Anne is a local band, but it took finding the MP3 download of the Demo2010 EP to bring them to my attention – I’ve been kind of out of it for the better part of two years, and during my absence, the local Shoegaze scene has changed a lot. In any case, when I started putting the Vibrato 2010 compilation together, I contacted Anne – in the person of David – via email, which led to a phone conversation, which in turn led to a face-to-face meeting where I scored CD copies of Anne‘s two EPs and asked David if he would be willing to be interviewed by me for this blog. Apparently, he consented.
NWs: Alright, David, thanks again for the CDs, and thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. We’ve actually met, but I don’t expect to meet the rest of Anne until the show at Backspace on the 30th. Would you be so kind as to introduce me to the rest of the band – who are they, what instruments do they play, that sort of thing?
David: I play guitar and sing, Brent plays synth, Anthony plays bass, and Andrew plays drums.
NWs: I am curious to know how you guys decided on the name Anne – obviously, ease of using Google to find the band was not a consideration?
David: We were throwing names around, and Brent suggested Anne. At first, I was a little put off by it as it is my sister’s middle name. Though, I feel bands define their name, not the other way around, so we ran with it. Plus I think it looks nice.
NWs: How and when did Anne come to be? Have there been any personnel changes along the way?
David: Sometime in late February of 2010, after the demise of my short lived previous band, I approached Brent about doing some music together. We had previously been in a Hardcore band together. We started working on music together, and I mentioned it to Anthony, who lived in Corvallis at the time, and who I had also played with in a different band. Around that same time we met Andrew via Craigslist. We have not had any lineup changes thankfully.
NWs: Is there a typical creation process most Anne songs undergo on their way to becoming? If so, would you describe it for me, please?
David: Either myself or Brent will come up with a general idea for a song, and we will try to work out a rough skeleton of the song ourselves. Then, once we have a general structure, we will work on it all as a band. It’s nothing horribly exciting.
NWs: Who writes the lyrics?
David: I write all the lyrics, I find it rather odd when members who are not singing write the lyrics. Not that I would be against a lyrical suggestion, but I am not all that interested in singing other peoples lyrics.
NWs: So, I guess that rules out cover songs?
David: We actually were playing a Ramones cover for a bit. That’s different to me because its something that’s completely detached from the band’s or my own creative process.
NWs: Do you consider yourselves Shoegazers?
David: In many ways I do; it is a rather vague genre descriptor though. I feel, currently, music exists as little niche markets, and being a band that defines itself – and in someways is defined – by a genre, especially while still establishing itself, is, I believe, very helpful in getting people interested enough to check out what you are doing.
NWs: What’s the Shoegaze scene like in Portland, Oregon? I should know the answer to this question, but when I dropped out of sight in 2008, I kind of lost track. At that time, The High Violets were top of the local scene, Charmparticles were probably in the studio, and The Prids had had their momentum derailed by a serious accident just outside Fresno, California. I saw The Prids at The Fuzzy Ball the other night, as well as The Upsidedown and Go Fever, who I had seen open for The Raveonettes in March of 2008, but otherwise, the local scene is all pretty new to me.
David: Personally, I think all of us are rather detached from whatever the “shoegaze scene” actually is. Most of us come from playing and being involved with Punk/Hardcore, so a lot of the Indie Music culture seems rather odd to me, and, at times, can be sort of frustrating – mainly due to how bands interact with bookers/labels, and it seems everything else surrounding the business aspects is very different between the two cultures.
NWs: I am curious about your observations on the difference between the two cultures you mentioned. You don’t have to name names or point fingers, but could you expand on this for me?
David: “Indie” Music has a wider audience than Punk or Hardcore, so there is more money involved and more people who earn their living attached to the music somehow. Which is neither right nor wrong, though it sets up the entire system to favor artists that are able to generate money for other people, which can be a catch-22 for smaller bands because everyone starts at a point when they are not generating much money for themselves or anyone else.
While in the Punk subcultures there is less emphasis on money, thus it’s generally easier for small bands to get records out and tour. Though the Punk subcultures seem to have little interest in art, which can be infinitely disheartening as people begin to try new things within their music. It is not something I am upset about, it is just something I have had to adjust to as a person creating music and attempting to promote it on some level.
I think with us, as well as the newer wave of Shoegaze bands, we don’t always have a social connection with the older bands and the people who have been interested in the genre since before its recent resurgence. We just try to focus on the music we are making and not on anyone else.
NWs: If I understand correctly, coming from the Punk/Hardcore scene, you were not really into the local Shoegaze scene prior to 2010, so there hasn’t been any kind of passing of the torch in your mind?
David: I have always listened to a very wide range of music, though I tend to socially integrate with the Punk/Hardcore side of things, even though my general interest in the current happenings of Punk/Hardcore is somewhat low. I suppose I do not feel any sort of torch passing has occurred, as I do not personally know any members of Shoegaze bands in Portland. The older I get, the more I try to just focus on putting as much creative energy into my own projects as possible and not to get too caught up in or concerned about other people’s happenings, because that can be very toxic to one’s art.
NWs: Do you have a favorite local venue for playing gigs? If so, would it be the same venue for going to see a show?
David: I really enjoy Holocene, it has great sound, and an overall, very nice atmosphere. I like going to shows there as well, but I tend to go to more smaller shows as I do not like being around lots of people too often.
NWs: Yeah, Holocene’s nice – and within comfortable walking distance for me, but I’m a bit partial to Doug Fir Lounge; I’ve seen a lot of great shows there.
David: Doug fir is nice; we have not played there yet, though. Hopefully, we will soon.
NWs: Anne have recently signed to Withdrawal Records and have a 7″ EP in the works; would you like to tell us a bit more about that?
David: We are first releasing a split 7″ with American Gods. We already have our song done for it, though they have not yet completed theirs. Our song has some different elements in it we have not previously explored too heavily, so I am excited for people to hear it, and for us to start playing it at our shows. We will also have a 7″ EP coming out called “family is a nest of suffering”, which we are currently writing. I am very excited about that.
NWs: Any other projects or tour plans you’d like to talk about?
David: After the 7″s are all done, we should be getting out of town more. Once we have a more formal release, it will be easier to get out and promote it rather than the DIY releases we have out so far.
NWs: Well, I certainly wish you good luck with that, and I look forward to seeing and hearing more from Anne in 2011.
NWs: Thanks again for your time. I’ll see you Thursday night at Backspace, where I’m sure Anne will put on a great show. All the best to you and the band in the coming year.