MEET THE HEADS
Anatomy of the Heads - Asia Tour:
J-Rome Fish (left) - Orgon Generator
Michael Van Gore (middle) - Batik Shirt
Heidenreich (right) - Homeopathic Treatments
Sam Ji-Hae (bottom) - Executive Producer and Tour Manager
Meet some occasional heads that contribute to our recordings
Anatomy of the Heads [əˈnætəmi əv ðə hɛdz] often abbreviated as AoftheH, is your favorite chichi fueled CIA psyop, honey-pot/money-bomb operation that will sell all your personal information to Korean gangsters to finance hot tiger moms and buy electricity for our children.
His exalted burgrave, the lord of all the beasts of the Earth and fishes of the seas, conqueror of the British Empire in his mind in general and Uganda in particular, he who haunts the moonless nights, the beast more beard than man and remorseless bass machine
Some stuff he is currently listening to, since he is beyond tradition:
If you made it this far into this site, you may be wondering... WHO and WHAT are Anatomy of the Heads?! Here is an attempt at the early history of Anatomy of the Heads as told through interviews with two band members, Michael van Gore (Hawaiian shirt) and J.H. (beard & bass). Enjoy!
(by Marry-Sue Latin for BLAZAGG!)
J.H.: Mika and I first met at school in University, back in 2011, I think. It was during a party in someone's apartment. I was drunk and smoking weed while professing my love for
the women on the cover of Zombi’s ‘Escape Velocity’ album, which had just came out. It turned out we both loved the music of Zombi, Relapse Records and Gorgio Moroder. So we started
talking some more, you know? We were also into bands like King Crimson, Steely Dan, Dr. John, and I think even Slap Happy. And discovered we both had some instruments and started to meet
regularly to play music together.
Van Gore: The idea of a duo appealed to me from the beginning, because I never wanted to be part of a conventional band or anything like that. It’s like being married to two or more people. I always wanted to do the Benny Goodmann - write music, hire an orchestra of people to play and record it, and throw them all out afterwards. Playing-wise J. has a background in funk while I always wanted to play metal, but never developed a feel for it. Neither of us really had a fixed vision for what it was that we wanted to do, but we both aspired to play since we got along so well. We didn’t spend much time playing other people's material, but rather worked on developing our own 'style.‘ We collaborated loosely with other bass and guitar players, as well as drummers and percussionists, but that didn't really lasted for more than two sessions.
J.H.: Yeah, and with a small home studio, we recorded everything from the start. That certainly shaped the way things went and still go – part of our history is basically the death of the music industry through the improvement of recording technology that enabled pretty much everyone to dabble in music production. For better and for worse.
Van Gore: Yes, we are part of an army of bedroom producers. We remembered the poster from the party and tried to imitate Zombi. We wanted to kinda sorta sound like them, but not to actually play their songs. In hindsight there was something about that story that would eventually give birth to Anatomy of the Heads. We kept playing and recording while throwing in anything that would make a sound and quickly realized that we also didn’t wanted to sound like Zombi.
J.H.: And then it clicked: Exotica!
Van Gore: Exotica! Taken as an origin story for what would become Anatomy of the Heads, J.H. love for two-dimensional waifus was a major contribution. It reminded me of the woman on all the Martin Denny records and how I have spent a good chunk of my college days living on a mountain overlooking the city while listening to Martin Denny, Korla Pandit, and Arthur Lyeman records.
J.H.: Pure fantasy! Shangri-la and coconuts. Why stick to overbearing genre conventions in search for authenticity? That was another thing. Vocals and lyrics. It quickly became apparent that both of us really had a hard time to sing and write anything. Not necessarily technically, but in terms of sharing. You know?… Meaningful soul-searching lyrics.
Van Gore: A soul striptease. Non of us wouldn’t be the singer! But, you never know about the future. We do it when we feel like it. Historically, though, being autistic about opening our mouths has never been a part of us. I have never been a lyrics-guy anyway. I like the sound of human voice set to music, but I do not care about the words.
J.H.: Later we eventually played a few gigs in a local gallery for traveling exhibitions and local art. We quickly got more experimental with each one, in the end Mika brought in all his angsty teenager sensibilities with full-blown Noise and black metal.
Van Gore: Kill me! Kill me! I want my mommy! Weee Weeee
J.H: Needless to say, we were not asked to play there a fourth time.
Van Gore: But we weren’t Anatomy of the Heads, yet. That took a trip around the globe. We both signed up for a research trip to Kiribati. Neither were we serious about the research, nor did we really wanted to go there. We mostly chuckled to ourselves about how funny it would be to go there and do the whole Island paradise thing. We liked the idea of being authentically unauthentic.
J.H.: Two weeks later we arrived at Cassidy International Airport. Of course, we fell in love with the place and the people. Our job was it to interview some people about everyday life and environmental change and one day we went to a place called Banana. Got an interpreter and started to do some interviews. At one point he was offering us bottled water you know? He made a big deal out of it.
Van Gore.: Sacred Water!
J.H.: Yes, sacred water! The purest freshwater. A rare good in Kiribati. He also wanted us to meet a guy he knew who actually lived near the well.
Van Gore: They guy is allegedly immortal. Our interpreter told us that his son is 74, while he still looks like 28. But that he was a source of great knowledge. So we meet him, his ‘son’ and a small group of like-minded individuals in a little shag build right above the well. And indeed he did know a lot. So it was worth it.
