Back in May, Australian cinematic progressive rock six-piece Anubis returned with the release of their fourth studio album titled “The Second Hand,” musically an ambitious release with even more ambitious concept. Singer Robert James Moulding and multi-instrumentalist David Eaton spoke for Rocking Charts about the album, challenges they faced while working on it, and more.
Hey folks. How are you doing?
R & D: Hi! Good, good.
You have recently launched your fourth studio album “The Second Hand.” How do you feel about the release?
R: It feels pretty good! It’s a strong record. We’re pleased with it. It’s a strong statement – something that we felt needed to be said. The news media, corruption, the current political landscape. It’s something we felt we needed to write about. Now everyone else is writing about it too.
D: It’s strange how prophetic it actually was. We wrote ‘Fool’s Gold’ 12 months before Trump, and it’s almost uncanny how much it applies. I guess we must have seen the writing on the wall to some degree, with the media and monied interests installing their choices of government to suit their own ends. In the end, yeah, we’re all very proud of it and glad that it actually means something and stands for something.
How much of a challenge was to work on the album?
D: It was quite an easy one, musically. The band had been on tour in 2015 and was in a really good place. We made the decision to write together, arrange together and be in a room recording it together, like a proper, old-school record where everyone mucks in and gets their hands dirty.
R: As far as the idea – the themes and concepts – goes, it was inspired by the stuff we were assaulted by on TV, the papers and twitter everyday – and that made it easy to conceive.
What is your opinion about the current progressive rock scene?
R: The progressive scene has had a healthy resurgence in the last 15 years, and that’s largely because the internet has helped everyone find a voice without the likes of major labels, big media and commercial interests telling everybody what they should be listening to.
D: We’re doing great in Europe. Australia generally doesn’t do our type of Prog, much. Unless you’re an ex-member of a 1970’s group. Or Steven Wilson. But in Europe we’re doing very well and we can’t wait to get back over there next year.
Can you tell me something about your influences?
D: Ask any of Anubis and they’ll give you a different answer. Any song will also give a different answer. When we started out we had a bunch of things Rob and I enjoyed and wanted to capture the essence of but as the line up grew and changed, so did the influences. On The Second Hand, I found my biggest influences were the other five guys in the room. That sounds really cheesy but the way we wrote it definitely meant that we all had to come together.
R: We take our influences not just from music, but also from other forms of art – films, television, satire.
D: That’s right. One of the biggest influences over The Second Hand was a British documentary maker called Adam Curtis. Rob and I watched hours of his stuff before we wrote the lyrics. It’s utterly compelling but very bleak.
What are you listening to these days?
D: The usual suspects – old prog, new prog, but also jazz fusion, punk, vocal music. I teach music so I have to listen to lots of stuff. Last band I saw was ‘At the Drive In’ in Sydney. Absolutely fantastic. Most recent album to really get me was the new Roger Waters LP. That’s a great record.
Your 5 favourite records of all the time?
R: It changes, but right now – Mars Volta ‘Deloused in the Comatorium’, Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’, Yes’ ‘Close to the Edge’, Genesis’ ‘The Lamb lies Down on Broadway’, King Crimson’s ‘Red’.
D: Marillion’s ‘Brave’ – the best narrative concept of all time for me; Manson’s ‘Six’ which is wonderfully insane. Genesis’ ‘Selling England by the Pound’ which has been with me since I was 13. Yes’ ‘Tales from Topographic Oceans’ which is too weird for some but I adore it. And ‘Frances the Mute’ by Mars Volta.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you use to record “The Second Hand”?
D: Old stuff! From a keyboard perspective, I used loads of weird and wonderful stuff. There’s a Hammond M111 on everything, a Mellotron M400 – one of only a tiny handful in Australia, a Moog for leads, Roland Juno 60, Farfisa Bravo, Roland RS09 string machine, Wurlitzer 200A, a JX8-P, a really naff old Roland Electric Piano that sounds like an RMI, and a few other bits and bobs. But it’s all very old-school. There’s about 45 different guitars on it too. All recorded through valve amps. It was done in a very traditional way. No plugins really at all this time around.
Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?
R: We’re touring Europe again in 2018. We’re playing Night of the Prog festival at Loreley in July and are adding new shows to that run at the moment. Dates are on www.anubismusic.com
D: And then it’s more new music. Hopefully we can keep on doing this as long as possible. We’re having so much fun right now.
Any words for the potential new fans?
R: Listen with an open mind.
D: We hope you’ll find something in there that moves you.
“The Second Hand” is available here.