UK’s Antimatter has released a new album called A Profusion Of Thought, which simply amazed me and I was blown away by its sound, the elements, and everything that this album is!
Once again, I had the pleasure to talk with Antimatter’s Mick Moss, who took the time to answer my questions about A Profusion Of Thought, as well as approaching other subjects.
Greetings Mick and nice chatting with you again. How is everything going?
Okay at the moment, I’ve actually just made the decision to start antidepressants. It’s something I’ve been putting off for decades, but seeing as I’m not getting any younger I thought, fuck it, why not, let’s see if it helps at all. I’m quite tranquilized at the moment, and my head is just getting around the fact that everything goes at about 2 miles per hour now. I’m awaiting therapy and I’m pretty sure that I’ll be diagnosed with some form of OCD, something that’s been rampant in my head for decades. It gets pretty messy up there but it’s also one of the reasons I’ve been so focused on my work for so long, that obsessive tendency. It’s when I stop working on music that the messy thoughts start to coalesce, so it’s kind of essential that I’m always focused on something creative. The way I see it I can use my obsessive tendencies for something positive rather than letting them get the better of me.
First of all, congrats on the new album, when I listened to A Profusion Of Thought I was mindblown. An amazing release! Those atmospheric elements…
Thank you, I’m really happy with how this album turned out. I’m a lot happier with this album now than I was with the last one when I’d just finished it, if you know what I mean. I’m particularly happy with the track ‘’Fold’’, a song I started writing back in 2005 which was actually removed quite early from the running for the Leaving Eden album and has languished in my archive ever since. So that was a real joy to finally get it finished, recorded, and out into the real world. Lyrically it sees me in quite a vulnerable place as I began writing it 18 years ago as I moved forward to continue Antimatter alone whilst the project was literally in the most debt it had ever been seen. The financial trend for Antimatter from the first album right through to the advance for the third album was simply a red line going steadily downwards, not good, and ‘’Fold’’ deals with how I saw my position at the time with a sinking project that was incredibly important to me as it been a constant source of therapy, historically helping me through some very tough times, and really, I wouldn’t quit it for any reason. In fact, to highlight that with an example, I had been asked to join Anathema back in 2002 whilst they were doing very well for themselves and Antimatter was dead in the water, but I respectfully turned them down immediately because I wanted to remain in and with my own project as that’s where my heart and soul was, still is, and always will be. So, anyway, a few years later moved on to the fourth Antimatter album, Leaving Eden which I was convinced would continue the trend of a financial downward spiral. And with it being the last album on the existing contracts I didn’t have much faith in the contracts getting renewed if the debt continued, something that would spell the end of a project that had been basically propping my mental health up for the last ten years. Hence the lyric ”this can’t fold, or I’ll fold too…”
Then what’s the story behind A Profusion Of Thought?
Every Antimatter album I have written, or been part of writing, has been the result of a long period of composition, where I ultimately end up with too many songs for one release. This inevitably means that every few years my archive gets hit with 4 or 5 more tracks that are destined to never be heard as due to each album being tied to a specific concept I cannot simply take these songs for the next release as they’re conceptually alien. I realized a few years ago that when I die these songs will die with me, so I made it my mission to rescue 10 tracks from the abyss. These are the songs you were never going to hear, an alternate reality that has been kept hidden in the shadows. It was a labor of love dragging these out, patching up holes, and finishing off songs I started years ago. (‘’Breaking The Machine’’ originally destined for ‘’Lights Out’’ was started in 2001, abandoned quickly afterward, and finished in 2021. So that was a song twenty years in the making). These are the siblings of songs from Leaving Eden, Planetary Confinement, Black Market Enlightenment, The Judas Table, Fear Of A Unique Identity, and Lights Out, and their exclusion from those albums wasn’t due to any lack of quality either, it was simply due to space limitations. At the time I sadly had to make deliberate decisions on which tracks to cut. Maybe a song was taken off because it felt too similar to one already on the album, or too different to the rest of the album as a whole, or I’d gotten the tempo wrong, or perhaps there was a small section that I couldn’t figure out. All different reasons. But if your album has too many tracks then you just have to be ruthless, get the hatchet out, and start chopping, sometimes for the slightest of reasons. Making this album was an interesting but challenging process to go through and I couldn’t have completed it without having a genuine love for each of these 10 pieces.
Tho, between Black Market Enlightenment and A Profusion… passed about 4 years. Why it took a bit longer to release a new album? Was the Covid pandemic one of the factors?
There were quite a few factors, actually. Firstly I had the live CD/DVD An Epitaph to work on and get released. Then along came covid, which I caught straight away. Recovery from that was a long process, it really hit my lungs hard to the extent that I wondered whether I would ever be able to sing live again. My breathing was fucked for a long time. Everyone has their own story of lockdown I guess. For me, I just shelved Antimatter and got into collaborations with people in order to avoid going nuts, and to avoid some other horrible shit that was going off behind the scenes with some people here that affected me deeply.
And then the shit just carried on coming… two people from my schooldays died just days apart from each other, one from suicide and another from a freak accident. Then I was given the heads-up by a friend that some lies had been spoken about me in an interview back then, which really alerted me to the depths that some people are willing to go to in this industry when competitiveness is in their mindset, you know? Also,
Brexit was looming and there were all kinds of doomy forecasts for the UK music business. So, yeah that was a shitty time. Everything at once. So like I said, I rested Antimatter for a bit, but then that meant I was doing nothing with my time… so inevitably I did other musical things instead, and that was a real blessing in disguise as it opened me right up and opened my future up too. For example, the MMXX project with Andrea Chiodetti was a nice one, in fact ‘’The Tower’’ from that album is one of my career highlights. I enjoyed writing those songs with him so much that we have formed a new project together (my 3rd project after Antimatter and Sleeping Pulse) which we are already deep into the demos for, it’s pretty cool, like a melodic metal/grunge mashup. So, I wouldn’t have MMXX or this new project if I had been working on Antimatter in 2020/21 as I would have refused all offers for collaborations. So in the end, that period where I shelved Antimatter turned out to be so fucking fruitful and beneficial.
During that time I also took part in making the video for ‘’The Colors Of Grace’’ by Oceans Of Slumber which is a duet with myself and Cammie Gilbert and is a song that myself, Dobber, and Cammie were really happy with. It appears on their self-titled album from 2020 which went into the UK Top 40 Metal Album charts at number 11, so congratulations to them for that. Originally the plan was that I would fly to Texas to film the video but then the world closed down and we ended up in isolation, so we opted to make a lockdown video instead, which wasn’t the best circumstances as we were limited with what we could do. Plus I was just getting over covid and operating a cheap camera in isolation 5,000 miles away from Cammie who was doing the same. But we got through it and made a pretty decent DIY lockdown video. And then the record label released it as a straight-up promo without specifically saying it was a lockdown video, haha, Oh well…
What I like about Antimatter’s music, as I mentioned above too, are those atmospheric elements used, which create an amazing and relaxing atmosphere, of course. I really like when bands are using such elements. How do you approach their use?
I always work to a gut feeling. I grew up obsessed and hypnotized by music, being held by it in a kind of medicated trance even from a very early age. Music is literally my life, I’m in a relationship with it and always have been. So when I’m working on my own music, I strive to maintain that inner feeling. I know when something doesn’t feel right in my work, and sometimes it’s hard to figure out exactly what that is, but I obsess and obsess until I’ve eliminated anything that makes me lose that gut feeling. So every song and arrangement has passed some kind of inner test. Also, a good indicator of a strong song for me is if I walk around all day long being unable to shake the bloody thing out of my head.
The new album is released independently (again). Is it better and easier for you now to release the albums this way than signing with a label again?
It’s not easier, no, it’s a whole bunch of extra work to self-release. If I had a label I would hand in the masters and that would be the end of the process, the label would take care of the rest while I went out on tour. By having my own label, Music In Stone, the process isn’t finished when the album is recorded. I have to instead move on to manufacturing, setting up the art files, running the pre-orders, taking care of the postage out to all of the customers, liaising with distributors, and still go out on tour. It gets pretty heavy. But there’s also a sense of satisfaction in doing all that.
Can you name at least 2-3 main elements that in your opinion are important, resulting in a good music-writing process?
Vibe, lyrics, melody, and arrangement are the four corners of what I consider to be a well-rounded piece.
Where do you find the inspiration for new music?
It just seems to come out of me. I pick up the guitar when I’m feeling a certain way like something wants to come out, and just see what happens. Other times I may just be experimenting with a synth or some beats, and I’ll work into a sequence that lights me up. Sometimes a song will fall out of me in one sitting, and there’s a kind of frantic rush to get it recorded before it leaves my head or gets messed up. One way or another I just seem to keep writing songs. Though admittedly I haven’t written a new Antimatter song for a long time. Instead, I’ve been composing with people on other projects, and that’s been very fruitful indeed.
Not sure if I’ve seen and got it right, but are you going to release a new live album?
Eventually yeah, I’ll get another live CD/DVD release out maybe in early 2024. I’ve got a lot of stuff to work on that I honestly don’t know in what order everything will come out. I’ve got a solo acoustic covers album that’s been sat in demo form on my computer for years, the second Sleeping Pulse album, my new project with Andrea Chiodetti, and the live Antimatter CD/DVD. That’ll keep me busy for the next two years I think, maybe longer. I’ll be 50 by the time I get them 4 releases out.
Are there any shows/tours planned? I hope to see you again very soon!
Well, I’ve taken some months off touring since November due to burnout, as I really do have to work on my mental state. I’ve spent so much time caring about and looking after Antimatter, something I’ve done religiously for so long, that I’ve forgotten to look after myself. So, as I say, I’m medicated these days, which does seem to have helped so far. When I do get back onto the road I’ll take the live band to headline the Sabbath Stage at Mystic Festival, Poland in June and then we’re off to play Graspop, Belgium. Later in the year in September, we will play Metal Gates Romania with Katatonia. Really looking forward to those three dates. Sometime in the future, I’d like to do a full band solo tour, as I’ve got so many non-Antimatter songs that I’ve sung on or co-written such as Sleeping Pulse, MMXX, Trees of Eternity, Oceans Of Slumber, Michal Lapaj, Beautified Project. It would be really cool to collect them all together into an electric live show.
Ending the interview, is there anything else would you like to add?
If anybody is struggling right now, just know that you’re not alone and change will come.
Mick, thanks again for your time, as always, is a pleasure to talk to you. Cheers and hope to see you soon on the road!
Pictures by Krzysiek Jester Baran.
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