Great to listen to this surprising new project Sleeping Pulse, Mick and Luis! When and how did this cooperation come into being?
MICK: I stayed at Luis’ place in 2008 after an Antimatter gig in his hometown and the conversation turned to the demos he was working on at the time. He played me a few pieces, all instrumental tracks, and I liked the vibe I was getting from them. I suggested to him there and then that I could craft songs out of those instrumentals, and the idea for Sleeping Pulse was planted rather quickly.
LUIS: It didn’t take long for us to start talking about doing something together. I already had the name Sleeping Pulse at that time and was working on the music for a couple of songs. I felt the need to do a mellower and atmospheric project, far from the metal roots of Painted Black and where I could experiment with different sounds and explore different instruments like the piano. Mick heard those raw tracks I had and suggested that he could add his vocal talents to my music. So that was the first seed of our collaboration and things evolved naturally from there.
It is astonishing how well you, Luis catch the vibe of Mick’s signature musical escapades. Did you write the music with Mick in mind or can we speak of your musical stamp when finalizing the songs?
LUIS: I just wrote the music that I needed to write and that come out from my heart. This might sound a bit cheesy, but it is just the way it is. I need to feel emotionally connected with my music and I believe Mick feels the same way. We have similar musical sensitivities and it was very common, almost scary, how we would suggest the same ideas at the same time when we were talking. Mick believed in my music and pushed me to not be afraid and add a more rock sound to the songs so our synergy together and the good relationship we built over these years was the fundamental factor for what you hear in the finalized album.
Why the title ‘Under The Same Sky’ and to what does it refer to?
MICK: It’s a very sociopathic trait to try and create a bond with somebody whom you want to use. It’s quite simply easier to manipulate somebody who feels a kinship with you, and trusts you absolutely. And that is where the title comes from, ‘Under The Same Sky’ refers to the modus operandi of the sociopath.
Can you tell something about the lyrics, or at least tell something about the inspiration for some of the themes/concept?
MICK: Well, following on from the last question, the concept of the album reflects a particularly manipulative girl from my past who targeted me due to my success in Antimatter with a view to me launching her own music career by convincing me we were ‚best friends’ and ‚soulmates’. All of my true friends and family were screaming at me ‚You’re being used!’ but I just couldn’t see it. One day we were having lunch together and her sociopathic mask fell off, but by the time I had realized what was happening and started to make moves away from her it was too late, she had took a lot of money from me and ran away with a lot of stock and royalties from my record company and hooked up with someone she thought could help her better. The irony was that this guy was a novice at best who was a bullshitter himself. His inexperience, stupidity and bad ideas helped her to the destruction, all within a matter of weeks, of her own reputation in this scene that she sucked so hard to gain favour in. Since then I have seen her try the same thing on with my friends, who, surprise surprise, also are in the music industry. But they all know better. Now she is off in search of other marks. I lost a lot of money and also a lot of faith and trust in people, but I am trying to rebuild things at the moment. On a positive note I could have lost a lot more, plus I have had a fantastic lesson in the nature of the sociopath, albeit an expensive one.
An international collaboration will probably exist by sending a lot of files via Internet… How did you actually work? Did you finally meet in person to record or talk about the album?
LUIS: Yeah, I sent demos I recorded at home with all the music to Mick and then he would do his vocal melodies and lyrics and send it back to me. A lot of file sharing was involved as you can imagine and we were constantly exchanging ideas. I believe we only met one time during the writing of the album, when Mick played with Antimatter in Portugal in 2013, but that was more fun than work. I recorded all the music with the help of some session musicians at UltraSound Studios in Braga, Portugal and Mick handled all the vocal recordings in Liverpool at his own studio so we actually never met to record either.
MICK: I had the idea very early on that the lyrics, concept and vocal lines should be my domain whilst the music and instrumentation should be Luis’, and that we should both be happy with the arrangements of the songs and nobody should be unhappy about anything. That became our working frame and it was a very fair and democratic way of having two compositional megalomaniacs getting what they wanted without wanting to cut the other one’s throat in the process. After all, I am used to having 100% control over what I do in Antimatter and I know Luis has a very tight rein on Painted Black also, so it was a potentially explosive affair having us working together. I came up with a way that we could both have 100% control by having us dominate different factors, and then try and meet in the middle on the other stuff.
And what about that recording process itself? You worked with Daniel Cardoso, who is a famous producer and lately joined Anathema, so it remains a circle of friends, isn’t it?
LUIS: My sessions were recorded with producer Pedro Mendes, who also worked as sound engineer so he was the one in the studio with me. Daniel only came later to do the mix/mastering but as you said, we are all good friends and it’s always a good thing when you get the chance to do what you love surrounded with people you like and really enjoy to be around.
You have shot a nice video for ‘War’. Can you tell a bit more about the making of?
LUIS: The video was shot in Portugal on a beautiful abandoned house. We shot the band performance part on a weekend, so it was one of those rare and special moments when me and Mick were together. The story part was shot in a different day with the actors. The video was directed by Mara D'Elean who was assisted by Edgar Keats behind the camera and Véronique who helped with make-up and hair. Daniel Duarte did the final editing. It was a very full day, I remember that me and Marcelo (drummer) only slept four hours because we had to be up at 5 a.m. that night! Mick was clever enough to go to bed earlier so he didn’t suffer as much as we did! But anyway, awesome team overall and we were very happy with the final result.
Who are the guest musicians on the album, in addition to Mick and Luis? We hear strings, in two songs a bit female vocals, etc…
LUIS: Portuguese drummer Marcelo Aires recorded all the drums and some percussion in the album. The string quartet was consisted of Beatriz Cardona (violin), Marcos Lourenço(violin), Maria João Antunes (viola) and Bárbara Santos (cello). Producer Pedro Mendes also played a couple of guitar solos.
MICK: And from my side, Sue Marshall and Jenny O’Connor provided backing vocals. Antimatter fans will know both names already, Sue sang on ‘Legions’ from ‘Planetary Confinement’, and Jenny appears on bonus tracks for the ‘Saviour’ and ‘Fear Of A Unique Identity’ albums, as well as ‘Alternative Matter’. Jenny also provided spoken parts along with my daughter, Amber-Page Moss.
Is this a one time project or can we hope for a continuation?
MICK: I’m in love with our debut album, so I’m very much looking forward to getting to work on it’s follow up, which will hopefully come sooner rather than later.
LUIS: We are now enjoying having the album out and promoting it the best we can. Regarding new music it’s still very soon to tell but eventually, when our busy schedules are free again, we will have our minds focused on a new record and see what we can come up with.
Are you planning to add live musicians and perform the songs in a live situation?
LUIS: So far there are no plans to perform live with Sleeping Pulse but the door is not closed to that possibility. Anyway Mick has included ‘War’ to the Antimatter live set and next year Painted Black will include a Sleeping Pulse song in their live set as well!
MICK: I’ll just keep adding Sleeping Pulse tracks to Antimatter sets for the foreseeable future, after all, the Antimatter audience is the majority of the Sleeping Pulse audience anyway, so it is definitely what they would want to hear, I doubt I would hear anyone complaining from the back of the venue.
Who did the artwork and can you tell a bit more about its symbolism?
MICK: Pedro Daniel/Anomaly Design was responsible for the fantastic artwork for ‘Under The Same Sky’. The album cover he did from the title alone. From that point onwards I began working with him, offering up the concepts for each song, for which he came back with stunning graphics, absolutely nailing the lyrical content in image form. As the lyrics are based upon my own past, it is very strange to see my memories represented as visual art with such clarity and style. And for me, as the originator of these concepts, to speak in such a way is certainly a testament to Pedro’s talent and ability.
What are the plans with Antimatter?
MICK: The last Antimatter release was the standalone, digital single ‘Too Late’, which had a great reception earlier this year. I moved back into the working soundscape that I used for my tracks from ‘Planetary Confinement’, and even invited Rachel Brewster from that album to come back and play violin on ‘Too Late’. It was the first thing I had done on my record label for a while, so it was good to get that going again, even though the platforms I used were purely digital it was certainly a start in the right direction. Anyone who wants to hear that can go to the [http://www.antimatteronline.com]Antimatter website[/url] and stream it from the Bandcamp link there, or support it through the same site or iTunes or whatever. Next up is ‘The Judas Table’, which is the sixth Antimatter album, for which I’m currently in the process of constructing the demos/pre-production. I’m hoping that it can come out this year, but we will see. In the live scene I will be playing some acoustic dates by myself and with Vic Anselmo, and also Antimatter are already confirmed for a few festivals in the summer of 2015 (Castle Party, Poland, July & Metalhead Meeting, Romania, June) as well as having some other festivals in the pipeline. Things are nice and busy. Keep up with Antimatter studio and live developments by visiting the website and following the various social media platforms there, and/or subscribing to the mailing list on the front-page
What are the plans with Painted Black, since they have released a wonderful album once, called ‘Cold Comfort’?
LUIS: We are currently in the recording process of our second album and the plan is to release it in 2015, so stay tuned and follow us on Facebook to get all the latest news!
If there is a news fact I forgot to cover, feel free to add it here…
MICK: Yeah, to anyone who has been the victim of manipulation, you didn’t deserve that, you drew a bad card but you are able to learn and move on. Take positives from your experiences where you can, and learn to trust again.