Introspection and Catharsis: An Interview With ANMLPLNET

Photo by Charlotte Chanler

Introspection and Catharsis: An Interview With ANMLPLNET

When I first heard ANMLPLNET‘s music I was intrigued. Here was two musicians creating music with intention, with quiet passages leading to loud and emotional plateaus, taking the listener on a journey of introspection and catharsis. Leah Wellbaum, singer and guitarist for Slothrust joined with old friend Mickey Vershbow, a singer and drumming instructor, who has also played with Mirah K. and Dams of the West to create something worldly and wonderful in the six songs found on Fall Asleep. Leah answers the questions.

Were the songs on Fall Asleep ones that you didn’t think would work with Slothrust or were they made for this album?  How do you think they differ or are like your band’s output?

The tracks on Fall Asleep were made for this album. The writing process for ANMLPLNET is highly collaborative, and involves more improvisation than Slothrust material. For me and Mickey, this project revolves around harnessing an energy and embracing it no matter what it looks like. “Where you lead, I will follow” – Carole King.

The songs seem authentic, like this could be performed live with just you, a guitar, a few pedals and a microphone and Mickey with her kit.  Was there a concerted effort to keep things simple? Was the production similarly unfussy?

Since it is a duo, that is the only way this project has ever been performed. We are the only players on the record, though we have added plenty of layers to create something more atmospheric and large sounding.

In the second half of I Was Fucked by a Cloud and on 20,000 Leagues Underneath the Serpent you both get loud, reminding me of seeing Neil Young on his Weld tour, setting the guitars to maximum distortion. 

Cool, Neil Young is amazing so I definitely will embrace that comparison.

And you also seem to balance loud and quiet much the same as Young, playing songs that would work on an acoustic played on a porch and in a band setting in an arena. How are these two sides a part of your personality?

I like to write songs that can stand on their own without dense production. Adding those things in and making interesting sonic choices was what took this record to a cohesive place. An intentionally dynamic sound palette creates space for a charged live performance.

Who are some of the artists and people that have helped shape you as a person and a musician?

For this project, we will name drop PJ Harvey, Kaki King, Explosions in the Sky and Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

There’s something about music that just fills the spirit.  Was there a time in your life where you just felt like making music was the right thing to do, like as a kid starting a band and then later deciding to be a full time touring musician?  

I’ve made music my entire life. If I wasn’t doing it professionally, I’m sure I’d just be doing it in the woods somewhere. Bang on a branch, if you must.

Can you give me an example of how you’ve seen your music affect others? Like someone starting a band because of you or fans meeting and bonding over your songs?

A lot of people have written me messages expressing that certain Slothrust tracks helped them cope with death and loss, as well as depression and having faith that things will get better.

Do you two plan to make another album together or perform any of the songs live? What are the plans for Slothrust?

Mickey and I live on opposite coasts so performing together is quite tricky, but we love to do it whenever the right opportunity presents. We always make music together when we are in the same place and I really hope that one day we can live in the same city again so we can explore this project further because I really believe in it and find a lot of joy in it. You can count on Slothrust to drop some hot tracks in the not so distant future. Depending on your definition of distant.
(by Bret Miller)
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