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Band of the day: Anicon
Comprising members of Brooklyn’s art and metal scenes, blasting forth their ethereal and raging compositions with an honest integrity that is all too absent in black metal. Guitarist and vocalist, Owen Rundquist, took some time to answer on behalf of this most epic creation.
What are the band’s origins and how have you developed since the initial conception?
Anicon began shortly after Nolan and I met by chance at a send off for a mutual friend in 2010. It came up that we had similar interests and had both been working on some musical ideas, and that neither of us really had anyone to play with. We decided to get together and throw some things around and pretty quickly started writing what would become our first couple of songs. Since that time I think we’ve developed a greater sense of communication and collaboration with each other. We’ve also since been joined by Lev and Alex on drums and bass which has varied the input we have to work with and allowed us to move into live performance. When it first began we were just playing because we could and now I think we have a slightly more defined idea as to where we want to go musically, but we’re still playing music for the sake of playing it.
Your public presence and identity is obscure at best, and you state that Anicon is an inexpressible, non- visual entity. Why have you chosen such an ideological approach, and how does this affect your music and the listener?
We’re most interested in writing and playing music that speaks to us in an honest way. There’s so much pageantry associated with this kind of music that’s really uninteresting. We don’t want the emphasis of Anicon to be on things we find secondary to the music, but on the strength and impact the music has both on us and on the listener. So our effort is put into writing and playing rather than presenting ourselves. The music is close enough that to package it like a thousand bands have done before would feel insincere and ultimately cheapen it. It’s not that Anicon is inexpressible or that we are opposed to visual representation, but just as images express something language is incapable of, music expresses something that images are incapable of and the music is our first concern.
Your 2012 demo sounds distinctly more North European than Brooklyn, setting itself apart from your US contemporaries. Is this a conscious decision, and who are your main influences?
While there’s a lot of music coming out of Brooklyn I think the popular opinion of what is going on here is really limited. I think certain events and bands have given a very one-sided impression of what is really an extremely varied and exciting musical community, the metal community specifically. As was said before, our intent is to make music that we perceive to be honest. While we definitely listen to music from Northern Europe, we also listen to a lot of bands from America and elsewhere. We don’t limit our input to music either as art, literature, film and documentaries often come up when we’re discussing ideas. There’s a trend in American black metal toward long, highly repetitive composition and I think some of our writing comes from a general lack of interest in that style. We grew up listening to metal so we like playing riffs and I don’t think you have to sacrifice that to develop atmosphere and emotion within the music.
The cover art is striking and stands alone in avoiding the typical iconographies. I assume this is related to your ideological vision? Who is responsible for the artwork?
Thank you, I made the artwork and it definitely relates to some of the motivations behind Anicon. It came together more or less accidentally when I was working on something else and it seemed to embody similar emotive elements as the music. Because it wasn’t pre-planned there was no real way to preserve it and the ephemeral nature of the piece seemed in keeping with some of the lyrical concepts that we deal with as well.
Do you have any plans for a vinyl and/or cassette release?
The self-titled EP will be out on cassette via Eternal Warfare sometime in the very near future. We’d love to see a vinyl release for it.
You’ve recently made your debut live performances, have you received a positive reaction so far?
Thus far the live shows have been a success. It’s very gratifying to be able to perform what we’ve been writing and practicing for so long. Interest in our music seems to be growing and crowd response has been good so I would say the reaction has been a positive one.
What’s your next move? Will you be returning to the studio or concentrating on live performances?
We’re currently writing toward a full-length so once there’s enough new material we’ll be heading to the studio. We’re not going to be taking breaks from playing live though. We have some shows coming up here in Brooklyn and will be doing a few dates around the Northeast in a couple of months — we’d like to do more.
Are you working on other creative projects alongside Anicon?
Yes. Nolan has a solo project called Desertum. Lev plays in Krallice, Geryon and Damnatum. Alex performs with Middle Kingdom, Ypotryll, Under the Same Shadow and runs a noise cassette label called Mineral Tapes. Middle Kingdom and Ypotryll both make use of electronics and instruments that Alex makes as part of his artistic practice. I play in Trenchgrinder, am the other half of Under the Same Shadow and also make visual art.
Any final words?
Thank you for the interview and support.
Words: Alasdair Bulmer