ARTISTdirect.com editor-in-chief Rick Florino recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
ARTISTdirect.com: [Your solo tracks] “Family, ‘Friends,’ And Associates” and “Conflict” from the “War Of The Gargantuas” split [with WARBEAST] simply slay. They’re truly intense, but they still showcase another evolution for you.
Anselmo: I appreciate the kind words, man. I really do. I think those songs are still a far cry from the full-length [“Walk Through Exits Only”] that will be coming out this upcoming summer, though. To me, they’re more in line with the straight-ahead songs I’ve come up with. Be prepared for a different listen when you hear the upcoming full-length. I wanted to do something different with a lot of fucking energy that would, I guess, come off as faster or more energetic than your basic fast playing at a million miles an hour with blast beats. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s just been overdone so many times. In my mind, there are ways to rhythmically capture a lot of energy without having to resort to the common way or speed-for-the-sake-of-speed feel. If you look at the basic drum beat on “Conflict”, it’s not a blast beat. It’s a big syncopation of kick drums and toms. It creates a massive energy with the double-picking guitar. It’s a first taste people can wrap their heads around. Be forewarned when the full-length comes out, though.
ARTISTdirect.com: Lyrically, “Family, ‘Friends,’ and Associates” and “Conflict” throw a real gut punch. Is this a little more direct than the DOWN material which is more visual, hypnotic, and ethereal?
Anselmo: I would agree with you one hundred percent. With the DOWN lyrics, the listeners can take them and interpret them in their own ways. With the solo shit, I’m being very direct. There isn’t any wordplay. There isn’t any hidden message. It’s all right there in front of you. There it is.
ARTISTdirect.com: How important is it to have time to really think between records?
Anselmo: With a band like DOWN, one thing we have definitely discovered about ourselves is we can’t overthink the product. If you put the five of us in the same room, it’s going to sound like DOWN, especially when the objective is to write DOWN songs. It’s going to turn out sounding like us. There isn’t some big fucking science to it or anything like that. Even with the second record or definitely with the third record, maybe we were thinking too much or trying to put too much emphasis on trimming fat or overthinking production — whatever the hell it may be. It made us very cognizant of why people would choose “Nola” over the second or third record as their favorite. Really, we took the same approach as we did with the early demos for the EP. That was “Don’t fucking overthink the goddamn thing, man. Don’t put too much emphasis. Don’t waste so much fucking time trying when you damn well know how to fucking do it.” For us, the best way to do things is to get true and honest sounds. On the new EP, we let stuff be very raw. Of course, that’s fine by us. The records we generally listen to are under-produced and raw. Those are some of our favorite fucking records. That part of it was easy. Approaching the lyrics was very easy for me. It seems like the more I detached myself from the project, the more honest it became and the easier it became. You’ve got to figure, on “Nola”, there are parts on some people’s favorite songs like “Stone The Crow” where I’m not even saying anything. In time, those incomprehensible yellings become words and people can sing what they think I’m saying. [laughs] It all becomes one fucking organic type of real jam session. The less time you spend fucking moping over the situation, it turns out better. At least it’s that way with DOWN.
Read the entire interview from ARTISTdirect.com.