Interview: Anchor The Sun
Each person will find their own way of fighting it. For me it’s by speaking up, quitting my financially stable job to pursue a challenging career, getting on stage and fighting my demons every day.
Anchor the Sun is a London-based band with members hailing from Brazil and Wales. It consists of Lilly J (guitar and vocals), Bruno Prado (bass and vocals), and Michael Nash (drums and percussion). Today E&D has the pleasure of premiering the band’s debut single titled ‘I Don’t Know’. It was recorded at Abbey Road Studios and it is the first single from an upcoming five-track EP. Front-woman Lilly describes the track:
“There is that little bit of space between existentialism and the simple beauty of life – a space marked by the angst of not finding the answer to why we exist, while simultaneously acknowledging that we do and should simply be. Enjoy a breeze on your face, or a sunrise. Enjoy sadness and enjoy pain. Be present and aware that these are not necessarily good or bad, it’s just all a matter of perspective.”
Ahead of today’s release, Adriana caught up with guitarist, vocalist and front-woman for the band, Lilly J to talk about the release, the EP and much more.
E&D: When did you start playing guitar and singing?
LJ: I chose guitar as my main instrument when I was 10 years old. At 11 I wrote my first song. I guess singing has always come naturally to me as I can’t really tell when that started.
E&D: How did Anchor The Sun form? How did you all meet?
LJ: Well, I was working for a big promotion company, touring with artists and in contact with music every day. It made me question why I wasn’t making music if that was my biggest passion. Somehow I had managed to step into the music industry, just not through the right door. It was a difficult period for me, thankfully my creative brain used that as a source of inspiration to write the song that would ignite a new era. This song wasn’t just for family and friends like most of the songs I had written until then. I uploaded it and through its exposure I met Bruno, someone I have the privilege to work with. At the time I didn’t really know what the plan was. I hadn’t had the experience of collaborating with anyone or shared something as intimate as what I write. It was still a solo project, and Bruno was willing to help me. We played around with some tracks, arranging with electronic drums and wondering what they would sound like in real life. We needed a drummer if we wanted to perform live too. That’s when Spud got in the picture, he was too intrigued by the track. We played our first gig and it just felt right. Few months in and it simply wasn’t a solo project anymore. We were Anchor the Sun.
E&D: Is there a story behind the band name?
LJ: When discussing something all three of us had in common, we came to the conclusion that we all missed the sun from our countries. We brainstormed themes of songs and how some of our personality traits define them. We brought up the contradictory image as a metaphor to the paradox of human existence. Anchor and sun. One is in the sky, the other in the sea. One in the light, one in the darkness. One is life, hope, happiness, enlightenment, emotion. The other drags, delays, is prison, weight, darkness. The members of the band and consequently the music, bring with them the question of the angst of the world, the difficulties of being a conscious creature – in other words, human. Anchoring the sun is ambitious and impossible. A desire to have control over the universe, the antithesis of the smallness of the human being and the grandeur of ideas and desires – the notion that we must aim at perfection, even though we know that it will never be achieved. The concept is that in a single being there is progress, advancement and also delay, immobility.
E&D: What music genres/bands have been the most influential on your sound and your approach to music?
LJ: When it comes to lyrics I suppose my influences come a lot from poetry and literature, as well as music. I’ve always loved writing with rhythm because it felt like the message was understood more easily, even if very subjective. I have read Brazilian and Portuguese poetry which I believe influences my writing. A few names I can think of now are Cecilia Meireles, Vinicius de Moraes, Oswald de Andrade, Fernando Pessoa. Also storytelling songwriters like Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. Musically as a band, we have lots of influences. When it comes to the interaction of our instruments, we aim to keep it raw like Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Backing vocal arrangements are often based on Aerosmith and Fall Out Boy. Us three have fairly different taste in music that somehow works when we get together.
E&D: On Friday you will release the 1st single from an upcoming EP. Why did you choose this as your lead single?
LJ: We felt this song was a good way to introduce Anchor the Sun to the world. There’s a good chat between bass and guitar while the drums march reaffirming the theme discussed in the lyrics. We are very proud of this work.
E&D: How long did the writing and recording process take?
LJ: Writing happened on a good wave of inspiration, I had been writing a song a day for a week, if I’m not mistaken this song was the last from that wave. From arrangement to final product it took us a couple of months.
E&D: What would you say is the inspiration behind this release?
LJ: The inspiration behind it resonates a lot with the name of the band. It is about feeling troubled for not finding an answer to why we exist, whilst being aware that there might not be an answer and finding peace within uncertainty.
E&D: Is the band planning to tour in support of this release?
LJ: We haven’t planned a tour for this release, we believe we’ll be touring later this year.
E&D: When can we expect the EP to be released?
LJ: The EP will be out by May.
E&D: Being a fellow female artist, would you say that females/people who identify as female are well represented in the scene, be it on and behind the stage?
LJ: There have been several times in which I was the only woman in the room or felt intimidated or like I didn’t belong. I think it’s getting better and I’m not sure if it’s because there’s a true societal change happening or if it’s a personal breakthrough and I’m slowly learning to be myself and be okay with that. I think it’s a bit of both and one influences the other. The music industry today is much more inclusive than what I believe it used to be but there’s still a lot of work to be done.
E&D: What do you think could be done to make the scene more representative?
LJ: That’s a tough one. I guess the source of the lack of female representation in the music industry comes from a much bigger issue which is our society’s foundation. I believe the remedy to this problem comes from an awareness of such social structure and how that affects us as individuals. Each person will find their own way of fighting it. For me it’s by speaking up, quitting my financially stable job to pursue a challenging career, getting on stage and fighting my demons every day.
E&D: Lastly, if you could go back in time and give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
LJ: You ARE a musician so don’t stop yourself from being one and don’t stop yourself from being anything you want to be unless you want to be a dinosaur, that’s not going to happen.
“I Don’t Know” is available on Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer here: https://ditto.fm/i-dont-know-anchor-the-sun