WITH ANTIMATTER with Mick Moss (italian
by Giancarlo Bolther
you give us an introduction to your band with the history of your
group? In particular you have worked with Duncan Patterson, could
you tell us something more about your collaboration? Are you still
Antimatter is a project established in 1998 when my ex-partner
Duncan Patterson heard my solo project and suggested we work together.
I had been working rigidly since 1995 writing songs and recording
demos whilst Duncan was planning to leave Anathema and continue writing
himself. That’s how everything came about; it was a merging
of two separate bodies of work. We released three albums like this,
and I now carry Antimatter as my own since Duncan’s departure
in 2005, releasing two further albums ‘Leaving Eden’ (2007)
and now ‘Fear Of A Unique Identity’ (2012). The name ‘Antimatter’
came from Duncan. In 1999 we were both throwing names around for the
project, I suggested ‘Absolution’ (years before the Muse
album of the same name), and Duncan suggested ‘Antimatter’.
Duncan and myself had both gone through very similar psychological
experiences around that time, and the name ‘Antimatter’,
suggesting inverted reality, was very apt, though either name would
have fit the bill (and indeed if the project had been titled ‘Absolution’
there would have been less ambiguity about myself carrying on with
the projects name in 2005). I’m still in touch with Duncan,
we live very close to each other and remain good friends.
Four years since the last studio album, why so long and how
much are you changed since then?
The years since the last studio album were very full. Compiling
‘Alternative Matter’ alone took a year out of my life
due to the fact that I had a lot of old recordings to clean up and
augment, a 100-page book to arrange, a DVD to author, a documentary
to make. Apart from that I had a number 1 record with ‘Broken
Smile’ (The Beautified Project), supported Marillion twice,
by their request, I set up my own label ‘Music In Stone’
to release a live Antimatter album. I also had a nervous breakdown,
bought a house and wrote two albums, one of which is ‘Fear Of
A Unique Identity’, which I strove to make perfect, not a quick
process. So, really that gap in between studio albums was quite full.
It was hard getting back into writing and arranging after the break
I took to work on ‘Live@An Club’ and ‘Alternative
Matter’, as the creative process for me is something you develop
like a muscle. If you don’t use that muscle then it becomes
weak, so I had to flex things a little to get back into the swing
of things. Once I was back in gear I found I was writing and working
better more creatively than I possible ever had. Its easy for me to
see the changes Ive gone through in the last 5 years as the music
is much more energetic and layered now than it ever was.
Can you tell us about the songs from Fear of a Unique Identity?
The album explores the self-imposed pressure in the individual
to conform to their perception of the masses as they feel like a freak,
or there’s something wrong with them, if they’re ‘different’.
The trade-off between someone’s uniqueness in character and
what they see as the accepted standard in order to avoid drawing negative
attention to themselves. I focus mainly on an urban environment and
the various psyches within that, the roleplay that goes on either
through desperation or simple lack of intelligence. We then pull back
to a wider, more worldwide, more historical view of this kind of behaviour,
and the dangers of conforming if the standard that is being conformed
to is actually malignant.
Your new album is very atmospheric, sometimes it reminds to
me the new Anathema, a band very important in music evolution, do
you feel to be part of the same musical path?
Anathema are on a very different path to Antimatter both
musically and conceptually. I know Danny Cavanagh and myself share
some slight musical influences, so maybe from time to time they will
shine through in our writing, but on the whole its hard for me to
see a direct line between the two projects. At the moment Anathema
are lyrically very into the self-help medium, whilst on my new album
I’m making my own hypothesis about the darker side of sociology,
psychology, politics. Musically it’s also hard to compare. You’re
right about atmosphere though, I do tend to look for a certain feeling
in the music and Anathema do the same, albeit a different feeling.
Where do you find inspiration for writing your lyrics and
how do you go about the process of composing songs?
The desire to write comes from two different places. Lyrics
come from a dark place, a feeling of anger, discontent with aspects
of life, whereas music comes from a very positive place. Albums will
pretty much always adhere to a concept now. ‘Leaving Eden’
was a concept album, so is ‘Fear …’, and I have
had the theme for the next two albums mapped out for a long time.
The process of composing usually starts with by myself channeling
a song in one sitting, which is then augmented, arranged and added
to over the coming weeks/months. But usually the nucleus comes out
in one go, and I generally have the concept at the same time. This
is not always the case, of course.
I like a lot the title of the album, what does it mean? It’s
a concept album, what kind of message do you want to give?
The title refers to peoples fear of not blending in with
the crowd. The message is quite clear, it lies in the albums title.
Don’t censor or change yourself through fear or stupidity. It’s
ok to be yourself (as long as your ‘self’ can practice
positive morality) . Hopefully it might wake up a few people who are
hiding behind ridiculously macho images and stifling their own spirt.
