Can you give a short version of what the band has been doing between your 2009 record ‘The Detached’ and the new one ‘Anubis Gate’?
After 'The Detached' we did one gig in
What is the reason that vocalist Jacob Hansen stepped out?
Jacob has a lot of work to do being one of the greatest producers we've got in the business. Therefore he didn't feel that there were enough hours in a day for all of his activities and he could not make the commitment needed for a band like Anubis Gate.
It’s clear that the band and Jacob are still friends, because he took care of the production and mastering task again. Happy with the final result?
Very much indeed. There's always a lot of layers in our music and it's difficult to make room for everything to be heard in a mix. He and Kim have developed a means to do this over the years. I would be surprised to see someone else producing the next album. Even though he's not in the band anymore he's still part of the family.
Was it immediately clear that you would take over the singing task, or did the band search for a new singer first?
No, we didn't search for a new singer. And even though I was sad that Jacob left, at the same time I felt like: Great, hope I'm gonna take over. Luckily they all agreed that I was next in line and I started recording the next day or so. Especially the fact that now I could sing and express my own lyrics the way I thought they should be was very satisfactory. Not that I disapproved Hansen's vocals at all, I love his voice and what he contributed to the songs, but there's something real about having the lyrics sung by their author.
I have to say that you do an excellent job on the new album, have you been singing in other bands before and did you take lessons?
Thank you so much. I am very relieved that most people like my voice. It is not easy to be accepted as the third singer in an established band. I'm not a novice in singing though. Actually my daytime work is teaching people to sing. I went to Music Conservatory in
The songs seem to be a little bit heavier, especially the guitar riffs sound a bit crunchier and lower, did it just turn out this way or was it done on purpose?
We always go with the flow – our own. We can plan this and that, but we never know what it will be 'till we start writing. The only thing we were sure to carry out this time was that this album was definitely not going to be a concept album.
The new album is released by Lance King’s Nightmare Records, how did you get in contact with the label?
The contact was actually made through Jacob Hansen. He and Lance are very good friends and had we not been under Locomotive Music (who still owes us lots of money!!!) in 2009, 'The Detached' could easily have been out on Nightmare as well. Luckily he was still interested, even though Hansen was no longer in on it.
I read that all songs have been written by the guitar players Jesper M Jensen and Kim Olesen, do you and the other members have no contribution to that?
Unfortunately someone at Nightmare thought this was the case without checking up on it and it went public. Anyway it is not true. Jesper and Kim are main writers when it comes to the music itself, that is correct. Kim did “River”, both lyrics and music and his touch is all over the album really, as co-writer/arranger/producer. Jesper did all music for “The re-formation show” and “Desiderio omnibus” and a lot of co-writing as well. But “Golden days” is a Jacob Hansen song, also he did a couple of both musical and vocal contributions to “Facing dawn” and “Circumstanced”. I did the main writing of both “Facing dawn” and “Oh my precious life” in addition to 9 out of 10 lyrics and most of the vocal melodies for the whole album. Morten adds his personal style of playing to every track. So it's very much a group effort.
How does Kim combine the keyboards and the guitar on stage?
He doesn't, he only plays the guitar and perhaps some backing vocals. All keyboard sounds and atmospherics are pre-recorded and played as backing tracks, along with some backing vocals that we can't handle on stage either.
Why did you decide to name the new album just ‘Anubis Gate’, is this the style you were looking for since you started, is this Anubis Gate!
Anubis Gate is many things and the next album will probably be different. I don't think we were after this particular style from the start. Every album is different and has its qualities. We thought the title was appropriate to mark the line-up now being only the four core members that were there from the start (Although Kim and I didn't join until after “Purification”, we were still involved in that one too). Also this is our first album on Nightmare Records, so we had a feeling of starting a new chapter.
Besides the heavy parts, the cleaner parts sound a bit melancholy and the contrast between the heavy and the softer parts is better balanced in my opinion. What’s your view on that?
Not much really. I believe that we've always been good at making contrasts. In my opinion it worked just as well on previous albums.
Your musical influences go back to the 80’s with bands like Queensryche, Iron Maiden, Crimson Glory and Fates Warning, which other ones can you add to these four?
Back then we were pretty much inspired by anything with hi-gain guitars and a little guts. Personally I was crazy about Queensryche, but also early Dokken, Icon and Motley Crue. And I can't ignore Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer, who also were regular suspects on my turntable. Nowadays I rarely listen to metal. If I do it'd be something like Cynic or Deftones.
Can you tell something about the cover artwork, what do you want to express with it?
It's close-up, we're getting closer now perhaps, more personal. And it's different from most metal albums artworks. That's what I like most about it. At the same time it has mystique and roughness (no colours, only a simple drawing).
September is an expensive month for the progressive metal fan, with new albums from Dream Theater, Redemption, Arch/Matheos, Opeth and you. Not afraid that your album will not get the attention it deserves?
No, not really, we've already had plenty of attention. And our album can be downloaded from Amazon at 5.99 dollars. Anyone can afford that. If you look at it differently you could say that it's a great month for prog. fans. I would just be looking forward to buying the lot.
What’s next, touring perhaps?
Could be. We'll see if we receive any offers. In the meantime we're doing re-releases of the previous albums, downloads only, with bonus tracks and extensive liner notes. So look out for these this fall and please wait if you're on the verge of buying these.
What’s the best experience the band had playing live?
We've actually done more albums than live gigs, so there's not much to choose from. But one I remember best is probably Progpower in the Netherlands 2005. Our first gig...
...and the worst?
All four of them went pretty well. I have no bad memories from any of them.
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
There's a video on the way for our single “Golden Days”, which is now available as a download single in a shorter and different version than the one on the album. The “b-side” is a cover of Nik Kershaw's “Wouldn't it be good”. Check it out! And watch out for the video on YouTube. Thank you so much for really great questions...
Interviewed by Reinier de Vries