Meddelfan caught up with Brian Pattison, guitarist for Buffalo New York based Death Grind outfit Anthropic a while back, so we thought it was about time that we shared the conversation with you. Aren’t we nice! Great band, great bloke, so feast your eyes upon their words!
Hi man, thanks for taking the time out to answer some of my questions. First off, where did you grow up?
“Everyone in Anthropic was born and raised in the greater Buffalo, NY area. Jim (drums) grew up in Buffalo. Chris and I grew up in the city of Tonawanda and Russ grew up in Niagara Falls.”
And what type of music did you listen to while growing up?
“As a really young boy I first enjoyed Elvis. Then I was maybe 5 or 6 when I discovered The Who and they impacted me much deeper….they seemed much more high energy and dangerous. Then in 1978 the first Van Halen came out and their metallic version of The Kinks (whom I was already a fan of) “You Really Got Me” struck a nerve. The film “Over The Edge” came out in 1979 and that featured the music of Cheap Trick. The film was about teenage rebellion and the Cheap Trick songs fit that well.
As the 80’s began I quickly discovered Motorhead then Iron Maiden then that quickly progressed to Metallica, Slayer, Venom and Mercyful Fate which quickly lead to Possessed and I was off in my teens seeking the next heavier and faster things that I could find.”
Who are some of your favourite musicians if I may ask?
“The ones that I look up to for writing are Oscar Garcia (Terrorizer, Nausea) and Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick). Oscar just writes killer riff after killer riff. Terrorizer tunes could have 8 or so riffs in them and each riff killer combined with a song structure that was had no frills but had a hectic pace of changing riffs but, each song still had a hook so it stuck in your brain. Rick Nielsen has a unique writing style in Cheap Trick‘s rock songs. Often no frills, short and to the point. A riff could be repeated but played backwards or perhaps just 1 note different or start with a riff played 2 times then next time it is played 3 times then the next 4 times then back to playing it 2 times.. other times the chorus may start with the first note being B then the 2nd time the chorus is played it’s a half step lower and the 3rd time it’s played it’s another half step lower. Oscar and Rick both have unique writing styles and have influenced me.”
How long have you been playing Metal kind of stuff for?
“Well, I started taking guitar lessons when I was 16. I had a paper route and had saved enough money to rent a guitar and pay for lessons. I learned basic scales and chords but, my teenage haste pushed me to want to learn songs right away and of course those would be metal tunes. Shortly thereafter I started a band with a couple of other kids from the neighbourhood. 1986/87 and we’d jam only cover tunes doing stuff like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, Venom and so on. I was ready to move on by 1988 and joined a band in a neighbouring town that played 99% original tunes. Jay, the guy that started the band, wrote all of the tunes. He was huge into Megadeth at the time so the tunes were heavy in that form of thrash. Jay moved in 1989 so the band ended.
By then I had started my fanzine and not long after started being a DJ on WBNY (college radio) so playing music just got pushed aside. I’m generally shy and quiet, I hate the spotlight so always thought I’d hate playing live so never pursued being in a band again til 2014. Then I was a promoter putting together my birthday show and with another guy had talked of doing a one-off Exploited tribute band. I quickly agreed to do it but, just as quickly my mind raced “What if I freeze? What if I get stage fright?”… months of those fears as we rehearsed but, I committed to it so kept at it. Then the day of the show came and oddly I had no preshow nerves at all, we got on stage and I had a fucking blast, immediately regretting that I had assembled a band that could only perform once.
The next year I wanted to do something special for a charity show I so I talked to a few friends from the metal and hardcore scenes and we put together a Cheap Trick tribute band, playing only the rock songs they did, no ballads. We had a fucking blast doing it and ended up doing a total of 4 shows, all for charity. I was hooked on playing live. The seeds of Anthropic were birthed in October/November of that year though it took me a few additional years to finally get it off the ground.”
What would you say is your favourite place that you have performed?
“That’s a tough one, there have been a number of really killer places. Rapid Decay Fest in Binghamton was killer. It was at a DIY skatepark. They had an old minivan outside, with sledgehammers and axes by it so throughout the day people destroyed the van. Inside there was a half-pipe and the bands played right on the half-pipe, there were ledges and a balcony so the bands were surrounded on 3 sides with people going nuts. Kamp Krusty in West Virginia was another DIY skate park we played at. There the bands played in a cramped area next to the half-pipe. To allow Chris (vocals) a bit of room to move, I opted to get up and played on the platform on the top of the half-pipe, having a fear of heights I immediately regretted that decision once getting up there but, I stuck it out and played the whole set up there while one kid kept skating and the crowd below raged for the band.
Poor Boys in New Orleans was awesome as well. Small club, bands played on the floor and there was a stripper pole in another corner. Crowd went nuts for us, a few songs into the set they took the two plastic garbage cans and started tossing and kicking them around. The first time that we played The Nest in Cincinnati was fucking rad. Basement show, crowd went nuts slamming often hitting us, climbing on and swinging on a pole that was right in front of us, total chaos…it was awesome.”
If you had to explain it to someone who has never heard it before, what would you say is your style of music?
“I would say our style of music is grindcore. Definitely more on the metal edge of the spectrum and much more akin to the metal-edged grindcore of 1989/1990. There are elements of punk, crust punk and hardcore in there as well.”
