Ahnabith Gish
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Ahnabith Gish

Band Alternative Avant-garde


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"Ahnabith Gish: Are Wakeours Leep"

By Jesse Locke
Now in their fourth and self-described "final... and best" incarnation, Calgary's Ahnabith Gish remain somewhat of an anomaly in the local music community. With the release of their debut full-length, Are Wakeours Leap, the quartet continue to colour outside of the lines in all of the genres they encompass--aggressively technical metal, shimmering post-rock and emotionally charged art rock. Imagine a cross between Tool and Explosions In The Sky and you might at least be in the correct ballpark. Nonetheless, the band have had some difficulty finding their "niche", although it's not necessarily something that bothers them.
"People don't know where to put us," says front man Dario Hudon-Verelli. "As progressive as we might be, the heavier element is something that pushes certain crowds away, but also pulls in others. We'd like to believe that we can chameleon into one genre or another, but that feedback isn't always there."

As for the album itself, Ahnabith Gish hope that Are Wakeours Leap can come across as more than the sum of its parts.
"We recorded the songs in the order that they appear on the record," explains bassist Ben Middleton. "That isn't really that uncommon for most bands, but I think a lot of bands on our level tend to assume that every track is gold, and just put everything they have out there. Power to them, but we tried to make a cohesive whole instead of just a string of songs."

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Are Wakeours Leap is available at Megatunes, Sloth and Play. Hear more at ahnabithgish.com or myspace.com/ahnabithgish.

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Ahnabith Gish - On selected songs from Are Wakeours Leap

Track by Track

A Widow's Praise
"The lyrics are about a father and son, kind of my version of a Cat Stevens lullaby. I love that song, the chorus just wells me up." (Dario Hudon-Verelli)

Of Paradoxal Snares
"Ben and I wrote parts of this song in my bedroom, and when we brought it, Ben and Andrew just clicked on it. It took all of a day to write it, what every band strives for." (DHV)
"The name actually reflects how we wrote it, like snaring a fish." (Ben Middleton)

"This song is about Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, the human equivalent to mad cow. There have been articles written about how it pertains to high iron, and is due to pharmaceutical companies' smokestacks. There have been farmers out in England and in France who have been inflicted with it, and it seems that for all the research done for the argument that it's the pharmaceutical companies that are causing it inadvertently, a lot of the grants and research have been pulled." (DHV)

"It's basically a poem about finding God, and it's not necessarily a religious thing. It's about not needing the backing of people or organizations, and it pertains a bit to the Dead Sea scrolls which said one could find Jesus under a rock or really anywhere without the clergy.(DHV)

"This song is about a friend of mine. We had a bit of a feud if you will, so it's just a reference to that. It's my one rival song, my 50 Cent against The Game. It's not an insult, though." (DHV)

"This song reminds me of the scene in Rocky 2, during the 600th training montage, when Rocky is with the children on top of the museum and 'Gonna Fly Now' is playing." (Cian Haley)
"There's a lyric in this song that goes 'the fire in your belly is not my fault', which is a reference to a chili-eating contest, when we accidentally put in the wrong kind of peppers." (BM)

Piss And Breathe
"You know when you really have to pee, and then you take a piss and finally breathe--it's just pure awesome. This is also a cannibal song, because it ate riffs from another song we wrote." (BM)

Arenas/Explosions/Feeding The Edit
"This is our twelve-minute epic, it's a three-part opus. It's about infighting, and might be an homage to us, inadvertently." (DHV) - Swerve Magazine: October 10th 2008

"Ahnabith Gish: Absolute Underground: O10-08"

Admittedly it takes a few times seeing Ahnabith Gish live to get fully wrapped up in their complicated story without writing them off as a kitsch conjuring art band. As if you were stuck in the middle of a great novel and awaiting the next chapters in a first date state of anticipation, their live set has the esoteric power to guide the listener through a tale of brotherhood and tenacity. Compositions sound like confessions, leaving both artist and fan clear headed afterwards, like a certain weight has been lifted off their shoulders. With this admirable reputation preceding them, will the auspicious Are Wakeours Leep - their first full length LP set to be released on October 14th - contain the watermark needed for that priceless connection?

RD.Tell us about the journey you have taken thusfar in putting together Are Wakeours Leep, the benefeit show, writing process, artwork, etc..

DHV: The journey to the end of this tootsie roll was labouress to say the least, honestly it was a fantastic learning experience. I don’t believe any of us would trade it’s value in for anything.

Writing this album was a very long process, it took several twists and turns, eventually finding it’s footing after we found our places.
Since we all come from different musical backgrounds, the direction of our sound is directly correlated with our separate visions. The old adage of ‘Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the soup’ became all too clear and we had to step back in order to fully realize our roles, being that the music was the one undeniably raison d’etre between us, we had to learn when not to play. This was just as important as letting go of any pre-conceptions.

