Interview with Anubis

Interview with Anubis

- in Written interviews

Hi guys! What inspired the concept behind your upcoming album, “Dark Paradise,” and how does it reflect the evolution of Anubis as a band?
If you’ve been following our digital release up until now, this album is the logical next step. It takes every influence we’ve expressed thus far and pushes it. Melodic parts are more melodic, heavy parts are heavier, etc.

Really though, just the fact that this album exists at all is a step forward. The question we’ve gotten the most often has been “the digital EPs are cool, but where’s the full-length?” And our answer was that we always felt like it wouldn’t make sense to go forward with a full-length until being picked up by a label. This is where we’re unbelievably fortunate to have been picked up by M-Theory.

Devin, you’ve been involved in both thrash metal and power metal scenes. How do these experiences influence your approach to songwriting and performing with Anubis?
Being involved in both scenes has made me realize the degree to which I can’t live without musical influences from both genres. If I had to restrict myself to just the musical ideas found in one or the other, it would feel like being trapped in a cage. I can’t do music without aggression, and I also can’t do it without strong melody. So really, a band like this one is basically the only environment where I’d ever feel completely free.

“Dark Paradise” is your debut album and first release with M-Theory Audio. How has this partnership impacted the creative process and promotion of the album?
The phrase I’ve found myself using the most to describe this label to people is “pro-artist”. I’ve found them to be incredibly generous and incredibly supportive of what we’re aiming to do. They really appear to have a passion for helping the artists do the types of things that would be difficult or impossible on their own.

Can you share any memorable stories or experiences from your journey as a band, particularly during your time in Southern California’s music scene?
I think for me, the best story is the shooting of the “I, Anachronism” music video. We all drove up to San Francisco after having put out a couple of ads for extras to be zombies. We had absolutely no idea how many people were going to show up, if anyone did at all… yet about 50 people ended up showing up and doing a huge zombie mosh pit… and we got done filming in about 4 hours. It’s still one of the best looking things we’ve done.

As individuals, what unique strengths do each of you bring to Anubis, and how does this contribute to the band’s dynamic?
I think that everyone’s strength is their creative voice. This is something that was very important to me when finalizing the lineup – I didn’t want to have to creatively micro-manage anyone. I didn’t want to have to be shooting down bad ideas and then trying to explain why. Generally speaking, whenever someone has and idea, be it for a new song or change to an existing song, I’m pretty close to 100% confidence that it’s going to be an improvement without even having to hear it.

This’ll become a lot clearer on the follow-up to “Dark Paradise,” which will be the first large-scale project undertaken by this exact lineup. My hope is that album 2 will be our “Use Your Illusion” – a massive project that’s a perfect blending of 5 unique, unmistakable voices.

What challenges did you face during the production of “Dark Paradise,” and how did you overcome them as a team?
The biggest challenge was actually dealing with members who didn’t want to sign to a label or release this as a full-length to begin with. Suffice it to say that those members are no longer in the band, and everyone currently involved in on the same page about large career choices like that.

With “Dark Paradise” being a significant milestone for Anubis, how do you see the band’s sound evolving in the future?
The more musical ideas we all consume, the more Anubis’s sound is going to evolve. So far the next batch of songs is already touching on ideas and sub-genres that have been completely unheard of in our catalog thus far, so as long as we each keep listening to new music, the sound is going to keep moving forward.

Can you discuss the themes of escapism and darkness present in “Dark Paradise” and how they resonate with your audience?
Honestly, I think this is question that you’ll have to ask members of our audience, because I don’t think I’m qualified to talk about how other people feel about themes that I write about.

The most honest way to answer this question is that I always write about whatever is taking up a lot of space in my brain at the moment. And like anyone else, I expend my mental space divided between reality and fiction. Sometimes I’m inspired to write about subjects that are painfully real, and other times I’m inspired to write about escapist fiction. Whichever approach resonated with people more, the one thing I can promise the listeners is that they’ll never, ever be pandered to in our material.

What role does storytelling play in your songwriting process, and how do you craft narratives within your music?
I mean, that’s all songwriting is, isn’t it? A different form of storytelling?

The more I’ve observed about songwriting, the more I’ve noticed that the most effective expressions of it fall more or less into an “introduce theme, introduce conflict, resolve conflict, conclude theme” format – which is exactly the way storytelling works. The goal of songwriting is to trick the audience into not realizing that that’s what they’re being given.

How do you maintain authenticity and sincerity in your lyrics, especially when addressing themes of struggle and introspection?
That’s kind of… never been a problem for me. I lack the ability to self-censor, even when it’s clearly to my benefit to do so. If anything, I tend to be too honest and to overshare, and I think that tendency comes out in how I approach lyric writing as well.

One criticism I’ve heard is that in terms of tone, we tend to be too all-over-the-place – for example, putting a relatively upbeat, major key-ish song like “Fallen” right next to a borderline old school death metal song like “Devour”. To me though, if I’m happy one moment, and angry the next, I outright lack the ability to not have that come out musically.

In a world saturated with digital content, how do you ensure that your live performances capture the essence of Anubis’ music?
This is another question that I don’t know how comfortable I feel answering, because I don’t like to “grade my own paper” when it comes to the quality of our live performances. I will say however that we go to pretty good lengths to not just “stand around.” We approach each band practice as if it we a live performance itself, and based on the reception, I’m content with the result.

How do you see the role of metal music evolving in contemporary society, and what responsibilities do artists have in shaping its trajectory?
Well, when I see the world today, I see a lot of anger and frustration. And at it’s most effective, what metal music offers people is a space to be angry in.

When I look at the metal scene today, I see a scene that’s lightyears more diverse than it was 20 years ago. If the scene as a whole can hang onto that trajectory, and avoid falling into stodgy, outmoded ways of approaching social progress, I think it can stay a relevant counter-culture into the foreseeable future.

What does success mean to each of you personally, and how do you measure it within the context of Anubis?
To me personally, every individual person who hears our shit and gets it is a success. Every time someone says “man, I’ve been wanting to get into power metal for a long time, I just wish it was heavier”, that’s a success. If we play a show and five people come up and say some variation on that, that was a very, very successful night.

Anything beyond that is a layup. I’m under no delusion that anyone playing metal should expect any degree of conventional success in the current-year music industry, so as long as this is a viable creative outlet, and as long as we’re reaching people, I’m completely content.

Beyond the music itself, what other forms of art or literature influence the creative direction of Anubis?
Literally everything. LOL.

We’ve got songs in our back catalog that are homages to the classic Castlevania games, we have songs about ancient mythology, songs about current events from the news, references to 19th-century russian literature… anything any of us experience that leaves a lasting impact has the potential to show up in our band output.

What’s next for Anubis? Thank you for your time!
Hopefully touring. Booking DIY tours is completely uncharted territory for me, so we’ll see what comes of it. In the meantime though, we’re about 65% of the way through recording for Album 2. Plus we’ve got a few covers in the mixing/mastering stage, so just keep following our socials and there’s going to be more than enough noise coming from our little corner of this world.

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