The Anix: A Cinematic Approach to Music
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A band that has been on the Progressive Man radar for the past few years is Electro-Rock band The Anix. Brandon Smith and Chris Dinger, 2/3 of The Anix, spoke to us about their various musical influences as well as their unique take on film and cinema. Having already had their music featured on the soundtrack for the hit game “Mass Effect” and in the “DC Universe Online” commercial, the band is planning on taking their music to even greater heights. Progressive Man is proud to have had the opportunity to interview The Anix and share their music with our readers.
It’s an absolute pleasure to get to speak with you guys. We’re actually longtime fans over here at Progressive Man. For people who might not be acquainted with you, how did the band first come together?
Brandon- We started back around 2001, coming up with ideas on how to mix the electronic music we were into, with heavier stuff we also listened to. We used to play tons of Deftones covers in high school, so in a way that shaped the rock side of our sound early on.
Chris- I actually remember seeing The Anix playing Deftones’ “Bored” way back before I was in. We actually have a few Deftones songs we like to play to this day, live.
Tell us a little about the band name, The Anix. How did you guys come up with it? Is it symbolic in any way?
Brandon- Always wanted a short name that sounded kind of retro futuristic, like TRON, or The Cars, The Cure, etc. I wanted a name that sounded like it could have been a video game in the 80’s. We had an old synthesizer named the “AN1x” so we kind of took that idea and swapped the “1” with the letter “I”.
You have a distinct Electro Rock style, reminiscent of 30 Seconds to Mars. What compelled you to go the Electro-Rock route?
Brandon- More of a curse than anything. Growing up, most of my friends liked one style of music and one style only. I was into electronic music like Depeche Mode, deep house, pop, but I also loved harder stuff like Korn, Rage Against The Machine, etc.
I started fusing the two styles together back when I started messing around with my dad’s drum machine when I was 11 years old. At the time, I was trying to make the drum machine sound like real drums, and trying to make the keyboard sound like a real bass guitar, but of course it didn’t so I guess those early days just stuck with me.
I would make rock songs, but feel like they were too boring without keyboards or electronic drums, or make electro songs that seemed to need live instruments. I think we would have been much more successful if we just stuck to one genre, but that’s far too boring to keep my interest.
When 30 Seconds To Mars came around in 2000, I was just like FUCK, that’s our sound, only way-the-fuck better than what we could do, and I wanted to quit music all together.
Chris- I always came from the heavier, harder, more rock side. Growing up with Brandon, he is the one that actually got me into the electronic side more than any other artist.
Now I couldn’t imagine writing music without it, it adds so much to a song. There’s a band (Memphis May Fire) right now that I can’t get enough of that is very loud and has some electronics and is so good!
Whereas most bands like to cite other musicians as influences, you guys actually cite film as a major influence. What is there about film that inspires you more so than music?
Brandon- It is just so much more interesting. I always wanted to be a designer, and I love costumes/clothes/high-tech shit so I am really into movies that hit on those things.
Songs that come in during a dramatic moment of a film have so much more impact than hearing something on the radio because you will always associate that song with what is in that scene of the movie. For example: The Smashing Pumpkins song used in the trailer of “Watchmen”, or “Burn” by The Cure used in “The Crow”. I wanted to make songs that make people envision those types of movies or landscapes.
Your last album was “Sleepwalker” released in 2011. What have you guys been up to since then? Do you have any idea when your next album release might be?
Brandon- We’ve been working on new themes for a new record. Our songs are incredibly time consuming to write, especially when trying to come up with a new sound. We have about 10 demos that we are working on turning into final tracks. Hoping to have them all together and released by the end of the year. Again, the struggle to pick a genre and stick to it is more apparent now than ever. I could almost release an all-electronic album and an all-rock album at this point.
Chris- We have 1 song in particular for this next album that, the first time I heard it recorded, made me think WOW! Best song ever written!
You guys actually had one of your songs, “Warning Signs,” featured on the soundtrack for the game Mass Effect. How did that opportunity come about?
Brandon- Our label actually facilitated that, as well as our commercial for the DC Universe game.
Chris- We got to go to the premiere and heard our song on the big screen, which was great! Big thanks to FUNimation also. Crazy thing with Warning Signs is that we almost didn’t release it. Last second we thought, “Hell, let’s put it on the album.” It was almost a B-side
What’s the song creation process generally like? Brandon, do you create a skeleton of the song and present it to the guys or do you all work together to jam something out?
Brandon- I will create a demo, then show it to the guys and see their reaction. If it’s good, then they will add parts to it, we will try it live and make sure it works, then record the final. For “Sleepwalker” we recorded everything on our own then sent it off to be mixed.
I prefer this method rather than jamming out in the garage, because you can accomplish so much more when you have an idea in your head and have the ability to execute that idea on your own without other people judging or telling you to change things.
Chris- Either way, Logan and I will still judge him, and tell him what’s gonna change! (Laughing) It does work better that way and sometimes when I share music with Brandon I’ll get the same criticism, good or bad.
It does move things along better when you have more of a finished product to share, rather than a riff or a couple parts that don’t go together. Brandon sometimes comes up with some incredible stuff and we all say that’s great let’s work on it. Then 2 days later he’s over it. So that’s that! (laughing)
You guys have a number of music videos for your songs. What’s it like making a music video? Is it all fun or is it an exhausting process? How do you guys come up with the video concepts?
Brandon- Definitely not fun, but I think only because it is such a long process. I am extremely impatient, so if there was a way to shoot the video, and start editing the same day, I’d love it! The concepts have usually been the director’s idea, except for the short thing we did for “Enemy Eyes” and “Glass” which were both our own ideas.
Chris- Yeah, It’s definitely time consuming. Playing the same song over and over and over again gets old really fast. Also would like to point out it’s never my idea to get painted for a video like we were in “Glass.”
Of all the shows you’ve ever played, do you have a favorite? Is there one particular show that stands out for you?
Brandon- Everything we did in Europe was great, mainly because we had people there that cared about our live mix. In the US, we are nobodies, just a random band out of the billion others out there, so playing live is a painful experience, full of technical issues!
Chris- Couldn’t Have said it better!
Where can people go to find your music?
iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora etc. Also, we are most active on our facebook.com/theanix page.
Thanks guys for taking the time to interview us! Brandon/Chris