What are some of your hobbies, what do you do in your spare time?
“2018/2019 saw Anthropic really explode as far as doing many more shows and more releases so most if not all of my “free” time was spent lining up shows and tours. Looking at possible routes or places within an 8 hour drive where we could play. Booking studio time and making sure we were ready to that. Beyond that I do enjoy watching documentaries and going camping when the time allows. On the road I’ve enjoyed seeing so many new sites and meeting new people.”
Did you go to a lot of shows growing up?
“Saw my first band live in 1983 (Talas). The next year I went to my first arena level show (Ozzy, Motley Crue and Waysted). Then over the next bunch of years I would go to maybe 1-2 arena level shows a year. Then in 1989 went to my first smaller level show (Dark Angel with locals Baphomet, Attakk and making their debut Cannibal Corpse) and I was hooked. 1989-1991 I went to nearly every metal, punk and hardcore show that I could. In those years Buffalo was the place to be and had killer metal and hardcore bands. During that span I went to shows several times each month, sometimes attending a matinee show in the early afternoon then another show that night.”
So what inspires you to keep on making music?
“It’s fun and interesting. I find joy in watching the songs come to life as each part gets added and perfected. In the end though, writing is done to make playing live possible which is where the true fun is. We never play the same set twice so having a good amount of material to choose from makes it easier to not be repetitive.”
Sticking with the above, what do you feel is the best part of writing and creating music?
“The best part is playing it live. As the songs come to life it is always nice that we as a band enjoy the songs we write, that is first and foremost for Anthropic. When the guys bob their heads or start getting into it as the song is still a work in progress makes it more enjoyable.”
What do you think of the digital age of music? How has it impacted the way music is written and produced in your opinion?
“I’m a dinosaur so I still prefer the ways of old. There are positives and negatives to the current ways. New bands can get their music spread worldwide instantly these days which is nice. Live footage exists of nearly every band that plays live currently whereas in the old days there had to be someone in your area who owned a Vhs cam-corder which were not everywhere. Now, things seem to be trending back to the ways they were in the 1950’s into the early 1960’s where bands focused on recording singles not necessarily Lp’s. These days it’s possible for bands to write, record and release a new song all in the same day.”
I myself much prefer physical releases, there is something about them that takes me way back to when I first got into music, any music in general. What about yourself?
“I prefer physical media. I still buy and listen to Cd’s. I’ll look through the Cd booklets reading the liner notes, the thanks list and so on. I listen to albums from beginning to end. If I have to listen to digital I seek out WAV files and avoid MP3’s unless it’s the only option and even though it’s done reluctantly.”
Do you like to read? If so what type of books and which authors?
“I read when I can. These days when I do read it’s mainly science, biography or history books.”
So to that, do you like Science-Fiction at all?
“I grew up in the age of Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and Buck Rogers, but these days I’m more apt to read science (cosmology, astrophysics, quantum mechanics, etc) and more apt to watch documentaries, comedy or drama, sometimes horror.”
Let’s go with Horror then. Who would you say is your favourite Horror character?
Though I’ve seen many horror films, I’m not as versed as many of my contemporaries in metal. Maybe Damien from the original “The Omen” film. An outwardly normal child but, internally pure evil able to manipulate and scare adults. Maybe the scarier ones which are the ones with a basis in fact…. The family from the original “The Hills have Eyes” or perhaps Norman Bates from the original “Psycho” movie.”
How has the new album, “Architects of Aggression” been doing from a sales standpoint?
“It has been doing better than anticipated. Until now we’ve always put the focus on selling cd’s at shows but, with Covid-19 locking everything down we haven’t been able to get out and give it live support. We blew through 200 copies in the first month which is great in my mind. It appears like we’ll soon be able to start playing live to support it continue spreading Anthropic to new people.”
I know you like to be on the road. With the current situation how does this effect you?
“So far we’ve had 10 shows get cancelled on us. We do have shows scheduled in July and August but those are still questionable and could get cancelled. We have a tour planned for October. We had it planned and mostly booked before the virus took hold in the USA. Right now it is looking like that tour will happen but, things could easily change. I started the band with the specific intention of playing live so not being able to play live sucks.”
Do you have another album in the works?
“We are always writing new material. Some songs may end up on comps or splits but, the goal is to hit the studio in January or February to record the next album.”
A lot of Metal artists these days have more than one thing going at a time, may I ask what other projects you are in music wise?
“Actually, Anthropic is kind of an anomaly in Buffalo. For all 4 of us, Anthropic is currently our only music project. Jim (drums) and I have talked about doing a side project but, so far we haven’t done anything other than talk. I’ve also talked with a friend, Jon Nemi, who lives in Kentucky about doing a project band but, that too has only been talk thus far.”
What is your favourite thing to do when you are not playing music?
“I enjoy spending time with my nieces and nephews. I like to learn new things, keep my brain active.
Many thanks for your time, Many of us here at TMW are huge fans, anything you’d like to say before the final curtain?
“Thanks for your interest in Anthropic and taking the time to write and ask all of these questions. We truly appreciate every bit of support and every kind word spoken/written about us. Hopefully, some day we can make it out your way to meet up.”
And there you go. As previously stated, great bloke, great band. Check out the links below and find out some more about Anthropic if you aren’t a fan already. We highly recommend you do!