Interview with Timothy Newman and Stuart Hunter | By Morgan Y. Evans
The UK’s Anacondas have written a frenetic, muscular Prosthetic Records debut entitled Sub Contra Blues that puts to shame many bands whose wells have run dry. Anacondas show that experi-metal is alive and well.
How are you boys today? How was breakfast?
Tim (drums): Fine, thank you. Today I had scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast, wrote an article about goats, and bought some net curtains. Living the dream, basically.
Stuart (guitar/vocals): I had crumpets. What did you have Morgan?
Paul Newman Vanilla Almond Cereal. How did you decide on the vocal style for the band? “Moon On Fire” reminds me of a more rock take on Jesu’s Conqueror stuff, honestly. One of my favorite albums, so that rules.
Stuart: Anacondas was conceived as an instrumental project but we decided to add vocals as another dynamic to add other melodies with all 3 of us contributing. We didn’t want to do the obvious thing of just using guttural or shouting vocals like with a lot of heavy music, though these styles do lend themselves to many parts of the album. We tried to adopt a more shoegaze approach to some of the vocals to counteract the heavy parts. So I can see where you might get the Jesu comparison from. I’m a fan of Justin Broadrick’s work myself.
Do you intend to stay a 3 piece? I love power trios like Motörhead. Their Bastards album with two guitars was killer but nothing beats seeing a three piece just kill it. But you guys sound HUGE, another world!
Tim: I don’t think there is a third person in the world that would be able to put up with Stuart for long periods of time so I think we shall forever be a three piece.
Stuart: Thanks, Mate! The idea was always to keep it as minimal as possible but with maintaining a big sound. Generally achieved by the tuning we use and the loudness that we play it at. I personally love working as a three piece because it means we can bounce ideas off each other pretty quickly, making the writing more natural.
How did you get involved with Prosthetic? This is my favorite release from the label in awhile!
Stuart: Why, thank you. Prosthetic approached us after checking us out on bandcamp. We’re honored that they are putting out Sub Contra and can’t wait to get on to the next album after pushing this one.
I hear indie rock and alternative influences and blues and sludge and metal in your sound. “Sub Contra Blues” or “The Witches” defy expectation and have some big rock riffs as well. The shit is really muddy but involved at the same time. Very cool sound. What were your record collections like growing up or even nowadays?
Stuart: Well James and I started listening to our father’s record collection early on. There was a lot of awesome guitar music in there such as Rory Gallagher, Cream, Zeppelin, The Kinks to name a few. I remember finding Paranoid in his collection and being fascinated by it. That was the record that made me first pick up the guitar. But generally we grew up in the 80s and 90s so listened to a lot of thrash, death metal, grunge, indie and hardcore. Anything dirty and gritty.
Tim: My first influences were bands like PWEI, early Blur stuff, Neds Atomic Dustbin and all that. Then I got into grunge when that came around. Over the years there’s been a lot of music influences but I’ve always felt that I was listening to grunge at the time that I was learning to play music and so that’s the influence that has stuck with me the longest. I used to absolutely love TAD. I reckon his Inhaler album probably influenced my song writing the most out of anything. That and Helmet’s Betty.
TAD rules, always. Anywhere particular you love playing? I heard The Green Door Store in Brighton is supposed to be cool. You need to play with Kylesa somewhere or that band Conan. What are some of your favorite haunts, music related or otherwise?
Tim: The Green Door is a cool place to play and to hang out. It looks and feels just the right kind of dirty! The Albert is also good to play, a good size for bands like us and a kick ass sound system to boot.
Stuart: The Brighton scene has picked up again. It went a bit dead a few years ago when a lot of venues had to close down due in the recession. The Concorde 2 is another great venue with a big sound system, as is The Haunt where we supported Torche last year. And yes, Kylesa would be a great band to play with. Feel free to arrange that for us. Thanks.
Longer tangent here, but Avenged Sevenfold recently told Metal Hammer they were trying to be the next “classic” band, as not many of the younger generation have potentially made the same lasting impact of the great bands of yesterday. The Metallica’s and Judas Priests. To that end, many people like their recent #1 Hail To The King record but others felt it was just ripping off classic sounds. I like the idea behind what they were saying, regardless. Listening to old Guns N’ Roses or watching old VCR tapes here of Moscow Music Peace Festival and the Scorpions just owning the huge crowd, it makes me wonder if people over think it or if rock is being bred out of us by corporations pushing glossy pop songs. In the UK, rock n’ roll is second nature!
Stuart: The future looks pretty bleak if we have bands like Avenged Sevenfold trying to be the next classic band. Good luck to them, personally. I don’t think there will ever be “classic” bands in the sense of Metallica, Judas Priest and the like again because we just don’t live in that time anymore. In a similar respect there will never be another Shakespeare or Picasso again. It’s all happened already. How can you be classic if you don’t pioneer something? Just do your own thing and let others decide what will be classic or not.
Tim: Pop’s always been around. It’s more in your face now than ever, but as long as you know which way to turn your face you can still avoid it. Maybe the age of the mega-bands has finished, but I reckon that diversity in music will always grow. There’s nothing new under the sun, but there will always be people doing stuff that is awesome!
Do you guys consider yourselves a certain genre or just “rock,” or not worry about it? The good stuff is all rock at the end of the day, right? I mean, Danzig just did a killer cover song with the Runaway’s Cherie Currie covering lee Hazelwood’s “Some Velvet Morning” and it still worked.
Stuart: These days I’m sure half the reason bands get asked what genre they are is so that people know what to label them as in their ITunes library. Call it what you will, we don’t even know anymore. We draw influence from everything we listen to whether that be sludge, grunge, hardcore, shoegaze or electronic music. We keep hearing the term “Slunge,” which we think is pretty funny.
Watch their new video for “The Witches” here: