Phil Anselmo shares debut En Minor song, discusses Radiohead, playing Pantera songs, more
Former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo revealed earlier this year that one of his newer projects, En Minor, would be playing Psycho Las Vegas (which is just a few weeks away), and now he has debuted the project's first song. It's called "On The Floor," and it'll appear on the band's two-song self-titled 7", due this Friday (8/2) via Anselmo's Housecore Records (pre-order). The band are hoping to release a full-length album later this year too.
Compared to the heavy metal that Anselmo is most famous for, En Minor sees him exploring sounds that are less heavy but even darker. "On The Floor" is a haunting, gothic folk song with gravelly, Tom Waits-like vocals and hints of stuff like Swans or Nick Cave, and Anselmo tells Revolver that he's been writing music like this privately for decades. This song dates back five years, and he says the other song on the 7", "There's A Long Way To Go," was written all the way back in 1988.
Listen to "On The Floor" here:
En Minor also features Stephen Taylor (Superjoint, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Woven Hand, 16 Horse Power), Kevin Bond (Superjoint, Christ Inversion, Artimus Pyledriver et al), Jimmy Bower (Eyehategod, Down, Superjoint), Calvin and Joiner Dover (The Dover Brothers), and Steve Bernal (former first cellist in the Temple Symphony Orchestra), and Anselmo says that En Minor truly took shape when he met Stephen Taylor in 2012. "He and I began experimenting with some vibey stuff, and soon after began recording the sessions. This led to the current incarnation of En Minor. Together, we re-worked a few of the old four-track songs and wrote several new ones in short order. These sessions are hypnotic and pulling. And we continue to write songs suitable for this project to this day. Ugly and beautiful, En Minor, isn't 'party music.' This is 'kill the party music.'" he said in a press release.
Anselmo also talked to Revolver about some of his non-metal influences:
It's the melancholy, minor-key, heart-wrenching songs that always stick out and really intrigue me. U2's War album is a genius record, but my favorite song off that record is "Drowning Man." Another is "The Child's Right" by the Swans. It's taking all of the melancholy and being relentless with it and being heavy lyrically, not unlike David Bowie might do or Nick Cave might do. I can't even get close to that type of genius, and I won't even pretend that I can. But the vibe of the lyrics, a whole lot of them I wrote when I was down and, God, probably at my worst dealing with injuries and drug addiction and booze addiction. But now that I'm three years away from the bottle and in a much better place physically, it's still coming out of me.
And he talks about En Minor hopefully gaining him some non-metal fans, and uses his love for Thom Yorke's recent Suspiria score as an example of a similar phenomenon:
It's possible that you're going to get some fans who aren't into heavy music discovering you through En Minor.
Two nights ago I had a friend come out to the show. I've known this guy 10 years, and it was his first heavy-metal show. We went back on the bus. We were chilling out. He knows about my heavy-metal history, but he hates it. He thinks my band sucks. But we got on the bus and I played En Minor and he's like, "Wow, I actually like this, Phil." Maybe people that aren't into heavy metal might like this if they come into it without the old preconceived notion … Have you seen the new Suspiria?
I enjoyed it. I'm going to say I'm not a big remake guy. You'll hear me moan about modern horror, but I think their take on it is so excellent. It's a powerful film. And another very impressive aspect of that movie is that cat from Radiohead — Thom Yorke — the music in it is genius. It's fantastic ...
Are you someone who normally listens to Radiohead?
No, but it's one of those bands where I know I'm going to have to invest time. When people play me Radiohead, I don't hate it. It's like, wow, that's pretty fucking good. I think Thom's voice is very unique and beautiful. I really do.
It was initially announced that En Minor would be making their live debut at Psycho Las Vegas, but they've since added a release party for the new 7" happening at New Orleans' One Eyed Jacks on August 14 (tickets), which is two days before they play Psycho.
Another of Anselmo's current bands, The Illegals, have been performing Pantera songs on tour lately (and they did so with special guests Max Cavalera of Sepultura and Satyr of Satyricon in Europe recently), and they're gearing up to play Pantera songs on their upcoming run supporting Slayer. (That's billed as Slayer's last-ever trek and it also features support from Primus and Ministry.) Anselmo talked a bit in the Revolver interview about playing Pantera songs live too:
We were about a month out from touring this album when Vince Paul passed away and that was horrific and so unexpected. It was something that stopped me dead in my tracks. I was in my kitchen and I just dropped to the floor and just had to breathe for a little while.
That's when the big plea for us to do more Pantera songs became irresistible. The tribute had to be then. It had to be right. And I never thought it would be the Illegals. Clearly the mission for us was to be a sweaty hole-in-the wall death-metal band. I've got to say huge props to them for learning the Pantera material. They didn't even flinch, man, and just went for it.
The vibe from most of the shows have been so fucking great, man. And what really tickles me is seeing the young bloods out in the audience, freaking out on the Pantera stuff. And you know it's their parents who got them into Pantera.