Anímic are Ferran Palau, Nuria Monés, Louise Sansom, Miquel Plana, Juanjo Montañés and Genís Ureña and they have been a mainstay of the Catalonian indie music scene since 2004. About their new LP “Skin” (bcore discs) we said
The new album from Animic is simply outstanding, the band hold up a mirror to the modern world and the reflection is not a pretty one. The eight songs confront the uncertain times we live in and the fear that is abroad, engendered by climate change, a shift away from the liberal consensus, war, famine, the dystopian potential of technology and the atomisation of modern life. We all die alone, more so than ever. Gem repeats the line “I can’t offer you that much, except love”. Is love enough?
We were delighted when Louise, originally from England, agreed to answer some questions for us.
The new album is a real departure for you, moving so far into the electronic world. Why did you decide to make such a radical change?
It really comes down to the simple fact that I didn’t want to play the drums any more, we’ve actually gone back to our beginnings. When we started the band we didn’t have a drum player and our first songs were electronic bases made with a sampler, our drummer joined us not much later and was with us for a long time, but he left before our previous album Hannibal and so I took over the drum set. But I’m a singer, and this album was the first in over three years so I wanted to be able to feel free on stage and move and shout and scream and dance, ha-ha! So we really had no choice but to go back to how we first started working, only this time Ferran has taken over the bass.
Did you think it was a big risk? Were you worried or apprehensive? Did Neil Young’s experience ever spring to mind?
It came quite naturally, in our previous album we had sequenced the drums with the computer, so the actual lineout of the album was quite similar to now, maybe even more lineal! We only think about what people will think once the albums done, that’s when you say, ‘S***, no ones gonna like this!’, but we all agree on one thing, if we aren’t scared before releasing an album, the album is definitely not worth it. We aren’t really big Neil Young followers to tell you the truth, its almost a bad thing to say out loud, but he has never really been as important as other bands have for us, we really appreciate his work, but we all have really different tastes in music and a Neil Young LP will probably only be found in our bassist’s house!
Are you happy with the finished record and how it has been received?
We are yes! You would always change little things and wish you’d have worked on something a bit more, but we have never been that kind of band, we usually just spit it out and go on to something else, we practically created the songs in April, recorded in June and it was mastered in September! We feel like it’s been well received, although we have also noticed a new type of listener, we have lost many on the way, but that doesn’t really bother us, I believe it means we are alive, changing, growing, I wish they would stay and take the journey with us but I suppose that’s a little to much to ask for!! We are over happy with the design to, it’s definitely my favourite to day, there was always something wrong here and there in past albums, but this one’s perfect (thanks to Albert Cano, the designer!).
The album reflects on modern society and I guess the information overload and perhaps the indifference that breeds, the atomisation of society – would that be a fair refection of a general theme? Would you say you were optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
It reflects our day to day life yes, and accuses us directly, not so much you and others, but myself, as someone that is to blame (along with those that just sit and watch things happen). With our previous album there was a sense of violence in the music and lyrics, with this album the violence is still in the lyrics but they are calmer, more trance like, as if we were in a stage of acceptance. They kind of express what we are as humans, cold, indifferent. But I must say, I’m not negative, I have hope in many, maybe not in human kind in general, but if it weren’t for all the people that DO do something, this world just wouldn’t work the way it does. It’s the many kind, generous souls giving all they’ve got that keep the world balanced against the many indifferent ones. Some say that it’s just a few, rich, evil people that are in charge of the world, we look the other way and blame others, but I think that if we are indifferent to other peoples suffering we are actually making our enemies stronger, we become them. I am not sure if that makes sense, but I would like us to not be scared, to take action, to stand up, and mostly, to care.
Where did the idea come to release a complete set of films/videos at the same time as releasing the LP?
I work in the press department in BCore (Barcelona label) and am so used to doing the same types of premieres time after time that I wanted something different for this. We started thinking of what would be the best song for a video, but couldn’t decide, so I half jokingly said, lets just do all of them. I remember Ferran laughing and say, if you manage to get half of them it will be a miracle. That’s all I need to prove myself hahhah! I started contacting people we knew, some friends, some just people that had once offered to work with us, and it all started coming together, I told them all, there’s no money, no time, but there’s love, there’s songs, and we will try and turn this in to all of ours, not just Anímics. And my God, they all said yes!
