Interview with Kim Olesen, Anubis Gate (November 7, 2005)

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album. To new fans could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
Kim - The story of Anubis Gate really goes back to our early teens. All the present members have played together in different constellations at one point or another. And then we all drifted in different directions. 6 years ago Jesper and Morten decided to do something together again. I jammed with them on some initial rehearsals. It was never intended to be permanent on my part, but we did manage to finish 3 songs. 2 of which are on our new album “A Perfect Forever ( Approaching Inner Circle and Epitome of Delusion)”. Much of the 3. song became the middle section of “Discrowned” from our first album “Purification”. After the first album Henrik and I became permanent members (thus breaking my decision not to play metal on a permanent basis......I’m glad I turned myself down on that one) and we recorded “A Perfect Forever”. More hard hitting without compromising what are the essentials of Anubis Gate. Also more varied we feel that we have taken a giant leap forward. Released worldwide a couple of month ago on locomotive records, we are quite pleased with the finished result.

How has your new album been received by the media?
Kim - Generally it has been very well received. Some reviews going as far as calling the album essential in both the powermetal genre and in their progressive genre. We couldn’t have hoped for a better response.

I know artists don’t like to put a label on their music - but a spaceship from outer space has just landed in your backyard, and is demanding an answer - so how would you describe your music to an alien from another galaxy?
Kim - Oh well....since you put the pressure on me I would call power metal. But as some reviewers have stated we have sort of created our own niche managing to throw in influences far beyond metal. And most importantly of all we strive for making space for both complicated guitar riffs and very melodic (some say hymn like) vocal melodies. And because we have a common past in the eighties thrash genre, together with a liking of the seventies progressive rock genre (early Genesis etc), and the great melodic metal bands, a lot of things get thrown in the melting pot. But people generally say they can spot influences from bands like Crimson Glory, Queensr˙che, Savatage, King Crimson and Genesis and maybe also Iron Maiden in our music.

If your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Kim - Not the chattiest of people I wouldn’t really know. Preferably a positive one. I certainly don’t hope that anyone derive negative vibes from our music -:).

Who and what inspires you when you write a song? Walk us through the creation of a song?
Kim - Our writing process roughly follows a certain pattern. Either Jesper or I have an initial idea. In various degrees of completion but never totally finished. We record rough demos with programmed drums in our respective sequencer programmes. Then we use the internet to bounce these demos to and from each others until we, after many versions, have something we think is the finished musical framework of the song. Then we pass it on to our drummer Morten (referred to, in the writing process, as “the filter”). Mortens word on the things is very important as he probably has the best “taste” concerning “the right Anubis stuff” of all of us. When the music is completed it is given to the vocal writers (mainly Torben and Henrik, and to a lesser extend me). The vocal melodies and the lyrics are written and thus a song is finished. Of course some things change when go in the studio. A good example of that would be the song “Sanctified” which had numerous changes made as we went along. But the song writing process also evolves as well as the stuff we write. It is not cast in stone. The short ballad “Endless Grief” was a small poem I had written and I just sat down by my piano and wrote the finished song. So that was different from our standard procedure.

Which subjects do your lyrics refer to, and who writes them? And what inspires you when you write your lyrics?
Kim - The first albums concerned itself with the subject of fighting your inner demons. On the new album there was no real common lyrical subject as such. The title song and also the cover painting is based in the notion that everything mankind creates also destroys. We industrialised the planet, we destroyed the environment etc. And at some point we will probably self-destruct in an attempt to fulfil some madman’s vision of a better life.

Who has produced and mixed the album? Are you pleased with the result?
Kim - Jacob Hansen, who also produced "Purification", did the production. And we love it to bits. He is very good and very easy to get along with. Working with him is just a pleasure.

Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Kim - Mattias Norén did the cover. He is great and can hit the “ambience” of the music on the nail with his paintings. I feel the cover is pretty important. When you buy a CD it’s the first thing you see. In most cases even before you’ve heard the music. So the cover predefines the mood in which you listen to the music.

Do you have any touring plans?
Kim - We have only just begun to do concerts so we’ll have to see what comes up. We have been offered tours but have no specific plans at the moment.

Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?
Kim - I’d love to warm up for Queensr˙che. About ideal partners I really don’t know. Someone not to far away from us stylistically.

How do you feel about the co-operation with your label?
Kim - We never speak to our label actually. All that goes through our management. With whom we speak on a regular basis. IntroMental (management) are important sparring partners. They do a great job. Without them we would have gotten nowhere. They got us our deal as well as the gigs.

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 bands?
Kim - The internet is important in respect to finding out a band even exist. It has enabled bands to have careers on a smaller scale than was previously possible. You can buy cd’s through the internet which means that even if the distribution isn’t that great people still can get the album they want. It’ll grow more and more important in the future I predict. But to Anubis Gate the internet is especially essential. Without it we simply wouldn’t be able to do anything. That’s due to the geography of the band. Jesper and I live 300 km apart. So instead of writing in the rehearsals we do it by means of the internet. The web is our creative space.

And how do you feel about the metal scene in general at the moment?
Kim - I must admit I’m not a lover of what we call “shouting metal”. I’m a sucker for good melodies. There are however some good bands around. Manticora and Mercenary to name some very good Danish bands. But I’m the wrong guy to ask about the metal scene actually since I play so many different kinds of music, ranging from jazz-fusion to gigging with cover bands every weekend. So I don’t have the time to catch up with all the music I’d like to catch up on.

Which song do you consider to be the best one you have ever written?
Kim - Ouch...that was a hard one. Most things I’ve written are non-metal. But if we take Anubis Gate stuff it would be.....err... I got me on that one....I like the new stuff I have been doing for the next album a lot. If you really pressed me I’d say the song "Endless Grief" (even though it’s very short) is among the best stuff I’ve ever done. And that’s including everything I’ve done. Anubis Gate and otherwise.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Kim - Albums that have had a huge influence on my perception of music would be “Starless And Bible Black” and “Discipline” by King Crimson. Playing with Danish freeform/avant-garde guitarist Frederik Sřgaard have also had a huge impact on me. I love the playing freeform collective improvisational music. There’s no better way to learn to use your ears than that.

Which music do you listen to at home?
Kim - Genesis (their seventies stuff), King Crimson, Queensr˙che, Beatles, Kraftwerk, Iron Maiden, Mark Knopfler, Megadeth, Jethro Tull.......... A lot of different things. I’m a big lover of the originators. Kraftwerk: the techno genre. Beatles: modern rock. etc .

Vinyl has had a small comeback lately – do you still prefer “the old sound” or are you a CD/DVD kind of guy?
Kim - Definitely cd. I hate having to flip the vinyl in the middle of my listening experience.

Last question - do you have any famous last words for our readers?
Kim - Errr.....well if you found my description of our style interesting then give our newest offering a try. I hoped you enjoyed reading through my (sometimes lengthy) answers ;-)

Anubis Gate - A Perfect Forever

Album out on Locomotive Records.

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