-- Anwynn gets shredded --
Review written and conducted by Stijn “Metal Shredder” Daneels.
Last summer I got in touch with Anwynn’s manager and keyboardist Astrid Kaiserman and she offered me to interview her and her band colleagues during Devils Rock For An Angel 2019 (September 28, 2019). Unfortunately, that day I was struck with bronchitis and had to postpone our scheduled shred. However, during the 2nd day of the Evil or Die Fest (Saturday October 19 2019), Astrid told me she would be present to check out Fleshgod Apocalypse! And both of us were more than willing to get the shredding done!
So as soon as Astrid arrived at Evil or Die Fest, she met up with me to talk about the meaning behind the Anwynn name, the departure of grunting vocalist McBouc, Astrid’s challenging job of being both band member and manager and Anwynn’s upcoming, much heavier album!
BMS: Hello Astrid! I’m glad to finally meet you in person! Tell me something about your show at Devils Rock for an Angel 2019.
Astrid: Likewise! Right, during Devils Rock we premiered several new songs which will be featured on our upcoming album. It was great playing on such a sizable stage in front of a solid, enthusiastic crowd!
BMS: Great! Tell us something about the new Anwynn songs.
Astrid: While the new songs will maintain some symphonic metal, the upcoming material will sound much heavier compared to what we’ve made in the past. It’s going to be orchestral death metal, similar to acts like Fleshgod Apocalypse as well as Machine Head, both are huge inspirations for this new Anwynn look, sound and feel.
BMS: I’m looking forward to it! Now, I’m pretty curious to know the meaning behind the name Anwynn.
Astrid: Anwynn refers to the Celtic mythology’s realm of Annwn, meaning the Otherworld in Welsh. This realm of Annwn was a mythical paradise, similar to Olympus in Greek mythology and Asgard in Norse mythology. During Anwynn’s earlier years, before I joined the band, the music was focused on Celtic folk metal and thus the members at the time came up with a Celtic name for the band. After I joined Anwynn, our style gradually changed from folk to symphonic spiced with death metal.
BMS: I see. Now, recently your grunting vocalist Vincent "McBouc" Carton left the band and although you aren’t required to tell us the exact reason why he departed, I do wish to know if he left on good terms.
Astrid: McBouc’s departure was a necessary decision which we all, McBouc included, agreed on. For the past 2 years a lot has changed within Anwynn, not only did our music become heavier but so did our work ethic as well. So after long consideration, McBouc and the rest of us agreed to let him go. It was a very amicable departure and we’ll always have much respect for him and for his longtime contributions to the band. Replacing him won’t be easy.
BMS: Yeah, I saw him perform in several Anwynn videos, he looked like a bear and he sure sounded like one!
Astrid: Yeah! He was a great guy to work with! And currently we’re looking hard to find a suitable replacement for him, someone with a suitable work ethic and a voice that well complements the more natural vocals of our other singer Eline.
BMS: I wish you best of luck! For the moment you’ve had Kelly Thans, vocalist of Dutch symphonic metal band Pandora’s Key standing in for a couple of Anwynn shows (including the one at Devils Rock 2019). How did you get into contact with her?
Astrid: We first worked with Kelly when she was part of the choir we had put together for our cover of the Machine Head song “Now I Lay Thee Down” so we knew she had a really good voice and when McBouc left the band Kelly contacted us and offered us to be his temporary replacement. She managed to learn the songs in just 10 days’ time to great success!
BMS: Most impressive! So, what are your plans for the future?
Astrid: The aforementioned upcoming Anwynn album is fully recorded and mixed, for the moment we’re looking for an appropriate release date and an interested record label.
BMS: I see. Now, I’m aware that you’re both band member and manager of Anwynn. How difficult is it to combine those two responsibilities?
Astrid: It’s pretty hard because managing a band often takes more time and effort than actually playing in the band. Being a band manager is pretty much a 24/7 job, since there are so many things you need to work with. Booking gigs and making sure the band gets paid, remaining in touch with the press, setting a budget for the merchandise and so much else.
BMS: Yeah, I agree. Managing a band is pretty much like managing your own business.
Astrid: Exactly, but being Anwynn’s manager has been a very learning experience and I’ll be using that experience to help bring Anwynn to the next level!
BMS: Now, Astrid, what other things do you do in life aside from Anwynn?
Astrid: I’ve always been a huge music addict and I just love to dance to all those sweet beats I’ve heard in my life thus far. In addition, I’m working on some other music projects of which I’ll be telling more of in the near future. And finally, I make a living as a doctor in psychiatry.
BMS: Getting psyched by Anwynn! I love it! Tell me, who in Anwynn handles the songwriting?
Astrid: For the upcoming album all 7 of us have worked on the songwriting in many different ways. For instance I’ve written some of the lyrics and our singer Eline has done some others, our former guitarist Luca has taken care of most of the rhythmic parts, and finally our guitarist Eerik has handled the virtual orchestrations.
BMS: I’m really looking forward to this new Anwynn release! Now, although Anwynn is a Brussels-based band I did notice that your lineup lives all over the country. So is it easy to get everyone together for rehearsals?
Astrid: It’s challenging but still doable. We do a lot of practice by ourselves and communicate a lot together. So while we don’t often physically get together to rehearse, we do keep manage to get all the necessary stuff done. Especially thanks to the fact that we get along not just as musicians, but as friends.
BMS: I’m very glad to hear that! So, Astrid, is there anything else you wish to add before we wrap up this shred.
Astrid: It was great to finally meet you in person and I hope that you and your other Shredders will be enjoying our upcoming release just as much as we’ve enjoyed making it!