Inner Resonance
CoC interviews Danny Cavanagh of Anathema
by: Adrian Bromley
You'd think that Anathema guitarist Danny Cavanagh would feel a bit of pressure right now with work being put forth simultaneously for the fall release of their upcoming new album _A Fine Day to Exit_ and their two-part retrospective collection _Resonance_ [part one reviewed in this issue]. Well folks, he isn't worried one bit. In fact, right now he's more worried about getting time in for a bath, some house chores and a trip to the city with his girlfriend.

"I've just been busy doing things around the house and sorting through things", starts Cavanagh down the phone line. I admit to him that I have been busy before this interview, busy doing my laundry and cleaning my apartment. "Oh yes, I'll have to do some laundry later on if I get a second or two. <laughs>"

For someone who is having a hard time finding downtime in his busy schedule to wash a load, what gives with both projects going on at the same time, Danny?

"The whole idea for the collections came from Hammy, who runs Peaceville Records. We are not with Peaceville anymore. He is trying to re-launch the label again with new distribution, so he is trying to put out these two albums of material. We told him, to help out, that he should release the material separately. Have one record with the softer, ambient stuff and the second disc full of all the heavy stuff. Doing all of this is really to help Hammy and get Peaceville up and running strong again. I guess it will be great if we can see some money from it, but I don't want it to affect the sales of the album _A Fine Day to Exit_ [on Music for Nations]. I am going to have to insist that he put out this collection -after- the new album comes out this fall."

"All we had to do for this record was to tell him what material to feature on each disc", he says about the collection. "He could have done what he wanted with the collection, he does own the rights, but it was nice that we could be involved in some way. We also chose some cool artwork. We have worked on this a bit. But most of our work the last little while has been focused on the new album."

He adds, "But even though we have these two on the go, more focused on the new album, we also have another idea coming down the line for hopefully a release in the New Year. The new album will be an ambient acoustic album with new versions of old songs. There will be the fist four songs on _Judgement_ and songs off the new album and we are just going out and work them over with acoustic guitars and piano."

Like most bands over the years, Anathema has evolved. Their sound has expanded, their musicianship has grown and their music has become a lot more strengthened. New ideas are welcomed and old ones are reworked to add freshness to the pot. How does Cavanagh feel about old recordings and the current ones they are working on and/or just finished?

"My favourite Anathema record is always the next one", comments the guitarist. "As soon as this album is done and out, I am ready to go onto the new record. As we make records and finish them up, we always make notes of what we want to do differently next time or what needs to be worked on and take that into the next recording. You always want to improve with your music and make it last forever. You always want to be more mature each time out and just make better music."

"We can't make the same record twice. We just can't", exclaims Cavanagh. "All the best bands change radically. If you look at The Beatles or Pink Floyd, both of whom are in my top ten all-time favourite bands, you can just see the changes they brought to their music and sound. If you listen to the first Beatles record and the last one and then the one in the middle, they are all completely different. The same goes with Pink Floyd and the early days up to _The Wall_. You couldn't be any more different. Bands change and the best bands always did. I am not saying we are like those great bands, but we do move around and change. We like a lot of things and we just take the best of it all and throw it into one big soup of sound. It is just the way we have always worked."

On the topic of songwriting, Cavanagh says, "What happens with us is that one person comes in with about 90% of the song written and then the rest of us just throw in ideas and try to work the song into the finished product. Sure there are disagreements and agreements with things as they go on, but that is what is expected. Songs just don't happen right away, they need time to build."

I comment to Cavanagh that while I am a big fan of the band and all of their albums, the band's 1998 release _Alternative 4_ [CoC #32] hits a real nerve within me. I love that disc.

"Yes, that is a great disc. There are a lot of good moments on it. Both Vinnie [Cavanagh, vocals and guitar] and I wrote about four songs for that record and Duncan [Patterson, ex-bassist] wrote the rest of it, so I guess you could say it was his record. He is such a genius and really brought a lot into what we were doing. After he left it was never going to be the same for us. He has and will always be a dominant force in whatever band he is in. When he left, it kind of opened up the door for us. John [Douglas, drums] came back to the band and all of us [including new bassist Dave Pybus and ex-Cradle of Filth keyboardist Lester] just got into this groove of jamming and writing songs. The band is very different right now without him, but I still love him as a friend and a musician. But if he ever asked to come back to Anathema, I wouldn't stop him. <laughs> He has a new band called Antimatter. It is great for those who like chilled-out, psychotic music."

In closing I ask Danny whether he thinks that with both _A Fine Day to Exit_ and the collections coming out this is going to be a big year for Anathema.

"Not really, I hope. What I mean is that we are really trying to push the new album. The _Resonance_ collection is Hammy and Peaceville and we just had some input." He says with some concern, "I hope it doesn't affect the sales of _A Fine Day to Exit_."

He finishes, "We just want to do a lot of writing and recording this year and really try to do a lot for ourselves and our music. We are just trying to stay busy and make it work. So far so good."

(article submitted 12/8/2001)


CHATS
7/8/1998 P Azevedo Anathema: Delusions of Silence
ALBUMS
11/27/2012 P Azevedo 7 Anathema - Weather Systems
12/8/2010 P Azevedo 9.5 Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here
9/17/2008 P Azevedo 9 Anathema - Hindsight
1/31/2005 P Azevedo 9 Anathema - Were You There?
1/30/2004 P Azevedo 8 Anathema - A Natural Disaster
7/3/2002 P Azevedo 9.5 / 9 My Dying Bride - For Darkest Eyes DVD
Anathema - A Vision of a Dying Embrace DVD
10/19/2001 P Azevedo 7.5 Anathema - A Fine Day to Exit
8/12/2001 P Azevedo 9 Anathema - Resonance
7/7/1999 P Azevedo 9 Anathema - Judgement
7/8/1998 P Azevedo 9 Anathema - Alternative 4
2/4/1997 P Azevedo 8 Anathema - Eternity
GIGS
5/29/2009 P Azevedo Anathema / Oblique Rain / Leafblade Sunset of Age Is Still Far Away
1/14/2002 P Azevedo Anathema Their Special Friend Pinky
11/20/2000 P Azevedo Mayhem / Anathema / Hatesphere / Bronco Busters Judgement Night
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