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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.

Still Antichrisis?

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!

Inner Conquest

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.

Musical Development

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!

Concept?

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.

Label Politics

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

Perfume Impressions

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.

Losing Touch

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!

Background Influences

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.

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