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!".
God and Goddess
Question: What comes to your mind when you think of the following items:
Sid: A hoity-toity nincompoop who should be voted out of office straight away as he does obviously a lousy job!
Sid: The promising opposition candidate I'd be voting for!
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!
Love or Hate
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.
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.
Still being fameless
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!
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.
The Meaning of Love
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.
Erotic Literature and Pornography
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.
Manifesto of Love
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.
A more cheerful Approach?
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.
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: “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.
"Goodbye to Jane" - Fiction or Reality?
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.
Missa Depositum Custodi
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.
Our Last Show
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.
Forever I Ride
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.
Religion in general
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.
Sad Side of Love
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.
Heaven and Hell
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!
The Concept behind "Cantara Anachoreta"
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.
Christian Definition of Love
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: What comes to your mind when you thing of Death?
Sid: Definitely one of my favourite characters in Terry Pratchett's Discworld-novels. Speaks in capital letters most of the time.
The Sense of Life and Death
Question: What is the sense of life/death in your point of view?
Sid: The sense of life? To love and to be loved. The sense of death? To learn, to grow and to let go.
To live is like being a drop of rain that falls down to earth, and to die is like floating back into the ocean again.
Question: What comes to your mind when you think of the night?
Sid: Quite useful device as it helps to save daylight.
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.