It’s been just a few weeks since Anteros released their highly anticipated debut album When We Land, and in support of the excellent full lengther they brought their UK tour to Manchester’s Gorilla. It’s a city where they have seen strong support – performing at Neighbourhood Festival, Soup Kitchen, The Ruby Lounge amongst others.
We caught up with Anteros’ Laura Hayden and Joshua Rumble backstage to talk about the album, and the month which followed, how they bring it to the live stage, being role models and what’s next.
So, welcome back to Manchester. You’re now up to about one month after releasing your album. What are your thoughts at this point?
It’s been a whirlwind. We’ve been so busy. We were out on tour in Europe. And then we came back and our album came out. No, no, sorry. That was America, South by Southwest and them the album came out. And then we went, did in-stores and then we went on this tour. So it’s felt like no time has passed. It’s all … it’s been great! I think it’s very real. It feels very real now that people are singing our songs back to us. It feels really good!
I was going to ask what it’s like, now that the album is out, doing tours and presenting it to audiences as a fully released album. That must be a great feeling.
A lot of the songs, we’ve been sitting on for a while now and it’s nice to be able to present the songs to people that we wanted to hear for a long time and that’s really special.
Yeah, we do the whole album on this tour and also adding some extras. I remember being really worried about how that would flow and of course we didn’t follow the exact track list that’s on the album. You want people to be surprised and not know what’s coming up next. And we went in for rehearsals a few days before the tour and I was prepared for it to be a nightmare because you know you want the set to flow really nicely and actually it was a huge success. Taking it on tour has been really comfortable. We’ve not changed the set list. I guess it was a good design like we’re looking at the tracks in a different order and it still makes sense and it still sounds good.
“Our synth broke like ten minutes before we went on stage”
And audience reaction has been good?
The reaction’s been great. Our synth broke like ten minutes before we went on stage in Glasgow, where we wanted to do Ordinary Girl, which I feel is a grower [of a song] – it’s growing more and more as people come and see us. And we ended up doing it with just guitar and vocals in the end. Everyone was just singing the song back and it was like so loud and such an incredible feeling, right.
It’s one of those things where it was kind of the only option. We thought let’s do it. It’s not going to be a difficult thing for us as we do acoustic versions of our songs anyway. But it was great. Me and Harry were just sitting down, at the back of the stage, having a beer, just enjoying it. Like just … enjoying.
It was like you were taking a break.
It was weird because you don’t get to see your own show. And even though we were still on stage, it was nice to enjoy the moment. For me it was really special.
“we’re still not bored of it!”
One of the things I particularly like, is that you stay true to yourselves in this album. Were you under any pressure to go in a certain way that you had to resist?
It can be tricky. I think more than anything it’s the pressure you put on yourself. It’s so easy, I think to become slaves to algorithms and say like, ‘Oh, I want to make music that’s gonna go on certain playlists’, but actually, I’m like, with everything you make when you’re the one who’s gonna have to live with that long term. If that’s the kind of music you want to make, that’s fine but you’re going to be the one performing that 20 to 30 years from now, and I think we were all on the same page in terms of actually wanting to make something that we could imagine playing 30 years from now.
And even sitting on an album for a year and still listening back and feeling fondness for the song
Yeah, we’re still not bored of it!
Some artists when they have released an album, their minds start moving straight on to the next one, and some sit back and enjoy the release for a while. Where do you stand on that?
Definitely I was listening to album two demos, the day it was released! Music can be quite self-absorbed. And it could already be like a like self-aware thing – it’s art. It’s a form of expression. And I think focusing on the next thing that you’re going to be doing is really good in terms of it actually means that you’re not putting extra time in and you’re not absorbed in this. You’re not focusing on streams, not focusing on these posts about your album or the press. But that’s another thing I can put my attention on … where do we go next. I think it’s a self-preservation thing more than anything.
“you have to let things flow naturally”
So, when you sit down together, what is your process?
The one rule we have is don’t get attached to any formal way of writing because obviously that changes a lot and the thing is there is more than one songwriter in the band so I think when that happens, you have to let things flow naturally and I think we were very aware that obviously we’re going to be touring for a while now. Our writing methods are going to have to change and you’re not going to be in a comfy little house or a studio space, you don’t have certain luxuries and you’re gonna have to learn how to do it on the go sometimes – in the van. For me I find it hard doing melodies in the van but I find it a very good place for lyrics. I like writing … I like looking out of the window letting my mind just, you know, take me to different places to visit different beginnings. I think that the one thing with us is we don’t want to be the kind of band that makes one type of song forever. And that’s what you hear on the album, there’s not just one kind of song it’s not just an album full of Breakfast. It’s an album that goes up and down. I feel like Ordinary was a wildcard and we put it out for young people and weren’t sure how people were going to react, but it’s become one of the favourite songs to perform live.
You’re down to the last few days of the tour now. What should people have haven’t caught you yet expect?
Well, I think Manchester is gonna be a fun one tonight – it’s Jackson, the guitarist’s hometown. So he’s got friends and family here, and Manchester’s always been really good. The last gig we did here at Soup Kitchen was probably one of my favourite gigs ever. It’s scary though, when you come back to a city where you have had a really good experience, because you wonder whether it’s going to be just as good, will it be worse? It’s like when you have a party for your birthday and wonder whether people will show up! But we’re very much looking forward to playing the album. There are some really nice numbers in the set.
It’s clear from looking at social media that you’re a huge inspiration to lots of people. How does that make you feel?
We were talking about this earlier, someone was like ‘thanks for having us on tour’ but it doesn’t feel like we need to be thanked. It still doesn’t feel real. Does that make sense? I think we’re still very much just focusing on the future, but as well on the day, in terms of just taking everything in and not assuming or expecting anything. Like just trying to go with it. And I think every night is trying to do the best that we can on stage, give the best performance we can make sure people want to come again. I think in terms of women, I’m happy if women see me as something that you know, they … I want it to be as a collective together, not as me. I’ve been doing meetings and meet ups with girls. It’s just been like an hour just talking about women. And they can ask anything they want about women in music or an album or just it’s just an open space for women to just discuss them. Because you know, we’re not the majority very often. So it’s quite nice to be the majority. It’s been incredible.
It’s been really insightful. It’s crazy, because we’ve all grown up close to a city. So we never had to travel really far for gigs, so it’s crazy to hear that people travel two hours to see our band. You definitely look at it differently when you realise that people in here, have travelled two hours to come see us tonight, like, like they deserve everything that we have that we can give them. It’s been really insightful to hear [what they have to say]. There’s been a lot of 16 year old girls talking about sexual harassment, like at schools and colleges and some feel like it’s worse than ever, which is really sad to hear. I think we live in a world right now, where we’re a bit in a bubble. I mean, you see how biased the country is or the world is the moment – either left or right – we’re all so polarised. I think there is this idea of feminism, but it’s about thinking what we’re actually doing to, you know, to actually empower more women and stick together as what I think women have been pitted against each other for a long time. So I think we need to come together and stick together and fight together.