talk to us if we listened closely — but they most definitely don't write books and are not interested in anybody's sexual preferences (at least proper deities aren't!).
Question: "The Farewell" can be considered as a summary of all the songs on "A Legacy of Love" with a ray of hope at the end, right? Anyway, I cannot understand the last line (due to my ignorance of German language): Would you mind to translate "Ich liebe Dich fuer immer"? Sid: "Ich liebe Dich fuer immer" simply means "I love you forever": The most beautiful thing someone can say to you, but eventually also the greatest lie of all! There is no ray of hope at the end of "The Farewell", but a yearning for everlasting sleep and tranquility.
Question: Although love brings happiness (and sometimes sadness), "A Legacy of Love" is full of sorrow. Did you want to describe the sad side of love? Sid: It wasn't my intention at first place to record a mostly desperate album, but fate turned out to be just that way: I lost a wonderful and precious love at that time, and divine ordinances of that kind are not supposed to make you write happy songs!
I felt so incredibly sad when I wrote those songs, and the process of writing them was like building up some kind of armoury against an engulfing darkness.
Nevertheless I've also tried to show that there's more to love than just sorrow and despair, and so I put 2 songs on "A Legacy of Love" to picture as well its unbelievable beauty: "Nightswan" and "Planet Kyrah". Both songs were originally written at a time when I was still together with my former girlfriend, and so they accidently became aural sculptures of this love's chastity, innocence and virtuosness.
No, really, I would have wanted this album not to become as sad and sorrowful as it did, but sometimes one just cant help it.
Question: You've used a couple of french expressions in "The Sea". Have you chosen them to create a special feeling? Why? Sid: I've chosen these french expressions just because they sound more poetic to me than the english or german ones: I'm always choosing words for the lyrics with great care, because words are not just a chain of vowels and consonants, moreover they possess sounds and images of their own that have to fit perfectly to the corresponding song.
Question: I find your lyrics to be great pieces of poetry. You must have put down a lot of time and effort into them. Do you think it's easy to write lyrics with substance? Isn't it hard for you as a German to express your feelings in English? Sid: As I am more of a musician than a poet, it takes me more time to write the lyrics than the music itself: While I don't have to think at all to create music, it's definitely some kind of intellectual effort to find the right words.
Nevertheless it's not too difficult to me: My lyrics are based on my own emotional experiences or on my philosophy of life. I'm free to write about everything that is important to me, as I'm not limited by attitude, image or genre-affiliation.
I think I'm getting along with English quite well: I love the musical quality of this language and its multitude of expressional subtlety (something that's hard to find in my mother tongue), therefore I consider English as being the most suitable linguistic medium for my purposes.
Question: What do you think happens to us after we die? Do you believe that there's a heaven and hell or do you think that "hell" is where we are now and "heaven" (not the christian idea of heaven) is a place that we will be granted after our physical death? Sid: I don't think that there's something like heaven or hell according to Christian mythology: Damnation or salvation are not being granted or caused by some weird deity, but lie within us.
I don't consider this world we're living in as some kind of hellish place, although some people are trying very hard to make it exactly like that: Of course there's injustice, malevolence and cruelty — but there's also beauty, love and magnificence, and maybe it's one of the most confusing experiences to realize that both heaven and hell seem to exist on the same planet at the same time, It's up to us to a certain extent whether we do open our hearts and souls to misery or to happiness, which isn't always easy but I know too many people who love to play the part of the "poor miserable bugger" instead of opening themselves to the beauty and the kindness that's also on this life's menu: It seems much easier to arrange oneself with being perpetually victimized instead of taking responsibility for one's destiny!
If we really wanted to create heaven on Earth, we could do that easily — but that goes also for hell!
Question: Is "Cantara Anachoreta" a concept-album? And could you explain the title? Sid: "Cantara Anachoreta" is a latin-portugiese term meaning "The Chants of the Hermit".
I've chosen that title because "Cantara Anachoreta" chronicles the last hours in the life of Ariman, the anchorite, who is aware that his time has finally come: Darkness embraces him ("Prologue"), and while he's on the threshold of twilight, he recollects occurrences of his present life and past incarnations.
Thus he relives the dark age of witch hunt ("The Endless Dance") as well as the tremendous distress of losing the one he once loved ("Requiem ex Sidhe").
He also remembers a little girl he once knew who committed suicide after being abused by her father, and Ariman's still able to sense the rage, anger and fury her ghost emanates ("Goodbye to Jane").
Images of long gone days do arise, and the anchorite recalls the moments when he had to withstand to remain true to his principles and beliefs ("Baleias"). It wasn't always easy to follow the path of the Goddess and to obey her advice, but whenever he thought that she might have left him in the lurch, she was in fact with him for guidance ("Her Orphaned Throne").
So he dreams of her return: a return that'll bring an end to injustice, intolerance and the lies of the false prophets — the dawning of a new golden era ("Descending Messiah"). Thereupon Ariman floats downstream to Cerridwen's realm, the garden of eternal dreams, where his seeking soul will find peace and tranquility at last ("Epilogue").
Question: Human race has destroyed large parts of nature. What do you think about this abuse? What do you think will the world be looking like in another 10 years? Sid : It makes me sad to see that most people don't give a damn about environmental problems! We're consequently destroying what we depend on, and sooner or later we will be running out of resources completely.
We have lost our respect for Mother Earth; instead of venerating and honouring her for being our source of life, we're exploiting her until the bitter end. But we do depend on her, not she on us; we are weak children needing HER nourishment, HER shelter and HER fertility, but we have lost this awareness because of our mindbogglingly stupid presumption.
I don't know what the future might bring, but I think quite soon the Earth might just get rid off us like from some insignificant cosmic pneumonia: Earth will bloom and flourish again long after humankind has fallen into oblivion.
Question: What do you think about the Christian definition of love? Sid: The Christian definition of love is a contradiction in itself because one simply can't love everyone! You may forgive your enemies if you're able to (which in my book is saintly enough), but you'll never love them for what they've done to you (given that we're talking about real enemies (fiendish ones!) and not just some daft dorks you accidentally happen to have a slight grudge against!).
Really loving someone however is divine in all its aspects, which includes sexuality as well — there's nothing unholy or immoral about it: if love is of divine origin, then our bodies are like temples and making love becomes some kind of prayer.
Question: According to you, what distinguishes you from the average gothic-metal stereotype? Sid: The mere fact that Antichrisis ain't a gothic metal band! Like a painter uses a multitude of colours to create a landscape, I'm using different musical ingredients to form the soundscape of Antichrisis — and Gothic or Metal are just two shades of a thousand and one musical colours of my palette.
Antichrisis can only be categorized by emotional values, not by any assignments of musical styles.