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2015 turned out to be a solid year for metal and especially death metal. There were some fantastic releases across the spectrum of this style and fans were spoilt for choice. But one of my favorite death metal albums I listened to this year is Anatomia’s ‘Decaying in Obscurity’ which came out 3 years ago. This was in preparation for their first gig in Bangalore, India as a part of the final edition of Trend Slaughter Fest in October. Anatomia’s brand of ethereal, yet crushingly heavy doom death left the audience mesmerized and we got the chance to talk to the band about their music and their experience during their tour.

Transcending Obscurity (Shrivatsan) : Hey guys. Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. How has the journey been, from Transgressor days to the current incarnation of Anatomia?

Anatomia (Takashi): Hi Shrivatsan, thanks a lot for your support. My pleasure! I’m excited about answering these questions now. Total support to Transcending Obscurity webzine! In fact, this is my first time to have an interview for a zine from India, so I’m honoured! Yes, Anatomia was formed in 2002 when the former Transgressor got disbanded. Practically, we merely changed the name. And yeah, long time ago, right? Many years have passed, and now that it’s 25 years ago when the Transgressor‘s second demo was released, you know. Come to thing of it, nothing has really changed in terms of music I play itself, however the situation changed time to time. I feel really good and happy about being able to continue to play the music I like.

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TO: When your second album, ‘Decaying in Obscurity’ was released, the record showed a bit of change in direction in terms of darker atmosphere and the use of keyboards. This is the time when Kaori joined the band. Was it the inclusion of Kaori on keyboards that brought about the shift in direction, or is it the other way round?

Anatomia: Right, that album is obviously different from the first one. When we started talking about it, Jun had some good ideas of using keyboard for the songs. Since Yoshio had already left the band, it was only me and Jun worked on the writings for that album. Well, more precisely, Kaori joined in after the album got released, so she wasn’t the trigger for that. But addition of Kaori greatly improved in creating creepy and heavy atmosphere. She does really good sound effect, so that we can make it much heavier and bizarre sound mix when we play live.

TO: Most of Anatomia’s lyrics seem to be inspired by horror and Japan has a lot of good horror filmmakers like Takashi Miike. Who inspires you the most and what are some works of horror that you’d recommend?

Anatomia: Yes, I write the lyrics. I did almost all of them so far, and they are horror-inspired mostly, but some other lyrics are based on bizarre murder cases that happen here in Japan today. You know where I live, the northern part of Tokyo, called Adachi-ku, is known as the place for strange murder cases. So I occasionally come across the ones that I get inspired from. Yes, there are many horror films made in Japan now, but I’m not really familiar with that. I would recommend Cold Fish though. I watched this film lately, and I really liked it. It’s really good one, very sick, twisted, nasty, evil, brutal, cruel…

TO: Japan’s mythos is full of weird and scary stuff like Oni, Hyosube etc. Do these mythologies play a factor in Anatomia’s interest in horror?

Anatomia: Maybe to some extent. We did grow up with those monsters, apparitions whatever we were told when we’re little kids still scary in a sense. I remember when I saw drawings of yokai called Kuchisake Onna, Slit-mouth woman, and heard the story, I couldn’t sleep. Hehe. So even though if it’s not direct source to the band main theme, the basic things might have been coming from that.

TO: Japan has a lot of good doom, death and grind bands like S.O.B., Coffins, Deadly Spawn, Bathtub Shitter, etc. But metal in Japan according to the mainstream media has to do with Kawaii metal bands like Baby Metal. As someone from the music scene there, I’d like to hear your thoughts on this dichotomy.

Anatomia: Well, that’s a good question. In Japan, we have both the mainstream bands doing commercial flowery things while on the other hand the underground bands on the uncommercial steady things, with the heart of true underground spirit. I think that it’s because metal music in general is not well accepted compared to that in the States and in Europe. So they think they needed to do something to differentiate it from the standard. I just don’t care what others do but do for my own.

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TO: Anatomia recently played their first gig in India, as a part of the Trendslaughter Fest. How was the experience? What would you say was the highlight of your trip to India?

Anatomia: We had really great time!!! The fest itself was well organized, and the dedicated crews led by the master Sandesh did really great jobs! They were all helpful, supportive for the bands and the scene itself. I talked to Sandesh for the first time about playing at this fest a couple years ago, and since then we were looking for the chance. So it was like our dream come true. The response from the crowd was also great. Even though our music was slower torturing, we could make them crazy excited, as I remember I saw some guys head banging hard. So, that is the highlight to me.

TO: Did you get a chance to check out some of the Indian band’s releases while you were here? What advice would you give to bands and the fans here?

