I like Anison, they’ve put a lot of effort into breaking through and should now (hopefully) be about to see some of the rewards. They make a lot of noise, but scratch the surface of their songs and you will find well crafted compositions somewhere between a wiry Manic Street Preachers and a long haired Depeche Mode.
Don’t ask me about this video for Fluidity below though, I’ve heard of ‘on with the show’, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a band play on while being systematically slaughtered. Now that is professionalism taken too far.
How long have you been together?
Actually, quite a while, myself (Dan) and Rocky met at school and formed bands around that time. It later evolved and we met Rory and Jerome and this incarnation of the group had been going since around 2005, so it’s taken us a while to hone our skills and get to releasing the debut album!
How easy was it for you to get a record deal, did you ever consider releasing the record on your own label?
A few years ago when we had just started out we really pushed to try and get a record deal. We had a bit of interest from a couple who came down to watch us live or come to our rehearsals, but we weren’t good enough live or visually back then. We had a few good songs though, which got us noticed in the first place.
Around 2009 we had a change of direction after parting company with our management. We decided we would put feelers out and try to release some singles ourselves. So that’s what we ended up doing with Spatial Awareness first and then Sail Back to Sleep. We had far better results doing it this way than anything else we had done before, with songs being played on radio/TV etc.
We were no longer chasing a record deal at this point, just content to be putting music out ourselves with the DIY ethic. Then in the summer of 2010, these songs got noticed by US label Spectra Records, they us out of the blue and said they would like to offer us a record deal!
This gave us the incentive to finally record our first full length album.
Where was Memory Flashes recorded?
Virtually all of it was recorded on a strange island in Hampton. Steve Lyon’s Panic Button Studio which you have to get to via a sinister looking bridge over the River Thames.
How did you get along with Steve Lyon in the studio?
We got along fine. It was really relaxed to be honest, we did the recording in little chunks here and there, as we all live nearby. So on an evening one or two of us might just pop in to the studio, lay down a few guitar takes, then pick it up again a couple of weeks later.
Was his experience working with Depeche Mode and The Cure something you knew about beforehand?
Yes. He was recommended to us. So we checked out his portfolio. Really like Depeche Mode and The Cure…and if it’s good enough for them and Paul McCartney – it’s good enough for us!
Was it easy to find your ‘sound’ in the studio?
Yeah, it could never have been anything else. We have worked with some producers in the past who weren’t right for us, producers who prefer the ‘lo-fi’. But we are more about the ‘big/polished/epic’ kind of sound. We initially recorded Sail Back to Sleep with Steve – and he got a great sound on that song so it was straightforward after that, we didn’t need to worry about it at all.
There is no synth player in the band, but Memory Flashes sounds like it has lots of electronic stuff on it. How do you incorporate these when you play live?
Yeah, there’s actually no synth played on the album at all. Everything you hear is how we do the songs live. There are a couple with vocal manipulations – such as ‘The Colour Red’ where we sample the vocal as it’s sung – live – and it gets twisted and built up in layers as we go through a KAOSS PAD.
Also ‘Spatial Awareness’ contains pre-recorded vocal samples which is just layers upon layers of vocal drone with 2 notes, which gives the song it’s distinctive sound. Likewise Rocky, our bassist has a beast of a pedal with lots of crazy sounds on it, so for instance that electronic ‘surge’ sound that you hear on Fluidity is all driven through the bass.
You should hear one of our new songs called ‘Drop the Bombshell‘ where it’s like Rocky is conducting an distorted orchestra with his bass pedal! (which we call ‘The Dalek).
What is your fav song on the album?
Hard question, as these songs all have a special spot for us. I’ll give you my current favourite:
‘The Colour Red’. To me this song is interesting. It has all the unusual vocal twists/manipulations going on, it builds well / has a beautiful melody / and interesting instrumentation. The sentiment of the song also typifies the themes of time passing and reflection that gave the album it’s title ‘Memory Flashes’.
Do you have plans to tour to promote the record?
Hopefully we are going out to the States at some point later this year and do a mini tour to promote the record. We went once before to New York and Chicago and had a blast. Over here in the UK we’re concentrating on a select number of shows – such as our album launch gig with XFM’s John Kennedy at The Tooting Tram and Social on Friday April 20th. We hope to announce some more exciting shows soon on http://www.anison.co.uk
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
Get the album out – hopefully get to play some great shows a bit further afield. And we have just started recording new material too – which could end up as album number 2, or an EP, so we’ll see how we go.
What would be your ultimate support slot?
Hmmm, will have to go for supporting Radiohead. Maybe 2nd on the bill behind them on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2013??!
Rory Doherty, (guitar)
Daniel Frau, (vocals, guitar )
Rocky Wadhawan, (bass)
Jerome Foreman ( drums )
For More info visit www.anison.co.uk