Last year, Canberra resident and punk rock uber fan Nicholas Sofer-Schreiber – A.K.A ‘The Ginger Ninja’ – was tragically murdered. The punk community has since come together and in an effort to raise funds for Vision Australia, will host the inaugural Gingerfest this year in Sydney. Melbourne locals, Anchors, were recently added to the mini-fest – which also includes Hightime, Revellers, 28 Days, to name a few – and we caught up with the band’s drummer, Pat Murphy.
Hey Pat, how are you today?
Hey, I’m good man, how are you?
I’m not too bad thanks. Before we get into it, why aren’t you in the US with the rest of the band?
Ah, it’s just one of those things. This is the first time I’ve not been able to go due to commitments at work and stuff like that. But they’ve got Trey [Drebes], the drummer for Heartsounds filling in for me, which works out well, because he met them in San Francisco, which is where he lives, and they’ve just done the East Coast and he’s heading with them to Mexico before they come home.
I’m sorry you had to miss out on such a great opportunity.
Yeah, it sucks, but it happens.
On the topic of shows though, in December you guys are playing Gingerfest, how do you feel about being a part of something like that?
We had heard for a while that they were putting something like that together and it was good to get the email with the proposed lineup. Obviously, we love playing in Sydney so we’re really looking forward to it.
Would you say this is a great example of the punk scene coming together for what was a very tragic event?
I know that Nicholas came to a bunch of Anchors shows, and he was always keen to hang out afterwards, ask questions and get to know you. So when we heard that he had passed and how he had passed, we were all shocked. Even though we didn’t know him all that well, but it was still very sad.
It was definitely a very sad thing to have happened, especially how he passed. But on a lighter note Pat, you guys played at Tape Deck with Neck Deep about two months ago. How was that show for the band?
It was great. We were actually blown away by the amount of kids that came out to the show. It’s fun to play those kinds of line-ups because we generally don’t get to play with those kinds of bands. So it’s good for us to get out and play those shows and hang with crowds we usually don’t play to.
By that I take it you mean the pop-punk side of music?
Just before that show we did a tour with a band from Sydney called Thesis, and we played with a bunch of pop-punk bands. So that was one of our few insights into the local scenes. But then we played Tape Deck and got to see a lot of good bands and meet a lot of really cool people.
Is the band as a whole into a lot of pop-punk, or does it lean more towards typical punk?
I don’t know, we’ve all got a pretty broad musical taste. I think we all do like it just to different degrees and it certainly gets played in the tour van a lot cause we can all generally agree on it.
I know that Brett [Horsely, vocals] is a massive fan of The Wonder Years.
Yeah, he sure is! That’s an understatement I think (laughs).
I take it you would have been pretty bummed out about The Wonder Years tour getting cancelled so close to the dates.
Yeah, it was pretty crushing. These things do happen, nothing we could have done about it really. You just got to take in on the chin and keep moving forward. But we had America and Mexico coming up and the new writing. So I think we just jumped on to the next project once that was announced. I think it’s pretty silly to dwell on things that you have no control over.
Are there any prospects for a new Anchors album within the next year?
Yeah I think so, we’ve been writing a bit. With our recent lineup changes, we had to focus on teaching the new guys the older stuff. Chris and I try and get together every now and then to nut out some stuff, but Chris in particular has been working with Tony and Jim a lot to get them up to speed. As we had a bunch of new shows after the line-up change. Once the guys get back from America, we’ll get back into in and get back in the studio to start doing some pre-production for the new tracks.
Have the new guys fitted into the band well?
Yeah. After the departure of Pat [O’Shea] on guitar, Tony, who was on bass, is actually a pretty incredible guitarist so it seemed to make sense. As we all pretty good friends with Jim so it worked out really well.
Great to hear man. What’s your opinion on the punk rock scene in Australia? Because the hardcore, metalcore and pop-punk scenes are really booming but then there’s punk rock right in the middle. Do you think that it fluctuates, or that it’s just not as strong as it used to be?
I don’t think that it’s as strong as it used to be. There are plenty of bands doing amazing things, especially in the skate genre. I’m of the opinion that it’s always there and that it never goes away. Some scenes swell and then go away and then come back up again. But that genre of punk that we’re in has a pretty steady following that I think we can always rely on.
With you personally, who or what influenced you to start playing drums?
I was pretty young when I started but it didn’t get serious until I was about 17 or 18. I think it was the earlier Rise Against, Lagwagon and NOFX records. When I heard that style of drumming and the single kick double thing, I just became obsessed. So I just wanted to play fast, and that’s all I really cared about back then. The more I did it, the more bands I was in, and the more dudes I jammed with. It all kinda had a a part in how I play today and I think I’m constantly evolving, as any musician does the more they play.
I definitely hear the fast influences in the band’s music and your drumming.
Yeah, plus it keeps me in shape as well (laughs).
Do you or the rest of the band have that one band that you’d kill to play with?
We’ve already played with so many bands that we’re close with now, like Heartsounds. I think that Propaghandi is a pretty big thing for a few of us, as they are for a lot of people. Maybe even A Wilhelm Scream. We seem to get pegged with those guys a lot so it’d be cool to do a tour with them I think.
Anchors and A Wilhelm Scream would be pretty sick man. Finally Pat, do you have a favourite album for this year?
The new Comeback Kid I cannot stop listening to. I think it’s incredible, just the melody, the chunkiness of the production and its raw elements, the vocal hooks just everything about it. That album has been doing it for me for a while now (laughs).
Totally agree with you, ‘Die Knowing’ is a great album. Thanks for your time today Pat, it’s been great, and enjoy the rest of the day man.
No worries Alex, you too.
Anchors play Gingerfest on Saturday, December 6th, at the Factory Theater, Sydney. Tickets via www.factorytheatre.com.au.