As Benjamin says, ‘This is a fucked up marriage of 4’, and it is. You work hard to keep that. The idea that 4 musicians come together and harmony ensues is as fabricated as the color magenta. Mind you, there are souls who find one another and click, but you still work hard to understand each other. It’s kinda like a willful shotgun wedding.
Once the album was done, which by the way I will name drop our engineer Mark Senicki, we tried to find a way to convey it visually but without cutting each other’s respective throats with concepts. We did this by removing ourselves from that element.

Looking back to the albums we considered ambassadors to our influence, it seemed obvious that it was the music that took on the artwork and made it it’s own, not vice versa. It was the music that gave the bands name meaning, not the other way around, and so rather than to force our ideas onto the packaging and convolute that ideology, we left it up to two people. Cian, to draw whatever his imagination told him to as the front cover, and my wife Jacqueline to paint and illustrate the rest of the cd’s artwork.

The benefit show broke my heart, that’s all I have to say about that.

RD: You’ve played hippie fests, metal fests, with avant garde bands, punk bands, freakshows and birthdays. Recent interviews have you guys claiming that you’re not enough for particular scenes, but with being so multifaceted and able to merge in with numerous shows and scenes, you’d think that this would be an advantage..

DHV: You would think that, [laughs again] but it seems that in a city as small as Calgary and it’s scene being so incestuous, it depends entirely, as fashionable consumptions do, on the current trend.
Our fusion is over-looked because of our heavier element, but we embrace the growth our directions take us. I believe I may be speaking for all of us when I say we would rather play for 10 fans than 3000 apathetic bodies.

But truth be told, you only succeed in your city when you leave. We need to get out to Vancouver and Montreal, it just so happens that we’re broke. Can’t have everything.

RD: How do the new song s compare to Locust Brought, Speechless Pathetic, and even the earlier stuff, in preparation, writing, arrangements, and experimentation?

DHV: LBSP was an attempt for us to salvage the work we had been writing with Aaron MacInnis & Masashi Hisataka, it was a 180 from our first incarnation as an acoustic project and as such was viewed as a segue from our intended sound.
This album was a sort of moving forward from all of that, especially with two news artists, the experimentation as you say, was needed, even though it did have unfortunate limits. Finding our footing seemed to be the album’s voice if you will.

RD: If you could explain to essence of your music to someone who hasn’t heard you, what would you say?

DHV: Describing music, ouch! I think the closest I’ve felt a description portrays us in the right light was ‘dramatic prog-rock’, others have felt his doesn’t do it justice.

RD: Since the early starting jams of Ahnabith Gish, has the experience of creating music been more or less the same, did you have the same objectives when getting together with the numerous past musicians as the lineup now?

DHV: I think It would be appropriate to say that, despite everything, the bands objective has stayed the same. Trying to create music that has the capacity to emotionally move people, in one form or another. Now as to if we’ve accomplished this, that’s up to the listener.

RD: What does the future look like for Ahnabith Gish, how bright will it get?

DHV: I’d like to see where we would be if we stayed together for a decade, how we would change, but we would need to turn this passion into something more than just a free show. Perhaps a low paying part-time job that rivals the long-term benefits Swiss Chalet can offer, but that’s a dream we need help with, hint. - Ryan Timothy Dyer

"Ahnabith Gish - locus brought, speechless pathetic"

With the release of their debut EP, locus brought, speechless pathetic, Calgary's four piece outfit Ahnabith Gish set a mean appetizer for hungry habitués looking for the chef d'oeuvre of art rock. Their musical cold cuts includes a few thick spreads of Maynard, vocally, some foggy dew bass that would make Claypool smile, and drumming that resembles Jimmy Chamberlin on his best days. Lyrically, the discovery and machination of ones self to the perception of others sets itself between long musical segways that almost tread on hippie style jamming.
My only complaint with the disc is that it ends far too abruptly. In the closing instrumental, "000", as soon as the marshy banquet of turgid bass and gingered guitar rise to an alluding hymn, they stop; followed with the clickity click noise of the CD ending mechanism. This sudden anticlimactic surge of dead air spells out one thing - anticipation, to a promise Ahnabith Gish have given with their debut EP, that of a visionary withholding a full length bursting in tranquility.

Ryan Dyer - - Absolute Underground

"Ahnabith Gish: Outsiders in their own town"

Ahnabith Gish
Outsiders in their own town

On the bottom corner of one of their multiple web pages scattered across the internet, Ahnabith Gish lists some of their generic influences. After having described themselves as “Alternative Avant-Garde,” they describe their music as “Dramatic Prog Melodia,” not without a little tongue placed firmly in cheek.
Unfortunately for fans trying to get a sense of the band’s music before actually listening to any of their material, “Dramatic Prog Melodia” does little to catch the spirit of the band’s highly progressive and experimental music. As an amalgamation of the members, a sort of gestation entity within, Ahnabith Gish is very much an anomaly in the Calgary music scene.
“We don’t really fit into any of the cliques around Calgary bands. We’re not loud enough for the metal crowd and we’re too loud for the indie pop rock crowd,” explains bassist Ben Middleton, somewhat dejectedly. “At imes it’s a little bit hard as far as morale goes, I guess.”
Featuring heavily complex songs that range from disparate to cohesive, from mellow or aggressive, with nearly endless pastiche of styles intertwined within, Ahnabith Gish cannot even purport to have a single collective band history.
“We started with an acoustic trio and there was this sort of revolving door thing going on - we had a lot of guest musicians, ” says Middleton.
Barely even part of the first EP, Locus, Brought, Speechless, Pathetic, save for a five second bass line that he wrote, Middleton became the replacement bass player as they began to write the new album Are Wakeours Leep.
“I came up with the name for the LP in the shower,” Middleton explains. “I was still naked when I called [singer] Dario [Hudon-Verrelli] to tell him about it.”
As can be expected from the songs themselves, the writing process is a similarly collective, wide-ranging experience. For the most part, say Middleton, they start with the music, with the chord-progressions and melodies, and then Hudon-Verrellli goes off to write the lyrics. To come up with the actual melodies, the four get together and jam, bringing their own riffs to the mix and trying to out them all together in a cohesive way.
“I think the influences in the band are more on each individual. We don’t listen to exactly the same music, so we all have our own personal influences and bring that to the table when writing,” elucidates Middleton of the writing process. Arguably, the, the very lack of collective influences is, in part, what creates the highly progressive nature of the tracks: when each individual is coming from a different background with no singular unitary goal to work toward, the result is indeed the avant-garde tracks on Are Wakeours Leep.
- Beatroute Sept '08: by Sebastian Buzzalino

"Rockin' to their own algorithm, Math rock thrives on the complex and technical"

...But one Calgary group that does embrace its metal-math rock roots is Ahnabith Gish.
Ahnabith Gish's mixes of hard rock guitar riffs and complex bass lines are offset by intricate and heavy drumming.
"There's certain things we do that are on the heavy side and others which are more ambient," says Andrew Ulicki, Ahnabith Gish's drummer. The band will release their first EP, Locus Brought Speechless Pathetic, early this fall.
"Really you don't need to have special training to play this stuff, just a lot of patience. I don't think there's many punk rockers who could play prog rock, there's a lot of changes in the songs."There are very few parts which are repeated," adds Aaron MacInnis, Ahnabith's guitarist.
"It's awesome if people want to compare us to Tool, they're definitely an influence," says MacInnis. Rock bands are notorious for shunning categorization, but they may be right in this case -- there's such diversity in math rock that attempts to define them as such may be a meaningless exercise. What they do have in common is a love of technically proficient musicianship, and a belief that their form of rock has something to say. "We all listen to different sorts of music and come from different backgrounds, but we meet in the middle musically," says Ulicki.

- The Calgary Herald

"Are Wakeous Leep: Review"

Ahnabith Gish - Are Wakeours Leep
Published November 13, 2008 by Patrick Boyle in CD Reviews •

Like any purveyors of progressive metal, Calgary's Ahnabith Gish straddle the line between playfully epic and excessively self-indulgent. Fortunately, aside from its ridiculous title, Are Wakeours Leep is a pleasant deviation from current trends in the genre, reining things in and staying, for the most part, on the pleasant side of prog. The band manages to sound impressive without decades worth of musical chops or hot-shot studio techniques.

The album flows well, culminating with a lengthy conclusion that spans three tracks. The complex “Caligula” showcases the band's unchecked ambition and desire to push themselves towards and beyond the boundaries of their technical abilities. While the intricate nature of the genre inevitably leads to a handful of stumbles that will stand out to listeners accustomed to the infamous precision of their big-name counterparts, Ahnabith Gish ultimately accomplish the difficult task of producing an LP tight enough to stand at shoulder height with their peers. - FFWD: N13-08


LP - Are Wakeours Leep [2008]
EP - locus brought, speechless pathetic [2006]



It took three years for Ahnabith Gish to find it's place, a collusion of conspiracies that had them lose 2 ep's of material due to hard drive failures and deal with a revolving door of members, created setback after setback in which they have finally found stability.

From it's beginnings as an acoustic trio to it's current lineup as an obscure-hyphenated-genre mixture of 4 from Calgary, Ab, the band has always defined it's current state of well being by it's music.

Building on their independently released first lp 'Are Wakeours Leep', they have past the freshman stretch of first tour, second release and have been working on their third album, an as yet to be named ep to be released in the spring of '09, once again, independently.


"... [Ahnabith Gish] continue to color outside the lines in all of the genres they encompass -- technical metal, shimmering post-rock and emotionally charged art rock. Imagine a cross between Tool and Explosions In The Sky and you might at least be in the correct ballpark. Unfortunately for fans trying to get a sense of the band's music before actually listening to them, this does little to catch the spirit of the band's highly progressive and experimental music."
- Swerve Magazine