-Life is only part of Death-Andy Wit
What was the spark that ignited the creation of ANCHILLYS?
I think that’s hard to answer, there wasn’t really one thing that sparked the idea. Through the years as a teenager, I’ve fell in love with more and more extreme music and noticed how it created a much more pleasant reality in life. Discovering new bands, seeing them live and playing in bands myself created the desire to see how far I can push myself, creating something of my own after years of learning what it’s all about (to me).
Can you elaborate on your debut album Elan Vital? Was it a spontaneous writing process? What does the title signify? How happy & proud are you with the result? What goal would you like to achieve with this record? How does your cat like it?
Elan Vital stands for the “Momentum of Life”, or “Force of Life”/”Life-force”. The title came from an outer body experience during meditation, where I felt like I was experiencing the spark of life igniting. Of a soul, of a single life, of my own, but somehow also collectively as a species and conscious beings. As the project took 10 years of my life, I decided to dedicate that title to my work. It wasn’t much of a spontaneous process (again: 10years). But what came, came as it came and I guess that counts as spontaneous. At the same time a lot of the riffs and lyrics are thought through extensively to make sure it al fits as it should be (in my opinion) and I’m happy & proud to say it came naturally and what it became. The biggest goal was to push through and realize my lifework. Now that I’ve done so, the goal is to reach people with it and hope they can enjoy the album that I’ve but together. Morticia, hahah… She’s my first fan and started running around as a proper cat-pit from the first riffs I’ve put together..!! Although she is a cat: so sometimes looks at me with her evil eye, requesting to stop making noise and let her sleep.. She’s also in the recordings, if you can find her! Hint: song 4 and 8..
ONE MAN METAL
ANCHILLYS = Andy Wit = ‘Dusty Desert Demon’. Andy, you play all instruments in a technical genre. Can you tell how you got to learn to play each instrument, including vocals? Which one is your comfort zone? Which one is the most challenging instrument? Which is your favorite? How important is it for you to play technical music? As a musician, how passionate are you about your gear? How do you go about composing a song, given you cannot just jam with the other band members? How did you obtain your nick name ‘Dusty Desert Demon’?
It’s really a matter of believing in yourself and DO IT. It takes a bit of discipline and a lot of love&passion, the rest will come naturally. Spent time with your instruments and be patient and persistent, observe your idols and learn from them. None of ‘em are much in a comfort zone, as for me it’s all about pushing it out of comfort zones, neither can I pick a favorite as I love doing it all and love has no ranking. Playing technical stuff is highly important for me, as I get easily bored/under-challenged. I need to not understand something. I can however tell you a ranking of challenging/difficulty on a physical demanding base, least to most: guitars (sorry guitar players, your lazy if you think it’s though), with five steps above it’s bass, vocals are physically more demanding than commonly thought, and obviously drums are most demanding as you use every single muscle in your body. Gear is double sided thing for me: I like to keep it minimalistic and get everything out of that, on the other hand, I love my gear like my girlfriend: couldn’t have done it without as it’s all part of me. The benefits of a solo project is that you can do it when, where, what, how and why-ever you want and that’s it. Even though it can be challenging to not have second opinions to ask for, you’ll never have arguments and disagreements, haha.. The Dusty Desert Demon… It really just came out as a joke drunkenly and was never meant to be taken seriously. But it just rolls of the tongue so easily and now people already start teasing me with it..!! It was based on the figure in the artwork, representing demons standing in a sandstorm.
ANCHILLYS is inspired by 90s Brutal/Technical Death Metal. Which other Death Metal sub-genres do you dig? How is the underground Death Metal scene in the Netherlands nowadays? Do you feel part of the Dutch Death Metal scene? Which other underground Dutch Death Metal bands would you recommend? ANCHILLYS is marketed as ‘for fans of SUFFOCATION, DEEDS OF FLESH, NECROPHAGIST & DYING FETUS‘. Can you relate to the name-dropping? Which bands do you consider your primary influences?
Slamming Death Metal is of course part of it, some bits of Old School Death and Black Metal also have their part on my album, just a whiff of Doom.. Honestly, I’ve never been a real part of any scene, as I don’t see this style of extreme music being a very vibrant part of the scene in Holland (being quite the introvert also doesn’t help). But the scenes I’ve been close to have a warm and open vibe, if you’re part of it. PYAEMIA, CENTURIAN and SINISTER, just to call I few I think are amazing. I definitely feel like I can relate to those bands as they were my main influencers. SUFFOCATION for its pure brutality, SPAWN OF POSSESSION for its complexity, NECROPHAGIST for its technicality and CANNAB!S CORPSE definitely for its stubborn and playful riff compositions, epic!
You were in ONCE BEGOTTEN, DICTATED, IRON HARVEST & ABSCESSED. How do you look back at that period? Any other projects you are still a part of?
ABSCESSED gave me the experience of working together in a band and what to do and not to (like keep playing when the song stops, horrible when people do this..). With a 20year gap between their and my ages, it was a hilarious time with some cool guys who just don’t give a f***. DICTATED, I was just part of for a small 2 months, as I’ve stepped in for their tour with ORIGIN, PSYCROPTIC and LENG TCHE, as DICTATED’s bassplayer stepped out of the band 5 weeks before the tour. So I had to quickly learn their set and start touring! It was amazing though, tons of live playing experience. I was a singer for IRON HARVEST, great guys, great musicians and epic songwriting they’ve done for me to put the lyrics on. Didn’t last forever, but definitely good memories until the end. ONCE BEGOTTEN is where my heart will always lay and what I’ll miss forever. The music and playing it together was so intense, with such a fine balance between technical gameplay and pure brutality. The interaction with the musicians in it was simply amazing, intimate and never to be replaced by anything. ANCHILLYS is my only child at this point.
