Punk’s not dead (it just needed a day job) and when it comes to local punks Anchors, they’re well and truly alive. Having jumped back into the full swing of things at the start of this year, Anchors are back and, once again, becoming a staple in the local music scene. Fast beats, catchy melodies and a ‘give-it-all-you-got’ attitude, this is a band that by-passes false motives and plays music for its intended reasons.
The group is prepping to play the annual Tape Deck Festival this weekend. The bill boasts two of pop-punk’s rising stars; Neck Deep and State Champs. Plus, an array of local acts including Outlines and Sidelines. Yet up until recently, it wasn’t going to be the smoothest of ventures for the band.
“We really wanted to play obviously but it was right in the middle of The Wonder Years tour. We thought we were going to have to play that tour in Adelaide and then drive back [to Melbourne] kind of overnight for Tape Deck on the Sunday. Like man, we were worried because we really wanted to play it and I was just hoping that we weren’t going to suck because we’d be so tired after a bunch of shows,” vocalist Brett Horsely tells us in a rather candid conversation.
Yet as he informs, hindsight mixed with glass-half-full ambition can go a long way sometimes.
“In a way [The Wonder Years tour being cancelled] has kind of worked out alright because we get to play Tape Deck and it’s like the only thing we have on before the States. We can actually afford to put a lot into our set and we’ll be really keen to play.”
Ah yes, the cancellation of The Wonder Years overdue Australian tour was sure to make some punters sad again (ba-dump-tch). Yet the tour, being run by newcomer promoter Hook Turn, has raised some questions, doubts and fingers in the direction of who’s to blame.
When it comes to tours being cancelled, the middleman (promoter) can often get the receiving end of the blame-stick from punters just looking to voice their frustration. Yet with Anchors being the lead support act throughout the entire run, who better to clean the slate than them?
“I really feel like I should clear the air on part of Hook Turn touring because it’s a new company and it’s easy for people to put the blame on the new guy. We contacted Brad from Hook Turn [and] he knew as much as us about this whole thing so it ended up being this really weird situation. I think people thought that maybe Brad and Hook Turn couldn’t bring enough to the table to really hold up their end of the deal. It wasn’t that at all,” Horsely says honestly in support of Hook Turn.
“We were all really in the dark about it all; not knowing what happened and at the same time we were getting these inboxes on Facebook asking what happened and I think it seemed like we were being diplomatic with the whole, “We know as much as you” and we still don’t know anything.”
As we speak on the tour, the conversation takes a slightly left-of-centre tangent into the deep and mysterious realms of the pop-punk world as KYS and Horsely try to uncover just what the genre is all about.
“Pop-punk is such a weird genre.”
You don’t say…
“When it first started your bands were your standard ones like New Found Glory and Blink, and they were just starting to get some momentum. Yellowcard and shit like that was exactly what it was: POP. PUNK. It’s so weird with bands like 5 Seconds of Summer and bands being called alternative or punk yet they’re just mainstream shit on the radio. Am I getting old or did I miss something? Do I just not know what’s good anymore?” the singer laughs.
“I think it’s good though as its maybe opening people’s eyes a bit more. Like they hear the mainstream stuff and dig a bit deeper and find out where that stuff came from… It could be good but a lot of the time I hear this “pop-punk” or “punk” and it’s just trash,” Horsely articulates frankly.
Genres are no more than words on a screen, only holding as much value as the beholder so choses and as Horsely shares, some bands really don’t even give it a second thought.
“As soon as you try and put a name on it, it gets muddled. Like when we were playing with The Story So Far in Japan, I was wearing [a] Wonder Years top. Will said, ‘Uh, you listen to The Wonder Years, you listen to pop-punk? That’s a bit different.’ I mean, I don’t really but I would’ve classified The Story So Far as a pop-punk band and thought they’d play shows [with The Wonder Years] and he was so shocked! I asked him how he would describe the band and he just said, ‘I’ve never really thought about it but all we listen to is hardcore and hip-hop and combined the two with melody!’ I thought I had made a mortal enemy because the look on his face!” he laughs in retrospect.
Although discussing the parameters of pop-punk is comical and amusing, we do however have to see just what Anchors have been up to since we last spoke in January.
“We had our guitarist Pat, quit. It’s the classic thing where you move in different directions. We basically sat down as a band and talked about where we wanted to go with it and we were happy to keep doing what we’re doing; Pat wanted to branch off in a different direction and it wasn’t really working. We tried to write songs and it just wasn’t flowing, it was a bit stilted. One of the great things about us is that we’ve always had a sort of similar vision as to where we wanted to go. The fact that we were coming to practice and someone would have a riff and no one would like it. It was getting really tense and Pat just sort of jumped ship and started his own band.”
“We’ve now got Jim Morris from Union Pacific and pretty much every band in Melbourne on board playing bass and our bass player Tony moved to guitar. We’re knuckling down and trying to write as much as we can before we head to the States. It’s gonna be chaotic but I’m stoked for it!” the musician says.
Anchors recently came back into the fold of the music scene earlier this year after a short stint of inactivity.
“I always see a band as bad relationship. You kind of get sick of each other and it gets boring but if you spend some time away from each other you can find yourself really missing it. That’s another thing that we did, Anchors had some time off. We still talked to each other as dudes but we didn’t do anything with the band, didn’t jam or play shows or even talk about it. When we came back from that, we were so hungry and we were losing our minds about not doing anything. We came back with so much to explore!”
Anchors play Tape Deck Festival at the Lilydale Showgrounds this Sunday September 7th. Be sure to head down early to catch them and an array of other local bands on the bill.
ANCHORS ‘LOST AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD’