Vince Cavanagh of Anathema Speaks Forth on Gigs, DVDs and Elderly Orchestral Musicians...

"They’re kind of getting on a bit and it wasn’t healthy for them to be out in the baking sun..."

Anathema’s Vincent Cavanagh is chilling in a splendid Brisbane hotel, recharging after the band’s recent Adelaide gig; he mentions the venue was reminiscent of an old cabaret hall. Was it a case of ‘dinner and a show’? No, for as Vince points out “I didn’t bring my tux!”
So before the upcoming Brisbane gig, what are your plans? “There are a couple of things I wouldn’t mind seeing – it depends on the weather [which is particularly shit at the moment]. To be honest I usually take myself out; I just take myself out and do my own thing.” So there’ll be a few more Australian gigs then it’s back to Europe to finish; it’s been a long tour, yes?  He agrees, “It has been, but we’re kind of at the end of it now; Distant Satellites (2014) has been out now for a year and a bit so this is the last stretch of touring we’ve got for that record.”

I mention the acoustic sets and he points out that “We’ve been doing the acoustic set for years now – we’ve been developing it and building on it for the best part of ten years, and it’s only in the last couple of years that it’s really come to the fore – and now we’ve had this chance to do the DVD…it’s always been an ambition to put out a live concert at some point, providing the venue was right, and then Liverpool Cathedral…well, that was it. It was a total no-brainer. It was like ‘This is what we’ve been waiting for’…” Ah yes, the live DVD A Sort of Homecoming filmed in hometown Liverpool; has the Cathedral always been a part of your life growing up in Liverpool? I suspect Vincent is still amazed at having played there. There’s awe in his voice as he recounts “I never really imagined that we’d get the chance to play there but it’s a really special place. It’s enormous; when you get inside you can really appreciate how fucking massive the place is! None of us were religious growing up but we used to go to the building a lot when we were in town, just because it’s so impressive, regardless of your views on it.” Ah yes, sitting on the steps, drinking beer and smoking fags? He laughs, adding “We used to hang out in the gardens a little bit and get up to some stuff…” I ask if there were concerns about Anathema’s ability to fill the venue seeing as they’re one of those bands that are particularly massive overseas but strangely not so much in their home country. “I don’t really think about these things but I was pleasantly surprised; it sold out in the first few days of going on sale. That was a huge bit of recognition from your home town so for us, a band that’s always been on the fringes of the Liverpool scene, we’re known as  ‘that band that’s big in other countries’…so to get that recognition from Liverpool, it was a bit special really.” His respect for the scene and bands of Liverpool is wholly apparent.

Getting back to the DVD; were you involved in the editing/production process? He mentions director Lasse Hoile and says “He’s an artist; you just leave him to it. We had a bit of a discussion about what kinds of things we wanted and then just left him to do it – you can always trust him to do a good job – besides I don’t really like looking at myself! I can’t stand it! I don’t watch any of our live films – I’ve seen little bits here and there but I’ve never seen a whole clip.” And the live album Untouchable; surprisingly it’s not lifted straight from the DVD but was recorded in Bulgaria with the strings section of the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra – how was it working with such auspicious musicians? Again, he’s quite awed by the experience. “It was great – the orchestra were great; they were troopers because we only had a couple of hours to rehearse and the morning of the show was so hot and some of these people in the orchestra, they’re kind of getting on a bit and it wasn’t healthy for them to be out in the baking sun all day – but they were great, and they did a great job on the night as well.”

Vince is a refreshingly down to earth guy and our time is at an end so I let him get back to planning his walk-about adventure in Brisbane before the imminent gig. Meanwhile the DVD and album are out now so get involved with Anathema’s swathe of live material – and you can also catch them on the remaining dates of their current Australian tour too.
Do it. Do it now.

Thursday 29th October Brisbane, The Triffid
Friday 30th October Sydney, Metro Theatre
Saturday 31st October Melbourne, Corner Hotel
Sunday 1st November Perth, Rosemount Hotel