Take one look at Anteros’ video for recent single ‘Call Your Mother’ and you’ll find some immediate parity with the band’s real-life journey so far. Why? Because over the last few years, this lot have proven themselves to possess a kind of tenacious determination that shows they’re nothing if not fighters.
The first track to be taken from forthcoming debut ‘When We Land’, the clip comes set against the backdrop of a surreal, post-apocalyptic desert, and sees frontwoman Laura Hayden wake up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by smashed mirror pieces with no real clue of where she is or how she even got there. And though it’s a Hollywood-esque video that presents the quartet in a slick and grandiose light - Laura running through the Moroccan landscape, attempting to find a way back to her bandmates by hiking across sand dunes and scaling rock faces - it also comes packed with a sense of uneasiness. Scrutinised in the scorching heat of a desert, the band are given no choice but to fight their way out of the unknown. It’s a feeling they’ve had firsthand experience of more recently.
“I think it is a very interesting time to be putting music out, with everything that’s going on in the world,” begins Laura as the band huddle in the downstairs of a central London bar in late November, “[so] we’ve tried to be as fearless as possible with this album. I think that reflects the times we’re living in. Everyone is so scared that they’re not really looking at the news, so not only are we living in fear, but we’re also burying our heads into the sand. I do feel like we’re going to have to come out of that [mentality] soon, and that’s what we’ve tried to do.”
And though the intense memory of their video shoot back in July is still lodged in their minds - “It was like, 40 degree heat!” - it’s now that winter’s drawing in that they’re looking ahead to the full album’s release in the new year, and this next, bold challenge.
"We've tried to be as fearless as possible with this album."
— Laura Hayden
After first making their mark with the sugary indie-pop of 2016's 'Breakfast' and, later, the likes of 'Drunk' and 'Bonnie', Anteros' first musical steps came packed with high octane hooks and a zealous energy. For debut 'When We Land', though, they're entering new territory. "I think we're not pretending to know everything," Laura readily admits. Tackling their own recent journey of rediscovery, they "just wanted to put down our experiences of our 20s and what we've lived so far, and how certain things have affected us.
"I feel like when you turn 18, you think you're such an adult and that you know so much about everything," she explains, touching upon the feeling of invincibility that so often comes at that age. "Then you have a couple of years where that works really well, but I feel like it was when I hit 20 that my whole world was completely flipped." She claps her hands succinctly. "[I had] those two years that I had been roaming around thinking that I knew everything about everything, and then realised, 'Oh wait. There's no right or wrong anymore.'"
It's this spirit of delving into the unknown that the band explore within the album's first singles. A trilogy of sorts, 'Call Your Mother', 'Ordinary Girl' and 'Fool Moon' see the band approaching things with a different perspective: where previously, their tracks were full-throttle nuggets, these new songs feel more quietly assured, but have lost none of their potency. From the Debbie Harry-esque swagger of the first single to the reflective shimmer of 'Ordinary Girl', they're breaking the mould.
"We wanted to put down our experiences of our 20s and what we've lived so far."
— Laura Hayden
Recording the album at their label’s in-house Somerset studio The Distillery earlier this year, Anteros recruited production whizz Charlie Andrew - who's previously worked with alt-J, Marika Hackman, and also gave them a hand with their 'Drunk' EP - to push them even further. "It was just really easy," confirms guitarist Jackson Couzens, of working with Charlie. "You expect recording a whole album to be quite daunting, and while it was a lot of work, he helped smooth it all out and knew how to get past any problems."
"He's also really involved in everything," adds bassist Joshua Rumble. "He sews everything together in such an incredible way, getting us to try this and that, bouncing stuff off us. He's got this way of figuring out music, and what we were wanting to achieve." Charlie also, the band explain, encouraged them to track most of the songs live, aiming to reflect the energy of their on-stage performances, while enhancing and distilling their sound even more. "It felt, in parts, like we were playing a gig," Josh laughs. "[We were] coming out of tracking songs for the album and we were sweating! It was really fun."
More than anything however, and much like the plot of their recent videos, the band have been determined to use their debut to explore new realms and solidify their point of view. While their first full-length may take on a range of socially conscious topics – from our excessive usage of single-use plastics, to the lack of development for contraceptives, via attempting to carve out your own identity as a young person - its aim is more to document the nature of their and our current lives and experiences.
"I feel like when you turn 18, you think you're such an adult and that you know so much about everything."
— Laura Hayden
"We didn't want to get political with the album, but we want to bring awareness," says Laura. "On a personal level, I don't have a political party that I'm inclined to. I want a change and in order for that to happen, we need people to wake up and stop being scared because that's not going to get us anywhere now. We want this album to empower people.
"We've tried to make an album that we're all proud of, and not what we're seeing everyone else doing. We wanted to make something that sounds like us, for good or bad."
As featured in the December 2018 / January 2019 issue of DIY, out now.