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Anaal Nathrakh

Line up:

Irrumator – guitars
V.I.T.R.I.O.L. – vocals

Ventnor – guitar
St. Evil – drums
Drunk – bass

I met the awesome guys from Anaal Nathrakh after their set at Tuska. They had already been kicked out of their dressing room, and were having the rest of their liquid roster at a table in the backstage area.

1) Any place, any time, we kill

Markus: Almost the first band of the second day, what a gruesome time to play. Still the tent was packed to the brim.

Anaal Nathrakh: We weren’t expecting that. We haven’t played in Finland before, we hoped they like us in Finland but we didn’t know. There were some painted faces and a pit. It was brilliant.

M: How do you manage that brutal voice of yours, and to make it last for an entire gig?

V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: I don’t know really. But here’s the thing: A lot of bands come and do the gig, finish and then do something else. I don’t think of anything else apart from the gig. I literally think that if I don’t do the gig properly, I’ll die. There is no after the show.

M: What about vocal warm-up?

V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: Nah, drinking’s our warmup. Four hours before the gig I start drinking beer, and that’s it.

2) Another album on its way

M: You have a new album coming out, and you played a new song live, Blood-dimmed Tide.

AN: Yeah, our new album is called Vanitas, and it comes out in September-October. Vanitas is a latin word, which is usually translated as vanity, but it can also just mean absurdity.

M: How long did you record the newest album?

V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: Not long at all, Mick writes half of it when he’s recording. It all took under a month, and the vocals were done in two weeks.
Irrumator: I do all the mixing, because if I didn’t we’d have no money. And there’s no point in telling someone how you want it, it’s easier to do it yourself. We’re not professionally experienced, but we’ve been doing this for a long time. You don’t have to be a professional as long as it sounds right. It’s kinda like Portishead, they record their stuff and then they try to make it sound old. It’s kinda what we try to do.

3) Alive, not dead

M: You haven’t really played that many gigs live.

AN: This was about our 50th gig in ten years. In the first 5 years we didn’t play live at all. We thought it wouldn’t be possible until we met St. Evil. Nowadays these technical death metal bands play stuff that shouldn’t be possible, but back when we started it was still impossible. We’ve had Danny Herrera (Napalm Death) and Nick Barker (Brujeria, Dimmu Borgir, Lock Up) on drums, but this wouldn’t be possible without St. Evil. He can blast for a month.

M: How about the drums on the records?

AN: They are a combination of drum machines and some parts like the cymbals played on the later albums. But what’s the point in having St. Evil playing drums for three months in a studio, costing money, trying to make everything perfect. It’s also better from a songwriting point of view, the drums can be made at the same time as everything is being composed.

M: Most of your blast beats have kick drum first, then snare.

AN: Yeah, ours is more a black metal/grind blast, not a death metal one which has the snare first. There’s two ways of doing that, but the death metal way is shit (laughs). It’s just more boring to us. [At this point a random naked dude walks through the backstage area and takes an ex tempore shower. Laughter ensues]

AN: Laughter is metal. If something is ridiculous, laugh at it.

4) Poems and novels, riffs and feelings

M: You don’t publish your lyrics, but there seems to be a lot of philosophical stuff in it, what’s your educational background?

V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: I’m just finishing my masters degree in philosophy. One of things that obsesses me is the fact that everyone thinks is that the world is what it appears to be to them, but actually it isn’t. The world is a construct and a result of history. Like money isn’t worth anything, it’s just something we’ve been using for so long.
Irrumator: I just write riffs, man.

M: What is your preferred way of making the songs?

Irrumator: It’s not magic, is pretty easy. Usually it starts with a good riff.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: I think you are wrong, you work along the atmosphere.
Irrumator: I don’t write stuff thinking this must be just this specific note, it’s more about the song and the feel.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: I keep always writing lyrical ideas down, and then I just pick the parts that fit the theme of the song. But the music comes first.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: Karl from Nile actually writes all the music sheets and gives them to the band, we don’t think, we feel.

5) Spontaneity/Perfectionism

Irrumator: I think 90% of the vocals on the albums have been done in one take.
V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: It just comes more naturally than doing the same shriek for the nineteenth time to try and get it just right. I think the most I’ve done is five takes of some part. The feeling is what’s important, it doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong, you just do it. It’s the punk attitude.
Irrumator: We’re weird kind of perfectionist, we record the right stuff and then comes the polishing phase. We try to record the feeling and try to mix to sound good.

M: What about the clean vocals?

V.I.T.R.I.O.L.: We’ve always had them, it didn’t take balls or anything to put them into our music. We don’t think about anything, it’s all about the feeling, if a part needs clean vocals then we do it, kinda like a different guitar sound. If you don’t feel it, then don’t do it. We just do what we like and if people like it, it’s cool.

Intervista di  Markus Karppinen

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