Interview with Jesper Møller Jensen, Anubis Gate (April 6, 2004)

Hi Jesper, not many know you and the bands background, why did it take so many Years for you to return and how did the band get together?

Jesper - The 3 of us started the project in 2002. Drummer Morten Sørensen and I have known each other since the teenage years, started playing in the band Extreme Feedback, and ended in the rap-metal act Geronimo, who released a mini cd in 1995. We kept writing music the years after. By 2001 we had enough material, and was in need of a singer. We called Torben Askholm, as we remembered him from his days in Northern Empire, and the Prophets Of Doom album. He recorded one demo song, and that was it! We liked his voice, and met him for the first time when he recorded the vocals on the album in the studio last summer. We had another member in, Kim Olesen, also from the days in Extreme Feedback. He laid down most of the keyboards and lead guitars on the album, but decided to leave the band. 

I know artists are not happy to categorize their music, but how would you describe your music to an outsider?

Jesper - Our music has been called "epic heavy metal", and "timeless metal". I guess we are old school, mixed with some dark atmosphere. It may sound typical, but we are often told that we don't sound like, or can be compared easy with other bands. We have some elements from power metal, just without the speed and "happy" vocal lines. Heavy at times. Relaxed and melancholy other times. We are not modern metal. We like a good catchy melody, with clean powerful vocals.

Why the name Anubis Gate - I don't hear much Arabian influence or any references to Egyptology in your lyrics?

Jesper - "Anubis Gates" is the title of a sci-fi book, by novelist Tim Powers. We needed a name, Torben came up with some options, and we agreed on this one. There is no direct references in the lyrics to Egypt. But the artwork and layout goes well with it.

What topics do you deal with in your lyrics and why?

Jesper - Lyrically the debut album is a loosely based concept album about fighting inner demons, cleansing on a psychological level. In ancient Egyptian mythology Anubis was the jackal God, who lead the misguided dead souls to heaven, if they deserved it. So in some way it fits together.

Who or what has inspired you vocally, musically and lyrically on this and earlier stuff?

Jesper - It's a hard question, as inspiration is a part of everything in your life. It's about what mood you are in. The process for writing music for me is not one way. But often by just playing the guitar things turn up, some melody, some rough parts. I try a lot of ideas, recording riffs and versions. Morten is important on the arrangements of our songs, he have a good ear on what is good and not, how the parts work together. Music as an inspiration can be jazz, metal, or pop. On the vocal side, Torben did write 3 lyrics and he arranged the melody line for 5 songs. A good friend, Henrik Fevre, did write and arrange melody for 2 lyrics and he added harmony vocals on the whole album.

Is this a one-off project or do you consider this to be a regular band?

Jesper - I consider it as a project with a future, we are writing new material at the moment. The goal is to make a new record, and as it all a little better. If we stay as a 3 piece I don’t know, right now the doors are open. First step is a pre-production of 5-6 songs.

Do you have any touring plans?

Jesper - No plans for tour/concerts right now. It depends on how the album is received. We also need extra people to do live shows if so. Right now the album is not out, 26/4 for Europe and 29/6 for north America.

I think Jacob Hansen has done a great job producing and mixing this album, but I know you had some problems during the recordings - what happened and how do you feel about the end result?

Jesper - Yes, there where some problems, as the basic tracks was recorded at my place, by the drummer Morten and me. Torbens lead vocal, and guest musician Kim Olesens synthesizers & lead guitar where recorded in Jacobs studio. In the first mix the rhythm guitar sound just was not that good. And we needed some harmony vocals, to get it more interesting. So we added the extra stuff at Hansen studio: new guitar sound, and Henrik then recorded the extra harmony vocals. Jacob did the second mix alone, sending some test files. We ended up with a good result in the end. We learned a lot, like, next time do it all in the real studio ;-)


You have linked up with IntroMetal Management, how did this happen, and how important is it for a metal band to have a management today?

Jesper - With the first mix of the album, IntroMental got hold of a few songs. Claus Jensen the managing director, called us a few days after. He liked the music. This was what we have hoped for, and after we signed with them, things started to happen. The record deal came very fast after. Without IntroMental I don't think we by our self could make it. So it's important to have a good management. IntroMental has been very good for us.

I just love Mattias Norén's excellent artwork, he is in my opinion one the best cover-artists right now, and I reckon you are very pleased with his work? Did he have the lyrics, the band name or both as basis for his work?

Jesper - It was IntroMental who came up with the idea of letting Mattias Norén do the artwork. Mattias was send 3 songs from the first mix, some lyrics and band name. He liked our music, and we gave him a few hints. He worked really fast! Sending some early versions just a few days after. At version 5 or 6 it was totally killer, he did the Anubis Gate logo as well. So yes, we are very pleased with his fantastic work. I hope we’ll work with him again in the future.

The Internet is a very important source for many metal fans - how do you use the Internet and how important is it for you and other new bands?

Jesper - The net is important for having a voice today, in some ways it's easy, a bands website work 24 hours a day. It's great that you can find so much information on your favourite artists, latest news and sound clips. I use the Internet to get inspired, to see what’s going on both in Denmark and the world. It’s nice, when you get surprised, finding a good new band that way. People chat about the music and releases on the Internet, sometimes they even get and answer direct from the band or management. This is the good side…


How do you see the Danish metal scene at the moment?

Jesper - It's healthy, lots of music in one or another genre of metal. In my hometown, Aalborg, metal is quite big. Many people meet at metal arrangements/concerts. Now the bands often have a good production, and the quality is there. Bands sign with labels outside Denmark. It’s great to be a little part of that.


To finish things off - could you pls. make an all-time Top 5 or sort of  the 5 most important albums in your opinion?

Jesper - 

  • Iron Maiden – Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son

  • Crimson Glory – Transcendence

  • Queensrÿche – Operation: Mindcrime

  • Lord bane – Age Of Elegance

  • Savatage – Ghost In The Ruins

These are all-time good ones in my opinion, when it’s about metal.

Thanks for this interview Kenn!

A bit thanx to Jesper M. Jensen for taking the time to do this interview and all the best for him and Anubis Gate. Also a big thanx to Claus (Intromental) for setting up the interview.

Anubis Gate - Purification

Album out on Locomotive Music

Click on the album cover to see more info on Anubis Gate