When I got the CD the name doesn't ring a bell, but after listening to the album I wanted to know more about the band and so we did this interview by email.
You started as Metal Age. Later you renamed into Anguish. Why?
Actually there are just two members of the Metal Age line-up... The guitarists. After the band won the Rhein-Neckar-Nachwuchspreises (prize for local newcomers - editor) changes took place and even before the production of the debut there been changes. Marion - our keyboarder - came in and I joined and so the musical direction changed. So we closed the chapter Metal Age and we started with Anguish a new chapter.
So, please tell us something about the early days of Anguish!
We started as million others do, we as musicians wanted to play and to go on stage. We didn't want to consume the radio stuff any longer. As a young band you maybe a little undepraved and naive in the way you see the music business. And se we made some bad experiences, but I think that's the way it is. It's part of it and I think it's important, coz you learn from the experiences as a musician and as a human being. You can develop and nothing is more worse than not to learn from mistakes you made!
What does Anguish means to you?
Anguish means for us the we can free the soul from the melancholy of daily life through unlimited musical freedom and creativity.
Your debut was released in 1996 and was called Lost Days Of Infancy. Why do you choose that title?
A joined the band just before the recordings and so I had no influence on the song titles and the lyrics. I can tell in a nutshell what it's about, but I can't tell the deeper meaning behind the songs and why they were written.
The title track is about a girl which was sexually abused by the patriarch and even if the family members know about, nothing happened. That is a baffling and intolerably situation for the involved and appallingly it's still happening today and much too often!
It's been awhile since the debut was released. Why did it took so long to get the follow-up into the stores?
Unfortunately the cooperation with the label we've been singed to wasn't very good. The promotion wasn't pretty good and the distribution was really bad. The album sold good, just because we played a lot live and so got the concert visitors to buy our album. Beside that at the end of the 90's the market for metal wasn't pretty good and so our drummer and bassist left the band for personal reasons. Just before the beginning of the new millennium we found the new members and were able to get out of the contract. Afterwards our guitarist Gerd and I started the pre-production in our own studio. During a workshop we met our producer Andy Horn. The album was finally done in early 2002 and in spring 2002 we signed with Massacre Records.
The current album your recorded at the Famous Kitchen Studio with producer Andy Horn. Why did you choose Andy Horn?
As I said before, we met Andy during a workshop. He was interested in our material even before the pre-production and we agreed to send him a demo tape as soon as possible. At that time he was producing the Lanfear album Zero Poems and we really liked his work - the sound and his musical skills.
What was different between the recordings of this album and the debut?
The recordings for the debut had to be done within 2 weeks and so we wanted to be prepared better this time. Gerd and I invested a lot of time and money to build our own small studio. There we recorded most of the songs and analyst them on the song structures, etc. Often you realize when you record a song, if it'll work or not. That gave us the possibility to see on long-term, if a song will do or not. We could put it aside for a few days or weeks and then listen again. Usually you don't have that time during a production. Beside that you usually don't get a huge budget from a label...
How would you describe your music? What inspires you?
We tried to record a modern metal album. We combine classic metal elements with technical elements like loops and samples. The catchy melody is like a red fathom which leads the listener through the songs. The instrumental parts are the most complex ones. We usually don't arrange songs in a classical way. Even if I tried to describe our music, it's the best to make up your mind e.g. on our homepage www.anguish.de and there you can listen to some MP3's.
The amount of musical influences is really big in Anguish. It spans from the good, old 80's metal like Accept, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden up to these days bands like Nevermore, Tool, Pantera and to the usual must prog bands like Fates Warning, Rush, Dream Theater and Queensrÿche. I should state that these bands are just influences and that it doesn't mean that we sound that way!
Who is writing the lyrics? Which topics you prefer? What inspires you to write lyrics?
As a singer I'm responsible for the lyrics. The last years for us as a band and for me that an individual and the consequence is that we don't have this party kind of lyrics. Honestly I think it's a pity that just a few bands and songwriters use this platform to transport serious messages. I don't want to blame anyone, but personally I think it's a pity.
On Symmetry are a few very personal lyrics where I tried to work up my conflict with the party very stiff society which is party against creativity. Fear Of The Rain is an adaptation of a poem I wrote and where I tell about the bitter experiences which I made on my way to find my place in life.
When you walk through life with open eyes and an open mind and take a look outside your own little universe then there are more then enough inspiration for lyrics. More then you can bear sometimes....
The track N.E.W. seems to deal with a more serious topic. Please tell us more about! And why do you decide to do with The Decision (N.E.W. Reprise) a kind of part 2 at the end of the album, even if not as the last track?
On the album us a kind of hidden trilogy which are the songs N.E.W., Dreaming and The Decision. I got inspired by one of my favorite movies which is Terry Giliam's Brazil. The opener N.E.W. is telling the story of the protagonist which we knowingly didn't named, who lives in a fiction society called Fearotopia. It's a totalitarian society where was no space for individuals. In his dreams he lives his impulse for freedom and he discovers the possibility to fly and to cross the boarders and social conventions. In the interpretation of dream the sequences of flying in dreams is the urge for changes. The wish for freedom, to arise and to free from bonds.
In the song Dreaming the dreams turn into nightmares in which a figure haunts him and call upon him to break free from his restraint being. The Decision is finishing the story with a kind of feverish dream - we picked up musical main theme of N.E.W. - where you can hear again and again that everybody is responsible for his life and can choose this way.
