Anchor, May 2011
Hey guys! Tell us just how you all got together?
MATTE: Anchor started in early 2007. Our previous bands had broken up and we still had a drive to make records and tour. We wrote our first 7″ on the first bandpractice and the rest is history.
What made you start a band? Do you have side-projects? Anything about your past bands?
MATTE: The curiousity and love for music, the will to explore and create with other people. I’ve always been in a million bands; The Smackdown, Set my path, September Malevolence, Dead Vows and The Eight Arms. I’m currently in a band called Youngblood. We’re sort of a pop-hardcore-band I guess. We’ll record an ep soon and I’m very stoked about that! I’m also in a black metal/ambient collective called Crowned With Horns and a death/black/crust-band called Blessings. Tons of fun! Ulf used to be in Balance and Go for broke, two amazing bands. Claes used to be in Set my path, Fredrik is currently in Gerilja and Calle has got some weird bands too that I don’t know much about. Guess that’s pretty much it.
What are your influences and inspiration?
ULF: I can only speak for myself, but I’d say our influences are all over the place. It would probably be easier to make a list of things that don’t influence us. We all listen to a wide variety of music, ranging from black metal, rap, swedish singer/songwriters and much more, as well as hardcore, of course. I’d like to think that we take some here and there and brew it all together to make it into ANCHOR.
What inspires us is easier to answer. First of all, to see our friends do great things, play in bands, tour, release records and promote important issues, as well as inspiring people who are involved in politics, animal rights etc. Generally good people doing good things. Of course discontent, frustration and anger are driving forces as well, but I’d consider that to be «fuel», rather than «inspiration.»
For those who’re not yet acquainted to Anchor — please, tell about your lifestyle!
ULF: Anchor is a vegan straight edge band with an unstoppable urge to push things forward. We tour as much as we can, and we really give this our everything. It’s a stressful, yet extremely rewarding thing to be able to do what we’re doing. To give you an example of how we do things: All of us five individuals live far away from each other. In fact, the two members who live closest to each other are about three hours apart by train or more, I’m not even sure. So when we actually do get together to rehearse, we rehearse for a weekend and do nothing else. Wake up early, put on the guitar, rock out for 14 hours, go to sleep. Repeat. Everything else is secondary. We’re all so focused and driven when it comes to Anchor, that most people would probably call it an obsession, and rightfully so.
Watching your videos from the studio makes me think you guys are ment to be together :) Do you ever quarrel or get angry with anything peculiar (some habits, for example) and stuff?
ULF: As the guy who’s been in the band for the shortest time in the group, I can only speak for myself. But the other guys in Anchor are some of the most open-hearted, friendly and passionate people I’ve ever had the pleasure to encounter. Even before joining the band, I felt like I had a special connection to Anchor. My old band Balance toured with them, so I’ve known some of these guys for a couple of years, and even before joining them, I always admired their work ethics and the way they presented themselves as a band. As far as my time in the band goes, there have been little to no arguments to even mention. We’re for the most part very easygoing people, who are mature enough to see different sides of conflicts, so even if we disagree on certain issues, it can always be solved without stepping on any toes. When you spend weeks, even months, inside a van with the same four people, you have to not only know who you’re going with, but you also have to accept certain things about those people, even if it might bother you at first. I’m sure I have some sides that bother the other guys from time to time, but we’re five individuals with different minds and different hearts, and luckily enough all of us in the band understand and accept that.
«The Quiet Dance» is my favourite record since I first heard it, what’s it like to understand you’re accepted and admired and still remain simple guys? :)
ULF: Thank you so very much for the kind words! We always appreciate hearing that people like what we do. I actually have a hard time putting into perspective that people actually listen to our band, cause we’re living in the middle of it. Anchor is such a big part of our lives, and has such a busy schedule that we don’t really have the time to step outside our role as band members and try to get a new perspective from the outside of things. However, we’ve realized that a lot of people seem to be into Anchor, and that we actually influence and inspire people in some way, and that means the world to us. Really, it’s the most rewarding thing ever.
Tell a bit about «Recovery» — the conception, opinions and main idea. And why you made a stress an that particularly.
