INTERVIEW with Duncan Patterson
by Giancarlo Bolther
Protégenos", is your new album under the new moniker Íon,
what can you tell me about your new project?
It's something I thought up when I could see the end with
the Antimatter project. I'd had some music written for a while, some
of which didn't quite fit in with what we were doing in Antimatter.
What is different about your new project as compared to what
you've done in the past?
I'm trying different instrumentation, and the whole thing
has a more positive message. In the past I wrote about disappointments
and channeled my negative energy out through the music. Now I want
away from negativity.
It seems to me that with your new album you have naked yourself
and you have presented to us your most intimistic side?
I don't exactly agree with this, as I've always written about
my real life situations in the songs. With this new album I have written
some things that aren't only related to me, there are messages to
"Madre, Protégenos" is full of spirituality,
but how do you live this aspect in your private life?
I read a lot about spirituality and healing, I meditate when
I get the chance to. I worked on myself a lot during the last few
years and it has done me the world of good. Self-discipline in not
only what I say, but also in what I think, even down to the use of
particular words. I worked on removing the negative aspects of my
life, and the negative people seem to have disappeared with that.
Since then I have met a lot of people who are doing the same thing
with good intentions, I dont believe that this is a coincidence.
It seems to me that the interest for spiritual belief is increasing,
do you feel the same?
Yes it seems that way. There seems to be a mass consciousness
thing going on, I really hope that is the case. But, like with anything
that becomes popular, there will always be people getting involved
for selfish reasons. Be that for their own ego, or solely to make
money out of it. I see adverts for a lot of healers now, with Reiki
and such things, and some of them are asking for a lot of money for
treatments. That can be fixed if people look out for each other.
Word of mouth is still the best advertisement, especially from people
that you trust.
Does the song "Anathema Maranatha" is a link with
This song is about events that happened to me a few summers
Its relevant to what I was saying before about removing negative people
from my life. Its nothing to do with my former band. As the song is
in Greek, I had a Greek title 'Tria' as it was going to be track 3
on the album. I decided to move it to 4th so I needed another title.
'Anathema Maranatha' came to me, and it fits even better.
"Believe" is my fave song, i've found a prog attitude,
but i like it for its intensity, can you tell me more about this song,
It is about self-improvement, and looking out for other people.
Believing that you can improve, even when things seem hopeless if
often our own fault.
Íon is a celtic name, what does it mean?
It is the gaelic word for 'pure. I found it on a vodka bottle
and asked a few Gaelic speaking friends what it meant. I think it
What kind of message do you want to give with this album?
The idea was to bring something positive into the mix, even
though a lot of the music is really dark sounding. It is a reflection
of what I am doing in my life; self-improvement, hope, looking out
for each other.
How are going the responses?
The feedback has been good so far. A lot of people have understood
what I'm trying to do, and a lot of people can identify with this
as they are at a similar stage in their lives.
With Anathema and Antimatter too, you have made very interesting
and innovative music. What kind of music you are shooting for with
this new project?
You have heard the album, so I guess its obvious what kind
of music I'm going for.
For this album you've collaborated with a lot of interesting
artists, can you tell me more about these collaborations, please?
I approached some people to play on the album, some people
approached me, and everyone played their part on it however big or
small. Its a minimal album, even though the musicians list is fairly
large. So theres not too much instrumentation going on throughout.
I actually played most of it myself, but its nice to have input from
these people and their presence on the album.
Who is the one that impressed you best?
I'd have to say that the hardest working colleague was Emily
Saaen, the main vocalist on the album. Even when she was seriously
ill she was working on the vocals so I wouldnt miss my deadline. She
came to me at a perfect time, and I cant thank her enough for what
As well as that she is an amazing singer, and total professional.
If you could have the possibility, which are the artists you
would like to play with and why?
I'd like to work with an orchestra one day, a group that
doesn't strictly stick to the rules. Also it would be great to collaborate
with The Chieftains, the masters of Irish traditional music.
Did you play on tour after the realization of the cd? What
are you preparing for the audience?
Yes, I am trying to arrange live dates at the moment. I have
musicians together for a live set-up. I guess we will prepare to play
the songs live, and some other music that isnt on the album.
What was happened when you decided to break up Anathema?
That was nearly 10 years ago, and I've been through it 1000
I wasn't happy in the band and decided to leave and start something
else, which was Antimatter.
And about Antimatter (another interesting project), what would
you like to tell us?
I'm proud of what me and Mick did with Antimatter. The way
we worked outside the hype and bullshit of the music industry. Saviour
and Lights Out are really strong albums, and they're not going to
There is something about your past that you would like to
change if it will be possible?
I would have been a footballer rather than a musician.
How culturally connected are you to your native land?
I'm from north Liverpool, and I'm not sure about the cultural
identity there. Nowadays its about bad quality cocaine, fighting in
pubs, shaving your head, and wearing the same tracksuit as everybody
else. I'm not really connected with any of that. I've lived in Ireland
for 6 years, where my family is from, and I feel more at home there.
Dublin is like my home city, although there are some of the earlier
mentioned aspects similar to Liverpool there. But it is a magic place
for me. I have a strong interest in Irish history and traditional
music, I guess thats natural as its in my blood.
A lot of artists that came from celtic music are linked in
some ways to Paganism, what do you think about Paganism?
It has made interesting reading for me, and a lot of the
customs and festivals are still present in modern day life, though
have been replaced and even hijacked by organised religion. I guess
we could all do with becoming closer to nature, and a lot of healing
is based around pagan beliefs and rituals.
Which is the greatest satisfaction happened to you in your
I think the gigs in Greece and Turkey with Antimatter were
a great experience. People were singing along to every song, especially
in Turkey. It was nice to know that we existed independently and people
were there purely for the music. I returned to Turkey in December
with Vincent from Anathema. We did two acoustic shows, which were
both sold out. That was also a magical experience.
Which have been the darkest moments of your career?
The realisation that I was surrounded by so many parasites
who were not interested in the music at all. Some people that I considered
to be friends turned out to be vultures, waiting to see what they
could gain from hanging around with me. I cut these people out of
my life though, and wont make the same mistake again. Still, it was
a very sad situation.
What kind of music do you listen to? What are your favourite
bands actually and what are your inspirations from the past?
I listen to all kinds of music. I mostly like music that
I can relax to, like Lisa Gerrard, Pink Floyd, ambient dub stuff,
Irish trad. But I'm also into Fugazi and a lot of punk and hardcore.
My biggest inspirations are probably Roger Waters and Celtic Frost,
they are the most long-standing influences.
How have you get in touch with the label Equilibrium and what
can you tell us about working with a small label?
When I was making demos for Madre, Protegenos, I was considering
which labels to offer the album to. Equilibrium was the first one
that came into my head, and I didnt offer it to anyone else. I thought
that it would fit in with what they are about. Its going well now,
we are working together to promote the album and that. As for the
'small label' thing, I dont really think along those lines. The important
thing is to have understanding and be able to work together. We have
similar work ethics, and opinions about the way to go about things.
I'm sure this wouldn't be the case with a major label, or a wannabe
major label. I'm not into the idea of going cap-in-hand to businessmen
with my music, who then decide whether it is marketable or not. Its
not what I am about at all.
Can you give us some anticipations about your future project,
please? A final salute...
I will begin working on a new album sometime this year. I
have a couple of tracks written already, but I have no idea when I
will enter the studio.
Thanks for the coverage and the well thoughout questions.
(in italian): Madre, Protegenos
Related Artists: Antimatter