How did your band come together? Please introduce yourself and your associates, what qualities do you each bring to the band, musically and otherwise?
Anon - Anon is not a band as such, but a side-project that I work on whenever I get the time. On the first record ‘Violent’ I wrote a lot of the tracks with Luke Taplin and anyone else we roped in to play whatever instrument we wanted to bastardise next! I have known Luke since I was at college and through his love of breakbeat and DnB and my love of rock and metal, we began experimenting and fusing the two mediums together in a way we felt hadn’t really been done before. We started writing vocal-less electronica music under the guise of NA and this slowly mutated into Anon. I don’t work with Luke so much now for no particular reason except logistics and time.
I have a very strict ‘anything goes’ way of thinking. I’ll happily marry a ska punk tune with a drum and bass track and then add in some Ian Dury style vocals. If it’s in tune and it’s in time, it’ll work! There is nothing that can’t be done and no sound that can’t be created as far as I’m concerned. When working with Luke on the first Anon record, we had such a healthy respect for each others ideas and abilities, the best results were always achieved. There was never an idea we felt we couldn’t go along with. It’s so rare to have a working relationship where no arguments are needed to create sonic genius!!
What inspires you, musically and lyrically?
Musically, quite literally anything and everything, even music I perhaps wouldn’t normally listen to. However my roots are very much with heavy metal and rock and particularly the Seattle Grunge explosion and genre hopping bands from the 90’s like Nine Inch Nails, Senser, Dub War, Prodigy and Ministry. I’m also a big U2 fan, even if half the planet does think Bono is a wanker!
Lyrically, I am also open to anything, although on ‘Violent’ much of the subject matter is observational, sarcastic, humorous and ironic commentary and slogans on modern society and people, myself included! There is so much hypocrisy in modern day life and I find it hilarious and yet it angers me at the same time. There is a definite trend with my lyrics to get straight to the point. I have gotten a bit sick of musicians and lyricists preaching to the converted. It’s all very well being clever and subtle about what needs to be said about the state of things, but I always feel it’s a bit daft when the message is only getting through to those people that see the big picture already. I wanna grab the stupid and naïve by the balls and shake their heads a little bit and make everyone stand up and take notice for a change! No doubt that leaves my music subject to becoming a part of the here and now and less likely to stand the test of time, but then why should I give a fuck about longevity, particularly as a) I’m not going to live forever any way and at this stage in my life I’m not exactly well known in the slightest to even worry about it! Ha Ha!
On an Anon curated festival bill, who else would play?
U2, Nine Inch Nails, Prodigy, Skindred, System of a Down, Senser, Anon and on!
What motivates you to record and gig?
I love writing and recording in the studio because it is completely different to playing in my band. There are no rules and no one else to worry about. I have kind of embraced not having to worry about playing Anon live. To take it out live would mean either having about twenty musicians for all the different instruments or using samplers and backing tracks and at the moment I don’t have those kinds of things for live work. I’ve never ruled out the possibility of doing live shows. I reckon Anon would actually make an incendiary live band, but it’s not a priority at the moment.
If the musical world was ideal, it would…
…have realised how great the last Prodigy album was and not neglected it! Hopefully the same won’t happen to the long-awaited new Nine Inch Nails album!
Why should people buy the NYQUIST THEORY compilation?
Because there are a lot of great artists on there and a fantastic variety of music. From off-kilter acoustic music like The Sways via beautiful psychedelic rock from Daughters Courageous and crazy arty electronica like Rusty Sheriff. I know Anon is on there, so obviously I’m bias, but it really is a great record.
Suggest a publicity stunt to increase your profile in the UK.
I’d pull up outside EMI in London on a big flatbed truck and play ‘Violent’ on a giant sound rig! When I get arrested I’ll shoot myself in the head and then I’ll be on the front page of every tabloid in the country! Fame at last! ;-)
What do you consider your best achievements in music?
I’m very proud of the record I have made, so from a personal point of view that is an achievement, but to finally having my music recognised and put out on a CD has been a tremendous confidence booster. I am also very chuffed with a remix I did for Bonemachine last year that was put out on the Shifty Disco label under the guise of NA.
What more would you like to achieve with your music?
I’d like to get Anon on a label permanently and get ‘Violent’ out in the shops and on the radio (heavily censored though of course!). I sincerely believe it is a great record with a lot to say. It is a real reflection of the times, both artistically and lyrically and from the reaction I have had so far I feel there is definitely a market for it.
If you weren't in a band just what would you do with your evenings?
Without music in my life I’d probably sit at home every night binge drinking and eating my way to an early grave! Nothing else much interests me except maybe films, but it’s probably a bit late to become the next Martin Scorsese!
What are your future plans for gigs and recordings?
I have just started writing the second Anon record. The last one took about three years from the initial conception to finally deciding to leave it. Music is never finished. You can always add bits and expand on ideas until it drives you insane. You have just got to know when to leave it alone!
The next record will be predominantly all my own work, although myself and Luke are bound to collaborate on a couple of tracks and no doubt I shall rope in as many people as I can to add splashes of colour here and there! Usually someone will be over at the studio and I’ll just play them a track, shove a guitar or microphone in their hands and just get them to do the first thing that comes into their heads! They’ll look at me a bit odd when I say ‘that’s great’ and then I’ll present them with a finished piece of music some months later that is usually met with a knowing smile and seal of approval! I am also writing an album under the name of Zoids with The Middle Computer. It is about as eclectic as music gets! We may well release a joint single together also with some Middle Computer remixes of Anon and I did some vocals on a track called ‘Ctrl/Alt/Del’. A Superb slice of dance/metal insanity!
What, with regards the UK music scene, upsets you?
The music press in this country just seem to be continually looking for the ‘next big thing’. Rather than embracing a band and helping them grow and mature with age, it seems to me that as soon as the band makes it big they are on the prowl for the next thing. There are very few bands that I can actually see reaching the kind of heights that bands have done in the past. Like Led Zeppelin, Queen and the Rolling Stones that just had great album after great album for years. One of the few bands that has somehow managed to keep going for over 25 years and is still considered artistically and commercially credible is U2, whether you love them or loathe them, that is quite an achievement.
Please name your 6 discs for a Desert Island?
Just 6? Tough question! I’d have to take a copy of ‘Violent’ with me (self gratification is a wonderful thing!), I can’t say I’m listening to any of the following religiously at the moment, but for sheer classic status though it’d be ‘Jilted Generation’ by the Prodigy, ‘Joshua Tree’ or ‘Achtung Baby’ (I really couldn’t choose between them!) by U2, ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ by Pink Floyd, ‘Leftism’ by Leftfield and the Lodestar record (one-off Senser side-project, one of my favourite records of all time that has been criminally unheard by 99.99% of the population!).
3 Books for a desert island?
I don’t really read books. I like books, but I just never have the time to devote to them. I’d probably just grab a good selection of graphic novels. I was a big fan of 2000AD when growing up, so some Judge Dredd or Rogue Trooper would be great!
1 Luxury Item for a Desert Island?
A laptop with a copy of Logic 5 and Reason 2.5 on it! And some headphones would be good!
Any other words of wisdom?
Just don’t take anything too seriously.