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An interview with Anteros: intoxicated pop anthems laced with indie sensibilities

Back at The Great Escape for the second year in a row, Shannon Cotton chats festival season fun with London-based quartet Anteros.

As the first days of festival season fast approach, we’re catching up with three quarters of Anteros over a drink in a pub in the heart of Soho. It seems the four-piece are itching to get back to the seaside a year on from one of their most landmark gigs to date at the Paganini Ballroom. “Last year was really fun,” begins vocalist Laura Hayden, as bassist Josh Rumble and drummer Harry Balazs nod in agreement. “It was full capacity so that was really good and the ballroom was amazing. The dressing room was this massive ballroom on the side too, it was massive. I hadn’t been to Brighton until we played there and we stayed for a couple of days. It was a great experience, and we can’t wait to play it again this year.”

“I think Brighton is where I would live if I didn’t live in London, it’s such a beautiful city. I think anyone who grows up there is so lucky because it’s so creative, I feel like you grow up full of opportunities because you’re close enough to London and bigger cities. The atmosphere is amazing as well because it’s all spread out throughout the whole town, you’re not in the middle of a field anywhere, it’s a mix between festival and reality,” Laura continues.

This time around the band have a new EP, titled ‘Drunk’ after the single of the same name, which was recorded in Bath. It was a process that saw them sharing a room at the same time the music was made – as opposed to the “patchwork of demos” approach previously taken. “Nick Hodgson [ex-Kaiser Chiefs drummer] produced the EP and it was really good to work with someone we admire quite a lot. He understands a band and understands that they need to spend time with each person to get it right. The EP feels like it’s got a start and it’s got an end, there’s progression there and we’re really excited for people to be able to hear it, this is what we’re making with the proper chance to actually make it,” explains Laura.

Today the quartet are missing their guitarist Jackson Couzens, and while the three of their infectiously friendly personalities undoubtedly shine through, it’s intriguing to know, in his absence, what Jackson is like. “He’s slick, he looks cool. The thing is he’s moody but in a cool way, not like he’s annoyed all the time or in a huff, he’s dark and mysterious,” quips Josh. “He’s an angel really,” Laura adds.

In the spirit of the UK’s best new music festival we wonder how Anteros discover new music; Laura divulges, “I think it’s really important to make the effort to stay for other bands that are playing the same night as you because you get to learn so much new music, and also you’re all in it together so it’s quite nice to see what everyone else is doing.” It’s a sentiment that echoes the essence of The Great Escape.

Looking at the line-up the singer has already made a note of the other bands she wants to see during the three-day event and it’s a list that includes; The Dead Pretties, Superfood, Drones Club, Dream Wife, Cabbage and HMLTD. “I’ve got a few friends that are playing so I want to go and support my mates,” adds Josh. While Harry is excited to see Norwegian singer Dagny.

The arena in which live music is consumed is looking more thrilling than ever, especially with so much independence bleeding through into the music industry, and it’s something that Anteros are completely on board with. “I feel like bands are performing again and bands are putting on shows again. We’ve stepped out of shoegaze and the social climate is asking for that as well. You want to go to a gig now and feel like you’re part of a movement or part of something,” offers Laura.

“It’s like punk, even if the music isn’t punk, the attitude is. This attitude of togetherness, the bands want to be there on the front line and the fans want to be there on the front line too, everyone is together,” agrees Josh before Harry enthuses, “Especially nights where there are a few bands playing and if the bands are on for half an hour they don’t have the facilities to do anything crazy, but the show they put on is what makes them different. Three or four bands on a night and everyone comes up and does a totally different thing, but everyone puts on a show.”

And putting on a show is exactly what Anteros will be doing too when they play The Great Escape this May.