Anoxia – Claus. S Nielsen guitarist
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Target Distribution for providing the promotional pictures of the band.
I had the pleasure to have a chat with Claus Nielsen guitarist in the thrashy heavy metal band Anoxia from Denmark. What we talked about can be read down below but I can say that we talked a lot about their brand new debut album A LAPDANCE FOR THE DEVIL. Anoxia is definitely worth checking out if you’re into heavy metal.
Hi Claus, thanks a lot for taking the time to do the interview with me today. Are you ready to kick off the interview?
Anytime, and yes indeed, hit me!
Let’s start with talking about your brand new album that also is your debut album. What can you tell us about? What’s it called?
A LAPDANCE FOR THE DEVIL contains 10 tracks, all bearing a different sound than you will usually hear. The album is for lovers of heavy metal who also like a thrashy and aggressive twist. The good melody is a main ingredient in all of the songs. Other spices include the twinkle and the rock n roll attitude.
Who has written the material and are all of the songs newly written or have you featured any older songs?
The AnoxiA writing process is, that usually someone brings a riff or an idea for a drum pattern into the rehearsal room. From there it is a collective process, where we jam on the bit, discuss which overall feeling and sound that we want the new song to have. More parts are created, and eventually a rough track is born! The lyrics are written after the song is finished, when the mood of the song is fixed. That way all the tracks on the new album came about. All songs were written specifically for this slab, so no older songs.
How long did it take to write all of the material to A LAPDANCE FOR THE DEVIL and what are the lyrics about?
Since we all have our dayjobs AND are perfectionists the writing process took some 4 years, starting out immediately following the release of the predeceasing demo, Kept In Sin. Lyrically A LAPDANCE FOR THE DEVIL is founded on a broad base, and the lyrics are not fixed to one specific theme. The lyrics handle meaningful topics, and insist on making a stand and making a difference!
Where does the title A LAPDANCE FOR THE DEVIL come from?
A LAPDANCE FOR THE DEVIL is a homage to flirting with danger, facing yourself and bursting the frames of a standardized 9-17 life. Catching given chances, even if it requires you to get off solid and safe ground. Living your own life and nobody else.
Did you write many songs that didn’t end up on the final cut of the album?
No, in fact we never have excess-songs. Bad apples get sorted out pretty early in the writing process. Parts that don’t work don’t live long enough to become a song.
What do you think of your album in retrospective?
It’s interesting having the album sort of put behind. Meaning that you don’t work with it every day. I have it on my mp3-player along with 100 other albums set to random play, and when a track from our own album comes up I have several times caught myself rocking out without even noticing it was our own stuff! And when I rock along as I would to Iron Maiden, that pretty much means I’m a fan of A LAPDANCE FOR THE DEVIL, hehe.
Do you think that the band have gone through any musical developments since you first started out and on lets say your demo KEPT IN SIN that came out 2005?
The very roots of the band first started out as a pimple-infested grunge-punk-heavy rock sort of outfit….! I think the process of change came pretty natural as the playing-abilities grew. As it does for many a band starting out at a very young age. Kept In Sin was sort of a teaser for "Lapdance…", since it was with that demo we had achieved a musical formula which we wanted to channel into a full-length.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Anoxia plays?
The style is Thrashy Heavy Metal, based on the old school but added modern elements as well as rock n roll. Melodic, clean, yet raspy vocals on top of it all.
Have you had any release party for the album yet? If so when and where did it take place and how was it?
We had an awesome release-party in February. But hey; being sponsored by a booze-company, you are kind of obliged to throw a great release-party aren’t you??
Do you have a MySpace site and have put out any songs on the internet before the release of the album?
Check out www.myspace.com/anoxiadk
What kind of respond have you had from fans and from people on the internet on the songs?
Generally people dig it. But again, I don’t think we would get reactions from people who don’t care about the music. Myself I don’t send, say, Korn, an email every time they release an album, telling them what I think about it, because I don’t give a dime about that band…
Who has done the cover art-work and are you happy with it?
