Social media are hot nowadays. With Twitter and Facebook you can build a following consisting of people from every corner of the globe. Some time ago I was contacted by Helen Liverakou from Greece whether I was interested in publishing her interview with Mick Moss from Antimatter. After seeing the quality of her article I was thrilled to put it on Home Nucleonics. They talked about a whole range of different topics, including Alternative Matter, Mick’s influences, future projects and collaborations and what keeps him going as a musician..
Hello Mick, how are you doing?
I’m fine thanks, there has been a little bit of sun in Liverpool over the last few days, which always helps to lift my spirits.
May I presume that a great load is lifted from your shoulders now after releasing the Alternative Matter album?
Not really, no, I still have a lot of music clogging my head up and I feel the pressure now to get working and get it recorded after such a long time focusing on archived music rather than new recordings. It’s been a long time since I worked on Leaving Eden (last studio album by Antimatter.ed) and I now have two albums, two separate concepts, burning a hole in my head.
What does the completion of Alternative Matter mean to you?
It was a great relief, for two reasons. One, it meant that the Antimatter archive had finally found its home in a respectable release, and secondly it meant that I was free to look to the future rather than the past. Its been very frustrating for me over the last few years as I’ve been unable to start work on the next studio Antimatter album due to being tied to cleaning up the archives. During that time I’ve watched almost all of my friends and peers release new albums while my hands have been tied. But its work that I’m glad I did, as Alternative Matter is a collection of very valuable recordings that were just gathering dust.
From my humble perspective Alternative Matter is one of the most dense and emotional albums I have ever encountered. What are your own thoughts on this release?
Well, it’s a collection of unreleased recordings made by myself and Duncan Patterson over the last ten years. What connects the album with the people involved is a bit hard for me to say, I’m too close to that picture to be able to comment.
You mentioned there’s a new Antimatter album in the works. How are things moving along?
Yeah, I’m moving swiftly on to the next studio release, and I’ve already begun pre-production. I’ve got a strong urge to work fast due to the gap in between this and Leaving Eden that was taken up by Live@An Club and Alternative Matter, but I’ve got to resist that urge and just work calmly and not make any rash decisions. If I start watching the clock now and feeling the need to get the album finished ASAP in order to atone for the long wait since the last studio album, then I’ll start making mistakes and ultimately the album will suffer.
Mick, we are at the post-Alternative Matter era. What does this mean for you?
Yeah, the slate has definitely been wiped clean. This is the start of a new calendar decade and also a new decade for Antimatter, so there’s definitely the sense of starting anew now.
Are you going to introduce new elements in your music?
Definitely. In fact I’ve been very dismissive of anything that sounded too much like Leaving Eden, which is a shock to me. So the new album has a completely new spectrum, in my opinion. This week I’ve finished the demo for the track Firewalking and I’m quite shocked at the direction it has taken. I find it very refreshing and I’m certainly looking forward to hearing how the other tracks turn out.
Will there be any surprise participators?
At the moment I’m planning on working with drummer Colin Fromont from AVERSE, and also pianist/vocalist Lisa Cuthbert. I’ll be recording in France in August, and I’d also like to make use of whatever violinists or cellists I can find there.
Mick, some of the unique things that characterize you as Mr Antimatter are the special tone of your voice and the slow-tempo rhythms. Would you ever think to make a turnover? Maybe something with a harsher edge?
Yeah, of course, but I always tend to go with what feels right for me, and usually that’s the more slow to mid-tempo type of arrangement. The track Saviour from the first album is up-tempo, and I also have a track called Uniformed and Black from the next album that is much faster than anything Antimatter has released before.
Your music is very dark and at times quite depressing. In what capacity is your character or mental state reflected in your music?
Yeah I do have my dark side, as everybody does, and that’s where my lyrics come from, but my dark side doesn’t and shouldn’t represent myself as a person, as a whole. Generally, although being very pessimistic, I try to keep myself upbeat and, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I try to bring levity to people and situations.
Tell me Mick, what gives you the “fuel” to write? When do you say: “now it’s the time to write”?
As for music, I’ll write whenever the time grabs me, whenever I feel creative, energized or inspired. Obviously not everything I come up with I’m happy with, a lot of stuff just gets dropped straight away, but the pieces of music that do strike a chord with me are kept and then over the course of time develop. As for lyrics, they come from a totally different place, as I mentioned earlier, a more negative place, where as the music comes from a positive place. Weird, haha, I’ve never realized that before.
In what phase are you right now? Are you going to tour and are there any possible Greek dates planned? You know you got a dedicated fan base there.
Once I have my live band sorted out I’ll be looking at places to take it, and Greece will definitely be on my list of potential territories. At the moment though we’re still very much in the construction stages of putting a set together, still without a drummer, and just concentrating on small acoustic sets in order to build up experience while we build the bigger picture. Also we have a small matter of a support slot with Marillion in May to worry about.
What do you like to do when you’re not busy with Antimatter? Tell me some of the things that define you.
Music is my main pastime, really. I spend time with my family of course, and I also just try to get out of the house and walk around outside to avoid going mental and to see other people’s faces, but really all I ever want to do with my time is music. I’m happiest when working on a musical project. I might complain about it at the time, but if I didn’t like it I wouldn’t do it, as simple as that.
If tomorrow morning you could somehow change some things at the course of the miserable human revolution, what would they be?
I’d inject every human being with a mutual respect for each other.
What have you in mind for 2011? How do you think this year will be for you musically? Tell me something about your musical preferences, something you heard recently and got impressed, a concert you’d very much like to be at.
This year is for working, really. Working on the next album and on the live band. After the release of Alternative Matter it was kind of ‘ok, that’s the end of a decade, the end of an era, now its time to move on with something new and positive’, so I’ve thrown myself into work. As for musical preferences, I hear so much new music lately that I have trouble remembering what is what. I very rarely listen to the same song twice nowadays.
Really, with whom would you love to work together?
Richie Havens, or Tracy Chapman! Both of those artists have been such a huge influence on me over the years; if you listen to my approach to singing I owe a lot to those two.
Mick, thank you very much for your time and this great conversation. The final words are yours.
Thanks Helen, as I said before, once my live band is built I will certainly be looking to come to Greece. In the meantime if anyone wants to keep updated with Antimatter news and clips, keep visiting the website at www.antimatteronline.com or join the Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Antimatter/9803498762. Thanks !!
Interview written and conducted by Helen Liverakou
Editing by Raymond Westland