Keeping things difficult and technical for Annex Theory
Annex Theory is a Canadian band who formed in 2008, but just released their first EP as of recently in 2011. Comprised mostly of progressive, technical metal with a brutal edge, the album is a fresh sound amongst a sea of generic releases from other bands, and definitely shows promise that these guys will be around for some time (some of their members are barely out of their teens). I got a chance to discuss the EP with keyboardist Matthew Rutowicz and a bit on how the internal works of Annex Theory itself.
So what inspired Annex Theory to come together, as most of its members have had previous experience in other projects?
Well we were in other projects yes; but also a few of us (Trevor, Wade, myself) already knew each other from a previous band known at the time as The Cruelty. When that band ended, we simply decided to recruit some new members and get something else together.
Your music is a bit all over the place, but well organized in numerous genres of Metal. What would you say is the strongest feature that defines your music and what made you interested in that genre specifically?
The strongest feature of our music I would say is how we have somehow combined some incredibly technical elements in an "audience friendly"/approachable nature (in terms of the metal scene). It was sort of what we had aimed for in the beginning... by no means are we going to (I think, ever) play music that is easy to play, because that gets boring fast, and as musicians we crave for more than that. But we also wanted to make sure that it was engaging to actually LISTEN to, haha. This is not only for musicians, but for the more "casual" listener as well. At its core, we write music that WE enjoy, and so I expect we will continue to do that.
When writing your EP, ‘Beneath The Skin,’ what was your main focus? How did you want to grab your audience and stand out from the usual ‘run of the mill’ Metal band, or do something different from your other projects?
It wasn't really a focus to write an EP as much as it was a focus to simply release something, haha! We had songs at our disposal, and we wanted them out to the public in a form OTHER than simply watching Youtube videos or streaming off of Sound Cloud. With that said, we also did not want to wait until we had a full album of material, so an EP was the best choice.
We did not intend to "grab" an audience really; we just wanted to write music that we felt would be enjoyable! And of course, we did not want to do something conventional in terms of our writing. We're pretty much trying to take the genre to new places, and refine what we are trying to accomplish in our approach.
Is there a particular theme or concept to Annex Theory’s music on your first EP? Are there any particular tracks that deserve special mention?
Lyrically, Trevor liked to write about experiences near and dear to him, which I think is great for a vocalist because you can REALLY see that he is meaning what he is expressing on stage (I still do not understand how we can create the voices coming out of him live on stage).
Special mentions? Hmm… I would say “Orbit” deserves a bit of a special mention because it was the first song we wrote that really gave the most input from everyone in the band. I would write and then show Sam. Sam would add, then show Wade. Wade would add... etc, etc. Finally we didn't know what we created, but we REALLY liked it!
When growing up with music, was a band like Annex Theory (or Metal in general) always at heart, or did it come along over time? Some musicians have the irony of hating Metal in their early years and then one day doing a complete 180 on the subject after finding ‘the’ band…
In relative terms, yes. We tend to keep things pretty progressive, and some of the first music I started listening to was OF the most progressive rock at the time... King Crimson, Hocus Pocus, Rush... etc. No matter what I was listening to over the year, that strive to listen to music that really challenged me and made me think was always present.
Over your time in a band, what are some of the easiest (and hardest) things you’ve come to appreciate, either as a group or an individual?
The easiest thing to appreciate is how well we all get along as friends. None of us are perfect, by ANY means, and sometimes we just plain do not see eye to eye, but the dynamics of our friendship in fact add to our bond and we're more like brothers now... except for Jordan, Trevor, Adam, Wade and Sam. I hate those guys.
The hardest thing I (and probably the rest can agree here) have come to appreciate is how FUCKING good Sam is as both a writer and a musician. He was 16 when he joined the band, and most of the EP was written before he turned 17. Asshole!!
Looking into the shift from CDs and buying music to downloading MP3s- not always legally- do you think Annex Theory will have the luxury of creating music as often as they’d like in the future; most bands usually have to have other full time jobs to support their music, which has become more of a ‘hobby’ than a ‘business’ in recent years.
Ultimately, we would LOVE to be able to support ourselves with music alone. But... that's very hard in today's world! We will simply have to continue balancing other commitments with the band until a more drastic decision can be made towards that goal. Though... know that no matter what else we are doing in our lives, as long as we are a band, we will be continually writing more music.
You guys are a young band; done much touring or plan to do any tours?
We have done an Eastern Canadian Tour with a Winnipeg local band Laika, and we plan to do more touring in the future yes! We loved it!
If you had the opportunity, who would you want to tour with and why?
There are A LOT of bands I would love to tour with... but at the top of my list I would personally have to say Periphery. The amount that they inspire me with their music and simply as people is astounding!
With the widespread invention of MySpace and Facebook fans and critics leave comments constantly. What’s the best thing you’ve received that gave you the extra boost of support when the band was having a particularly rough moment?
At this point ALL positive feedback is received with nothing but the utmost gratitude possible. We love the comments we are receiving and we cannot wait to unleash more music upon everyone and see what people think!