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Interview: Phil Anselmo, Part 1: Music
Anselmo talks solo project and new Down EP
The tone of his voice is raw and raspy while we exchange introductions over
the phone. “Expecting your phone call, jack,” said Phil Anselmo, lead vocalist
of Down. Taking a break from working on his solo project, Anselmo sits in his
studio (Housecore Records) in New Orleans, La.
“I was working in the studio all day and all night. I’m doing my solo project right
now, trying to break my fucking voice back in,” said Anselmo, 43.
The former Pantera vocalist explains that he separates Down’s vocals from
his solo project by utilizing different parts of his voice.
“With the new project that I’m doing it’s more aggressive. It’s a different part of
my throat that I haven’t used much in the last couple years.”
The project is titled Phillip H. Anselmo and is supported by a backing band of
experienced metal musicians.
|For The Fans, By The Fans. Look Beyond The Mainstream.
Down have launched a tour alongside Housecore Records' band haarp.
“It’s a matter of taking a chance, trying folk out and seeing what you get out of it. So far everyone’s really fucking stepped up to the plate, so we’ll see,”
Metal guitarist Marzi Montazeri from Houston, Texas, Warbeast drummer Jose Manuel Gonzalez and Bennett, a bass player suggested by his
engineer, are all part of Anselmo’s band.
“A lot of these guys have their own bands and have their own thing going on, so it’s whenever we can get together we’ll jam,” he said.
Never wanting to repeat his approach to things in different projects, Anselmo said having two drummers perform at once in this band is a goal.
“I really have a vision for this dual drumming thing that I think is different than a lot of bands that have two drummers,” he said. “Maybe one of the best
I’ve ever seen, being the Melvins. I totally respect, more than respect them, I actually love it. But I want to do something different from what they’re
doing as well.”
Anselmo said the overall vibe of his solo project is extremely agitated. “What’s the word? ‘Manic.’ Yes, very manic. So it definitely requires an
aggressive edge to it. I’m definitely trying to pinpoint that,” he said. “I am trying to create something that is different, something that I have not really
touched on before.”
The project has been in the works for a couple years and currently has no official release set, but Anselmo promises: “It’s a comin’!”
Anselmo has also been sharing studio time to produce metal band haarp’s new album at Housecore Records.
“We’re basically set up in the studio for vocals. So it’s a matter of when my voice eventually fries out, then Shaun [Emmons], the singer from haarp,
will come in and then we will switch over to the haarp sessions and he’ll sing.”
Haarp recently announced they will open for Down throughout the band’s May tour.
Instead of releasing a full-length album, Anselmo’s primary band Down is preparing to release a series of four EPs. For the first Down EP, Anselmo
said the songs and recordings are finished and now they’re waiting on it to be mastered.
“I want to hear it mastered and put it up against something else to make sure. We’re happy with the actual recording, just waiting to see and make
sure that it’s the old 100 percent, if you know what I mean,” Anselmo said.
Anselmo describes the new album as very raw and stripped-down, but it doesn’t stray too far from the course of Down.
“I wouldn’t say its flat-out dead simple, because it always involves stuff within the music. You don’t want to beat up the old formula too much either—
the Black Sabbath/Southern Rock meeting of the heads. I realize Down is unique within that little clique,” he said. “And I think we’ve retained that
While recording vocals for new Down material, Anselmo let nature take its course.
“When I went to actually lay the tracks, it was coming out the way it wanted to come out. I wasn’t going to fight against what was wanting to happen
on its own,” he said. “That’s the last thing I wanted to do. I wanted to enhance it and let it kind of find a life of its own.”
Reflecting on the first and third albums (Nola and Down III: Over The Under), Anselmo said there’s a big difference with vocal range, making each
Down album unique in its own way.
“I think on the third album there was this yearning to sing, sing, sing. Like really sing, which you know man, I’ll be the first to admit my pitch really ain’t
all that fucking great. I can sing, but as for being a perfectionist or anything like that, I am not, I am not that man,” he said.
With the new EP, Anselmo said he sounds like Whine-O meets Ozzy. “It was like I was trapped somewhere between Whine-O and maybe a little bit
of Osbourne. Which is nothing new, Ozzy’s such a big influence,” he said. “You’ll have to hear it to know what I’m talking about.”
Although the band released some track titles (including “Witchtripper,” “The Curse Of A Lie,” “Open Coffins”), there is no release date yet.
“It should be this year man. Really, I would be surprised if it wasn’t out before the summer,” Anselmo said.
It’s been five years since the last Down album, but fans are now focused on the 20th Anniversary CD/DVD release of Pantera’s Vulgar Display Of
Power scheduled for May 15. The deluxe edition is remastered, it includes an extra song titled “Piss” and an unreleased live set from 1992.
To pre-order the album, click here.
If he isn’t already busy enough, Anselmo also released a series of ten individual cell phone ringtones with his voice for fans to download.
For download details, click here. In addition, he has plans to launch the Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin, Texas starting October, 2013.
Down will perform at Rock On The Range in Columbus, Ohio on the f.y.e. second stage on Sun. May 20 at 4:35 p.m.
For a full list of Down tour dates, click here.