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Interview with

Mick Moss from Antimatter

After the release of the sixth studio album and the eponymous tour that followed, we found that it was about time to talk with mastermind Mick Moss about the album, the feedback he experienced on tour and his side project. He kindly took his time to answer the questions I sent him per email.

Reflections of Darkness [RoD]: Hi Mick, first of all congratulations to your brilliant new album.
Mick: Thank you very much!

RoD: After the, in October 2015 released album ‘The Judas Table‘, you completed the first leg of the corresponding tour. Now you are on tour again. Thus people had the chance to give your current album a proper listening. How is the feedback after the concerts?
Mick: This last tour, more than any in the past, saw a real upturn in audiences. There is also a real sense of emotional investment from the crowd, people singing along to the songs… I noticed this almost immediately and commented on it two days into the tour. So, the feedback has been very good I would say!

RoD: Did people from the audience address you after the shows and tell you to which song they can relate most to personally?
Mick: Yeah this happens from time to time. I also get messages via email. So far the most widely related song seems to be ‘The Weight Of The World’ from ‘Planetary Confinement’. Ironically, at the time of writing, I wasn’t sure if anyone would relate, and that is even pondered in the line ‘’Am I the only one crushed by the weight of the world?’’. ‘The Last Laugh’ is another one that people often tell me about. ‘’Man, that so reminds me of my ex-girlfriend...’’

RoD: While ‘Fear of a unique identity‘ had more of observations and experiences of people/ society in general your actual album is very intimate. Was working on it helpful to get rid of negative feelings/ resentments of personal experiences with some people in your life?
Mick: I’m not sure about getting rid of negativity, but more rationalising and quarantining it. I can put bad experiences in a box now and study that box as a means to becoming a sharper, more socially aware person, which is surely a good thing.

RoD: It is said when you write down in black and white what moves you or is inside you, it becomes reality because it is not only in your mind anymore. Was it helpful to analyse certain moments when you read them again from the paper sheet?
Mick: No, I think the personal analysis comes way before that, during the process of composing the lyrics and constructing the conceptual frame of the song. I have to analyse things to make sense of them. I have to make sense of them to be able to put them into rhyme and verse…

RoD: The lyrics of your songs are dark and gloomy. Would you describe yourself as a happy person nevertheless only more contemplative or do you have to fight depressive moments as well like many of us?
Mick: I wear a yin/yang emblem permanently around my neck, and have done for a few years now. I’m actually a happy person at heart and try my best to remain upbeat and humorous as much as possible, as is the culture here in Liverpool for the most part. However, life throws its challenges at me and being a member of society I have also had to deal with narcissists, sociopaths, bullies, egotists, thieves, generally spiritually retarded entities for the bulk of my adult life, and looking back, my childhood too. I have worrying thoughts and situations to deal with like anyone else. Like I said, my method now is to imprison these poisonous aspects of my life within songs, and then try and use them to a positive end.

RoD: In the last years you were mainly touring alone and performed acoustic sets. With the release of the album you performed with some of your studio musicians. Are there any plans to perform more with other musicians as a “whole” electric set?
Mick: The full electric live band has been constantly active now since 2013, which is a real shot in the arm for me as up until then I had toured only in an acoustic set-up one way or another. It is a certainty that any Antimatter live show is with the electric band, although I do from time to time go out playing the odd stripped acoustic show here and there.

RoD: Acoustic and electric sets have definitely a different energy. Thus I wonder what the new songs would sound like when performed acoustically. Have you planned to do also some acoustic shows?
Mick: Myself and David Hall (from the Antimatter touring band) recently travelled from Siberia to Latin America performing our two man acoustic shows. We tried to get some versions of The Judas Table songs into the set but it proved a little harder than we originally expected, in fact we managed to play only ‘Hole’ from the new album, albeit in a fantastic form (in my humble opinion). We had far too much material to choose from though, so we naturally fell upon the songs from the old guard (Leaving Eden, Over Your Shoulder, The Weight Of The World) as we were far too excited with Dave’s new guitar synth which gave us almost limitless possibilities with what we could do with only two people. On the next two-man acoustic tour we will look more into songs from ‘The Judas Table’, and also I plan to kick off a full-band acoustic tour at some point (complete with drums and all), at which point everything will change again!

RoD: And regarding the latest touring experiences do you prefer to perform alone or is it nicer to with “band mates”?
Mick: Each format brings its own highs and lows, it’s hard to pinpoint which I prefer. There’s a natural trade-off with each one. For example I love the power that comes with the full band, though I feel the vocals get lost in that scenario and sometimes I struggle to hear what I’m singing and maintain control. Whereas in acoustic shows I can fully immerse myself in the vocals, but I miss the drums sometimes (though my looper pedal has come a long way to remedying that)

RoD: With Luis Fazendeiro you founded another side project and produced the critically acclaimed album ‘Under the same sky‘. Are there any plans to continue this project or was it more of a onetime cooperation?
Mick: Originally it was just an album project, I think, but once we started putting it all together and realised how well it worked, there was no question about whether or not we would continue. I’m just waiting for Luis to write more music, at which point I can begin weaving vocal melodies and lyrics through it. I’m looking forward to getting this project on the road, which we will try to do once the second album is released, though when that will be I have no idea!!!

RoD: Many musicians/ bands, that are not producing mainstream music, from the UK complain that their music is quite ignored in their own country while it is much appreciated in other countries. How is your experience about this issue?
Mick: For the most part I’ve ignored the UK due to the pull of audiences from mainland Europe, so I can’t really comment as I have little or no experience on my home soil. But I guess the fact that the audiences have been somewhere else speaks for itself!

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