ANTIFEAR is the new project of Darren White and Duncan Patterson, since curiosity killed us we had to ask about their project. With Duncan’s help, this interview came up.
“We were on an overnight train in Romania in 1994 and we discussed doing a project together, more punk and raw.”
Hello! How are things going in this period? Is it the most difficult period a band can go through? Have you ever had any similar situation in your career?
I’m doing ok. I had been on a long break before the whole coronavirus thing kicked off, so it hasn’t affected me so much. I had planned to record in April though and had to put that on hold. I’ve just been writing a lot and recording home demos. I now have about two albums worth of songs. So it’s been a very productive period for me.
Your career traces back to the early ’90s when you began your musical incursions as a member of Anathema. Can you recall your first ever musical experience?
I played in bands before Anathema and started playing music a long time before Anathema existed. My first ever musical experience, with an instrument, was playing the keyboard in a school nativity play when I was about nine years old.
How do you feel you have grown in the time since Anathema, Antimatter, or Íon, both personally and musically?
We are talking about more than half of my life here. It’s not so simple to sum it up in a few paragraphs. Barring the last five years, my musical journey has been documented. I’d have to write a book to explain the personal things though, which I will one day before I forget everything.
What are currently your main compositional- and production-challenges?
I don’t really see anything like that as a challenge as such. I just work on things until they sound or feel right to me. It’s a process that often takes time. Something things will happen fast. I wrote and arranged a song last week in less than an hour. Sounded terrible, as I just plugged the guitar straight in without tuning it, but I got the arrangement down before I forgot it. Other tracks can take years to finish, especially stuff that has been scrapped and revisited many years later. I’ve enjoyed working on the Antifear stuff. It’s the first time I have attempted to write guitar-based heavy music for about 25 years. I’m enjoying the process and I have encountered a style that comes naturally while not under any pressure at all.
Can you recall the moment when you and Darren White thought you could be in a group together again? Was it hard to think of the ‘Antifear’ name that you both agree on?
We were on an overnight train in Romania in 1994 and we discussed doing a project together, more punk and raw. Something Hellhammerish but with a more political theme. We have been in touch a lot more since the Resonance Tour and sometime this year decided to record a 7″ in the vein of that conversation we had back in 1994. I started writing and the music came quickly. I suddenly had 3 tracks worth of music. Then more ideas came and I had all these songs written in my head and using pen and paper to write down the chord structures etc. So I bought and borrowed some equipment so that I could record demos at home and send them to Darren. The whole idea has grown wings now and we are working on a full-length album. As for the name, it took us a while to come up with a name that stuck with both of us. But with the whole thing, we have agreed to do it without pressure, to work freely and let ideas come and go. Darren came up with the name Antifear and we agreed it was strong but continued to look for ideas. After a while, we decided to stick with it, and here we are.
“The ANTIFEAR stuff is more riff-based. Like gothic punk, influences from Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Discharge, Christian Death, Fugazi, The Cure.”
Generally, how do you both go about writing your music? Do you write together or separately?
I’ve been writing music at home and sending it to Darren. Then he will have a good listen and come back to me with his ideas about structure. It’s very healthy for me to have a second opinion from someone who isn’t interested in making the songs sound more commercial or accessible. That has been a problem for me in the past. I have worked with people who completely misunderstood what I was trying to do. So it was double the work, trying to drag an idea back into a creative space after someone had attempted to commercialize it. It’s as if they think I’m trying to write ‘hits’ but I’m doing it wrong. (laughs) But Darren is creative in his own right and has been a big help with the arrangements. He will handle the lyrics, or at least most of them. If anything comes to me naturally then I will try it and we will see if it works.
Are there any styles you’d like to experiment with within your future music?
If I’m experimenting then there’s not a name that I can put on it. I can speak about the music that I am working on now though. My new solo album has influences from church hymns, Scott Walker, Dead Can Dance, old Antimatter revisited. The Antifear stuff is more riff-based. Like gothic punk, influences from Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Discharge, Christian Death, Fugazi, The Cure.
Music has known a solid change once with the evolution and development of technology. How do you see this change given the fact that there where technology appears, the emotion may lose its course?
It depends on who is using it. I have a lot of electronic music which is full of emotion. It all depends on the creator or the producer (if he has a lot of control). And some people are good at mimicking emotions in music. You wouldn’t know unless you knew the people who were making it.
When you perform live, how do you want your audience to feel as they leave the show?
I hope that they feel how I feel when I have just enjoyed watching a band.
What is the most challenging thing about making music for you?
Getting it to the right people. Making music is a challenge when you are making it with people on a different wavelength to you. But, for me now, it’s a challenge to get it to the right ears.
What does it mean to play and live in the millennial generation of artists? What do you borrow from those who came before you, and what do you do to push the genre forward?
I’m not bound to any specific genre and I’m not part of any scene, so I don’t know really. I just do what I do and keep going. I don’t listen to much modern music at all. All of my influences are decades old.
It is remarkable, in a way, that we have arrived in the 21st century with the basic concept of music still intact. Do you have a vision of music, an idea of what music could be beyond its current form?
I have little interest in modern music. I’d love something to come along and blow me away, but it’s been a very long time since that happened. I don’t have any specific vision beyond what I am making myself. It’s nothing groundbreaking but I have my own style of writing, sense of melody, and dynamics. So I should after a quarter of a century. I still have things that I have yet to fulfill and I’m in a very creative mode right now. As for outside music, I’m waiting for someone to create something new for me to enjoy. I’ve missed that.
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