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.
Sid's Favourite Producers
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.
Goodbye to the Radio Wave Surfer
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.
"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!
So Long, Field Commander Cohen
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
Remembering Alan Vega
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”
An Interim Report on Foxfire
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.
Time Takes a Cigarette...
...with Facebook and Twitter!
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"
New Album "Baduhenna" Out Now
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.
...it just smells funny
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!
Hairy Crisp Mouse
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!
Missa Depositum Custodi
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”.
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”
“Not Fade Away” released on CD
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.
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.
New Antichrisis Album Released
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!
Returning from Cornwall
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!
New Ideas and a New Track
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.
Worse Luck: No New Antichrisis Album Again
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!
Antichrisis' Musical Equipment
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!
“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.
"No Going Back" uploaded
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.
"The Point Of No Return" uploaded
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!
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.
Melancholy or Beauty?
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: 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).
Acoustic and Electric
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: 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.
Music is my Heartbeat
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.
Dedicated to Folk Music
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: 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: 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: 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: Were you born as a gifted musician or how did you manage to play so many instruments? Sid: I wouldn't say I'm gifted as I've never learned to play any instrument properly.
Also I'm not at all a "good" musician if it comes to technical skills: All I know is how to hold a guitar (pointed end in the air, right?) and how to play a few basic chords — that's it.
My so called talent lies in writing and arranging songs so that they sound as if one had to be pretty smart to perform them.
Not a Gothic Metal Band
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.