Anchoria was like a baby to me. It had my absolute best friends in it and was conceived with the idea of doing something that challenged us.
The first person I met before even Anatta was a thing, was Shane Lear. Back in like 2012 or 2013, I approached him and ask if he'd be interested in helping start a band with a friend of mine at the time. I had seen him play in a few bands before and figured why not ask. He was down. Of all things, he was going to play drums. When that approach didn't pan out, he reached out to Josh and we all started jamming together. We went on to record a demo and ran into the problem of not having a vocalist.
And that's when I met Nathan Kennedy. He recorded his vocals to the demo we had done and it sounded awesome (it was Cocktopus, BTW). Slowly, that morphed into Anatta being reborn with Shane and I being new members.
After putting out an EP, and playing numerous shows, I saw this guy that just played guitar like an angel. And when Nate introduced me to him at a show we were both playing, we started talking all things music and gear and everything clicked. I knew we would be playing music one way or another. That dude was Timothy Steria.
There was an attempt to have Tim be the second guitarist for Anatta. Unfortunately, that didn't pan out and eventually, Anatta broke up.
Just before Anatta broke up, Tim and I got together and started writing some music. Mostly just putting riffs together and hoping for the best. I started saving up my money to start buying recording equipment. I knew I had to record what we were doing. With Tim, Nate and I being good friends, we decided to start something real with what we were writing.
I would go over to Tim's apartment at the time, dragging in an iMac desktop with an interface and these huge speakers, along with my guitar and would hook everything up and we'd record ideas at his kitchen table. Nate would come over with pizza and beer and we'd all have a great time.
Nate would tell us all these weird things we should do and if Tim didn't understand what he was saying, I'd tell him what I thought he meant and vice versa. It's crazy looking back at it but that was a special part of the writing process we had.
The first song we wrote was "Crucio", which was released as it's own single/b-side today as well on our Bandcamp. The second song we wrote, we scratched once we kinda had an idea of what we wanted to do. The third song we wrote was "Moon Cycle." Then "Letters," and "Bloom." I remember going over to Tim's late one night and he told me had an idea that he couldn't get out of his head and he wanted to record it. So we sat down, and I hit record. He'd play a riff and we'd make a new track and he'd lay down another one. Soon, he was on a roll and just kept writing and writing until 3 am and we realized we both had to work the next morning. That song turned out to be "Silhouettes." All the guitar work was Tim, and he killed it. Along with Tim writing a whole song, I had also been working with an idea I wanted to see play out. I wrote a song that ended up being slower and overall different from what the other songs were. I sat on it for a while because I couldn't figure out how I was going to end it. A year or so later, I opened up that session and somehow figured it all out. Until 2 days ago, no one, including myself, had ever heard the lyrics or vocals to that song, except for Nate of course. That song turned out to be "Wake," and I believe it's my favorite because of how kept in the dark I was about it until the last minute. Nate did an awesome job with that song.
I booked our first show 9 months before playing it. We weren't even a band yet. We had no drummer, no bassist at the time and we never formally practiced. We had demos and lots of hope. Rookie mistake, I know.
We had jammed with a couple of guys when we were looking for a bassist and a drummer who were alright but nothing ever quite clicked. We had interested people but for an array of reasons didn't pan out.
I remember talking to the guys as we were getting to be about 5 months away from playing our first show. We had no idea what to do. I made the comment at Tim's bachelor party that "if the next guy we try out on drums doesn't work, I'm buying a drum set myself, learning the songs and I'll play drums." I had a few beers in me when I said that. But, I was dead serious.
Sure enough, that month, I order a drum set with absolutely no knowledge of how to play drums. I programmed the drums for the demos to just get us by, I had an idea of how it was done, but that's certainly not the same as knowing how to play drums. You know, I just had a whole lot of hope.
Around that time, I asked Shane if we could go to dinner and catch up on things. At that point, I hadn't talked to him much since Anatta broke up. We ate at Buffalo Wild Wings and had a few beers. Straight up asked if he wanted to play bass in the band, shared some demos, and mentioned we had a show booked in 5 months. He was down.
