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Interview: Anchoress

Underground News Thursday, 13 October 2016 09:19
Interview: Anchoress

If you happen to live in Vancouver anywhere that’s not under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Anchoress. It’s hard to pinpoint their genre, but simply calling them a punk band detracts from the bands’ intricacies. They’re melodic, they’re aggressive, they’re technical in just the right spots, and they bring hot fire to their live shows. They’re also some of the nicest guys you will ever meet. I tried my hardest to make one of them say something mean during this interview, and totally failed. Their third full length, Anchoress Is Ruining My Life, comes out October 4th


Absolute Underground: Who are you and why are we here?

Chris: Those are big questions, dude.
Rob: People spend their whole lives answering those questions.
Ricky: We are Anchoress and we are a punk band from Vancouver…
Chris: He didn’t ask us that. He asked us what we’re here for.
Ricky: We’re here to…
Rob: Answer some questions.
Ricky: And cause controversy.
Chris: And lose friends.

AU: How and when did Anchoress come into existence?

Rob: Late 2010.
Ricky: It started at a party. I was wearing a Ruiner shirt and Rob, who I’d never met before, came up and was like, “I fuckin’ love Ruiner!” And we decided to start a band together and went to practice the next week.

AU: You have a brand new full length coming out in October. Tell us a bit about it.

Ricky: It’s called Anchoress is Ruining My Life, and it’s a reference to a rap song. It’s an album that took us a long time to write because we were signed to a label and they really wanted to reissue the old albums which we had independently released. They wanted to release them on vinyl and we thought “Great!” But it actually put our band in this weird pause for a while where we almost had to relive the first two releases. We kept writing the whole time and eventually had an album. We recorded it in stages, which was really nice.

Rob: It was super comfortable. We recorded it over a year with Jesse Gander at Rain City.

Ricky: Eventually we had twelve songs, two of which became The EP Formerly Known As Lemonade. We parted ways with our label and thought, “This is on us, and we’re going to release is independently, the same way we used to.” Which is to release it digitally for free, because people are going to pirate it anyways, so they might as well just have it.

Chris: And we’d rather just have people listen to it.

Ricky: We’re looking into vinyl right now and October 4th is the digital release. We’re really happy that it’s all on us again. It’s more expensive and it’s more stressful…

Chris: But it feels great to have all the control. Every aspect of the band is back where it belongs, which is with us. It’s better that way.

Ricky: Music-wise, it’s almost the album this band was always meant to write. It almost feels like this is our actual first album. We wrote Set Sail a month after we met each other, and I don’t know if we could say we were friends then, we were just people who enjoyed music together and didn’t hate each other. And then we toured and life happened and we’re best friends now. Anchoress Is Ruining My Life is the first album we have written as people who are lifelong friends and you can really hear that in the music.

AU: You also recently completed a Western Canadian tour with Exits. How did that go?

Chris: Surprisingly well. There were some really wild shows and we made friends with the Exits guys and got to watch them play every night.

Ricky: Exits are easily one of the best hardcore bands in Canada. It’s nuts that they’re not bigger than they are. And we’ve never toured with another band before.

Rob: You kind of have a built-in crowd.

AU: Having toured across Canada and the US, how would you say the Vancouver punk scene stands out in comparison with other cities?

Ricky: I think our scene is so fucking strong. We have so many good bands…

Chris: And so many venues. Some people kind of shit on the Vancouver scene because it’s hard to do all ages shows here, but the harder that people make it, the more it’s going to happen. You can shut down an all ages venue here and there are just going to be two more that pop up. I think that shows the spirit of the Vancouver scene – we’re not gonna take no for an answer.

Ricky: On an international level, its different, because Vancouver is geographically separate from the rest of Canada and the States.

Rob: We have to be more self-reliant.

Ricky: We have to go into tour understanding that it’s going to be seven hour drives or crossing a shitty border. I don’t think anyone sees Vancouver for the amazing scene that we have because it’s really hard for the bands that we have to get past the fucking mountains. It’s a healthy scene but we are in our own little greenhouse of awesome. It’s a challenge to get people to know that there are other really great bands apart from Baptists and White Lung.

AU: What are some local bands the readers should check out?

Ricky: Cheap High, Selfist, Balance.
Chris: Seer.
Rob: Witch of the Waste.
Ricky: Glad Rags, Swim Team. Bigger bands like Anciients are killing it. Neck of the Woods.

AU: You’re one of the best looking bands in the Vancouver punk scene. You’re all really handsome. Can you give the readers some style pointers?

Ricky: We spend a good deal of time in the van talking about how un-hip we are.

Rob: We’re not like dad rock, but…

Chris: The best style tip I can give anyone is don’t wear a brown belt with black shoes.

