New Band Of The Week: Anavae
Introducing the galaxy-spanning sounds of London pop-rock dreamers Anavae
Roll up, roll up, for here we have our first new band of 2018. We know – it's exciting. It's especially exciting when you discover it's London-based rock-pop duo Anavae. Their music, which aims to combine the finer aspects of rock and electronica, is influenced variously by sci-fi novels, sci-fi movies, sci-fi soundstracks... Basically, anything sci-fi, leading to one of their fans to dub them 'angry robot angels'.
We catch up with the band to find out what they've been up to, and what they have in store for next.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
"We're a two piece rock/pop band based in South-East London who write music and make noises together. Jamie gets called 'the guitarist' but actually seems to spend more time programming drum parts than playing guitar. Becca's 'the singer' but seems to spend more time shooting and Photoshopping our cover artwork than laying down tracks."
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
"We met whilst making 'music' in a previous project back when we were barely adults. Anavae egglings, discovering what it was we really wanted."
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
"Our main inspiration was wanting to start writing and creating what we wanted, and realised the people around us were on completely different pages. We discovered a band called VersaEmerge who were a two piece band around in 2011, and we realised it was okay to write music as two people, instead of in a 'typical' band environment.
Bands There For Tomorrow with their album The Verge, and Evaline with their album Woven Material were big influences at our beginning as well."
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
"We asked Twitter to help us out with this one...
@JoeWinnard: "Just listen please"
@benjamin_cook: "Better than yours"
@Del_photos: "Wooo bappaa deeedoodaaa"
@PNeafcy: "ANGRY ROBOT ANGELS"
@DraftUK: "Discover. For. Yourself"
Not sure that's helpful, but we tried."
What makes you special/different to other bands out there?
"We'd like to say we're not afraid of fusing different genres together, which we don't feel like there's enough of out there. Bringing synths into the mix has always felt natural to us. It's very easy to force that kind of thing into your sound and it tends to be pretty easy to spot synth sounds that aren't meant to be there. The electronic element we have has always felt like a natural progression in our writing."
What’s the story behind the new EP Are You Dreaming?, and how did it come together?
"The EP title is taken from a book on lucid dreaming by the same title. During the writing cycle, I was feeling particularly motivated to learn how [to lucid dream] and would read as much as I could whilst on the underground. I remember having this particularly surreal out of body experience whilst contemplating what it means to dream and to be awake. What's to be considered real and does any of it matter anyway? I realised that if you treat life as a walking dream, then you're free to live without fear. I suppose, for me, the EP represents that hyper-depersonalised state where you're stuck within yourself, accompanied by your tangled thoughts. Be that good or bad, I suppose it depends on the day."
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the EP?
Becca: "We discovered Jamie's afraid of the dark... Middle Farm, where we recorded the EP, is out in the middle of nowhere surrounded by fields, so one has to walk outside and around the building to get to the bunk house – in the dark."
Jamie: "Pete Miles let us stay in the studio after he had gone to bed with our co-producer Ian Sadler. We ended up staying up until 3am recording spooky guitar parts that sounded like the world was ending... most of which ended up in the last chorus of Lose Your Love [laughs]."
Becca: "No parties or drug-fuelled shenanigans in this band, unfortunately. Just a lot of hummus."
What, in your opinion, is the stand-out track on the EP and why?
Becca: For me it was always Lose Your Love. It's my favourite to sing and favourite to play live. I really found new compartments to my voice whilst tracking this song."
Jamie: For me it's Forever Dancing. I've been trying to write a track that brought heavy rock and dance into the same world. Every record we've released has an attempt at this on it -- but I think Forever Dancing is the closest thing I've created to what I've been hearing in my head all this time. Closest thing so far, anyway."
What do you hope people will take away from the EP and your music in general?
"We just want to grow and mature, and if people can see that progression from our previous works, then that's a win. We've already written albums worth of new music so we hope people continue to like our movements and changes."
What's been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
"Travelling to new countries is always a highlight for us. Knowing that something as fickle and unpredictable as writing music has enabled us and taken us to new places...
We sold out Camden Assembly (Barfly) for our first ever headline show last year – that felt pretty insane.
Also, and obviously, being able to release new music after sitting on it for a long time, not knowing if it'll ever get heard, is an incredible relief."
What can people expect if they come to see you live?
"Something that they wouldn't necessarily expect."
What are you most looking forward to about the future – what’s coming next?
"Playing more shows, definitely. A lot of anything and everything. We've been sitting on a lot of new music, so it'll feel like a mini weight has been lifted when we can get into the studio and create what we've always imagined.
We've started off this year with some cool things happening behind the scenes that have led us to having the most freedom we've ever had as a band. 2018 is shaping up to be a really exciting time for us – and we've got a lot of lost time to make up for. We're going to be working harder than we've ever worked before and I think that will lead us down some exciting and new paths."