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Interview with Antimatter

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Last Updated on 07:20 PM by Lilliana Tseka

The enthusiasts of dark alternative and in their own way progressive sounds, are familiar with the musical and emotional treasures Antimatter have offered us through all these years. Since the British band will be visiting Athens and Thessaloniki in a few weeks, I seized the chance and had a chat with the band’s mastermind Mick Moss. Keep reading to find out what he told us!


Evening, Mick! Welcome to Metal Invader! Stoked to have you with us! How are thing flowing? I’m guessing you’re getting ready for the Judas Tour to kick off! 

Hello! Im hitting a busy time in the latter half of this year, which I suppose is a good thing as the rain starts to pour down here in Liverpool I guess its better to be distracted than to stare out of the window feeling useless. Over the next few weeks I have to score a strig quartet for 15 songs, that should keep me occupied I think!

You’ve mentioned somewhere that “The Judas Table” turned out better than you’d anticipated. A year has almost passed since the release of the record. Now that your mind is clearer and see things from distance, is “The Judas Table” indeed the success you hoped for? (- I don’t mean success in just commercial terms, but everything personal success envelops).

Yeah, it was such in intense time making that album, very work-heavy. I think for about four months I worked 10 hours a day with hardly a day off, so towards the end of that process I was going a bit loopy. But in the end it was totally worth it, Im so happy and proud to have added that album to my discography. Theres some very strong songs in there, in my humble opinion.

Antimatter have two new singles on the way: “Welcome To The Machine” (which I’m guessing that refers to your cover of Pink Floyd’s same titled track) and “Too Late”. Would you like to provide us with some information about this double release?

Them two titles have got to be the most requested at the merch stand after gigs. We started playing ‘Welcome To The Machine’ about 18 months ago after I worked out a very Antimatter treatment for it in my home studio. Originally I had done it to play at the BeProg! festival, Barcelona, which goes to show how log ago that was, summer 2014 I beleive, but we just couldnt nail it in time for the gig because Dave just couldnt get the guitar together in time. Eventually I put it in the set later that year, and it remained there ever since. People got so used to hearing it and they couldnt beleive that it wasnt available anywhere until now. ‘Too Late’ was I think the 3rd song I ever wrote back in 1996, so its shockingly now 20 years old. I got digital rights to release one single a few years ago, which I did with ‘Too Late’, and again fans started asking for physical copies at gigs. Im in between contracts at the moment so Im legally free to return to my own record label Music In Stone for a while and release these things myself, which is great as I have these two singles coming this month, and the DVD ‘Live Between The Earth & Clouds’ coming in March 2017.

The success of a “melancholic” record lies upon the impact it makes on the listeners, the emotions it causes, the intimacy it builds, the empathy and so on. The more pieces of yourself you add to a musical creation, the closer you are in succeeding the aforementioned goals. So, the questions raised are the following: A. Is personal experience the key factor that influences the lyrical themes of your tracks? B. The “Judas Table” elaborates on toxic relationships (of every kind) and the trail of disappointments, bitter feelings, psychological instability they leave behind. Do all these derive from a personal experience? Is the record in a way cathartic for you, considering you’ve been in such a dark place?

Of course everything I write is from personal experience, or the conclusions I have come to after much soul-serching and analysing personal experiences, it’s all I can draw from really. I dont write fiction, or words that dont mean anything (I know some writers just write words that sound nice, or sound right) so I have to draw from something, and what better way to do that than to analyse myself and the world around me as it has two positive outcomes – I get learn about my existence and I get to craft songs that not only satisfy me as a write but hopefully also have a resonance with the listener.

You’ve been active for two decades now, you’ve collaborated with numerous artists, participated in various projects, launched and established your own record label, and the list goes on. Being you is a full time job, ain’t it?

Haha, yeah it is. But most people work full time anyway, we have to do something with our lives. Im just lucky and blessed to have been able to do this, which is my passion.