And if that fails, and humans really do have an immovable tendency
to adapt themselves to the collective personality, then shouldn’t
we all strive make the collective personality a loving, enlightened
collective that strives for good rather than the selfish, cold collective
that dominates our urban areas? Change the dominant message.
Would you like to compare the new album with the previous?
There are threads that connect the new album to the last,
and there are also threads from previous albums as well as new sounds
and directions. In 2008, after Leaving Eden I knew I wanted to try
something different. I wrote a song called ‘Eyes Burning Holes’
and created a demo for it, which sounded just like any track off ‘Leaving
Eden’, and that really repulsed me. I took a bit of time off
to let myself calm down and find a new angle. Then, as I mentioned
earlier, I got drawn into a thousand other things, so when the urge
to write and create came back I couldn’t, as I was too busy.
This resulted in a pent-up energy in me that was never released. Once
I had time to myself the music just came flying out, and I let it
come in whatever form it wanted. It felt very much like when I was
writing for ‘Saviour’, it was very free. I had realized
that over the years the path from ‘Lights Out’ to ‘Leaving
Eden’ had resulted in Antimatter’s sound being narrowed
and refined, almost to a defining point with ‘Leaving Eden’,
and I really needed to open the picture up. I’ve certainly achieved
that with ‘Fear Of A Unique Identity’ and I’m sure
fans will agree. I just keep moving from concept to concept. My songs
on the first album were about love affairs and death, the second album
was insanity and machismo.Third album was bereavement, alienation,
malignant urban cloning and the Liverpool music scene. ‘Leaving
Eden’ covered loss from all angles. What did seem constant for
the first four albums was my lyrical approach when it came to writing
about these subjects. It was all so personal. For ‘Fear’
I certainly made the conscious effort to open up my style of writing.
It’s all a constant state of evolution. This has been most evident
over the last three studio albums; each one seems to be nothing like
the last. Theres a million things I want to try out so I’ll
always keep changing, I hope.
Religion, spirituality and philosophy are faced in your albums,
what do you think about these themes?
Philosophy is what has baked my head for the last 20 years
and I can’t see that ever changing. As thoughtful creatures
we should all be challenging ourselves and our perception from as
many angles as possible in order to grow and become more understanding.
Of course, the nature of philosophy is that we will never truly understand,
but in its pursuit we can enlighten ourselves. Religion is a different
matter, the polar opposite of philosophy in my opinion.
It seems to me that the interest for spiritual belief is increasing,
do you feel the same and how much spiritual are you?
I was actually into spirituality 20 years ago. If I look
back then I was by far the most spiritually minded person out of anybody
I knew, and I was always trying to coax people to be the same, mostly
unsuccessfully. Spirituality is something that I explored a long,
long time ago and the things I learned then I have carried with me
ever since, although I’m very calm and quiet about it. It seems
everyone is talking about spirituality now, although it’s not
something I choose to talk about much unless the subject is raised.
Though there is an Antimatter album I have planned, the seventh album
(after ‘The Judas Table’), which explores my spiritual
I saw you in a date in Vicenza in 2007 with Leafblade, for
an acoustic live set, what do you remember about that tour?
Hmn, not much. I remember having a great time with Sean from
Leafblade and really bonding with him. You can make great friendships
out on the road when you are traveling with people, as long as the
personal chemistry is right. I also remember meeting Vic Anselmo for
the first time a few days later. My memories are foggy though!!
How do you live the day-to-day reality outside the band? What
kind of person are you as men and as artists?
Like any person I’m up and down. Antimatter explores
the darker side of me but that’s not to say I’m a dark
person. I have a darkness, like any human, but it doesn’t account
for 100% of my personality. Anyone who knows me is aware I try my
best to lighten the mood as much as possible, and I have a sense of
humour, and quite a strong one, I’m from Liverpool after all,
we are known for it. From day to day I just continue my work on music,
that’s what keeps me happy, sane. I also like to get outside
once in a while and see the world, see other peoples faces.
All of us have had some hard times in their life, would you
like to share some of yours with us, please?
I do, I share them as songs.
Which is the greatest satisfaction happened to you in your
Everything I achieve brings me satisfaction. Though the greatest satisfaction
comes from being able to continue to make music that I’m proud
of, and for this to be my way of living. I’m very lucky in that
respect. I’ve worked hard for what I’ve achieved, of course.
Feel free to end this interview as you like...
Thanks! Be sure to check antimatteronline.com and/or facebook.com/antimatteronline
for regular updates on live appearances and news. Thanks for everyone’s
continued support and I hope to see some of you in our March 2013
gigs!! Keep checking online, thank you !!!
Reviews (only in italian): Saviour;
Leaving Eden; Fear
of a Unique Identity