On a sleepy Sunday afternoon, Drowned in Sound met up with Stratford's finest Antihero before their support slot with Miss Black America in Bury St. Edmunds. You may have heard their song 'MTV' on Steve Lamacq's 'Session Unsigned', and never knew who they were. Well here's your chance to find out...
Ellen: 'So how are you feeling about tonight's gig?'
Pete (lead vocals, guitar): 'I'm looking forward to it because we don't live here so even if we screw up really bad, it doesn't matter!'
Marcus (lead guitar, vocals): 'We haven't played since last March so we're looking forward to it. We've got loads of new songs as well'.
P: 'We've got quite a short set so we're gonna be in here and out of here as quickly as possible'.
E: 'Have you brought any fans along with you?'
P: 'We've got a very small amount coming, but they don't know where it is'.
M: 'It does show a lot of enthusiasm that they're coming 120 miles'.
E: 'So they're pretty hardcore fans then?'
Davo (bass, vocals): 'We have friends'.
P: 'The thing with us is that a lot of the people who see us are our friends. Because we live in quite a small place, we can't really get any bigger there'.
'Backtracking a bit, how and when did you form?'
P: 'Me and Jack (drums) got together in 1997, but this band only really started in the summer of 1999. That's when we first started doing stuff properly and playing proper gigs'.
Jack: 'But me and Pete had been playing for about two years'.
D: 'But they were useless before me and Marcus joined'
E: 'So why did you choose the name Antihero?'
P: 'I think it was from a review of 'Trainspotting''.
J: 'It was a buzz word at the time'.
E: 'It's also a skateboard company - everyone can wear the t-shirts...'
D: 'We did try to get hold of some, but they seemed quite hard to get. And we don't actually skate...'
P: 'It's funny, people seem to think that we're a skate punk band. We're not'.
J: 'If people have heard 'MTV' it's probably misrepresentational of what we're actually like'.
E: 'Yeah, 'MTV' is quite poppy, but then other material is a lot more raw. So who would you say that your influences are?'.
J: 'I think we all get influenced by different things.'
P: 'Influences...Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, The Dandy Warhols, Everclear, The Beatles...'
J: 'Oh what about the musicals?'
P: 'No. The Pixies, Johnny Cash...'
E: 'There's quite a lot of bands with a similar style to yours who are trying to make it at the moment. What makes Antihero different?'
D: 'Good question, good question'.
E:'Other artists aside, what influences you to make music?'
P: 'I don't want to have a proper job. That influences us a lot...We could make money'.
D: 'The combination of a lack of proper job, and money from it'.
P: 'Glamour. Being famous. Not being like everyone else. Everyone else our age that we know, their lives are being guided like...'
M: '..a production line'.
P: 'Yeah they're like a production line. We've just finished school and everyone's like 'University next year', and you don't have to do that if you don't want to. As we're such good friends, and we've all been at school together, I guess we wanted to do something together and music's what we love so that's what we're doing. I think that this is something that we all care about, and we care about staying together. We're not one of those bands who go around saying 'All other music is shit! We're gonna change the music industry!'
M: 'I mean the Beatles did everything...'
J: 'Basically we've just come to the conclusion that...good song writing will win through. Mostly everything's been done before really'.
D: 'The thing that Radiohead are doing, lots of smaller bands have done already.'
J: 'They're just bringing it to the forefront'.
E: 'So who writes most of the lyrics?'
P: 'I write everything'.
E: 'So are all the songs based on your own experiences or do you imagine that you're someone else in a different situation?'
P: 'When we started out, all the lyrics were about girls and stuff, but I guess that's where I was. I was sixteen. But now a lot of our lyrics are about being in a band, about our being exposed to the world. We've got a new song called 'Who's Looking Out For Number One', and that's very like...I mean it is dog eat dog out there. Where we come from there are a lot of bands who are very...'
J: 'Totally jealous'.
P: 'Yeah like when we got played on Radio One, we thought people would be happy'.
P: 'So yeah, I guess the lyrics have evolved quite a lot'.
E: 'So, 'MTV'. How did you manage to get played on Radio One?'
J: 'It's easy!'
E: 'So you just sent them a demo then?'
E: 'Did you get to speak to Steve Lamacq himself?'
D: 'No actually'.
J: 'He's just the face'.
D: 'Yeah he is. He's more the voice...The afternoon before it was played in the evening, the producer just phoned me up and did a mini interview and then said 'Could we play it?' And they played it.'
E: 'Cool. You said you didn't get a very good response from it, or was that just locally?'
J: 'We thought 'Oh my God, we're gonna get played on Radio One''...
P: 'We thought it was our big break..'
D: 'But it all got messed up because they didn't put our details up on the website. There's a whole section for 'Session Unsigned' and every week has been filled in, apart from us'.
J: 'So nothing came of that at all.'
E: 'Some people would say that slagging of MTV is a bit of a clichee now...'
P: 'I don't hate MTV. I watch it so much. I guess that that is a misguiding lyric, because it's more about the music industry.
E: 'So you wouldn't refuse to be played on MTV?'
J: 'No, we'd love to be played'.
E: 'So how big would you like Antihero to get? Some bands set out and say 'we're gonna take over the world', but then others want to stay small rather than risk losing what's important to them'.
D: 'We want to be really big in America'.
J: 'We don't want to change everything, but we do want to be really big'.
E: 'So what do you think about the state of the music industry at the moment?
J: 'I think this year's been quite good for guitar music. Bands like Feeder and Ash have opened the door to other stuff. Bands like Limp Bizkit being played on Radio One is good for bands like us because people are listening to guitar music again'.
P: 'Things are moving away from this pop...crap'.
M: 'Radio One is just so difficult to listen to, everything is so overplayed'.
E: 'Which bands are you listening to at the moment?'
M: 'When you asked before about what makes Antihero different from everyone else, I think that each band member has such different tastes from everyone else in the band...'
E: 'What do you like?'
M: 'I like a lot of things. I like loads of things. I like a lot of weird stuff. Tool, Tori Amos, Lost Prophets, Incubus, Radiohead, Blur...a diverse mix, I guess'.
J: 'I like Ash, Everclear, Snow Patrol...'
E: 'And Pete, what's on your stereo?'
P: 'I haven't been home, we've been rehearsing! 'Mellon Collie....', Sheryl Crow..'
D: 'On my stereo at the moment there's D12 - keeping it real. That's no joke, I do like D12...erm Deltron, the Gorillaz, Dandy Warhols.'
M: 'Where's the bands I hate section?'
P: 'I hate all the bands that Marcus likes.'
J: 'Oh I like Muse too'.
P: 'Me and Davo hate Muse'.
M: 'I don't hate Muse'.
D: 'That new album's crazy and weird'.
P: 'We don't like all that wanky musician stuff which they like'.
E: 'Oh dear, I sense the beginning of a split within the band. So what are your plans for the summer?'
J: '9th of July, Hope and Anchor, Islington. 18th of July, Gossips, Soho. If that goes well we'll get a showcase at Sound, Leicester Square.'
D: 'There should be some gigs in September to promote our split 7" with Miss Black America'.
E: 'Well that's about it. Just wanted to say good luck for tonight, and there's one last question: Do you have any strange pre-gig rituals?'
J: 'Erm...we do now. We do an interview with someone from a fanzine and then maybe get some food'.
And that is where we leave them, as they go off to soundcheck, and then proceed to perform a blinding set. That's where our story ends, but if you ask me, the story of Antihero is only just beginning.