Anomaly: Dutch Newcomers

DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean


Sorry, but I don't know a lot of things about your band, so at first some "standard questions"! Please tell me something about the history of the band, something about the members!

Anomaly was formed back in 1997 by Rory Hansen (guitar) and Ivar Pijper (keyboards). We both studied at the conservatory. We had been writing some pieces and together with John-Paul Muņoz (drums), who had studied at the American Berklee college (where Mike Portnoy studied as well), and John Aponno (bass) we formed Anomaly. July 1997 we recorded a 3-track demo called 'Discovery' (also known as 'The Rorschach Test'). After writing, performing and re-arranging the material for the debut-album, we decided to get into the studio to start recording the album.

What about the bandname?

An anomaly is something that is different from the rest. For example: a two-headed snake is an anomaly. As an instrumental band combining metal, experimental fusion and classical music we think we are quite different from other bands.

What about the decision to do an instrumental record?

That was not really a decision, we were four musicians making insrumental music because we never met the right singer and did not think a singer was necessary. The compositions were written for four musicians and no singer. That doesn't mean we will never do anything with vocals, but instrumental can be just as good and interesting as non-instrumental.

Is an instrumental record a bigger commercial risk?

Certainly, the audience for instrumental music is not very big, but until now the reactions and sales are amazing. The fact that we have made an instrumental record is part of the anomaly, which makes the band special and that explains why there is so much attention for Anomaly.

What about the influence of other artists to you? Liquid Tension Experiment? Planet X?

Well, we don't listen very much to progressive rock bands. The comparison with the above mentioned bands has been made before, but to be honest, we have never heard a record of Planet X and only some of us have heard the first record of LTE. So we are certainly not influenced by those bands. Our influences are very different: Allan Holdsworth, Jaco Pastorius (Weather Report), Frank Zappa, Meshuggah, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Queen, Rachmaninov, Bach, Vinnie Colaiuta and much more.

Is there a mastermind inside of the band or are you more a "democratic" band?

As well as the keyboardist I'm the main composer. But Anomaly is "democratic" because everyone has to like the composition before we decide to play it.

How does the songwriting work in the band?

Most of the time I make a sequence of the piece, including drums and all. I write some parts down but most parts aren't necessary to write down because they can be heard on the sequence. Then everyone studies his part and when someone comes up with something better, we use that.

How are the reactions of the people in your neighborhood to your music?

The reactions are really awesome. Not only the people who are really into this kind of music like it, but also a lot of people who listen to very different music. And it is very striking, that there is also a large ammount of young people coming to our gigs and buying our CD. Too bad you weren't at one of our latest gigs, the one at the Stadsschouwberg in Sittard (a big theater), together with Alan Case and Steve Brooke. There was a lot of press and even German label director Dirk Jacob was there to watch our concert.

What about the strange song titles?

Everyone can figure that one out for himself!

How did you come in touch with your current label?

The manager of Bee & Bee Records, Dolores Bremer, saw us play live and let us know she was very interested in Anomaly. Somewhat later we signed a great deal with Bee & Bee Records.

How would you like to develop in the future? Do you think about changing your style? Become more "commercial"?

We make the music we like and our taste will change. So as a result of that, our style will change as well. But whether that will be more or less "commercial" we can't say. And what is "commercial" anyway?

What do you think about the situation of your musical genre in the presence and what will change in the future?

We don't really think about that kind of things. You should ask this question to Bee & Bee Records, they are doing marketing research.

Can you tell me something of the process of creating the record? Were there any problems or went everything well?

We started to record the drums in a studio in The Hague and also recorded the guitar parts there. When that was finished, we recorded the bass and keyboard parts in my studio. There we also mixed and mastered the album. The whole process went very well, except for the fact that it took us a little longer than we had expected, because it was the first time we did it.

So you could have the possibility to make this record again. Would you change anything?

No, we would not change anything. This is the way we felt the record had to be and we are very happy with the result.

© 09/2000 Renald Mienert
DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean