There are only few artist renowned for their capability to merge innovation, mutability, style and attitude without trying to catch up with the next big thing or losing their very own identity: The Clash, Radiohead, Neil Young or David Bowie have proven their artistic ability of change, always maintaining their individual approach throughout their careers. All this goes for Antichrisis as well, although that bunch was only founded in 1995 in a small and godforsaken village near the german-belgium border...
"Originally Antichrisis started as a solo-project", says Sid, who set up the band back in 1995: "At this time I was working on a pretty peculiar blend of Doom, Gothic and Folk, trying to add a slight touch of classical music to it as well, which was quite ambitious considering the fact that my equipment consisted of just an 8-track-cassette-recorder, 2 guitars, 1 bass, a tiny Alesis-drumcomputer and a cheap little keyboard with just one tolerable string-sound. Nevertheless I got along fine..." and just within a few months Antichrisis' demo Missa Depositum Custodi with its mindbogglingly playing time of 80 minutes was brought into being. The first and only edition of 500 copies received an amazing feedback within the underground and was sold out soon after its release in early 1996.
That success led to contract negotiations with various independent labels, and Sid decided to sign to Ars Metalli, at this time a new founded Germany-based label with only limited financial options, but the guarantee of complete artistic freedom, which still is one of the vital prerequisites for the musical work of Antichrisis.
September 96 saw the beginning for Antichrisis' first studio takes for their debut album Cantara Anachoreta: The sessions took place in a neat little village somewhere in the outback of East Germany. Sid - by this time still known by his nom de plume Moonshadow, which was inspired by a Cat Stevens song of the same name - recorded the album within only 14 days with the help of female vocalist Willowcat, who already had a guest appearance on Missa Depositum Custodi.
"The recordings were a pretty peculiar affair" recalls Sid: "Right beside the gym that was supposed to be our studio was a nursery school, which meant that we had to take a few hours break every afternoon when the kids next door were taking their nap. On the other hand we couldn't do any microphone recordings during the nursery school's regular opening hours, because the little devils were screaming and shouting like hell, which would have been a nice side effect for your average Black Metal album, but definitely not for musical purposes. So we had to make the best out of it and work in the evenings and late at night!"
The classic atmospheric worktime for any Gothic act, isn't it? "Well, I never considered Antichrisis to be a Gothic-Band", denies Sid: "All I care about is music itself, not any kind of style or classification. At the time we recorded Cantara Anachoreta I was in a very desolate situation concerning my private life - and the best way to express my feelings and to deal with a fucked up relationship was to play that slow, melancholic but also furious and pushing kind of music. That's what Antichrisis is all about: to reflect my feelings and emotions in the best possible way without any restrictions or musical limitations. I do listen to so many different kinds of music, there are so many influences that I simply wouldn't want to be restricted to just one particular style: That would be like obliging a painter to create pictures with just one colour. Moreover it was my intention from the very beginning to make every Antichrisis album sound completely different from the previous one - I mean there ain't no use to record the same album twice! If I can't add new musical dimensions to a new album, there's absolutely no sense in recording one!" By all means a very commendable approach that the likes of AC/DC or Guns'n'Roses should take example by before pestering the world with another album that sounds exactly like the one they released 10 years ago...
Cantara Anachoreta, the band's striking debut, hit the audience by January 97 and was enthusiastically received by the press: Quite a surprise for a rather unbeknown act that had not even appeared live on stage by then and supported by a label not being equipped with a big budget - but only once in a blue moon had a newcomer's debut indicated such well-defined and incisive style aligned with an amazingly vast number of different musical influences in such implicitness and distinction.
"Considering that Cantara Anachoreta was recorded and mixed in a fortnight with a small drum computer and a 16 track tape machine, the result wasn't too bad" utters Sid. But Antichrisis being labelled as a Gothic Metal band by press and audience was something that he didn't like at all.
Nevertheless Cantara Anachoreta's reputation turned other record companies' attention on Antichrisis, and so inquiries on that matter were somehow inevitable.
