Artist Spotlight: Anthony Flakus, Prestigious guitarist of Witherfang, Live&Obey, and more!
Omaha’s very own Anthony Flakus talks Witherfang, Ghost, and his busy career as a prominent musician in Local Underground Metal. Your Favorite Slime&Grime Guys met with Flakus after his set with Witherfang to talk shop!
Jeremy :You know if it is 100% that is too fucking clean
Flakus: clean is not original is not genuine, people get it by now they're not going to get that perfect CD quality performance
Jeremy: I don’t think they want it
Flakus: People get bored of perfection
Jeremy: What is your last name
Flakus: Flakus, and it is not a venereal disease
Jeremy: WebMDvenereal disease, just in case. So how much do you like Ghost?
Flakus: Dude they're like my favorite band!
Jeremy: Really, how many times have you seen Ghost live?
Flakus: Like three times. I know what you're about to ask me.
Jeremy: No, I’m not going to ask you that. Actually I like Witherfang right now better than Ghost.
Flakus: Wow that is crazy.
Brian: I think it sounds better.
Flakus: Dude what? Come on man!
Jeremy: I mean Ghost is like hardpop, where Witherfang has more flavor to it I think.
Flakus: We stick to more of an underground vibe.
Brian: Yeah I like that!
Flakus: It is a nice little blend because it is like accessible, without compromising that
Brian: Yeah for sure.
Jeremy: Yeah, that is what is cool about Ghost, Ghost is like the gateway drug, like the gateway metal.
Jeremy: So like you will never, If you find Ghost first, you are never going to let go of Ghost, but if you find fucking, or what like some hardcore band like what, Mastodon? If you find Mastodon and then you find Ghost, you're not going to like keep going back to things, and Mastodon was like my first interpretation of metal.
Flakus: Well you know most of the people that have been following Ghost for a while, it is split down the middle whether or not they like the new stuff.
Jeremy: Woah has it changed that much?
Flakus: Yeah it is really different, they have like a disco song on their record or something.
Jeremy: That is what I am saying. like that.
Flaukus: Personally I am I one of those guys that if I stick on something, I stick with it you know, because I support people wanting to change their styles up.
Jeremy: but you've got to grow you've got to figure out how to grow and that is going to be
Flakus: Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Well there is a stigma that getting more and more popular, and changing the style of your music is kind of looked down upon. But to me it is if you want to be a career in musician, like if you want to stick in the business, I think it is almost good to want to reach out to more people.
Brian: Yeah I agree with that!
Jeremy: Music moves so fucking fast anymore, that if you don't change…
Flakus: You have to adapt!
Jeremy: you are going to become a nostalgia act by yesterday. That is the nightmare, you don't want to be fucking Goo Goo Dolls upfront doing the same shit. Even Rob Zombie had to pull it off a little bit, and that dude is old school. So like how much of it… Do you just write the riffs, do you write the lyrics?
Flakus: So the process goes, I will go the whole day... Because we have writing days set aside.
Jeremy: Writing days? Like for lyrics?
Flakus: For lyrics, for riffs, for practice, because three of us the core of the band, myself, Aaron the drummer, and Garrett the other guitar player, we live together. So we have got a little jam room in our basement, and we set Sunday's aside to rehearse at like, 11:30 or 12:30, and afterwards we dedicate a couple hours to just writing.
Brian: That is cool
Jeremy: And Eric is the drummer?
Flakus: Yes, A-A-Ron!
Brian: How do you find that singer, man? I don't know anybody that sings like that.
Flakus: Yeah he is from Florida.
Brian: Florida? Alright.
Flakus: He's just recently moved here from years ago, and the reason we haven't been around for a long time is because we have taken so long to find the right singer that fits the style. You know, we had a million people tryout, but it was either bad or it didn’t fit, or they wanted too much control of what the sound was like, and it is like kind of you know... We are bringing you in but not the other way around. You know?
Jeremy: So what is the new lead singers name?
Jeremy: Jon? Does he live here now then?
Flakus: Yeah he lives here.
Jeremy: Okay, but not with you guys?
Flakus: No, he has got a roommate somewhere.
Jeremy: Yeah cool! It is a really cinematic, like high peaks and low valleys kind of sound. It takes you kind of everywhere.
Flakus: That's what brings out the emotion, because if something is static, the whole way through, you were either going to get bored or you are going to be kind of numb to what you're doing. So you will kind of stop paying attention, and everything. You know? So when you have those different kinds of moods to the music, I think it helps. I mean, it demonstrates your musicianship more too.
Brian: For sure! For sure!
Jeremy: Are you in any other bands right now?
Flakus: Yeah, so I am actually playing a double-header tonight! I am in Live&Obey too!
Brian: Oh nice! It’s like half of your band is in Live&Obey.
Flakus: I know, I know.
Brian: That’s cool though.
Flakus: I mean I hated how it turned out,
like I wish the initial band (Anchors) didn't have to drop, because now it looks like we are just assholes!
Jeremy: These guys! We just saw these guys!
Flakus: Exactly! it sounds like we are just sitting here, “Hey look at us guys!” You know? And that is definitely not what we intended.
Jeremy: So Garrett doesn't do vocals anymore does he? For Live&Obey?
Flakus: No that was a while ago. he was on our first EP and then we picked up our most recent vocalist Jake, and Jake fit in like a glove. We say sometimes how we miss Garrett just because he is good, but it is it is nothing you against Jake. We just get along with both of them. I
Jeremy: So what? Garrett just didn't feel like singing anymore.
Flakus: It was just stylistic difference, you know while we were like 6 months behind what Garret wanted to be writing. So like, Garrett quit the band, and then Jake joined, then six months later it is like, “So you guys are just now writing the music that I like? Come on!” You know?
Jeremy: It works that way sometimes.
Flakus: Yeah, it does. It does.
Brian: It is a process.
Flakus: It wasn't intentional, but we gave him a guest spot on our most recent. Just to say a little reminiscent “We miss you Bud!” He might sing it with us tonight. Who knows? If he was feeling up to it he might. Yeah.
Jeremy: He is still playing guitar right?
Flakus: No, no, so Garrett doesn't play guitar for a Live&Obey. Jordan is the other guy, the bass player from Witherfang. He used to play guitar, but he and I did a whoopsy-daisy, and now he plays the drums. So I initially played the… It is back and forth. I'm sorry we have been around so long, It is hard to remember. I started out at the original guitar player for Live&Obey. We lost our drummer, so I moved to drums, and then we decided it wasn't working out. Then me and Jordan flip flopped.
Flakus: and that is where it is.
Jeremy: Alright okay, I need like a flow chart.
Flakus: We have the recording right here, so we can break it down!
Jeremy and Brian: Wow okay that's cool! Yeah that is cool!
Jeremy: I really like that, “Well we really want to make this sound, and whoever can fall into this gap.”
Flakus: and we actually had Jake try out with a brand new song that we hadn't released, and we put in the studio and it was awesome. So we are down here.
Brian: That is cool dude! I am excited for that!
Flakus: Well when Garrett told us he was quitting, we were already scouting Jake. He was in another band and we said, “Hey Jake, if that's not working out we've got a spot Open,” and he was like, “yeah it is not working out!” I'd like to think that we are not home wreckers, because he swore to God that we weren't, but it just feels it feels dirty sometimes.
Brian: Hey man, that is what Chuck Schuldiner of Death did. He scouted other bands…
Jeremy: Yeah like Morbid Angel right? They lived together too!
Flakus: Yeah you got super groups like, Them Crooked Vultures!
Brian: Yeah dude, I love those guys dude.
Flakus: I grew up on Queens of the Stone Age, I loved their sound.
Jeremy: I checked The Colour and the Shape,out of the out Library like dozens of times, before my parents let me buy it.
Flakus: That's sweet!
Jeremy: It's too heavy! That's too heavy!
Brian: Too heavy? Oh man, this guy over here!
Jeremy: The Foo Fighters, they were pretty good!
Flakus: Heavy stuff man! I
Jeremy: Who are you listening to right now?
Flakus: I listen to SiriusXM a lot, and kind of take in the music from like Octane or Liquid Metal. Yeah there are a lot of bands on there that are a sweet. Now the way I get into bands usually starts a little backwards. When I hear a band at first I don't like it, because I don't know it. I am uncomfortable with it, but once you get familiar and kind of learn more about them, and you know… Like if you're dating someone, you know you don't know how to feel about her and stuff. I wean yourself into it. For this particular band, when I first heard them, Fever333, I just was like… I didn't know what it was. Yeah if you listen to Octane all day you will hear them at least 3 or 4 times.
Flakus: Yeah, they're like really political, which I am usually not too into, but they have a modern-day Rage Against the Machine Vibe.
Brian: That’s cool.
Flakus: Umm, I love ghost! I listen to a lot of different kind of stuff. So I'm listening to a pop artist right now named Army Van Buren. I love his stuff.
Jeremy: Oh yeah!
Flakus: Yeah like trance EDM stuff. Umm, my favorite Indie pop band is Bastille. I was…
Brian: Oh you've got him tattooed on your arm right there!
Flakus: Cringy enough to get them on my arm.
Brian: Jeez, that is cool!
Jeremy: Have you seen Bastille live? I heard they put on a good show!
Flakus: Dude, they were fantastic! I've seen them a good four or five times. I saw them at Red Rocks that was unbelievable! Yeah, who else? I mean the bands we were talking about, like Queens, Foo Fighters, Gojira!
Brian: Yeah Gojira!
Jeremy: Oh Yeah! I heard you playing that riff (Silvera) while you were warming up!
Flakus: Well actually, that was Garrett, but I did learn that riff the other day. Well listen man, I hadn't really heard of them until like two or three weeks ago. Garrett bought me the CD, and I've just been jamming in my car. Magma? Is that it?
Brian: Yeah that is their new album!
Flakus: Yeah it is really, really awesome. It is so unique. It was really one of those, I didn't really like it at first but I just forced myself.
Brian: I felt the same way alright well we're going to probably wrap up cuz these guys are playing and we want to catch them.
Oh Man! Anthony Flakus is a busy guy!
You can purchase Witherfang Music and Merch at their website https://witherfangband.com
Catch Witherfang slaying at the Lookout on April 10th, with Wolf King and Entheos.
You can see Anthony with Live&Obey May 2nd at The Royal Grove, opening with GutPunch,
Bonus Plug! You like Hiphop? Flakus plays guitar for local MC JCrum. Check it out here!