The 'story' describes very well the feelings and problems I have to deal with as a thinking person in this society. I'm sure that I'm not the only one!!!
Are you writing songs as a band? Or does someone comes up with a more or less finished track?
Usually one or another comes up with a riff or an idea for a structure. The whole song emerge from the band. So everybody can get involved in the songs in Anguish. I'm luckily have the God-given talent to play several instruments, so that I take over the biggest part in arranging the songs. But I can say that song writing is a band thing! And we are proud about that! I can't understand that there are musicians who are proud of the fact that they are writing the songs of the band. I see it more as an evidence of incapacity and as a sign for low self-esteem and a lack of teamwork, if you can't accept the ideas of the other band members. But if they want to do it that way it's fine with me, as long as we can do it our way!
Which song represents the album Symmetry best in your opinion?
Actually I won't really name a single track, coz I think that the entirety of our new album is what makes it interesting. It reflects the multifariousness of the band while it shows the coexistence of different atmospheric moments. We are not afraid of combining slow parts with harder ones. Some said that this combinations wouldn't support the song... I think that just narrow-minded people can say that. I think it's a pity that we had to experience that some critics are too narrow-minded. Especially because this persons should be open-minded and able to rate the music of others more objective.
What is the difference for you between your debut and Symmetry?
On our debut we used more straight power metal elements and on Symmetry we use more complex song structures. The new songs are more mature and better elaborate. Like I said before I just came in before the recordings of Lost Days Of Infancy and so I wasn't much involved in the musical and lyrical developing of the album. On the new album I had more possibilities to experimentalize with my voice and also to work with Andy was a great experience. He has a great sense for exceptional choir insets as you can hear on Symmetry.
How far are you still satisfied with the debut nowadays?
For the amount of time and the possibilities we had, we get the optimum. Now we would change things, for sure. But it will be the same with Symmetry in awhile. You constantly develop and change which is good. Some of the tracks of our debut album we still play live and some of them we rearranged, but they are still heavy and the fans like it!
You surely got first reactions on the release. Are you satisfied with the reactions of the media so far?
The reactions on Symmetry are really great, sure there is one or the other critic which isn't that good, but... I think you can't satisfy everybody. Anyway, we are thankful for every fair comment. What I can't take if a journalist hasn't done his homework or is just in a bad mood and what's to handle it by writing a bad critic. That's unprofessional and everyone who works that way should get another job. Luckily that's the exception and most of the journalists do a really good job (independent of the fact, if it's a good or bad review).
Is a tour planned for fall?
Right now there isn't a bigger tour scheduled. For sure we will play some single shows in clubs and venues. We hope that we finally can get on the road in spring. But you can write our label and convince them that we have to play in your town! ;-)
What can the fans expect from Anguish live? Many don't know you...
Everybody who saw us live will say that we are live much heavier then on CD. Beside that we love to give the songs a fresh life. So, it can happen that there are new parts included or that we changed some melody lines. We have a lot of fun when we are on stage and it's obvious when you watch us. I think that's another thing which makes us differ from other prog bands. Also you get some stage acting, so come and see us!
During the last years you toured with bands like Axxis, U.D.O. and Nazareth. What experiences do you made on that tours?
It was a great experience to tour with such great musicians. Beside that it was a fantastic chance to present Anguish to a larger audience. Due to the live shows we played we got a lot of routine and after awhile you play the stuff less tensed and you can have more fun on stage. That is also good for the audience.
Did you think that as a band you got more united?
Definitely! When you are together for several days, weeks on a limited space than you have to work hand in hand, otherwise you soon want to kill each other. We are a fantastic team with our PA and light crew, we go together through highs and lows! That kind of people are invaluable and there isn't one show where I don't thank them for what they are doing.
What do you think about MP3? Do you think that it can help a young band?
It's a good possibility to present yourself to a larger audience. The developing of the internet us very important for young and unknown bands, in my opinion. A conflicting thing is the boom of bootlegging CDs. Actually the big names are the ones who complain, but young bands are effected too, coz they got measured on the sales figures, so every sold copy is important. Otherwise the label drops you as fast as you can say blank CD. If this progresses as fast as in the past then soon we have less newcomer bands.
Do you have a homepage? What can fans find there?
The URL is www.anguish.de
At the moment we have just a preview kind of page, but soon there will be a complete feature of the band. Information about the musicians, picture, MP3's, wallpapers, video streams, links, reviews and interviews. Also merchandising and many more!
What can we expect from Anguish in future?
I hope a lot! We already started writing new material for our 3rd album which at least should be out in one year. In the meantime we will play gigs and hopefully we can do a tour!
Famous last words.... Anything you want to tell the fans?
At least we want to say thank you to our families, friends and everybody who helped us. And we want to thank our fans who stick to us even at tough times. Whenever we were down and thought about giving up they were there and encouraged us to keep going on. That gave us the power to continue. You are our inspiration!!!! Thanks!!!!
Also we want to say thanks to all the magazines, radio stations, journalists, e-zines and websites who helped us catch the attention of a larger audience through reviews and interviews.
The answers of singer Nuño gave us a little overview about the band and their history. For me it was interesting to read the answers and I hope that I'll have the chance to see them live. The album impressed me and usually bands live even stronger... Let's see what future holds for the German quintet.