Exclusive Interview: Anchillys talk writing and recording “Elan Vital”!

Our second conversation with multi instrumentalist and sound board master Andy Wit (Once Begotten, Dictated) is all about how he wrote, recorded, mixed and mastered a Death Metal record of the finest order in “Elan Vital” under the moniker Anchillys. Learning as he went, every element has been fashioned to match his vision with only the artwork outsourced from the undertaking as the boy who started the project in the bedroom of his childhood home, then fought sleepless nights in a 19th century rehearsal bunker getting everything ready to commit to tape…

How did your previous experiences writing and recording help to smooth the path for “Elan Vital“? “I started experimenting writing at a younger age, just composing riffs and parts I could come up with and try making songs with them (nothing that’ll ever reach the public ghèhè..). Later, as I started playing in bands and coming with new material, they’ve helped me figuring out what worked or didn’t work and boosted my writing skills a lot I think, besides just playing in your childhoods bedroom. I take no shame, but pride in doing that because it eventually helped me creating the album I’m releasing now with the songs that I actually believe in and stand by ‘em. As far as recording goes: I never had any experience of an “actual” recording studio. Just home-recording the songs that I’ve wrote on guitar and some vocals. Recording drums was an absolute first time, on the drummer’s side and engineering side of view. Much stress, lots of cursing, but I did it!”

How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article? “Typically a certain rhythm or arrangement of notes get stuck in my head somehow, usually in the shower..! And when I absolutely enough of it, I sit down with guitar or drum-computer and fill each other out, according to what I’m hearing in my mind. As soon as that initial part is sorted out, the rest just comes. Give it some time when you get stuck or unsure if a part works and after a few days it will start talking to me about what it needs adjusted, added or what the next riff will be like. I don’t think any song will ever be fully finished, the first song “Dirt & Essence” was started about 10 years ago and I still get ideas that could also work. But you gotta tell yourself: this is good man, stop”

Guest spots are all the rage so if you had the option to bring in a guest to work on a track in the studio with you, who would you like to bring and why? Do you ever see yourself becoming someone like Indian multi-instrumentalist Demonstealer and creating records in that way? “I would rather like to work live sessions that way! Studio-work became to much of a personal thing for me, I just want it a certain way as a record will stay as it is and I consider myself quite the control-freak. I would definitely like to do that in a live session on stage, where everyone will be in the moment as the music, amazing musicians and audience will be fused together. My dream line-up would look like: Anton Zhikharev [Neurogenic, Infiltrated Mankind, Fleshbomb] on bass, Dennis Röndum [Spawn Of Possession, Strangulation, Visceral Bleeding] on vocals and myself on guitars if I could get Emil Wiksten [Abbat, Blood Red Throne, Slaughterous] on drums”

When it came to mixing and mastering the record, did you have any prior experience? How did you go about learning those skills? “No I did not, just the simple home-recording basics that I’ve mentioned before. I took a few months before I actually started recording just googling and take classes of all the information available on YouTube. My mix for sure leaves room for improvement, but I think there’s plenty of help offered right in the palm of your hand anno 2022. Playing an instrument, compositional work, recording sessions, producing: it all just needs practice and building experience”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “Oh dear, here comes the list haha..! Guitars: Jackson Warrior WRMG alder body with some EMG’s + a Jackson Randy Rhoads 7string also EMG’s, all Dean Markley strings, Engl+ Marshall heads and cabs, pedals just a tuner and noise gate, hard and sharps picks. For bass: won’t take any distance of my Ibanez SR650e with Nordstrand pickups, EBS tube head and cab, SansAmps pedal kicks my arse every time I fire it up with Curt Mangan strings, 3 fingers no pick. Drums are Tama Superstar Hyper-drive maple kit with a Mapex Black Panther birch snare, mixture of Sabian, Paiste and Istanbul cymbals, slammed with Vic Firth sticks and Demon Drives”

What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “I’d be proud and honoured to present any of the brands mentioned above. Of course I’d always be open to try something new if it would fit!”

Elan Vital” by Anchillys is out now and available over at bandcamp

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