Recently I was able to catch up with lead vocalist of Anarbor, Slade Echeverria, for an in-depth interview about the band’s new music. I also asked Slade about Anarbor’s legacy, and the range of emotions now that Anarbor will be releasing their fourth studio album, called Love & Drugs on September 2nd via ONErpm.
Thank you so much for your time today! I believe that you guys are putting out your first music since the self-titled record in 2016. Can you explain your range of emotions now that Anarbor is releasing new music now?
Yeah, man, it’s super exciting. I mean, like you said, it’s been since 2016. So we’ve kind of taken a little bit of a break from the full lengths and honestly, we didn’t even know when we were going to even be able to put this out. We almost didn’t make it as a band. So it’s super exciting. I’m just super anxious to get it out since I’ve had it <the new album> finished for probably six months now. So I’m ready to get it out.
Nice! Did the pandemic affect your guys’ songwriting at all? Did it have any impact on your band?
For Anarbor, it actually worked out for the better because we were able to go into the studio during this time and kind of really focus on this record. In the past for us, it’s been like two weeks to complete a record. And then that’s it, or you’re flying out somewhere to record. This <new album> was really nice to get to take our time. We did it here in Phoenix. So, yeah, I got to go home every day after the pandemic, and being able to take our time to put out something was really nice. I mean, it definitely stopped the industry for a while. We didn’t get to play any shows. But as far as the record is concerned, it was a good thing.
So who did you end up working on the new music with, producer-wise and mixer-wise?
Producer-wise, we did it with a guy named Matt Keller, who actually did the <self-titled> record in 2016. He’s a really good friend of mine. He’s done so many bands. Usually Phoenix bands, but he just recently did The Maine’s record. So he’s been doing some cool stuff. So he did a couple of cool co-writes with us. We worked with Mike Pepe on one song we did. Austin Jones is another good friend of mine, and we have a couple other people that did guest vocals. We have a rapper called Sammy Adams on there. He’s from Boston. And then I’ve got a local <Phoenix> band called Belaganas. They’re kind of like street rap, which is really cool. And then Sara Coda from Silent Rival. And all the writing was where we kind of tried to branch out a little bit and get a little bit more of a couple more minds on it. And it turned out great.
So can you explain how Anarbor has evolved over time with the band’s songwriting?
Yeah, so starting the band, we started in high school, so we didn’t really know what we were doing. We were in the garage, and it’s kind of hard to write parts and then put them together. And there was really no formula. And then over time, you kind of get experienced in writing and work with other people and you get little parts of everybody else’s writing that you kind of like. But once we got signed to Hopeless Records, they kind of threw us in with some co-writing people, which was pretty new for us. And they kind of showed us the formula of a verse/chorus, verse/bridge/chorus, stuff like that, that we didn’t really even take into consideration. I think over time, and working with as many people as we have, sometimes it’s not always best to have a lot of cooks in the kitchen. And a lot of people putting the input on your songs because it will change the song a lot. And it could be your favorite part, you never know. It’s been fun to kind of write in different ways because there’s no right or wrong way to write. So now me and our guitar player, Danny, we do mostly all right. We did touch “Here and There” on this new record, but really there’s no wrong way. I think that whatever you write, you’ve got to believe in it. And you have to make sure that it’s solid art and I think that it’s just undeniable, a year apart.
So looking back on your past material, do you have a certain, either a set of songs or a record, that you feel is the quintessential Anarbor material?
I would say probably our self-titled EP. And then that first record, The Words You Don’t Swallow are definitely signature records for Anarbor. Mike Green did those records with us and he helped us find the Anarbor sound a lot. Like that swing, rock and roll. We really didn’t have that until we wanted to work with Mike Green. We were kind of young, and we were ready to kind of make our own music and be molded. But he really found that for us.
Nice. Everybody has their own story to tell with their music. What do you hope people will take most away from not only your past material, but the new songs as well?
Well, the fans that have been with us from the beginning have definitely seen that life is a struggle. And we’ve kind of grown with our fans, so they’ve kind of seen us kind of break up, come back together, and we had a member pass away. And then COVID happened. So, they’ve kind of grown with the story of Anarbor, and it gets better. Just always keep your head up and look forward, because that’s what we did. We thought it was over. I was raised to do something else, and then the fans kind of just kept me coming back. And because they were always there listening, and our Spotify numbers were going up, but it also made sense for me to stop. You can go deep down and hit rock bottom, but I wanted to keep going up.
So do you have any future plans for Anarbor as far as either doing some additional music, an acoustic record, or things like that to try different things out?
Yeah, I think we’re going to try to do some acoustic songs for this new record. Acoustic versions of some stuff. But Danny and I are always writing so we’ll get some new music out here shortly, and this new record is out. It’s been a while. But we’ll play some more shows out there as well. We haven’t been on tour in awhile, but I know we’ve got some festival shows coming up. We just played DC, so we’re just kind of playing random shows…
Oh, where did you play in DC?
We played The Pie Shop.
Oh, nice! That venue’s near me. I live just outside of DC, in the Maryland suburbs.
Cool, it was a good show. It was sold out. I mean, it’s a small place, but a lot of fun.
So the last question I have for you is, what do you hope people will most take away when they look back on Anarbor’s music?
So usually, if you find a band that you like, you kind of dive in a little bit more. So if they go and listen to our discography, I think they’re going to see that when we started we were probably more of a rock band. We were more independent when it came to the music industry and whatnot, and we didn’t we didn’t really care that much, which was kind of part of our look, or whatever. But I think that with the new music, you can see the transfer in maturity. We’ve been through different members, but it’s always going to be Anarbor because of my voice. And it’s always going to be pop. But if you like pop, rock, and you like alternative, then you’re going to love our discography because it’s everything in-between. We were playing with hardcore bands, but we were also playing with like The Summer Set other pop bands. So we could play with a lot of genres just because we had different types of music, over time. So I would say to a listener, listen to the albums in order, and to listen to it all.
That’s great. And I wish you guys nothing but the best moving forward in your collective careers.
Thank you, man.
And if you ever come through DC again, I’ll be sure to check you guys out.
Yeah, man, hopefully we can stop in there again soon. And yeah, it’d be great to meet you in person! Thanks a lot for the interview.
You’re quite welcome. Have a great night!