Interview by Kate Prothero
Photography by Graham Hilling
Interview with Mick Kenney and Duncan Wilkins of Anaal Nathrakh
@ Damnation Festival Nov 1st 2014
The band themselves seem completely oblivious to all these facts. We caught up with band members Mick and Duncan to chat about their recently released album ‘Desideratum’, their live shows and what inspires them to write and perform some of the most brutal music on the planet.
Your new album has just been released, and there has been talk that this album is more positive than previous albums, and that you may have mellowed, is that true?
AN: Where the hell has that come from? No I don’t think so! I think this album is the more focused and sharp. It’s pretty faithful to the Anaal Nathrakh sound, it just has everything we wanted to do on it.
Since you started back in 1998, the landscape of the music industry has changed a lot, how have things changed for you?
AN: (Mick) When I started my band all those years ago, we didn’t event have the internet. I’d copy things on a tape, and write on each one in pen and then we found out about a webpage called MP3.com, which I could only go and look at by going into college. We stuck some of our stuff on there, and ended up being number one! A guy heard us on MP3.com and then wanted to sign us, it was really as simple as that.
The kind of sound that Anaal Nathrakh create is extremely fierce and aggressive, do you think that you have to be a certain kind of person, with a certain mentality, to be able to write music like that?
AN: When I was growing up I was into bands like Napalm Death and Extreme Noise Terror, I just thought music should sound like that. People expect that if you write music like that, you have to be that kind of person and it’s just not true. It just comes out that way, we do what feels natural to us.
We write music really, really fast. We wrote the ‘Desideratum’ record back in November, we have a really quick turn around.
The metal scene in the UK has had a pretty rough year, with festivals cancelling and venues closing, why do you think that is?
AN: I think its always been like that to be honest. We just hear about it more. The UK is a small place really, and there is only so much room for so many festivals. The market is just too small to have 7 or 8 specialised festivals, and people only have so much money. It’s different in places like Germany where they have a thousand festivals a year!
Do you play in Europe a lot, how are you received out there?
AN: We’ve played out there a bit, but not that many club shows. (Mick) Actually we played in Poland a while ago, and the place was full of nazis, and this guy came up to me and Dave (who had a skinhead at the time) pushed me out of the way and said I was too pretty to be playing black metal, whats that about!? Who cares about what you look like right?
IV: One last question, what have you learnt about yourselves as people and as musicians in the last year or so?
AN: (Duncan) That I’m not a 20 year old kid anymore, sometimes I wake up in the morning after gigs and feel like Micky Rourke in The Wrestler. We’ve played four shows in a row, we like to make sure each show is really special, we’re in a privileged position and we’re really grateful to be given these opportunities.