The CD is equipped with an awesome cover-artwork created by the very talented artist Mr. Alen Domazet. We wanted to create an iconic artwork, in which I truly think we have succeeded.
If you look on the cover I think that it looks like it belongs to an extreme metal album or band what do you think?
Hahaha, seriously?? The artwork on extreme metal albums in my collection sadly don’t include any naked chicks. However I truly think they should! Actually I think that any cover-artwork regardless of genre should include a nice rack or the likes…
From what I have understand did you record the album before you even had a record deal is that correct?
Yep. That’s the way the recording-industry works nowadays. At least for underground acts. You create the product you want to release and then you shop around for labels.
How has the media responded on the album? Have you read any reviews?
Are you kidding? The reviews are exciting reading, pretty much like taking the exams in school. The average response is good.
Do you feel that you have been treated differently between foreign press compared to the national press?
The thing about reviews is, that they are subjective, and express the personal opinion of the very reviewer. That means you can’t generalize and say that "This country likes us, and that country doesn’t". It all depends on the person judging the album. Though it is a fact that a lot of German reviewers liked the album, and the sales-figures for Germany are pretty good too, actually.
Do you care about what media writes about Anoxia?
Of course! Anyone stating something else is a liar. Any serious opinion about AnoxiA is important for us to know.
What are your main priority at the moment? To conquer Denmark or the rest of Europe?
Our main priority has always been, and will always be, playing live and having a good time with AnoxiA. Conquering Europe is the next big thing for us, and we are planning touring as we speak.
Do you know if you’re gonna shot any video to any of the songs?
We often discuss the option, and are keen on the idea. We got a couple of interesting offers.
Where did you record the album and who has produced it?
We recorded the drums in Jailhouse Studios with Tommy Hansen, took the session back to Muzirkus Studios where we recorded guitars, bass and vocals, then once again brought the session back to Jailhouse for mixing and mastering. The production for guitar, bass and vocals was undertaken by Simon Joergensen and ourselves.
How long did the recording sessions take?
All in all about 5 months on/off, including the mixing.
Who has Simon Joergensen worked with besides you guys?
He has worked with a lot of bands and is employed by national broadcasting here in Denmark, which means that practically he has worked with everyone on TV, ha ha!
What is the difference between Joergensen and Hansen kind of work do you think?
Joergensen is young and fresh and has got some bright ears. Hansen has definitely got the experience. Both qualities worked out great for us, so the creation was indeed handled professionally.
How did you get the notorious Hansen to produce your album?
We dialled his number and gave him some money! No, we worked with him before on our 2005-promo KEPT IN SIN, on which he also did the mixing and mastering. Back then we researched a number of producers and their works, and decided, that the sound Tommy Hansen was able to deliver the production that was perfect for our music. He was, and that’s why he was hired once again.
Do you think that you will work with these guys again?
When we have the next album ready we will decide what to do production-wise. Which sound we are after very much depends on the nature of the material that we are about to record. We will of course consider any options we might have at the time being given, in order to achieve the ultimate production for the material.
You are signed to the label Mighty Music how did you end up with them?
We shopped around for labels after recording the album. MM was always our No.1 priority, since they are linked the best distribution-network in the underground. Luckily they saw potential and eventually released the album.
How many albums are you signed for?
We are signed for a 2 year distribution deal, which means that if we bust our asses and write and record 5 or 10 albums in the next 2 years, Mighty Music will make sure they hit the streets.
You are also linked to the promotion label Target how is it to work with them are you happy with the work they have put into Anoxia?
They have some great channels for distribution, and have done for us exactly what we expected.
Both Mighty Music and Target works in Denmark but do you have an distribution labels that puts out your album in the rest of the world?
Yeah, it’s the same company, Target that undertakes the distribution in Europe.