Everything was somehow going as planned. Kinda. I still didn't know how to play drums. I took a few months and taught myself something new every time I got behind my kit. After a month or two, I had all the songs roughly (very, very roughly) figured out.
Then came another problem. If I'm playing drums, who's our second guitarist? Our songs needed a second guitarist. I came up with a crazy, never-before-tried (by me) idea as a way for me to play drums and still play guitar at the same time. No, it's not what you're thinking at all. It's simpler. Sort of.
I exported all of our songs to my phone with the left channel being dedicated to our click track and the right channel being a raw, dry DI of my guitar parts from all the demos we made. I bought a mixer, a reamp box, and some wires and rigged it up so I could play to a click, and at the same time, my guitar parts would be reamped through my guitar rig. It works perfectly for the most part. The biggest downside was carrying drums and a guitar rig to and from shows, building up and tearing down everything.
I started having band practices at my parents' place, who were very supportive of us. And we were able to get to where we needed to be to start playing shows. Our first show went well, we played in front of maybe 500 people. One of the bigger shows we've been fortunate to play as a band and especially for our first show.
After playing numerous shows, and being a band for about a year, both Tim and Shane announced around the same time that they were expecting their first kids with their significant others. This meant that the band life would slow down a bit and we were all aware and supportive of that. Family always comes first. When they had their kids, they would often bring them to band practice and my parents would watch them for a bit. It turned into my parents being the band grandparents and it was pretty awesome.
When Thanksgiving of 2017 hit, we decided on doing a "Bandsgiving," taking the idea of like a Friendsgiving but for the band. We got our families together and it was one of the funnest times I've had being in a band without worrying about anything music-wise.
In March of 2018, Anchoria played our last show. We didn't know it was going to be our last. We had another show booked in Syracuse a month later, but unfortunately, we had to drop off of it due to a scheduling conflict with Nate taking a new job. With Nate having a new job and both Shane and Tim having new kids, we decided maybe it was time to shelve the band with only having released two demo songs.
Since then, I'd frequently listen to the demos we had that were never released and it's been eating me alive in terms of stress about how we could get these songs out there. I'm not someone to not finish what they've started. This band was my baby so to speak. I grew the most as a musician in this band than any other band I had been in.
At the beginning of 2019, I told the guys of my goal to release our EP on Halloween. They all agreed it needed to be out there so we could have something to leave behind what we did in our time as a band. A sense of closure.
In conclusion, in the last few weeks and months, we've worked hard to finish everything up. Taking time to sit down with the guys and finish up recording what we were missing. In late August, I had decided to move to the Midwest and had to make time with Tim and Shane to record their parts before I couldn't anymore. Once I moved, I worked with Nate to get the rest of his vocal parts to me. It's awesome that he has a recording set up of his own so that we could work remotely together and share our files. We worked pretty tirelessly to wrap everything up before the big release. I had talked to our friend, Matthew Corey (Matty C Beats), who has a huge background in music production and is the go-to guy for our area for a lot of that stuff. I've always wanted to work with him and thought there was no one better I trusted to do arguably the most important job in producing music; making sure the master is the best it can be. Good mix + ok master = maybe ok album quality. Good mix + killer master = killer album quality. Of course, that's me hoping I put together a good mix in the first place. And Nate had helped me fine-tune some things and gave me great feedback during that process. Overall, I think everything came together in a way that it was meant to be. The album is exactly what all of us in the band wanted and more. It's a huge weight lifted from our shoulders and we couldn't be any more grateful for the opportunity to all come together and have the fortunate pleasure of being in this band together and making the music we made. Not only as bandmates but as great friends.
Thank you to everyone who supported Anchoria over the years. Coming out to shows, checking us out, to whom it may concern for catching the handful of sweaty stickers Nate pulled out of his back pocket and threw at everyone but they all stuck together and had hit you in the face at our first show, for all those of you who have taken some time to listen to the album recently, and thanks to my parents for allowing me to make my bedroom into the band's practice spot and dealing with our noise.
I'll never forget any of this. With that said, if you haven't checked out our music and would like to:
Apple Music: https://buff.ly/2pud1IP
Google Play: https://bit.ly/36oLWr9