In the fall of 2008, Black Anvil released their debut album
Time Insults The Mind and absolutely blew me away with their groovy black-metal. They played the ZxZw festival in Sept. 2008, but I had to miss them due the brilliant line-up schedule. Black Anvil was crammed in between Torche and Watain at the other side of town. I was anxious to speak with them to find out more about this New York based band. What followed was an interesting chat with Paul, their vocalist and bass-player. I surely can advise everyone to check out the album on Monumentum Records.
First of all, introduce the band and the people in it?
'We are Black Anvil. The band consists of G.B. on guitar and vocals, R.G. on drums and vocals and myself, P.D. on vocals and bass.'
Congratulations with your awesome debut-album Time Insults The Mind! How did the recordings go?
'Thank you. The recording went well and we are quite happy with the turn out. It’s well produced, and still raw. It captures us live which is important. It’s very common to go for a lo-fi recording these days, and I respect that. But since we have chosen to play live, I think it is important that the recording lives up to the live show, and vice versa.'
How did you end up with the people of Reflections/Monumentum Records?
'We have been friends with Johan and Suzanne at Reflections/Monumentum for years. We’ve worked together in the past, so when we started functioning as an actual band, had enough music written and started to play shows… He was the first person to express interest. We always like to keep things in the family if possible.'
What are the musical influences of Black Anvil?
'The musical influences for Black Anvil are pretty widespread. Every review insists we get all our inspiration from Celtic Frost and Darkthrone, which, naturally there’s a lot of that in there. But by no means, at any point in time were we like, “Oh. This has to sound like this or that”. Those two bands are an influence, as well as Black Sabbath, as well as Minor Threat, as well as pretty much every band we grew up on. The list is too long to narrow down to just a few. New and old music inspires us. For me personally, more so new music. New music makes me want to push the meter further. Go beyond what I’m currently hearing. And for us, I feel we have in our own way and we will continue to.'
What are your “non-musical” influences, where do you guys draw inspiration from?
'Life in general is probably the most inspiring. Day to day life, be it on a subway to work, walking down the street. Everything inspires us.'
I know this question is probably asked thousands of times before in interviews. You guys are all coming out of the hardcore scene! So one day you guys were fed up with the hardcore scene and decided to dust of your old metal records and form Black Anvil to play some vile, dirty black-metal or what? Do you consider it a burden that a lot of people will ask you about your past in Kill Your Idols/Madball?
'That’s not exactly how it happened. And our past will never be looked back on as a burden. We are 110% proud with who we are as individuals and what we’ve accomplished in the past. We would not be here today if it wasn’t for Kill Your Idols. We would not have the life experiences, the close bonds that go beyond friendship. Hardcore punk and metal may be two different scenes, but they go hand in hand, at least on the insiders end. Like any band, which has been around for 12 years, the time came to do something different, G.B. had started Deathcycle which was a more punk/metal version of Kill Your Idols, and the curiosity of exploring the darker sides just naturally came to be. This came as not so much a spinoff of that, but it definitely helped get us on the same track. We’ve always loved metal, we’ve always loved punk, and we’ve always loved hardcore. This is all extreme music, and that’s exactly what we’ve taken from it through the years. We will attack this as hard, if not harder than we have anything in our past, because this is our nature. And this band is 110% natural. It is us, it is about who we are, and where we are at in life, it is about everything we’ve been through together, and it is about everything we will go through. We’ve found out a lot about ourselves in the decade + we’ve been creating music. This time it’s just not 3 chord punk. We’ve taken it a step further, and this is evident in our music although I think we still have a strong punk root. We are not trying to be what we are not.'
You played the ZxZw festival in September 2008. What did you thought of the gig and the audience over here?
'The festival was great. It was our first shows out of NYC. We played two in Holland. We’ve all been to Europe before, but it’s been a while since we started from the ground up. I think us being from Kill Your Idols is important, but it is mainly important for us, to not forget who we are, and where we came from. Which we never will! For outsiders, maybe… but automatically comparisons and opinions will take over, and the bands are 2 completely different entities. I don’t think there should be a comparison.'
Can we expect a proper tour from you guys in the near future?
'As for touring, we plan on making our mark in Europe. No plans on the horizon as of just yet, but we will return to European soil as soon as possible.'
If you could choose one band to do a tour with, which band would that be?
'If we could choose one band to tour with, would be hard lots to choose from that we all love/respect.'
What do you think of the current reunion vibe going on from the older bands (Carcass, Negative Approach, St. Vitus for instance)? I think on one hand it’s good to see the old bands again, especially for the people who didn’t had the chance back then, but on the other hand some bands don’t do it for the right reasons (read money) anymore. What’s your opinion?
'I think its fine, if they pull it off. I saw Carcass. They sounded great. Celtic Frost completely was inspiring. They didn’t just come back with a throwback record, they reinvented themselves, and it was really impressive. I think it’s obvious when a band just reunites to do it; it’s always the bands that I could care less about that I think are doing it for the wrong reasons anyway.'
Tell me something about your lyrics? Who writes them and what kind of topics you write about? In your old band it was normal to sing about social-critical topics. Do you think it is still of importance with Black Anvil to write about topics, which can bring across a certain message to your audience?
'R.G. writes the lyrics, although they are inspired by all of us and our surroundings. I’m completely comfortable with giving life to his lyrics because they are written with whose singing them in mind, and they are written for us. We don’t have set topics we write about, nor did Kill Your Idols. There was never a point when someone said “We have to write a song about this”. I’d walk away from a band before it ever lead to that. Our lyrics are very personal. If you read close enough you can see the meaning in them. We chose to hold back specifics that is for the listener, if he/she really gets it…to get for themselves. They come from a dark place and aren’t as simple as they seem.'
What is the best achievement you guys made as a band?
'We put out a record. We are all happy with the end result, and we will continue on this path.'
How do your lives look like in the Big Apple, when you are not involved with Black Anvil or music in general? What is your other profession next to being a musician?
'This band is not a full time job. We all work full time jobs.'
Do you like your life in New York, or would you rather choose a life in a quiet country village?
'Life in New York is what it is. It makes you though, and it isn’t always pretty. I’m sure living in the country after a while would get pretty boring for me personally. This city keeps me on my feet and keeps me angry, the angrier we are, the more music you get out of us.'
Barack Obama won the elections. Is that a good thing for America/the World?
'We are not a political band. I’ll state that off the top. We all individually however, have our strong political beliefs; this band is just not our outlet for that. I will say that I did vote for Barack Obama. I voted for the lesser of 2 evils. I’m not 100% behind him, as I don’t trust any politician, but the republican regime needs a break.'
Do you think he makes changes for the best for the American citizens and will make life a little easier? Do you think we will notice the effects of his decisions even in Holland?
'I think the important part was for the rest of the world to see that Americans do care enough to make a change. Whether or not any of these “changes” take place is a different story. I haven’t always voted. This time I did. And I voted against Bush for the 2nd time. I take elections as they come, I don’t really feel they’re run honestly and that also has to do with why I say fuck it and go about my day. But like I said, we aren’t a political band, so I’ll leave it at that.'
The Maya’s had a theory that life will end on this planet in 2012. They already predicted a lot of great world events on their calendar. Their prophecy predicts that life on earth will end in 2012. If that would be true, what should we do in those 3 years we got left on this planet?
'I don’t believe any of this shit. Life starts and life also ends. At some point life as we know it will come to an end, like everything. I’d rather deal with it when it comes, then make a game plan to work it in to my future.'
Something to add/plug?
'Monumentum Records, Urfaust and The Devils Blood.'