J.H.: After business was done we asked… you know? What’s the deal with the water? And then things start to turn weird. He told us that ancient royalty once resided in Banana and that one of the mightiest chiefs took a bath in the well regularly. Since then the place supposedly attracted a lot of people around Kiritimati island to drink and bath in it.
Van Gore: Yeah, and that on the spiritual-plane (which only he can see) the well is occupied by a giant golden temple emitting the purest light. That is why he built the hut right onto of it. At one point the magic man asked our interpreter if we had drank the water. Which he enthusiastically confirmed. Then he ordered the interpreter and a few other people who hung out in his hut to prepare two baths - and you can guess the rest. We took the bath, and he told us that we are one of them now.
J.H.: We left the place in silence and were like - Dude, did we just join a cult?
Van Gore: I consider this the definitive birth of Anatomy of Heads. Exotica indeed.
Welcome back to the early days of Anatomy of the Heads. Michael van Gore (Batik Shirt), Jay-Rome Fish (Stunt Guitar) and J.H. (Beard & Bass) hail from the island paradise of Banana, Kiribati.
After collaborating for a number of years and joining a water cult they discovered a music that excited them.
(by Marry-Sue Latin for BLAZAGG!)
Van Gore: 2015 was a good time for us. We finally developed a vision for what our music should sound like and what it should be about. Once we had that down, everything else fell into place: Abstract noise experiments developed structure, unfinished melodies gained coherence in ambiguity.
J.H.: We were productive, you know? The only thing that was missing was a band name.
Van Gore: That’s right, and we tried to keep it exotica. Something that would at least hint at the odd events that happened to us on Kiribati. Freudian Death Drive? Government Cheese? ZO’LLGHT!? The Exalted Rulers of Marry Geishas?
Fish: Hahahaha, The Rulers of Marry Geishas! Who of you came up with that one?
Van Gore: That would be me. Can you just see them giggling in a forest clearing. Sitting in the shadow of a blossoming cherry tree? Or hear their shy giggles behind elegant fans and mask-like makeup? Furtively glancing at gigantic bowls of strange food, that is equally tasteful and repugnant in smell and texture?
J.H.: Served by the crippled male-servants of their aristocratic rulers.
Fish: Ah, it’s an intricate dance towards sexually charged eating of innards.
J.H.: … and a happy end.
Van Gore: You see, names like that are evocative, but kind of one-trick-pony. Anatomy of the Heads does It better.
J.H.: Yeah, it's about all the possible worlds that people, real and imagined, carry around in their heads.
Fish: We just provide the soundtrack.
J.H.: Again, musical fantasy! We are not about promoting some specific lifestyle, no proponents of great philosophies or political stances. We simply want to enjoy ourselves, explore imaginary places and hope some others might enjoy it too.
Van Gore: Well that… and when I was a teenager, I wanted nothing more than to be in a goregrind band. That is another thing, musically it becomes a free for all without feeling too much out of place. I could see us doing a country album, as well as a three act opera.
Fish: Booooooooorinnng! When are you going to talk about me?
J.H.: Jay was one of the other musicians we tried occasionally playing with. The difference was that he always came back for more.
Fish: I can introduce myself, thank you very much! Hi, I am Jay and I play guitar.
Van Gore: But not just any kind of guitar. Stunt Guitar!
Fish: Okay, maybe playing is a bit of a stretch. I make weird sounds with my guitar.
J.H.: With another person on board, we recorded even more material. But Jay moved soon after to another city, so he was soon something like a part-time contributor.
Van Gore: By the time we released An Adoration in Prayer and Ritual, it was uncertain if Jay would be able to continue with us.
Fish: You listed me as a session musician!
Van Gore: You were!… At the time.
Fish: I demand full membership now! Now, give me some of that sweet Island water you are always going on about.
Van Gore: Certified cult member. Blessings upon thee.
J.H.: And THAT is An Adoration in Prayer and Ritual, you know? Angry volcano gods, unspeakable cults and their ghastly rites.
Fish: Yeah, drinking unfiltered water straight from a well, BAH! Disgusting.
Van Gore: You know how it is sometimes, you're looking for inspiration, every once in a while you overhear a conversation, or read a choice phrase that will kick-start an idea for a song title or lyric and suddenly it's playtime. Now, these moments of inspiration are just that: Moments. No continuous flow guaranteed; that's how it was for us making this record. In total, it took over 3 years to put together despite having the advantage of a home studio.
J.H.: You make one good piece, but the next one you make is too disconnected from the one before. Treading water!
Van Gore: Exactly!
Fish: We worked it out, though! By combining and recombining different pieces with each other. Sequentially matters you know?
J.H.: Invention is born out of necessity, and, at that time, we had more time than money anyway.
Van Gore: We ended up with a rich tapestry of different moods and sounds. With each piece attempting to tell its own story.
An Adoration in Prayer and Ritual will take you on a through the bustling streets of imaginary bazaars and all their wonders (Trio Phantasma), the ridiculously tall-tales of a bunch of barflies in a secluded mountain village and their inevitable demise as sacrifice to appease the volcano gods (Cubenga: Volcano God), and the nostalgia of a terminally ill volcano worshiper in his battle with death (Shepherd's Firth Infirmary).
Fish: Sounds like a track by track commentary!
J.H.: Haha! We are working on it.