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Having done all that, what’s that one thing you want to do / achieve in order to complete your personal puzzle? Is there a “dark desire” you don’t publicly or oftenly admit that you’d like to satisfy?

No, not really, my only drive is my work, so if theres any desires then they lie within that frame. So obviously with that in mind, I’d just like to be able to carry on and write music that Im proud of, perform gigs that light me up, and of course any writer would be lying if they said that they wouldnt like more people to get turned on to their work.

Antimatter is and has always been for me an imposing blend of various genres and emotions. Acoustic parts, progressive parts, electronic parts, etc… Where do you draw inspiration from? What’s the composing and recording procedure you follow? Is the perplexity of the tracks translating into hours of studio time?

Throughout my life Ive been in love with many genres of music, many different phases of myself as a music fanatic, and all of my loves are still inside me, whether it be the young 8 year old kid who spun an Ultravox record in 1984, the 14 year old who got hooked on Iron Maide, the 15 year old who heard Slayer for the first time, the 17 year old who started smoking hash and listening to Yes, all those people still live on inside me. Music has been my best friend existentially, my most cosistent and loyal companion throughout. I guess it all just comes out when I get to the process of taking my acoustic songs and working them into electric pieces for an album. I dont draw any lines between genres anymore, theres simply good music and bad music, and even that is subjective. Yeah, working songs out takes a long time, it always does. But I chip away because Im tenacious!

As far as I know, you write everything in the band and invite session musicians to join you. If I’m mistaken, please do correct me. Each of the musicians that accompany you, have their own personalities, mentality, ideas. Are your song track structures as flexible as they need to engulf all that? In other words, do your session musicians leave their mark or is their presence procedural?

Before any album is recorded I make a complete demo of any Antimatter track at home, which means I orchestrate all of the instruments and arrangements myself. Then the session musicians come in and I work with them to add what we call in England ‘the icing on the cake’, either on the demo or in the studio on the final product. As a rule of thumb I only get session musicians in to play instrumets I cant play (with the exception of bass or lead guitar which I sometimes play or sometimes do not), so that means drums, violin, female vocal. When I orchestate drums I do it in a very basic way, I’ll have specific patterns and fills and then the drummer will add some of himself into that. On the last album ‘The Judas Table’ I actually involved the rhythm section in the making of maybe 60-70% of the demos which was a new way of working for me, a lot easier in fact. Some poeple have brought a lot to the table in the past, for example Colin Fromont (‘Fear Of A Unique Identity’ drummer) did some excellent work bringing new patterns to the table, ultimate changing the shape of some parts. Lead guitar is another scenario. I played lead myself on the ‘Saviour’, ‘Lights Out’ and ‘Fear Of A Unique Identity’ albums and the ‘Too Late’ single, and got in session guys for ‘Leaving Eden’ and ‘The Judas Table’. Danny Cavanagh appeared on ‘Leaving Eden’ and for the most part I whistled his parts to him and instructed when it was to be octaves, slide guitar etc, and on two songs he improvised some stunning lead guitar work which completely took the pieces to the next level.  I could go on all day about what session player did what or what I did and it would get boring very quickly, but I think you get the idea.

Moving to another subject… You’ll be visiting Greece in less than a month! Are you as excited as we are? What have you prepared for us?

Yeah, you know what, I cant wait to get back, because its been a while now. Those first gigs back in 2003 were great memories for me, even though in my opinion the gigs were a bit lacklustre (its no secret that I wasnt happy with the majority of the early Antimatter acoustic gigs) but the audiences were great. So I cant wait to get back to Athens and Thessaloniki with the live band and do now what we should have been doing back then.

Are you familiar with the bands that’ll serve as supporting acts during your shows in Greece? What impression have they left you with?

No, Im afraid Im not familiar with the support acts. Im a very stubborn guy when it comes to music, I hardly ever listen to modern bands at all.

Well, that’s all from me. Thanks for the time you took to answer my questions! We’ll be meeting soon! Is there a message you’d like to send to our readers? The last words are yours!

Thanks to everyone for the continued support over the years, stay healthy!

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