“We don’t want to be pigeonholed…” - hmv.com talks to Anteros
London foursome Anteros look set to make a big mark in 2019.
Their debut album When We Land, which arrives today (March 22nd) is an ambitious effort, full of widescreen soundscapes and sci-fi influences.
It melds the clinical sonics of Editors, the wonder of Sigur Ros and the icy cool electronics of CHVRCHES together. It’s grand and it’s challenging, chilling and wondrous simultaneously.
When We Land is out now and available in hmv stores across the UK. To celebrate, we spoke to Anteros about how they made it happen…
How did the experience of making an album compare to the way you’d imagined it? Did it live up to your expectations?
Harry (Balazs, drummer): “I didn’t have any expectations, it was long, it took longer than I thought it would.”
Laura (Hayden, vocals): “The idea of what something is going to be can destroy the actual experience. It was great that we’d worked with our producer Charlie Andrew before on a AA single and that relationship was solid. The whole process took us two months, but it was very nice to have that time. We went away to Somerset and we lived to make music all day, that made us feel very lucky.”
Why did you decide to go to Somerset to make the album?
Laura: “We made the AA in London and I instantly knew that I didn’t want to do the album here. I couldn’t disconnect. We’re from London and we just went back to normal life. Our everyday problems. In Somerset, we were staying in this house and all there was to do was the album. We’d wake up, record for 12 or 13 hours a day, sleep and then do it again. Then we’d spend the weekends sitting in the pub.”
Harry: “Being removed like that really helped. It gave the album its own headspace and we were in a bubble. It was intense, but very productive.”
Laura: “The songs got so much attention and a lot of them changed. Verses changed, tempos changed, ‘Ordinary Girl’ was a voice and an acoustic guitar and its unrecognisable now. It benefitted a lot from not being recorded in a windowless room in London. It’s nice to be in a bubble, less nice to be in a cave…”
It’s your debut album, which, in theory, you have your whole lives to write. Did you have a lot of songs to choose from?
Laura: “We had a lot and it was a case of picking which ones represented us the best and which ones worked together. I know the album format is something that’s in flux for a lot of people, but it does give you the opportunity to show everything you have. We don’t want to be pigeonholed, we’re not interested in being a band who only do one thing. If you listen to a Fleetwood Mac record, it’s a brilliant hotchpotch and that’s what we want.”
You did the album with Charlie Andrew, who most people will know best from his work with Alt-J, what was he like to work with?
Laura: “He was amazing. He’s very quiet and understated. He doesn’t have a big ego and is incredibly easy to work with. He listens. He did a lot of work with us individually, but it was all built towards a collective goal.”
Harry: “By the end, he was more like another band member.”
Laura: “He’s become more like our Dad. But a really nice Dad.”
A lot of young bands want discipline from a producer. Someone to say ‘No, do it again’. But it doesn’t sound like that was what you wanted…
Harry: “No. Willingness to work and willingness to keep improving is never something we’ve needed to be forced to do.”
Laura: “We’ve been a band for three years and everyone has a great understanding of what their strengths are and how we improve each other.”
Harry: “It was less a case of ‘Do it again’ and more a case of ‘Do it differently’. Charlie was very good at making you feel good and allowing the songs to have space. We have a tendency to play loudly and what to make the most of our parts and that’s not what every song needs.”
What kind of album is it lyrically? Is there a theme that binds the album?
Laura: “A lot of the songs are attached to what I’ve gone through. It’s life in your 20’s and the distinction between your teens and your 20s. When I was 18, I thought I knew everything, now I feel like I don’t have any idea what I’m doing. It’s a grey area no one prepares you for.”
“You have to make so many important decisions early in your life and it takes a while to come to terms with them. There’s a lot to figure out and I think the album reflects that. It’s deconstructing everything you’ve been taught and finding out where you stand on your own.”
When did the album title come into the picture? Was it always called When We Land?
Laura: “When we started recording, there were a few names floating around. We didn’t want to go with a song title, we wanted something that summed up the record. We have a song called Anteros, so the record couldn’t be self-titled. I ended up combing the album for a lyric that worked and it turns out it’s only on the deluxe edition!”
Harry: “It works really well with the artwork. We like the space theme and the moon has been used a lot. It sounds great as well.”
Finally, how’s your diary looking? Are you booked for the rest of the year?
Laura: “Festivals are slowly confirming. We’re in Europe up until the album drops and then we’re building in more and more dates. We’re going to be very busy.”
Anteros’ debut album When We Land is out now.