PropertyOfZack had the chance to catch up with Anthony Green on his solo tour for a great interview. Anthony and I discussed the solo tour, working with Good Old War, his next solo record, a little Circa Survive, and a whole bunch more. Read up and enjoy!
You kicked off your Beautiful Things solo tour a few weeks ago with The Dear Hunter and Good Old War as your backing band. How have the first week or so of shows been?
It’s been incredible. It’s a way different experience from touring with Circa, but it’s just as intense. It’s been really fun. Up until a few days ago we were still trying to tighten up the set to figure out all the kinks in it. I think we have a really good set going,
You frequently do solo shows, but this is your first extended tour in a hot minute. Is it nice to change it up from Circa like this every once in a while?
It definitely helps to keep things fresh and exciting.
Can you talk about what Good Old War add to the live show as your backing band and how important it is to have them out with you?
I think that they’re just incredible musicians. They really help me put a different sound to all of these songs that just start out acoustic with vocals. The idea to make “Stone Hearted Man” a bluesy-reggae song was their idea. Different elements of the live show really benefit from their suggestions and input too.
POZ: Beautiful Things is promoted as a solo CD, but does having them on it make it so much more of an experience for you?
Anthony: I can call those guys up and have them come in and jam on something they’ve never heard before. They’ll just come in and write their parts right there. Most of the time they’ll be looking at me to ask me what I think of the music, and I’m just like, “It’s fucking awesome.”
This is also the first solo tour in many years where you’ve had new material to promote. How are the new songs going over live?
I think they’re going over really well. I’ve been playing acoustic and alternative versions of a lot of songs on the album for the last year and a half, so I don’t really ever get the experience of playing a brand new song.
POZ: What’s the rest of the set been like?
Anthony: We try to keep a pretty good balance of old and new stuff. There are a few jams were working on for a new record that we kind of fit in at the end of a few songs. There are so many parts in the set where we look to each other for queues. It makes every night different and exciting.
Beautiful Things was released a week ago via Photo Finish Records. Outside of the live show, how has the reaction been?
As much as I’ve paid attention, I’ve gotten really good responses. I’m probably more confident in that record than I have been about any record in the past.
Fans have been waiting a long time for this one and the sound is definitely much different from Avalon. Do you think everyone has grasped the change yet?
I don’t really know. I went into it expecting people not to, but it’s being accepted pretty well. Like I said, I’m not really in some place where I know if what I’m seeing is necessarily true. The people that I’m around and the people that are most vocal seem to be receiving it really well. But then again, I have my head in my ass [Laughs].
Did you change up the sound on purpose, or was it because it has been so many years?
I just listen to a lot of different styles of music. I was never attracted to only doing one thing. An artist’s ability to stay relevant is anchored in their ability to change and to do different things. I want to be able to take everything I do to a different place. I don’t want to do the same thing twice.
You released some great bonus tracks as well that featured Nate Ruess, Ida Maria, and Chino Moreno. Were those fun to record as well?
They were amazing. All those songs took different processes. The music for Nate’s song was written by a hip hop producer that sent it to me. I put vocal tracks down and he built the track around the vocals. I wrote almost all of the Chino song and then Patrick from Innerpartysystem came and redid the music. Chino sang the shit that I wrote and did a couple extra parts towards the end. That was a real experimental went to do a song. The “Can’t Be Satisfied” thing came together at the last minute. I decided I wanted to see if she would add a verse to that song. All of songs were challenges to see if we could work with other people. They were all done over file-sharing and sending things back and forth. It was an experiment and went really well.
You’ve also announced solo shows way down the line in June. Will we see the same support for that one?
Good Old War will be on that as well.
POZ: Do you think you’ll play any other solo shows throughout the year to support the record?
Anthony: I think that once this tour is done I’m gonna go full speed ahead on Circa. Once I get that figured out, hopefully by the time that record is finished, I’ll be taking some time off to spend time with my wife. We’re having another baby in May, so we’re going to take the summer off to hang with this baby. We’ll start touring on the new Circa record at the end of the summer.
In the past, we’ve discussed another solo record that you have almost ready to go called Young Legs. Are you still hoping to release that this year?
I’m working on that on this tour. I don’t know about the release because I feel like so much is contingent on Circa’s release. I already feel like I’m messing with them with this solo record. I don’t want to keep firing on them with this solo record. I’m going to wait and see what Circa’s deal is. At some point, without a whole lot of build up, this one is just going to be available. It’s just going to be up on my website one day.
POZ: That’ll be label-less right?
Anthony: I believe so.
So you’re working on those songs now with Good Old War?
Yeah, they’ve been programming beats on my laptop and doing all this cool shit that’s a step bigger than Beautiful Things. I’m really excited about that.
To talk about Circa a little, you guys had plans to record before Christmas. Did that go as planned?
We decided to take a little time off because of my baby that’s coming in May.
When are you hoping to record the record?
We’re going to Australia soon and we’re planning on recording the record in March and April. The songs are all there. I don’t know if they’re all done, but they’re all there. The group of songs we have together for the album are the most exciting Circa songs we’ve ever tinkered with.
So the plan is to record the album in the spring, take some time with your family over the summer, and tour after that?
Are you working on any other projects?
That’s pretty much it. I’m just trying to focus on Circa and taking Young Legs as it comes. I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chose. I have some things on the back burner. The only way I can get anything done is if I have a few things to focus on.
Do you think you’ll have to slow down in terms of touring in the future with your new child?
I don’t see it happening. I don’t see the touring calming down at all in the near future. I can see it in the distant future, but not the near future.
The only thing I wanted to say was that having to do Young Legs without help is a challenging thing. For all of the bullshit and all the money that big labels end up taking and spending, seeing how Photo Finish did such a great job with Beautiful Things and keeping the aesthetic of not a giant ad for the band was great. They kept it subtle. They’ve been so good at that, and trying to figure out how to do that without them is a huge challenge. I would say there is zero chance I’m going to put this out on a label, but trying to figure out how to do that is fucking impossible. There’s a bunch of company that aren’t record labels that help bands release records. Those companies cut out all that bullshit and I’m really excited. I remember doing that interview with you and feeling like I threw everyone at Photo Finish under the bus. I definitely didn’t mean to do that, because those people have helped me so much. They’re like no other record label I’ve ever dealt with. It’s been a pleasure working with them. I can’t say the same for every other label I’ve worked with. Trying to figure out how to release a record on your own is very complicated.
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