Anchor and The Wolf

6 Aug

“We’re a mish-mash of musicians really and all take influence both musically and sonically from a whole host of artists from as far back as the late 40’s early 50’s.”

You know how people say chicken soup is good for the soul? Well, I truly think this band’s music is good for the soul. If you just sit and listen to each song off of their debut EP, The Cinema Suite, you’ll understand exactly what I mean. The beautiful melodies of lead singer, Zoe Mead, accompanied by outstanding arrangements with fellow band mates Daniel June, Jamie Warren, and James Kumar. Residing in the UK, the band has hopes of someday playing on US ground, showing the world what they’re made of. I’m ecstatic that I came across this bands outstanding music and I’m even happier to showcase it for you. Get to know this truly incredible band and be sure to check out their work.

Q. How did Anchor and The Wolf form? Where did everyone come from and how did you all meet?

A. Me (Dan) and James met at a party at Portsmouth University and decided we needed to have a jam together as we were into similar genres and styles. After a few sessions together we really wanted to start something. James had seen Zoe perform at solo acoustic show and knew how good her voice was. We put it to her, met in a studio in Swindon, started writing pretty much straight away and the rest is history! Jamie was brought in after I tried a couple of gigs playing bass and drums at the same time… it didn’t really work.

Q. Why the name “Anchor and The Wolf?”

A. This is a question that we never have a good answer for…. not really sure where it came from but it sounds like a traditional English pub and I like that.

Q. Your influences are listed as Sigur Ros, Noah and the Whale, Bon Iver and Arcade Fire (a huge cross-section of indie music). Who do you feel you are most closely related to musically/sonically?

A. We’re a mish-mash of musicians really and all take influence both musically and sonically from a whole host of artists from as far back as the late 40’s early 50’s. James takes huge influence from any artist using big sweeping delayed guitar parts, such as Radiohead and Sigur Ros. I love my Bon Iver and Arcade Fire but my bass lines are mostly influenced by melodic metal bands such as Protest The Hero. I love that James gives me the space so that I can use slow, tapped, and sometimes percussive parts to take the lead in some tracks such as Beautiful You and Trampolines and Chandeliers. Zoe is 100% a Folk lover. She loves her Noah and the Whale. Her vocals are completely her own though, I’ve never heard a lyricist quite like her. I know that Death Cab are also a massive love of hers. Jamie is a drum tech freak. He loves his metal, old and new, and because of this he has become an incredibly tight and capable drummer… that’s all I can say for him.

Q. Zoe is the vocal lead, but there is a lot of vocal harmony from the rest of the band. With powerful female voices like Florence Welch (Florence and the Machine) and Hayley Williams (Paramore) all over the industry, how does your approach to vocalization and harmony benefit you?

A. Vocal harmonies naturally give a track more impact…. our use of harmony is purely for giving our tracks impact at certain points; adding to a crescendo for example. We love close harmonies and take influence from Band of Horses in that department…. their harmonies are incredible! As for Zoe’s vocalization, she has an incredible voice and an incredible talent for writing vocal melodies and harmonies and lyrics.

Q.The glockenspiel is an instrument that is rarely so highlighted. How did the band become acquainted with the glockenspiel and why?

A. The Glock seemed like a natural accompaniment to our overall sound. It’s a very beautiful and delicate instrument. When mixing a track, if you add just a touch of reverb, the Glock just seems to melt into the mix perfectly. When you transfer this to a live situation, the Glock cuts through everything and seems to catch everyones attention in the room, especially at the beginning of Beautiful You. Also, it’s quite handy in practice when everyones talking and you need their attention, just whack it really hard… they’ll soon shut up.

Q. “Cinematic soundscapes” is a key phrase I came across when researching your band. How do you connect yourselves to cinema? What drives your cinematic themes?

A. “Cinematic” is a style we like to think we aim towards. We like to use big sweeping ambient soundscapes, sitting behind the rest of the mix, often created by James and his guitar parts. They are used to fill large amounts of space in tracks that form due to my leading bass parts and Zoe’s thin, but effective, acoustic parts. These soundscapes seem to fill out this space. We also like to think that you could imagine some parts of our tracks supporting epic cinematography, that would be amazing!

Q. You’ve played festivals and shows all across the UK. What are your plans for crossing into the US?

A. We’re a very new band, only been together properly for about 8 months, the US seems like a far, distant and fairly scary prospect. Zoe had a holiday over in New York not long ago and tested out some of our tracks acoustically and they went down very well so I hear. If anyone wanted to book us we wouldn’t say no! The US market is completely different to the UK market though so I dunno how well we’d go down.

Q. With “The Cinema Suite” out, what is the next step for you as a band? More touring, hitting the studio?

A. We’ve got lots of exciting stuff coming up! New merchandise out soon, new website up and running with a blog too (www.anchorandthewolf.com), touring all over the UK at the end of this year, releasing a new single about September time with a video which we are shooting in the next few weeks, festivals and loads of gigs. We really want to play Green Man actually so we signed up to this Green Man poll and people can vote for us to open Green Man, that would be amazing, but yeah just pushing along really. As I said before, we havn’t been together long at all, so this year is all about getting ourselves out there, gigging as much as possible. Who knows what around the corner though… exciting times!

Q. You certainly are sonically unique as musicians. What would you say to other upstarting musicians also expressing a unique/exotic/strange/edgy sound?

A. I’d personally say keeping doing it! This current time in music is pretty tragic if you look at the charts, it’s never been so bad. Everything sounds the same, is processed MIDI, and is unoriginal, there is nothing wrong with MIDI or processed music, just would be nice to hear something fresh, original and new in the charts. It’s not about having the guts or balls to do it, we didn’t sit down together and think, “lets create this sort of music”, it’s just what happened when we sat down and jammed together. For anyone doing their own thing, just keep doing what comes naturally to you.

Q. If you were stranded on an island for the rest of your life and could only bring one of your songs to listen to, which one would it be and why?

A. I’d have to take Beautiful You. I love playing that track live, it’s so fun and the bass is the lead so I like that too.

Here is Anchor and The Wolf showing you what they can do, performing Severed Stars and Beautiful You. Enjoy.

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