Anatomia: Unfortunately not good enough. I ended up getting only two CDs by Dhwesha and Dying Embrace. I’m such a retard, hahah. I really needed to know more bands from India, so anyone can help me with that? Give me some recommends and some contacts if possible. I don’t have anything to say about or give advice to the bands there. What I thought after seeing and interacting with people there was that the scene is quite active and growing. Compared to that in Tokyo, specifically people looked more enthusiastic. So I hope we can come back and play somewhere in India again sometimes in the future.

TO:  I know you might get this question a lot, but that’s probably because the fans are always hungry for new Anatomia material. What is next for the band? Any new records in the works? 

Anatomia: We have been working on the new full-length album now. We got 5-6 songs written, still writing some more. No detailed release plan yet but hopefully sometimes in 2016. Along with that, we also have some split releases in the works, with such bands as Surgikill, Gravesite, Dusk and also signed to take part in the Brain Dead tribute album which is coming out in spring 2016. Then, we’re expecting to go on tour in Europe, US, and some parts of Asia hopefully.

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TO (To Kaori): I’ve personally, never seen anyone handle a keyboard the way you did and it is not something you come across very often. Could you tell us about how you came across this style?

Anatomia (Kaori): Initially, it was in the heat of the moment and it meant to be just a one time thing. But a little later when we went touring in Europe, we would play in squats, small venues and etc. none of which have keyboard stands let alone other gears! So I went with it. People recognize it’s my style now. Plus I physically control the pulse. My instrument (Nord Lead 2X) is more organic than you think so I’d like the audience to see it as well.

TO (To Yukiyasu): When I think back to my experience of witnessing Anatomia live in Bangalore, one of the standout images in my mind is of you playing some menacing riffs without minding your hair getting stuck in the headstock. We all were intimidated by the length of your hair. What’s your secret, if you don’t mind me asking?

Anatomia (Yukiyasu): That’s a good question. In fact, no one ever asked me about that in any interview. Haha. So I’m glad that you pointed that out. Thanks. Well, that’s what I always do, and is important to me when I play guitars on stage. So yeah, it’s like a rule I set, and I feel bad if I fail to do that. You know, I grew up with watching metal head guitarist in performance, and so I always want to do something similar. And that my stuck hairs somehow look like another guitar strap, right? Haha.

TO: Takashi is one of the few drummers who also do vocals. How hard / easy was it when you first started doing this? Who inspired you to take up vocal duties from behind the kit?

Anatomia: When I was only a high school kid, that was around 28 years ago, I was totally into German thrash, and I have been listening to Kreator a lot. And I often jammed with my brother to cover their ‘Pleasure to Kill’ album, and that’s the time when I started learning how to do it. I just watched their video and played like it. We jammed together a lot, like every day at my house, and I remember I used my fake drum set made by card boxes. Hehe.

TO: Apart from the two full lengths, Anatomia has a lot of split releases to its credit. As a band, which format do you prefer; full lengths or splits and why?

Anatomia: No preference but I like both. The reason for having that many splits is because I didn’t set priority. So when I got offers from bands and labels I always said yes. You know after releasing the first full-length album, we constantly received split offers, and we just carried out all the plans, and that ended up many splits. So there’s nothing intentional there, but valued the opportunity of releasing something together with other bands and good friends in the scene.

TO: In a time where every other band is trying to be more technical and more brutal, Anatomia offers a refreshing breath with slow, heavy doom. What are your views when it comes to band trying to be more brutal than the rest? And how is doom / death metal received when compared to these modern metal subgenres?

Anatomia: I personally like brutal death too, cuz’ I grew up with it. Back in the mid ’90s when I was living in the States, I was digging it pretty much. Back then was the time when more and more bands started using a new technique to play faster and more brutal. So, I still like them, and I often listen to such band stuff. However, when it comes to what I play, I prefer slower stuff and with some atmospheres. It’s just like my preference, you know I never thought I would play faster or more technical. I would rather like playing with my feelings, you know. So that comes first, and then there’s nothing that I care about what they’d say about it.

TO: People are migrating more and more towards digital music, with the internet being available to almost everyone. In such a state, how difficult is it for bands to sell their merch? How would you convince today’s kids to buy physical records?

Anatomia: Exactly, the situation is getting worse these days. We can listen to almost everything, whatever we want anytime anywhere on YouTube, Bandcamp, etc. But I think, when we play shows, we sell out more. It seems people would buy stuff when they actually experience the music in live. So we try to bring merch as much as possible.

TO (Shrivatsan): Thank you for your time. Do you have any final message to our readers?

Anatomia (Takashi): Thank you so much for this killer interview, Shrivatsan. I enjoyed it a lot. To the readers here, watch out for our upcoming new album and some more new releases. There are many in the works now. Support the underground metal of death! Dismal slow death metal!

 

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