How would you define the meaning of the 'Fear of a Unique Identity'?
The album's concept explores the self-imposed pressure in the individual to conform to their perception of the masses as they feel like a freak, or there's something wrong with them, if they're 'different'. I believe there is a trade-off between someone's uniqueness in character and what they see as the accepted standard in order to avoid drawing negative attention to themselves. And also the dangers of mindless conformity if the standard that is being conformed to is actually malignant. Personally, I've always felt different but never felt like conforming to anybody's standard. I'm stubborn like that. The lyric 'I've never been moved to sell myself' from 2007's 'Another Face in a Window' says just that, and in fact refers to the exact same pressure I'm talking about in this album. I see a lot of people smudging the lines between themselves and the collective. There's a lot of role-play going on.
Is there any song in the last album that you really prefer and why?
I love each song equally, really I do. In the process of compiling an album I make sure that each song has its own merits. Nothing goes on an album that doesn't have a deep impact with me, so it's very hard to then have to choose a 'favorite'. I guess from time to time certain songs will stick out more than others to me. But at the moment? I love them all!
What kind of music you listen outside of what you are making?
I have a massive playlist of music, it would be impossible to isolate what I'm listening to. My playlist is set at 'random' so I get a different artist every 5 minutes. Occasionally I get stuck on listening to one artist for a few days and then go back to 'random'. At the moment I'm listening to a lot of Hawkwinds late 70s albums, 'Quark Strangeness and Charm' and 'Levitation'. But yeah, for the most part I have a playlist that chooses songs for me, anything from Miles Davis to Slayer.
What is the main message that you want your listeners to get from your music and lyrics?
The whole idea behind that was to address things within the outside world that I felt needed exposing, and in turn to somehow try and enlighten the listener to these issues. Music is a great tool for spreading a message.
In the previous albums there was always a feeling that the songs are dealing mostly with your private life and experiences, but in the last album you see the difference that in the concept that is represented in a bigger form like what the world is today and what is the position of the individual in it. Is it like that or not?
Yeah, absolutely, 'Alternative Matter' wrapped up the end of Antimatter's first decade, it acted as a retrospective but also as a kind of closure to the decade musically and conceptually. 'Fear of a Unique Identity' announces quite clearly a new decade and also a new phase for Antimatter. About 5 years ago I stated in an interview that Antimatter was finished with its current lyrical angle and that I was moving on to 'social and political issues'.
During these years, there were many changes in line-up that they came and left and still your music stayed unique, explain a little about that?
That's because I've always maintained control over my own music, the arrangement, instrumentation, everything. People who have been around me have been there for whatever reason, be them session musicians or whatever. If I've asked somebody to come in and play a certain instrument, then most of the time I've also given them a specific part to play, a part I have composed. If you look at it that way, I've composed everything from day one, so that is how the music has stayed unique despite the differing personnel.
How was working with Vic Anselmo and how did you come up with this collaboration?
I first met Vic in 2008 when she supported me in Latvia. At the time I was already aware of her music through MySpace and YouTube. She sat on stage with just an acoustic guitar and her amazing, signature voice. I've kept in touch with Vic ever since. In early 2012 when it came to arranging a female vocalist to sing the parts for the album, she was the first choice. I think her song 'Before I Could Breathe' is a genuine classic.
What do you think about the rock and metal music world these days?
I don't really listen to modern music. 'Metal' to me refers to Iron Maiden or Dio, whom I listen to a lot. I would find it impossible to name 5 metal bands that have emerged in the last decade. I stopped paying attention to metal in 1990 when Iron Maiden released 'No Prayer for the Dying', which contained, for me, two really disappointing, throwaway, almost comedic singles. Around the same time I had become disillusioned with metal anyway and had discovered late 60s psychedelia and 70s rock, which was far more interesting in my eyes. I was much more at home listening to 'Wish You Were Here' or 'Led Zeppelin 3' than the thrash and death metal that I had elevated to, as the lyrics were getting ridiculous. As far as I'm concerned, the last relevant movement was grunge in the mid 90s. I'm not too bothered about many bands that emerged after that. A handful maybe, none of them metal bands.
Which part of your songs is more important to you, music or lyrics?
Both are equally as important as the other, both serve the listener in different ways and are therefore incomparable and not mutually exclusive anyway.
I noticed that throughout these years you've been struggling to create your music for example recording your albums, lineup changes, and so on. What makes you go on creating?
Creating music is a healthy struggle, yeah; I can't imagine it being any other way. Writing, arranging and recording music is a fight from the minute the original idea comes to the minute the final mastering touches are applied to the finished article. As for the lineup aspect of things, that's not a struggle. I work with session musicians, who play mostly what I have written for them to play, this way of working is the easiest way I can imagine and isn't a struggle at all, it's incredibly straightforward.
Will we ever see you in Croatia, did ever a promoter from Croatia contacted you for having a concert or not?
We played Croatia about 5 years ago and there is actually talk of myself and Vic Anselmo going back there in a few months to play an acoustic night. Nothing is confirmed yet, but I'm hoping to be able to announce something soon.
Are you satisfied with the position you have in this music world and what would you like to achieve as a musician and lyricist?
I'm satisfied and lucky to have an outlet for my creativity; a lot of people don't have that. I would prefer to be able to reach out to more people in a live setting perhaps. If there's anything I'm not satisfied with, I guess I'd like for journalists to stop mentioning Anathema in every review of my music. It's lazy and almost like a form of tourettes.
And as the last question: What life is to you and how would you describe it.
'Life' is something that I have found myself part of. For the first half of my life I took it for granted, and later on the whole concept freaked me out. Life is something I am adapting to, and learning about contently.