When can we expect to find the album in the world outside Denmark?
Now! It’s been out since June 2010.
When was the band founded and who is the founder/band leader?
The idea of ANOXIA was created in Nyborg, Denmark in 1996. Only original members from back then are Lars (V+G) and Soeren (D).
Have you gone through any line-up changes since then?
A lot! The current line-up has been stable since 2004.
Was it given from the start that you were gonna play this kind of music?
As mentioned earlier, the band started out as a sort of punk-grunge outfit so the answer is partly "no", and partly "yes", since the wish for being loud and sonically bad MF’s has been present since Day 1.
Where does the band name Anoxia come from and why did you chose to call the band that?
It sounds metal and gives some good graphic opportunities with an "A" in each end of the word.
How was the response from the fans on the 2005 year demo KEPT IN SIN?
Generally good, which was also a factor that made us continue the style on the following full-length.
Was the demo sent out to media in Denmark or to the press in Europe?
It was shipped to the entire world, so we had sore tongues from licking stamps for a while accordingly, ha ha.
I know you have done a show in Spain at Bilbao Rocks Festival a few years back how was that?
It’s awesome flying across Europe and being rock ‘n roll and nothing else for a couple of days. Wearing leather and sunglasses in an airport while smelling of Jack D is just priceless, and something you don’t do on your way to a family vacation!
Does the member in the band have any common idol or musical role model that they are inspired by?
In the band there is a lot of music that we worship and adore, and that way around becomes inspirational. A lot of different music, but every member of the band loves AC/DC, Iron Maiden, DIO and Slayer, just to name a few.
Does all of the members live in the same town or where do they live?
We are actually scattered across the nation.
Does Anoxia have a big fanbase in Denmark?
Pretty normal for underground bands I would say.
Has the band done a lot of touring during the years?
We have played some 100 ( I think) shows through our career, so we’re kind of regulars on the Danish highway-cafeterias, hahaha!
You have been support act to Krokus in 2006 and to WASP last year, both shows in Denmark, how did you land that deal and how was the shows?
When a foreign band is touring, it’s often up to the venues to book the support-acts. That’s where our network comes in handy; the venues knew that we would be interested, and they asked us. A support-gig is always special, since you have the chance of winning over a new audience, which is the audience of the headliner.
Are you active on the social networks on the internet like Facebook and Twitter?
On Facebook, go for "anoxiadk", and join the group "AnoxiA-Danish heavy metal".
According to your biography are Anoxia one of the strongest Danish heavy metal acts in Denmark today, what do you think of that statement?
It sells, right? He he.
Are there any plans on heading out on tour now that the album is out?
We usually always have a couple of shows in the calendar. And of course the upcoming ones are in support of LAFTD. Check out MySpace or Facebook for dates!
If you’re going out on tour can we expect to see you on a stage in Scandinavia or in Europe?
As mentioned earlier we are working on that. Again: Keep an eye on Facebook and Myspace!
What can we expect to experience if we attend a live show with Anoxia?
Dedication, party, a twinkle! A metal-show with a lot of rock n roll attitude.
Does Anoxia have any plans on trying to conquer the North American market anytime soon?
Not really, we are focusing on Europe right now. The Americas might be up next year or so.
When can we expect to find the second album by Anoxia out in stores?
Hard to say, but approximately 2 years.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy A LAPDANCE FOR THE DEVIL?
1. Good and catchy sing-along songwriting
2. A somewhat original style, not something you will hear from 100 other bands
3. An awesome cover-artwork which you can put on your wall in case you don’t like the album anyway
Finally do you have any words of wisdom to say to the readers and the fans?
Keep supporting the scene, and don’t be stubborn. Stubbornness eventually kills the scene!
Well, that sums it up for me. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish you and the band all the best in the future and I hope that you’re heading over to Sweden soon so I can catch you live in action.
Thanks, we hope so too!