Did I read well that lyrical subjects & inspiration are spiritualism, emotions, existentialism, meditation, self-awareness, sleep paralysis, alien abduction & even out-of-the-body experiences? How do these subjects come to mind when writing song texts? What do you find more therapeutic: writing lyrics or writing music?
That is a 100% correct. I will say I find a lot more joy in writing the music itself, the album was fully written and recorded until I couldn’t get around the fact anymore that it still needed lyrics and vocal lines. It was so hard to write and fit sensible words over the riffs as they keep moving in tempo and signatures, making me delay it until the absolute end and couldn’t finish my album anymore. I’ve had experience with writing lyrics already, but still had no idea what type of subject would fit. So many subjects in Death Metal have already been done beyond the meaning of the word “cliché”, or subjects in the genre that I just simply don’t agree with (misogyny, describing what a dissected body looks like, “look how evil I am”..). I had to look deep in myself to find “who and what am I”, so those were a tough 9 months with a lot of self-confrontation, accompanied by increasing meditational practice as well as sauce and herbs and processing past life traumas etc. It was tough times, but again I will thank my girlfriend+parents for all her support and I’m proud of what eventually came out and how I’ve improved myself from it.
The artwork by H-HICH DESIGN is quite amazing. I read in another interview about its deeper meaning, inspired by a dream of yours about controlling your inner demons. How did you select your artist and how did you instruct the artist on what you wanted specifically as artwork? Was the artist’s first attempt immediately spot on or did you go through a feedback process? The symmetric, SZPAJDEL-alike logo by VISUAL DEFECT is classy too. How did you get to know and how did you end up with VISUAL DEFECT? Same question as for the artwork, did you give specific instructions for the logo or not at all? Was it photographer MICHEL VRIENS‘ or your both clever and hilarious idea to photo-shop yourself four times in the same picture to reflect that ANCHILLYS is one man playing four instruments? Despite your serious lyrical subjects, is humor important to you?
I went on a research where and how I could get artworks and quickly came to FIVERR. There I kept looking for artist that would fit the style I was looking for and ordered a few concepts with keywords from artists and what this guy came up with spoke to me immediately. It did need quite some fine-tuning which I did steer a lot into certain directions, like the ques I’ve seen in dreams. So he setup the concept, I’ve filled in on the details I needed and he’s amazing capability made my dream reality, literally haha.. The logoartist, just like the artwork, was also found on FIVERR. Amazing guy, he too setup a concept that just spoke to me, a few revisions and the result was there! Thank you for calling the photo idea hilarious! It was definitely supposed as a joke with deeper intention. I came up with the idea and asked my brother in law to help clicking the pictures and he photo-shopped it too. My sister would love to tell you she helped with the outfits, hairstyles and beard trimming, hèhè.. The “members” in the pictures do indeed represent the instrumentalists, left to right: drummer, bassist, vocalist and guitar player. It had to be “authentic”. Humor is definitely important to me, the lyrics are the only thing where it’s not part of it (ok, maybe a few lines and a certain title..). So the picture is obviously part of that too, along with the writing of the music. I wanted it to be playful and stubborn here and there. “Why would you write it like that..?” So you can ask me that question.
How will you attract other band members in the future? Do you plan to play live using session musicians or do you prefer to hit the stage with a stable, dedicated line-up? Will you let the music speak for itself or what show elements do you consider adding?
I’m not sure how I’m gonna approach that yet, besides showing that this stuff means business and dedication with love&passion for the music. I would definitely prefer a dedicated line-up where we all know how and why we can rely on each other, because I do feel like those line-up gives the most sincere live performances. But I’m not gonna slow down the projects future by leaving opportunities if I could do it with session members. Either way: hitting the stage with ANCHILLYS is the bigger dream (so if any musician is reading this NL/DE/BE, looking for a Brutal Blasting stage explosion: hook me up! firstname.lastname@example.org). Since I mostly prefer things to be old school and straightforward, I’d probably prefer to let the music speak for itself. I think it can be hard enough to follow sometimes without any extra show distractions. But never say never.
What are ANCHILLYS‘ ambitions? Would you ever sign a deal with a major label? Which labels do you dream to sign with? Or do you prefer a DIY approach? What further plans do you have with ANCHILLYS?
To begin with I’d love to see how the album will be received by the audience and how far it can reach for the dreams of the previous question. With time, there will be new material as I love the process of creating it and this time with the benefit of the experience how to do it more constructively. I do appreciate the mentality and freedom of doing it independently, although labels do come with obvious benefits. I’ve never really dreamt of signing with a big label, but I can’t wait to meet the day.
Any last words you would like to share?
First of all, thank you very much for the interview and your interest to check out what I’ve done. I appreciate that, same goes for everyone reading it and doing the same! I’d also love to thank my girlfriend and family (again) and friends and people who helped me realizing this project and all the steps it took and will take to push it further. Hopefully it will inspire other people too that you can do what you really want to do, as long as you believe in yourself and push yourself beyond your limits. Limitations are just a mentality and meant to be breached.