The Leeds stoner rock collective roar back today with brand new album Anatomical Venus, their first for four years. Produced by Andy Hawkins, best known for his work with Hawk Eyes and Maximo Park, the album sees the band continuing to refine their swaggering riffola, while singer Harriet Hyde's howling vocals sit ever more proudly on top. As the album hit shelves, we spoke to Hyde about the making of their new LP...
The Leeds stoner rock collective roar back today with brand new album Anatomical Venus, their first for four years.
Produced by Andy Hawkins, best known for his work with Hawk Eyes and Maximo Park, the album sees the band continuing to refine their swaggering riffola, while singer Harriet Hyde's howling vocals sit ever more proudly on top.
As the album hit shelves, we spoke to Hyde about the making of their new LP...
When did you start putting the songs together for Anatomical Venus? Did you have plenty of songs to choose from for the album?
"We’d been writing it at a leisurely pace since the release of Condemned to Hope, but we really knuckled down and finished it in the latter half of 2016. We had mountains of ideas but we don’t tend to finish a whole load of songs. We only really persevere to the point of adding proper vocals and lyrics if we know it’s set to be a banger!"
This is your first LP with Federica Gialanze in the line-up, what did she bring to the process?
"So much! A whole new human will always bring a new dynamic and a lifetime of influences. She’s probably the most purist metalhead out of all of us, a total shredder with past lives in thrash and doom as well as playing Tony Iommi’s role in a Sabbath Tribute band. She also has a fair amount of prog in her record collection. So her style of playing was extremely complimentary but different to how we’d been writing before. There’s a lot more Thin Lizzy-esque harmonies happening now."
You did the record with Andy Hawkins, having done the previous two with Jim Sclavunos, what did Andy give you as a producer?
"Andy also engineered our last record at the helm with Sclavunos so we had worked with him before and loved his approach. He makes us feel comfortable enough to do our own thing and experiment, but isn’t at all afraid to tell us when something sounds like a bag of old shite. In fact, I think he rather enjoys that."
"Jokes aside, he is an extremely creative and talented man, who was a joy to work with. I felt very much at ease with him and he was wonderful to work with on vocals and harmonies as that’s his bag. In return, we made him about 10 gallons of Yorkshire tea, to his alarmingly specific specifications."
What kind of album is this lyrically? Do you think there’s a theme running through it?
"Certainly. This is probably the most serious album we’ve written lyrically, not least because I shared the task with my close friend Jessika Green who is an incredible poet. The main theme, I suppose, is one of delving into female psychology, represented by the Anatomical Venus herself. I am training to be a psychotherapist and this has put me in close contact with my experiences as a woman, and of course as a woman in a rock band. I’ve felt more inclined than ever to go deep into this."
Which song on the album took the longest to get right?
"I think maybe 'Screen Queen' was quite a tricky one for me as the theme, which is social media addiction and mobile phones, is such an ugly one. It seemed important to write about though and I think it came together in the end."
And which came together most quickly?
"'A Lover’s Hate' just wrote itself, an instant banger!"
When did you settle on Anatomical Venus for the title? Were any other titles in contention?
"The label suggested we call it Black Moth III but the band outvoted it. We decided the title should instantly reflect the subject matter as it had such a strong running theme for the first time."
How is your live set coming together? You’ve got three records to choose from now…
"The temptation is huge to just play all new stuff as it's the most exciting for us, but we’ve still got some of the faves from the previous albums in there for the hardcore fans!"
This is your first album for Candlelight Records, how’s the new label working out so far?
"Excellent. We have a further reach than ever before, with a worldwide release! Hoping this will bring our music to many more ears of all nationalities!"