MATTE: I’d say the main idea, musically, was to make it more of everything in a way. Heavier, dirtier, more punk, more metal and more emotional. I’d like to think we managed ok but I’m probably not the right person to judge. The title, Recovery, is about healing, on both an individual and global level. So many of us have been, and are still, going through personal traumas and hardships in our lives. At the same time we, as in humanity pollute the earth, we claim the right to hold entire species captive and we’re drowning in useless, lustdriven consumption. In my opinion all of these traumas are interconnected. It’s all symptoms of all world gone mad. In a way I guess the title encourages each and everyone of us to look for connections between our individual traumas and the global ones and do whatever is needed to put an end to all of this madness.
What’re your interests besides music?
ULF: I’d say that my interest in music in general, and Anchor in particular, takes up a LOT of time. Besides the band, I’m also doing a fanzine, doing graphic design stuff for some bands, study fulltime and try to stay fit whenever I’m motivated enough. I guess for the other guys it’s about the same. We all study or work, and we all have our interests outside Anchor, like street art, sports, literature etc. But yeah, most of our «free time» goes into the band, but we love doing this, so it doesn’t bother us at all.
MATTE: I’m working on a book about children of alcoholics and chemically addicted. It’s a project I’m very passionate about. I also plan to start playing football on a somewhat serious level again. If I only have time enough to.
What do you do for living? What are your thoughts about anti-job conception?
MATTE: Well, I’ve never had a proper job in my entire life and it’s been good. I’ve been able to do things I really want which is a privilege most people don’t have. At the moment I study religions at the university and I enjoy that very much.
Any records you liked a lot recently? Or just records you’d reccommend as a must-listen? :)
MATTE: Oh, the list could be made endless. Some of my favourite bands are Catharsis, Embrace, Good Riddance, Separation and Inside Out. Do yourselves a favour and check out everything these bands ever recorded. They’ve all meant a great deal to me personally. Lately I’ve been listening alot to Unveil. Superstoked about that band. The new Atlas losing grip-lp is amazing too and the Black God-7″ leaves me speechless. In my opinion Black cross is one of the best bands of the 21st century so I’m very happy they’re back, under a new name.
One sentence «Everyone who burns a church is a friend of mine» from a What We Have zine was quotated several times in my experience and as far as I understood taken rather seriously by some kids. What do you think? Can you call yourselves radical in some way?
MATTE: Haha, yeah, I remember saying that! Not that I believe burning churches is an accurate way of dealing with religion but at the same time I don’t condemn it. I totally see why someone would do such a thing. I have a very strong distaste for organized religion. In my eyes it’s all about using fear to control the masses and it’s been used sucessfully so forever. Don’t take my word for it though, educate yourself!
There are always songs we associate with several events of our lives or emotions. Are there any of that kind in your experience?
MATTE: Oh yes, tons of them!
Guns N Roses — Sweet child o mine was probably my first favourite song. I might have been 7 or so at the time.
Kristofer Åström — How come your arms are not around me is an amazing song that meant alot to me at one point.
108 — solitary is one of the most important songs of my life.
Lots of people met in and around the scene today tend to label and call themselves nihilists and atheists and be «trendy» in that aspect of life. What’s your opinion? Can we call it consumerism of ideas? Do you think there’s any sense in labeling yourself to a certain idea (to become a positive example)?
MATTE: Yes, I do get that feeling quite often too, watching how people take on all of these labels and tags to describe what or who they are. It’s definitely a form of consumption. You buy in, wear it thin and throw it out and go for the next subculture or set of ideas. We’ve all seen it a million times and it boils down to our basic human needs to feel approved and appreciated. A friend of mine actually comes to mind; he was straight edge for a while and very strict about veganism. It lasted a few years and now he’s out of it. It’s not like I care. All I want is for him to feel good about himself you know but it’s so significant to how it works for alot of people. When the X on your hand has gotten you the approval and recognition you wanted it’s no good anymore and you’re out chasing the next thing. It’s sad but it’s symptoms of a cultural disease.
Do you guys have any knowledge of Russian scene?
MATTE: Oh yes, I’ve toured Russia with Dead Vows and I tell you, I loved it, every second of it! I even loved getting hassled by the cops and being held at the Ukranian border for six hours. I’m very happy I got to see parts of the country and I wish with all of my heart I get to go back and see more of it! I’ve been listening alot to the new Rearranged 7″ lately. That band’s amazing! We asked them to come on tour with us but unfortunately they couldn’t. Such a bummer! I really liked Flawless Victory too. Played a bunch of shows with those guys in Ukraine and they were awesome!