People always want to try put us in a box and say you know, how would you describe yourself, and we just go ‘well we’re us, I don’t want to be anyone else’. – Laura Hayden
I think the earliest I’ve ever arrived at a gig was this relatively cold January afternoon where I was attending This Feeling’s Big in 2018 show. I’m stood outside Nambucca, London, chatting briefly to Harry Balazs, the Drummer of Anteros, before we’re lead down to the green room. The green room, as with many venues, is a glorified cellar but frankly, people seem weirdly at home here. The same could easily be said for Anteros, who can only be described as one of the best bands in the indie scene right now and absolutely leading it.
I started by using an abandoned amp as a stool before finding an actual seat and made a little small talk with the band. It’s amazing to meet people like Anteros where they’re very quickly growing but in no way have let it get to their head, they’re all still really lovely, very kind, and extremely funny.
“It’s a bit weird right now because it’s what 4:30pm? and we’re on in like 9 hours” says Laura beaming.
“We’re technically on tomorrow!” chimes in Josh, Bassist.
The band are absolutely brimming with excitement, it turns out that this is not only their first gig of the year but their first interview. Laura informs me that their last gig was Halloween so a fair few months since they played. “We spent all of yesterday doing pre-production for the album as well as practising for today’s set,” she says. The word album hangs around in the air but with no set release date or other details I could be given, its shrouded in mystery and excitement. “We’re not carrying over a huge amount of prior stuff, like hardly anything” continues Laura.
Anteros have a relatively large discography for a band who are yet to release that landmark album. With several singles and EPs under their belts, it’s clear to see the band have put a lot of effort into where they’re going as a group.
Laura: “Its been a big learning curve, I think if you want to do things your own way you can’t not follow a trend, which its really easy to do because you want to make music you think people want or will engage with, but we’ve always been quite adamant that we wanna do things our way, and in order for that to happen you have to really define your sound and need to figure out where everyone fits within the band.
“Jackson only joined us last year”, Laura adds. “So our tracks we released like Breakfast were like bedroom demos pretty much. Compare that to what we’re doing now, everyone knows whats going on, we all know where we want to take things to. It takes a while to get to know yourself like that and we’re in our 20s. We’re changing every day. We wanna make the kind of music we can play 20-30 years from now.”
Josh manages to get in with possibly the most ridiculous thing he could’ve said at that moment: “You can only do it by doing it.” Everyone loses it and I’m lost in the amalgamation of laughter and confusion about what the hell Josh meant. “Shut up shut up, you just have to release stuff, that’s what I mean. You can’t sit on songs and go ‘i don’t know’, you gotta release it otherwise you never know what people will think of them.”
This is one the huge things that set Anteros apart from almost any band in the indie scene now. The group so heavily don’t want to be put into a box or compared to another act. They’re challenging the way journalists and listeners alike will appreciate their music. Their earlier releases, however, haven’t felt like they’ve needed to be compared to anyone. “I think that’s the main goal is to connect, not make more of the same of what you’re are hearing right now, in a way educating people and saying ‘maybe you didn’t know this is what you wanted to hear but now you do’,” says Laura.
Anteros have released two tracks recently in the same sort of style, ‘Bonnie’ and ‘Love’ which seemed to be the more pushed songs to talk about. The band definitely take so much pride in their work and their art but they’re playing around with how it all works for them.
“Sometimes you just need a wicked bass line and a groovy guitar,” Laura Explains. “Bonnie was recorded live and things like that gives it such a raw edge getting that simplicity. Sometimes things get lost in recordings when it’s almost overdone.”
Live recording sounds insane so I asked them to tell me more: “We ended up recording in Brixton and we were asked to bring fans and mates down. We rented silent disco headphones. We split it too so Jackson and I were in one live room and Harry and Josh were in another, and we had a divider, then about 25 people in both live rooms.” Explains Laura.
“Bear in mind the rooms were tiny,” says Jackson.
“Bonnie is a song all about empowering women, and it was so great seeing all these girls – all the backing vocals were these girls in the studio with us just singing the track – it was nice for us but also really nice for the others involved,” says Laura.
“Sometimes you do get used to just playing live, even if it was just 25 people, no matter how much you concentrate in a studio, having those people there made all the difference,” confirms Harry.
Live studio sessions for actual recordings sound insane but it clearly worked and clearly let the band connect with people more. This group are not only pushing boundaries but doing an amazing job of it. Not only are their recordings incredible, but they are one of the best live bands I’ve seen in a long time. A group who are constantly beaming throughout with Laura prancing about the stage and getting involved with the audience.
With the long-awaited album coming seemingly very soon, everyone including myself are very excited to know what is next for Anteros. “We start recording our album in a couple days, we’re gonna lock ourselves away a little bit. Not disappear but we’ve got a lot of work to do,” explains Laura. She tells us that there are a few shows lined up but mostly recording.
Josh jumps in finally to add: “I think we’re at that place as well as a band, we collectively know where we want to go and what we want to make, we’ve spent a long long time working on not only the songs but now everything works together and all the tiny parts of it over the whole record.”
The chat turned more casual and it felt like they were really easy to connect with outside a professional sense, we spoke about food, some of the other bands, and clothes. I asked them about their ultimate gig outfit and I got a range of answers from Laura’s Ziggy Stardust/Marc Bolan combo, to Jackson’s combination of Michael Jackson in Thriller with Kiss’ makeup.
I also got to ask them my favourite question ‘what the best first song on a first album?’
Laura: Jenny was a Friend of Mine – The Killers
Jackson: Rock n Roll Star – Oasis
Josh: Cigarettes in the Theatre – Two Door Cinema Club
Harry: A View from the Afternoon – Arctic Monkeys.
Anteros can’t be boxed in and won’t stop defying the boundaries the industry tries to set them. They’re one of the most exciting bands in Britain and if you get a chance to see them live, I’d entirely recommend it.