There are venues and there are venues – and there can’t be many grander places to put on a rock gig than Winchester Cathedral.
Veteran prog-rockers Anathema will be playing a date there as part of a short acoustic tour of English cathedrals on Friday, March 6.
With their most recent album – their 10th – Distant Satellites, receiving critical acclaim, the band are renowned for pushing themselves.
Multi-instrumentalist and lead-singer Vincent Cavanagh explained the thinking behind the dates: ‘We played some churches in the past, and played some pretty epic outdoors amphitheatres, that kind of thing – our music does lend itself to that kind of space.
‘And partly because we’re doing the acoustic thing as well, it opens the doors up to some different venues.
‘I think one of the most memorable venues we played was in around 2007, in this church, it was more of a ruin, really.
‘It was in the middle of Transylvania/Romania, on a hillside and there was no electricity so you had to carry the generator up the hill which took about half-an-hour just to get it there.
‘We carried all the equipment up and we walked up there with the crowd as well. We played our show and then at the very last note there was a flash of lightning and huge clap of thunder. It was absolutely perfect.’
The band, originally from Merseyside, but now dotted around – Vincent lives in Paris – pride themselves on their evolving sound.
‘We had a sound that was unique in the genre and in that scene,’ he recalls of their 1993 debut album, Serenades, ‘and we progressed from there.
‘If you want to keep moving forward and you want to keep challenging yourself, you have to be prepared to lose fans, it’s the only way, and we’ve always been prepared to do that.
‘I think if you make three or four albums that sound the same and then you try to change, it’s more difficult because you’ve already painted yourself into a corner, but with us we’ve changed from the beginning, so the fans have come to expect that.
‘It’s like with AC/DC, we want them to be AC/DC, and it’s music as pure entertainment, but with someone like Radiohead, I don’t want them to make OK Computer again.
‘I want to see what they’re going to do next, and we’re one of those bands. I think we’re a band with an innate progressive attitude, and that doesn’t necessarily mean doing progressive rock.’
With Distant Satellites embracing electronica, Vincent adds: ‘I think we kind of always wanted to do a bit more electronic music, but we never had the equipment, it’s as simple as that.’
And as for their future?
‘This is just one side of what we do. We made a classical album a couple of years back so who knows where we’ll go next,’ says Vincent.
Tickets are from £12 to £20. Go to winchester-cathedral.org.uk