“Wow, those guys are bonkers!”
That’s the type of reaction Anathallo elicited by its former use of “instruments” like Velcro, socket wrenches and bike tires on its debut album “Floating World,” says Matt Joynt, the singer-guitarist in the Michigan-bred, Chicago-based band.
Now free of such frills—though not necessarily permanently, Joynt says—the indie rock seven-piece is primed to release its much-anticipated follow-up, “Canopy Glow” (due Nov. 18), a considerably more concise effort that emphasizes straightforward, though still grandly orchestral, arrangements and the gorgeous vocal interplay between Joynt, 25, and singer Erica Froman, 23.
Considering Joynt and Froman both work in coffee shops, it was no surprise that they suggested meeting at one. There, Anathallo’s singers talked to us about being over-caffeinated and whether or not they want to assault their audiences.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done on a caffeine bender?
Matt Joynt: Tried to do a written essay in college. I worked until three in the morning at a café and then I had a class with a written essay [test] and I ended up staying up because I hadn’t studied at all for it. I was trying to write and my hand was so shaky that I literally could not write the essay. And I had to go up to the professor [and say], “This is so embarrassing, but I am out of my mind. Do you mind if I come and take this to your office later in the day?”
What did you learn from that?
MJ: Not much because the professor actually let me do it. So I was like, “Oh, it worked out. Now I have an extra hour to study.” I’m still doing it. [Points to drink in front of him] I just got an extra shot in this.
He didn’t think you were messed up on something else?
MJ: No, he believed me. I was a pretty straight-laced kid in college, and I always got A’s in class, so I think he trusted me.
Your band has been described as a “symphonic assault.” What do you think qualifies you as such?
MJ: I don’t remember reading that. I didn’t write that. I wish I had though. I guess for us it would just be all of our pistons pumping at the same time.
Erica Froman: Most of the songs aren’t very sparse in any sense of the word on the record. It’s a pretty action-packed. Lots of things we won’t be able to play live. [Laughs]
“Symphonic assault” sounds to me like you guys speeding down the road in your van, playing as loud as possible and refusing to stop.
MJ: Sometimes our shows are like that. When we go on tour with bands that [don’t seem like a] great of a fit for us, the first couple nights...we fly through everything without many breaks between the songs. Just to be safe in case people are going to heckle us or scream obscene things at us.
EF: And we rock the songs out.
MJ: It’s mostly insecurity probably...I don’t want to be [a symphonic assault].
But you guys have played in marching bands, and that’s definitely a symphonic assault.
MJ: OK, if that’s a symphonic assault then I guess we sort of are going for that. We try to make the show really powerful musically. I guess I have negative connotations with being assaulted: “That show kicked my ass!”
You don’t want people to say that?
MJ: No. I want them to be like, “That was really fun.” Not [coming away] tired and with a black eye. A musical black eye.
“Anathallo beat me senseless, and I loved it!”
MJ: Maybe that would be kind of cool.
Anathallo’s over-caffeinated indie rock
This art-rock collective wants to assault you—in the nicest possible way
By Matt PaisMetromix
October 24, 2008
“Wow, those guys are bonkers!”
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