How closely were you involved in producing the films?
It depends on the video, idea wise it was in the director’s hands at all times, some of them were filmed in different countries, Inhuman by Maria Padró was recorded in London, I did fly over (my family is there) and we filmed a few things together, it was the most mixed video I think, as she had an initial idea and I had mine, so we joint it, I would say it’s one of my faves but I can’t because they are all so different. I did the production in Glass by Marc Ortiz for example and we filmed TV by Nikita Routchenko in our house so it was all done in one day (except for the illustration added on after). Every video was so different it would take another interview to explain! Ahaha!
Do you think the change to electronics is something you will maintain for future works?
Definitely for the next album yes, we are already working on new songs, it gives you such a new and large world to explore, but I can’t say forever, as we never know what can happen!
What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?
I was born in London so I had the typical mix of Motown / Top of the Pops culture many had in the eighties, I got my first tape when I was about 10 I think, it was Technotronic and I LOVED IT, I wore it out completely on my Walkman! I remember liking anything that I didn’t completely understand with the first listen, like Nick Cave and Pj Harvey. Núria and Ferran started of with a lot of Nirvana and melodic hardcore bands and Zuma was quite into national punk. Juanjo has always been a bit stranger, he likes to listen to choirs and Spanish sixties pop music – hahaha!
What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?
Wowwww… it must be either Hidden or Gem from this last album, they are very personal songs, Hidden talks about my son and Gem is about my mother, but at the same time I think they can be translated to any ones situation, so depending on the day you can give it one meaning or the other depending on what your feeling. I also think they are the way I want to sing from now on, they are comfortable and express who I am like no other song has before. Gem was really weird, I remember speaking to my mum on the phone, she was upset, and I hate being far from her when she is (she always tries to hide it), so I went to bed and wrote the lyrics in like 5 minutes. The next morning Ferran said, I have this new rhythm you might like, we tried it and the lyrics just slipped into place, it was like magic, I didn’t have to change a single word.
What musicians would you consider to be your biggest influences?
We are all so different (which is why I love being with my band mates), nothing ever makes sense! Zuma listens to everything, he is very open to music but is very influenced by where and who he is with when he listens to it, something I find very curious, Ferran listens to different styles as well, he loves everything to do with folk pop music, like Sufjan Stevens, Cass McCombs or his latest discoverment Andy Shauf… I’m very in to new stuff, I don’t have anything in my phone that’s not been released in the last 5 years, mostly woman, mostly British. I love M.I.A, Anika and Savages or FKTwigs, but I do also love a good classic Americana song as long as it’s not overproduced, something like Barbara Dane, where you can actually feel the woman singing on her front porch or in an empty bar with nothing more than a guitar and her words. I think I`m totally inspired by woman, strong, weak, mad, sad, any type of woman, they are amazing creatures!
What’s exciting you on the Catalonian music scene these days?
It’s amazing, there’s music everywhere, it’s so mad, younger people are popping up everywhere with all these new ways of doing music, trap, electronica, you might not like everything but its great to see the richness of it, we needed a change here and it’s happening! Its also great to see our age group reinventing themselves while trying to stay true to themselves, it makes it all much more exciting, generations mix, styles and genres mix, its really all out of place at the moment and I love it, you learn so much every time you walk out the door. I’m loving all the younger girls with new projects inspired by grime and stuff like that, I think there’s still a way to go yet but its great to see what will be natural in the future. I suppose it’s the whole attitude that’s exciting me more than certain bands, I may be able to say a few names in a couple years time!
If you weren’t a musician what would you love to do?
I love doing anything music related, which is why I work at BCore and am on the verge of setting my own label up, but if I had to choose something it would probably set my sights on creating a clothes line for bigger sizes, I actually dream of doing that one day! Ether that or I would be what I started out as before I got into music, a traveller!
What question would you like to be asked that you never are? And what would be your answer?
Oh my, that’s really hard… I can talk for as long as you like and can sometimes drive people insane after a few drinks I’m sure, but if I could choose, I would choose to not answer questions, to be silent unless I’m singing or chatting to my husband and son.
Finally, we ask everyone to do a sketch/drawing for us –
This is from Ferran, pretty special, eh?