BeatCrave brings you band, Death To Anders, as a part of our Know Your LA Bands series. Death to Anders is not a morbid band. If anything, they are more playful through their songwriting and offer of camaraderie. With the sonic pop elements of Pixies, the distortion of Pavement, and the radical experimentation of Radiohead, Death To Anders extends a carefully crafted sound to the Los Angeles music scene.
Catch their upcoming show at Mr. T’s Bowl on November 7th beginning at 10:30pm. If you can’t make it that night, then you must check out their Silverlake Lounge show on November 13th which starts at 10:00pm. Praised as a band whose lyrics are as intricate as their edge is raw, you won’t want to miss out. Until then, check out our exclusive interview with Death To Anders’ Rob Danson below!
Are all of you from the Silverlake area?
Although we mostly play in Silverlake, I am the only one living right in the area. We all live, however, in Los Angeles. Each of us moved to LA from all over the country (San Jose, Denver Colorado, Seattle, and Buffalo New York).
What do you think it is about East LA that seems to gather indie musicians?
It’s the non-competitive and extremely supportive community. So many bands support one another here. It’s an amazing scene to be a part of. In addition, the East LA scene has some incredible bloggers that really help spread the word about the bands. Anything from Radio Free Silverlake, Classical Geek Theatre, Web in Front, Rock Insider, and Squaregirls. When I first moved to LA, I started playing around the Sunset Strip (because I didn’t know any better). After being exposed to the “pay to play” disaster, I feel so fortunate that our sound (you can call it “indie” if you want) is more appropriate in Silverlake and Echo Park. The venues here such as Spaceland and The Echo have such a welcoming vibe. It makes playing out extremely enjoyable.
Because there are so many bands coming out of LA, some bands unfortunately get written off because of the whole glam stereotype. What would you tell these people?
The great thing about LA is that there’s a place for every type of band. If your band gets “written off,” try a different area of town. Or, you can do the daring thing and say “fuck it” and create your own scene wherever you are. Bands shouldn’t be afraid to express themselves the way they see fit. It’s the bands that stray from the path that evolve music anyway.
Why did you choose the name, Death to Anders?
Anders was our first drummer! Ha! We wish him no harm. He’s a great (and very talented) guy who was just too busy to commit to a band. He eventually quit the band and moved to New York to get married. During his involvement in the band, we were struggling to find a good band name. Every thing I suggested was met by strict criticism from Anders. He would complain that the names we came up with were too negative sounding. So, once he left, I thought it would be quite funny and ironic to name the band “Death to Anders.” His mom wears a Death to Anders t-shirt!
Your sophomore album, Fictitious Business, has been called your greatest work yet. It’s the path any good band should go down. What particular skill has been strengthened since the last album?
Nick Ceglio (singer / guitar player) and I had been playing together for about 3 years prior to making Fictitious Business. During this time, we learned how to really communicate and write together as the two songwriters in the band. In addition, this album has our bassist Pete Dibiasio and drummer John Broeckel, who are outstanding musicians. Their instrumentation really brought our sound to a new level. Our producer, Dave Newton did an exceptional job as well! (I’ll talk about him later).
Where did the idea for the song, “Camera Lens” come from?
“Camera Lens” seems to be our most popular song amongst other musicians in the scene and I’m sure it’s because a lot of musicians can relate to what the song is about. Unfortunately, artists have a deep craving for having something better than what’s currently around them. In a music scene like Silverlake, it’s really easy to get caught up in a state where you compare yourself and your achievements to the bands around you. The song “Camera Lens” depicts how jealousy through comparisons can lead to sadness and frustration. We don’t try to be competitive, but it’s in our human nature to ponder the triumphs and successes of our friends, while questioning our own path. The lesson I’ve learned is to realize that every band is on their own individual course. Some grow faster than others, but the main point is that we’re all creating art and having a blast doing it.
At times, I’ve tried really hard think of one thing that I didn’t like about working with Dave Newton. It’s been a whole year since we recorded with him and I have to admit, I can’t think of any bad things at all. Dave is an inspiring and energetic producer. We recorded 15 songs in only 8 days. 10 of which were on Fictitious Business, and the others were on our new EP, Enigmatic Market. A lot of this had to do with how professional and easy-going Dave was as a producer. He had wonderful ideas too. When we tracked guitars, he was always plugging in different effect pedals and twiddling with our tone knobs to get the right sound. His positive energy really made the recording sessions a great experience.
A few of you attended the Musicians Institute here in Hollywood. Some bands just form and become successful without any professional training. What advantage is there in going to a school like that?
Nick and I went to the Recording Artist Program where we learned how to build our own home studios and put out demos on our own. Recording (even on a basic level) is an essential part of being in a band. It’s necessary to put down rough ideas and share them with your band-mates. The week before we recorded with Dave Newton, Nick and I recorded our guitar parts as scratch tracks to a click. We then had Pete and John practice playing to those recordings. When we laid down drums and base with Dave Newton, Pete and John recorded their parts to the very same guitar tracks that I had previously recorded. Because they had practiced playing to these parts, the recording session went even smoother.
You’ve been likened to both Radiohead and Pavement. Which band has influenced you more?
It depends on who you ask. For me, I’m more inspired by Pavement and the whole “early 90′s” indie style. Nick Ceglio, on the other hand has strong roots with Radiohead. You can hear it in his voice and guitar. It’s great to have such differences with the two songwriters, because when you combine them, it sounds very different.
Does “writing fiction out of sound” just mean good songwriting? If not, what does it mean?
The quote “writing fiction out of sound” stems from the title track to our album “Fictitious Business.” The song is actually a critique on the business side of songwriting. In today’s music world, there’s an unfortunate belief that in order to market one’s music properly, the songs must adhere to certain rules and regulations. For example, the song can’t be over 3 minutes long, can’t have an intro over 30 seconds, must have a catchy chorus, etc… In this case, “writing fiction out of sound” refers to how some musicians get caught up in writing songs that go against their true emotions. In other words, what they write is fictitious, or fake.
Quick Fire Round:
Where’s the oddest place you’ve passed out from too much drinking?
My friend and I passed out on a busy sidewalk in Boulder, Colorado while we were trying to get from one bar to the next.
Who are your favorite local bands?
So many! Radars to the Sky, Fol Chen, One trick Pony, The Happy Hollows, The Transmissions, Rademacher, Manhattan Murder Mystery, Le Switch, The Henry Clay People, Die Rockers Die, The Mae Shi, and The Monolators.
What would your alter-ego name be?
“The Thick Liquid Suckerpunch,” “Centipedes under an Anthill,” Sheep Herded by Cattle,” or “Orange Juice with Vitamins Next to it.”
Which would you rather have on the hottest day in LA: Popsicles or ice cream?
Tell us one thing about yourself we probably don’t already know.
I knew a dog, and his voice box was cut off. Still to this day, I always knew it was my fault.
Photography courtesy of Zoe Ruth