Ricky: Just watch Chris. Take pointers from him. He’s the man with the style. Catch him on the seawall.

Rob: The rest of us just look better in his reflected glow.

AU: Not only are you guys incredibly good looking, but you’re one of the kindest bunch of men I’ve ever met. Why are you so god-damned nice?

Ricky: Because it doesn’t pay to be an asshole. Personally, I have no interest in being a shitty person. All of us have that mentality. It just pays to not be a dick. Everyone has the same struggles, as artists.

Chris: Except for me. This is just a long con.

Ricky: Chris is an asshole, but the rest of us… yeah, I dunno, especially within our scene, we’re all trying to succeed. We’re all trying to engage and play shows… why the hell not be nice? Don’t get me wrong, we’re not pushovers either. If you fuck with us, we’ll fuck right back, in our skinny way.

Rob: There’s no point in being rude. I would never be rude to someone unless they were incredibly rude themselves. I can’t think of the last time I raised my voice at somebody.

Ricky: That’s why we write the music that we do. We can write a whole album about how much we hate everything, and there it is. If you want to see the darker, shittier side of us, look at our music. And then we can be nice, happy… well, maybe not “happy” happy…

Rob: That’s what they call catharsis.

AU: Can you please say something mean to me?

Rob: I don’t know if I can.
Chris: You’re too damn tall. Your hair is… nice.
Ricky: The only insults we can say are loud compliments.
Rob: Gosh, you’re charming!
Chris: Aggressive compliments. You better watch out!
Ricky: I hate how incredibly talented you are!
Rob: You should be more careful when you’re skateboarding!

AU: Can you please talk shit on another band?

Chris: Witch of the Waste is the worst band that has ever existed.
Ricky: Total fuckheads.
Chris: Peter Sacco? More like Peter sack o’….
Rob:…shit. Roasted! And what’s up with Fitz’s hair?

AU: What’s the worst show you’ve ever played?

Ricky: Oh, fuck, there have been so many.

Rob: Pouzza Fest. Historically, remarkably terrible.

Chris: It was our first tour. We booked it because we got into Pouzza Fest in Montreal. We didn’t know how to book it... so many long drives on the way there. By the time we got there we were all just fucking koo-koo.

Rob: I was hella sick.

Chris: We were opening for Poison Idea but Strung Out was playing across the street. There was a lineup around the block for that venue and our venue was fucking empty. Like, real empty. Additionally, there were student riots happening at that time. We played a pretty bad set to no one.

Ricky: All of us started with different songs. It was the worst set we’ve ever played.

Chris: There were three old drunk French dudes watching from the bar.

Ricky: When we were loading out… we couldn’t, because of the riots.

Rob: I had gone out ahead of everyone to get the van and then the venue locked down. I’m sitting in the van in the alley watching protestors clash with riot police, advancing down the alley.

Ricky: They finally gave us a three-minute window to get out of there.

AU: If Anchoress was trapped on a deserted island and one member had to be eaten for the others to survive, who would it be?

Chris: Keenan.
Ricky: Would it be Keenan? I feel like you’ve got more meat on you.
Chris: I’d be harder to kill.
Ricky: If we’re talking about the greater good, look at me and Rob… you guys would eat for a day, if you killed us both.
Rob: You’re forgetting that we’re all vegetarians, guys. We’re all going down together.
Ricky: And we’re so god damned nice, we’d probably all die before anyone got eaten.
Rob: Whoever would be the first to fall naturally.
Chris: Decapitation kills you quite naturally.

AU: Would you rather play top-40 pop country music for the rest of your musical careers or give Glenn Danzig a handjob, with eye contact?

Ricky: After the handjob… we could do whatever the fuck we want musically?

AU: Yeah. One-time deal.

Chris: He’s old as shit!

Ricky: Aw, whatever. It’s one handy. If it meant for the rest of our lives we could do whatever we want, I’d take one for the team. On the other hand, people do tell me there is a lot of money in top-40 pop country.

Chris: I totally thought you were gonna say there is a lot of money in handjobs.

Rob: We’re not a money band.

AU: Outside of your upcoming album, what does the future hold for Anchoress?

Ricky: Playing a show in October on the Island with Toymaker.
Chris: More local shows and probably some touring in the spring.
Rob: We’ve already talked about releasing another EP pretty quickly.
Ricky: We’re not gonna slow down. We’re gonna challenge ourselves on our next album.

AU: Any last words?

Chris: Thanks for the interview. To all the people reading Absolute Underground, check out new album, it will be up on ancoress.bandcamp.com for free. Come hang out, see us at the merch booth. You don’t have to buy anything. We like to talk to people.

PHOTO CREDIT: (above) Out Of Step Productions
OTHER: Willow Gamberg

Last modified on Thursday, 13 October 2016 10:28
Written by  Stepan Soroka
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