Anteros have barely been able to stop to catch breath in their relatively short time together as a band. In some ways, 2016 was their first year – they only played their first show in November of 2015 – but they’ve made the best possible use of the time. These emerging purveyors of bittersweet pop bliss are in the ascendency and in great shape to make a real statement in 2017 – they’re already beginning to do so. As lead singer Laura Hayden frankly admits, “It’s been quite crazy” so far.
Last year saw the London quartet – completed by bassist Josh Rumble, guitarist Jackson Couzens and drummer Harry Balazs – open the Other Stage at Glastonbury, turn on the style at a bunch of other festivals, and release their most assured and success-hinting output yet with their Breakfast EP. But even if they can allow their heads to skim the clouds once in a while, their feet remain firmly on the ground.
“We’re trying to focus on taking everything one step at a time,” says Laura. “We said at the beginning of [last] summer we wanted to sort of take everything as it comes and just focus on the present and actually try and enjoy it, instead of being paranoid about what’s going to be happening in the future.” Their measured approach has served them superbly thus far and, while no one’s saying they should fix what’s not broken, there’s not much to suggest they have anything to be worried about going forward. They’ve just got to keep doing their thing.
Laura points out how the group are “still experimenting” and doing what’s “right” to them. “I think that’s our approach to music,” she considers, “just do [that] and not try and follow trends – ‘cause I think once you get caught up in that, you just lose the authenticity of the band really.” It’s hard to argue with that. Anteros’ irresistible brand of honest, dancefloor destined pop is easily identifiable, yet it’s hard to pigeonhole too. There may be a certain ‘retro’ aura about their sound – that naturally arises from a varied love between the members of numerous bygone musical eras – but there’s no painfully uninspiring revivalism going on here, rather just a band inventively embracing their own appreciation of what’s gone before them.
“You always kind of wish you did live in another era,” says Laura. “People always look back, and obviously it would be silly to say we don’t get inspired by music from the 70s or 80s or 90s or even noughties. It’s music history.” Josh is quick to play down the effect of any lazily cast comparisons. “Everyone is going to be quick to make [them] – because sound always comes from familiarity to you, so naturally people are going to be like, ‘You sound like this’ – but the reality is everyone is always going to be influenced by what they listen to and what they have listened to, and you can’t really separate the two.” He repeats Laura’s point of how they “just try and do what feels natural and feels like us.”
An important part of what “feels natural” to Anteros beyond purely the music is their individual approach to their physical product. Put it this way: if last year’s releases are anything to go by, they wouldn’t be opposed to a cassette revival (and let’s be honest, that would be pretty cool). As Laura puts it, the current generation of music aficionados are “the new hippies”, a demographic that, Josh emphasises, “wants to have music” and not just listen to it. “They want something that is real and tangible,” he continues, “and it’s fragile and it could potentially not work.” At the end of the day, even if worse comes to worst and it doesn’t play, why wouldn’t you want your music on a transparent, glitter-filled tape?
Next up, they’re poised to release EP number three Drunk. Out next week [14th April], it’s an ever-so-slight shift from its predecessor, offering a more uncompromising, even more attitude-filled side to their sound. That’s a sign of a band still evolving, of course, but it’s more importantly another step closer to the major milestone of a debut album. Laura seems confident that they have as clear an idea as ever of what that album will sound like. “We are still experimenting,” she reiterates, conceding that they always will be to an extent, “but [everything] feels a lot more comfortable for all of us and it just feels better, really.”
But for now at least, Anteros are focused on “enjoying the present.” With their catalogue growing and growing, and the big tour slots coming thick and fast – they’ve been out on the road with Two Door Cinema Club, White Lies and Blaenavon in recent months – they’d be crazy not to be. As they continue to gather steam, Laura is relishing the prospect of another busy year. It might just be the one when Anteros truly arrive.
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