"By that time I was really in dire straits" explains Sid: "A long-term relationship ended and I was so fucked up that they had to put me on the funny farm for 3 months - and when I got out I had lost my job and my tenement as well: Enough inspiration for an entire new album, I guess. But those changes were also for good: After I got myself together again and everything was sorted out, I found a convenient flat share in the remote parts of the city - and just a few houses away lived a lad who played uilleann pipes: I once heard him playing when I went past his house, and as it sounded fucking brilliant, I knocked on his door and asked him if he'd be interested in joining Antichrisis - that's the way how Naex got involved!"
That chance meeting turned out to be some kind of windfall: Although Antichrisis' music beared lots of folk influences even afore, they weren't that apparent due to the band's conventional instrumetation hitherto; whereas Naex with his musical background (besides uillean pipes he also plays a multitude of other Folk instruments) added a new timbre to Antichrisis' sound.
"Finally I could make use of many of those sounds I always had in mind when writing my songs. Of course I could have used similiar keyboard sounds instead, but if it comes to acoustic instruments, I'm some kind of purist: No keyboard will ever match the range of expression of the uillean pipes! Moreover, me and Naex cooperated very well from the beginning: I never had to have those endless talkings to him about what or when he should play - he just knew it! I come up with an idea to a new song, play it to him, he thinks about it - and the next time he turnes up with a perfectly fitting tune" commends Sid his comrade-in-pipes!
So almost everything seemed to be fine - except that darn problem of getting an appropriate female vocalist for Antichrisis, because Sid didn't want to continue the collaboration with former singer Willowcat: "She was just a guest vocalist: Neither was she interested in a long-term partnership, nor did she have the required professionalism". But meanwhile Antichrisis had signed to austrian-based label Napalm Records, and in spring 98 it was high time to record the follow-up to Cantara Anachoreta. "Many of my songs are designed like stage plays, requiring different voices for different characters - and I was in urgent need of a suitable female leading actor to record all those new "dramas" of love and loss. We were pretty much under pressure, because all the songs of the new album were written, the pre-production was finished, the studio was booked - but we didn't have a female vocalist!"
As push came to shove, Napalm Records suggested an appropriate chanteuse just in time: Her name was Lisa, and after a few telephone calls she agreed to join Antichrisis for the forthcoming album and was sent the pre-production-tapes two weeks before the band entered the studio in April/May 1998.
"My aim was to record an album that would Antichrisis get out of the Gothic-trap we got caught in with our debut. And although A Legacy of Love did bear a few Metal references, it became a wonderful and brilliant Folk-Pop-album after all, containing songs that could have easily entered the charts like Nightswan, Our Last Show or Forever I Ride." And if one remembers that a year after the release of A Legacy of Love german charts were hit by Busindre Reel (a song performed by spanish piper Hevia), one might wonder why Antichrisis didn't get any commercial kudos for their smashing Baleias Bailando, which offered almost the same ingredients (though done in the very unique and unequaled Antichrisis-way) plus a haunting vocal line. And if one takes a look at the success of female singers and songwriters like Heather Nova or Alanis Morissette, the question arises why for example Our Last Show didn't conquer the airwaves as well albeit it combines emotional forcefulness with catchiness in a similiar way that both of the aforementioned artist do achive in their finest moments. But Antichrisis had to put up with their status of winning over all the critics (A Legacy of Love gained smashing press reviews again) without achieving the commercial breakthrough they deserved!
Then in Spring 1999 Antichrisis were hitting the stage for the first time during an European Tour with Tristania, The Sins of Thy Beloved, Siebenbuergen and Trail of Tears. "I was quite aware that a Metal-package like that wasn't exactly the proper framework for Antichrisis, not only because we were the only people who didn't put on make-up before entering the stage", smirks Sid while sipping a glas of Californian Cabernet, "but I wanted to prove that the concept of Antichrisis worked live as well: Unfortunately Naex couldn't be with us due to his exams at that time; hence I had to re-arrange the songs of our live-set so that they could be performed with a sequencer and two session-musicians (Brown Jenkin on guitar and a substitute drummer)."
On this tour Antichrisis' new female vocalist Dragonfly, who had replaced temporary singer Lisa, received her baptism of fire: She joined the band just a couple of weeks before and had meanwhile become a permanent band member. Sid expounds eagerly: "Her voice fits perfectly to Antichrisis, as she isn't determined to just one certain genre, but evincing an amazing range of emotions and styles instead. Without her vocal mutability and multi-sidedness the realization of our third album Perfume would have been almost impossible!"
Not only did Antichrisis promote A Legacy of Love on this tour, moreover they also took the chance to introduce some of the new stuff to a quite flabbergasted audience: "I had same peculiar ideas on my mind concerning the sound of our new album" confesses Sid. "Dancefloor-Grooves with jarring guitars and a pinch of yer good ole Irish Folk served in a final mix that would shake the ground with its bass frequencies! And as previous Antichrisis recordings were generally based on experiences of emotional distress and heartache, I wanted to present a different and formerly unknown side of Antichrisis this time, because I always loved the idea of people actually dancing to our music. Besides, the new songs were surprisingly well received on that tour, so I got pretty curious what the new line-up would make out of these in forthcoming studio sessions!"
And so the threesome entered Jens Bachmann's Blue House Studio again by late summer 2000: The cooperation with Jens had worked out very well during the A Legacy of Love-recordings, and with the help of a few acquainted session musicians Antichrisis forged their long awaited and hitherto finest album Perfume, which contained for the very first time in the history of the band also a cover version. But why on earth did they decide to re-design a slightly aged and smelly dinosaur like Whole lotta Love?
"Well, on the one hand I think Led Zeppelin were an amazing band: The first Hard Rock-act that grooved like hell - no wonder Puff Daddy's best track thus far, Come with me, is nothing more than a rip-off of Led Zep's classic Kashmir. On the other hand I wanted to take the piss out of Plant's pain-in-the-arse-like macho-lyrics by letting Dragonfly do that song, proving that one can have fun AND sex without having to wear cucumbers down ones trousers..."
According to a popular music-biz saying, a band's third album is always the "make it or break it"-thing. What does Sid think about that? "We're absolutely clued up on the importance of our third album, and I do think that Perfume could be our commercial breakthrough. Perfume is - much more than any Antichrisis-release before - a very consistent kind of album, it's perfectly fitted for dancing, it grooves and it undoubtedly does provide mass-appeal to a certain extent: Songs like Wasteland, Goodbye to Jane or Like the Stars could quite easily enter the charts because of their catchiness, whereas Hole in my Head or Whole Lotta Love are genuine dancefloor-monsters. Besides, we do not rely on our record company's activities alone, but much more on our own PR via internet: Though Perfume isn't released until April 2001, we've put extracts of all the songs on our website www.antichrisis.de - and received an amazing feedback so far! Of course one shouldn't overestimate the web's potential, but despite of all its pros and cons it's nevertheless an easy accessable, anytime updateable and very reasonable multimedia-device. I think artists like David Bowie or Madonna have realized the internet's importance for temporary PR and are using it in a very creative way for their purposes instead of being paralyzed by its negative spin-offs (Napster, Gnutella a.s.o.) like so many other artists are. Being just an independent band, we cannot provide the same services as Bowie or Madonna of course, but nevertheless you'll hardly find any band updating their website as regularly as Antichrisis does. But the most important thing for us is the chance of achieving complete control over Antichrisis' image and appearance via internet-presentation. Whatsoever: Given appropriate support, Perfume could be our quantum leap - and until that I'm simply continuing with writing songs for our next album!"
And as long as Sid doesn't seem to suffer from fatique or a songwriter's block, we definitely don't have to worry about Antichrisis' future: This band is simply far beyond anybody's expectations - every time you think you know what they're up to, they're already one step further without ever losing their perfect touch for beauty and simplicity. Just check out their website at http://www.antichrisis.de (-> Download Area -> MP3-Files) and do not miss to listen to one of the last visionairy bands on this planet!
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