Music comes straight from the heart, which is why lyrics from musicians like Anthony Green can pierce you on a personal level. While on tour with the band Circa Survive, the vocalist opened up about his songwriting, his new solo material and the one place he would play music for the rest of his life.
It’s been a while since you’ve been in Toronto. How does it feel to be back in the city that helped give birth to your recent album?
It feels great to be back. I miss this place very much. You miss places for weird reasons and you can’t necessarily put your finger on why. I miss Portland, Oregon, because of the smell and the people and I miss Toronto because of the culture, and you can bump into anyone on the street and become lifelong friends with them. It’s just got a really magical vibe to it. This whole country does.
Since Circa Survive hasn’t performed in the city in a long time, fans are making the drive down from towns scattered around the province to see the band. How crazy do you expect the crowd to be tonight?
I don’t know. I think I really see the shows as being a ceremonial thing. I hardly ever notice what’s going on around me when I’m playing. Whenever I look into the audience I usually just see weird shit. Sometimes I see water, sometimes I see blood. It all just doesn’t make senses to my eyes, and I hardly ever see what’s going on around me.
How have the rest of the shows been for you guys recently?
Incredible. We’ve had a lot of time to play, like we get 40-45 minutes or so. It’s not a lot to get all your jitters out but it’s enough time that you can really blow your load and not be dead. It’s been such a fun tour because all the Coheed And Cambria fans are really open-minded, and I think we share some fans in a lot of places. They’re one of my favourite bands ever so being on tour with them is kind of like an honor.
Aside from the creative outburst of music that propels the album Blue Sky Noise, there’s an abundance of honesty in your songwriting. What influenced you before making the record?
Church bells. This one time my wife and I were really upset about something, and I just couldn’t hold it together because I was a mess. We were down in Avalon, New Jersey, where she has a house we go to sometimes, and all of a sudden these bells rang from a church about three blocks away. At that moment she just said, “Listen, you hear that?”.
Immediately all the worry washed away from my body. It had nothing to do with Christianity or the church. It was just the bells and the way they made me feel. They washed away everything and made me realize enough to get my feet on the ground.
I don’t really know why i said those kind of things on the album or any other album in general. It just felt right. It felt like I needed to say it, and it doesn’t hurt to be more honest, especially with yourself.
Do you experience that same feeling you got from the church bells when you play on stage?
It’s exactly the same. It can be more intense because a song is born from things, like lamenting over someone or celebrating something. When I’m performing, I need to be drawing feelings from everything that’s going on in my life, while not paying attention to what’s happening around me. A guy once told me, the key to successful multi-tasking is to not think about it.
So you just have to feel everything. You can’t think about it, you just gotta’ feel it. If you’re singing about loss, you have to feel it. If you’re singing about love, then you have to feel it.
One particular song off the record that breathes that kind of emotion is “Frozen Creek”. What’s the story behind the track?
We had this house that we were writing in and since it was close to where we were making our record, we would practice there everyday. I had stayed there for a couple days and would just work on my own. I was dealing with a few issues, and I just started writing, and I ended up writing a song about the house and the creek nearby.
I was in a weird state of mind, but that song just happened. I was in an unsatisfied mood at that time and when the song just came to me, it was like some force came down, patted me on the shoulder and said, “You’re alright. Don’t worry. It’s all here, it’s all around you. Just open your mouth and stop being so scared”.
Should fans expect the same kind of blunt honesty on your next solo release?
No, I intend on being dishonest from now on. This honesty shit has gotten me nowhere (laughs). All I have to do is answer questions now. But yeah, you can’t un-pickle a pickle. Once you’re a pickle you can never be a cucumber. So it will be as honest as anything else I’ve ever written.
Have you spent any time on writing new material?
Oh yeah man, I have all the shit written. I have so much shit written and it’s ready to go. I’m kind of giving Circa it’s time to do it’s shit and then as soon as Circa takes a break, bam! I’m going to put out another record, do a long tour, and hopefully make it over here north of the border and play a few shows.
We’ve been told you guys have special plans for your headlining tour. Any chance you could spill a few details for your fans?
Nah (laughs). It’s better to not say anything. But everybody should know this: it’s going to be f*cking awesome. That’s all you really need to know.
You’ve done numerous tours but if you were to pick one place to play at for the rest of your life, what would that place be?
It would be my bed, with my wife and my dog. Anybody else could come if they wanted to, as long as I wasn’t expected to do anything but just play and lay. That’s where I would want to be. All the stages across the country and all over the world are incredible, but it’s not my home. It will never feel like home.
If I had to pick one place, it would definitely be my bed. That’s where all the best shit’s written.
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