Anubis Gate Reveals Re-Releases, Talks About Self-Titled 5th Album, And Discusses Recording Process
Band Photo: Anubis Gate (?)
On the edge of the September 13th release of the self-titled behemoth of a 5th album (reviewed here,) Anubis Gate already stands on an impressive body of work. The band's last four albums have each been heaped with critical praise for the blend of sensible songwriting, progressive style, and stand-out vocal performances. Luckily, Anubis Gate hasn’t tired itself out and seem to be burning its next-stage-thrusters, pushing prog metal to some interesting heights.
Vocalist/Bassist Henrik Fevre took some time out to answer a few questions for MetalUnderground.com regarding the new album, the band’s history and future, and the label situation. Moreover, he gave a bit of breaking news regarding upcoming re-releases and exclusives. Given that the previous albums released on Locomotive Records have not been easy to find for certain countries, this is great news. Below is the interview.
Frank Serafine (Progressivity_In_All): You have a long and storied history with producer and ex-vocalist Jacob Hansen. How did you come to meet each other in the first place?
Henrik Fevre: Jesper (Jensen, guitarist of Anubis Gate) and the present drummer of The Haunted, Per M. Jensen, went to play with Jacob in Invocator some years after our childhood trio split up. I think Jesper and Per’s next band, Extreme Feedback (that also included Kim Olesen, guitarist of Anubis Gate) did some gigs with Invocator in the late 80s. Start the 90s, and here they met. Later, Per and Jesper were invited to join Invocator.
When Anubis Gate was looking for a producer in 2003, it was only natural to go to their former partner-in-crime Jacob Hansen, who now ran a professional studio as well as being an active musician. Personally, I didn't meet Jacob until we did the second album, “A Perfect Forever,” but we had so much in common that it almost felt as if we had known each other back then.
FS: Your last few albums have been concept albums. Is “Anubis Gate” a concept album as well?
HF: I think we fully exploited the concept album thing, especially on "The Detached." A concept album is a much more comprehensive piece of work than just a collection of songs. So, when “The Detached” was finally done, we were all very confident that the next one should be anything but a concept album. So "Anubis Gate" is not. But who knows what the future may bring...
FS: Who does most of the songwriting within the band?
HF: The songwriting has always been the key element of Anubis Gate. We never wrote music to show off in any way. Everything is about getting the songs right. Usually, but not always, the music is written and arranged by Kim and/or Jesper. I then put on lyrics and vocal arrangements and that is also usually, but not always. Jacob has written at least one full song on each of the previous two albums, plus some collaborations, and this is also the case on our new album.
FS: On which instrument does a song usually start off being written?
HF: Our songs are usually written on a guitar. Very few of them were done on the piano.
FS: Could you give a track-by-track explanation of the lyrics on “Anubis Gate”? Feel free to elaborate or be as short as you’d like with this.
HF: It's a problem talking about lyrics, because if I tell you too much, it's likely that you only experience them one way. If you're told nothing, you might get a completely different interpretation. So I'll make short comments, not too detailed:
Hold Back Tomorrow: Make your dreams come true before it's too late. Or at least try.
The Re-Formation Show: The difficulty of changing your daily routines.
Facing Dawn: A gambler's mind.
World in a Dome: A small group of extremely powerful people control the world.
Desiderio Omnibus: Imagine you had the ability to control death.
Oh My Precious Life: Living up to your parents’ expectations can be a tough one.
Golden Days: We collect golden days through our lifetime. And the contents of these days change as we grow older.
Telltale Eyes: With a new method of crime investigation, the police can find out the truth through our eyes. An action thriller.
River: A simple praise of life and love (by Kim Olesen)
Circumstanced: Being haunted by the shadow of an old love can be unbearable.
FS: How did the band decide on the name “Anubis Gate” for a band name? Any mythological connection in the name?
HF: Torben Askholm, who was our lead singer on the two first albums had a big interest in Sci-Fi novels. Thus the name came from Tim Powers’ book, "The Anubis Gates," which I have bought years ago but unfortunately never read. It inspired us and artwork-designer Norén on the first two albums, but then we felt like moving on. Today it's just a name - a brand.
FS: The vocals in your music are layered pretty thick. What’s the highest number of vocal tracks you’ve had going at one time on any song? (leads & background vocals combined)
HF: It must be "Yiri" from The Detached. With one lead, 3-voice (all of them recorded twice) backing vocals, and the munk choir of at least 30 voices in the middle section, I think we're getting close to 40 voices in all. Hard work, I tell you. But it paid off eventually.
FS: How long did the recording process take for “Anubis Gate”?
HF: There's been a firm two-year gap between albums by Anubis Gate since A Perfect Forever. One of these years is generally spent on writing and recording demos of the songs, upon which the final recordings eventually are being made. Then it takes about half a year to record it and another half year to prepare for its release. And this one was no different, despite the fact that Jacob left us in January just before he should have begun recording his vocals. Luckily I was ready, and I spent 10 days or so recording 12 songs and the backing vocals, as well.
FS: Is there a tour in the works right now?
HF: Unfortunately, no. Let's see how the album does, and if it's a hit, I guarantee that there will be concerts.
FS: What made Anubis Gate interested in Nightmare Records?
HF: After bad experiences with our former record company, Locomotive, who still owes us money, we needed someone to trust and who had an idea of what we were doing. Jacob knows Lance King, leader of Nightmare, and the contact has been great. So we're looking forward to working more with this company, as they deal with other bands similar to us. Later this year we're planning more Nightmare releases: deluxe re-releases of the 4 older albums, complete with previous unreleased bonus tracks and exclusive and elaborate track by track comments by the band. Digital download only.
FS: What made the band decide on covering Nik Kershaw’s “Wouldn’t It Be Good” for the “Golden Days” single?
HF: This is, in fact, a leftover from the "The Detached" sessions, with newly recorded vocals by me. When drums are being recorded at Hansen's, if there's still time left, we do a cover. I've never been to any of these sessions, so it's Morten and the producer duo of Kim and Jacob who decide what to record. Usually a classic pop hit made metal. It's just a bit of fun and there are 3 more covers in the vaults waiting to be released on the before-mentioned re-releases.
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