Interviews STARE

ANTI-FLAG bassist interviewed by, May 2012 recently conducted an interview with ANTI-FLAG bassist and vocalist Chris #2.

As you did mention Anti-Flag are such a busy band, constantly writing and touring, how long has Anti-Flag been a job for the band members?
Well I mean it’s been, three quarters or more of my life. Every year since I joined the band, and I joined the band when I was 17, just as I was finishing high school and I had to do a lot of work in my life so I was allowed to leave high school early so we could go on tour and not have to drop out, and that 14 years ago. So it’s been this schedule and this pace for a long time.

And why did you think it was important to finish high school rather than dropping out to pursue the music career?
For me it wasn’t pursuing a music career. I just knew I was friends with these guys and they had a tour booked and we were playing some pretty small places and at the end of it we were spending far more money than we were making so I don’t think we ever had it presented to us like… you hear of some bands they follow the path and there’s the moment where they’re like “ok are we going to jump all in because people want to invest in us”, we never had that moment we just built it all up ourselves and it’s a bit of a slower process to just rely on yourself and learn how to book your own shows and learn how to put out your own records, but it’s more fun and rewarding and I believe we’ve been able to maintain and actually have real lives outside of the band because of that work that we put in.

And rather having other people invest in you it was yourselves, which I feel makes you appreciate and understand every angle of the industry.
If you look at it now, we all went through this whirlwind of the rise of political punk rock and we saw Anti flag and Against Me! and Rise Against and a lot of other bands signing to major labels and that was 2006 and I have a lot of friends in bands who were a part of that explosion of punk rock, but they’re having a hard time going back to van touring and going back to putting out records themselves and being creative and savvy and for us we’re cool with it, because that’s how we grew up. We know how to do it, we have the infrastructure that if no label wanted to put out the next Anti Flag record we could put it out ourselves, so I think we’re in a better position to be in after going through that meat grinder than our friends who haven’t been through it, maybe they’re breaking up, maybe they’re not working or touring as much and you get accustom to a certain life style and if you can’t go backwards, then you’ve kinda gotta get out of the game. Unfortunately I’m seeing it happen a lot more now, but fortunately for Anti Flag, we’ve done everything from sleeping on floors, to playing really big rock festivals so we’ve got a pretty good range of comfort level and we’re able to sustain and keep going because of that.

And with the 8th album that Anti Flag have just released, The General Strike, that was recorded in the band’s own studio, was that part of planning for the future and controlling your own future?
Yeah absolutely! You don’t have the limitations of money and studio time and all of those kind of things. You have your own place, you can work as long on something as you’d like to. Now that’s a kiss and a curse, there’s members of the band who shall not be named that never let songs be finished and they’ll be in there until the middle of the night recording vocals or changing lyrics and the record is stalled because of that BUT in the same breath I think that also leads to the songs being a bit more relevant and a good example of that is a song on the album called ‘The Ranks Of The Masses Rising” where we went in to re-record a lyric to that song and we’re able to tie it in from the occupy wall street movement, to the general strike protests and you feel like having your own studio, it keeps the door open for you to keep up with social commentary and keep it as relevant as possible.

And does that also give the opportunity to work with other musicians and bands?
Yeah! I’ve produced records in there and recorded some of my friends in there so it’s certainly a new aspect in our lives, but I’m not sure, because of the amount of work that we do right now, it’s not like an entity that we’re going to consider bringing in a lot more bands, but maybe as we get older and things slow down with the band, for sure that’s something I’d like to do is be in the studio a lot more and record music that I think is worth while.

And you’re in the position when you hear something you like you can give them a chance and your expertise in the studio.
Yeah yeah! There’s people looking for the experience of recording. If they’re looking for a nice, glossy studio with red leather couches you don’t want to come to Pittsburg, but if they just want to make a good record then I’ll do that for sure!

At least the garden will be lovely at the studio.
For sure!

The rest of the interview can be read here.

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