Straight from the pages of the new issue of RAGGED, we’re thrilled to give you an exclusive excerpt from our featured story with Anarbor! Be sure to grab the full issue download (for free!) for the rest of the article and more photos with the band. (Full issue download here!)
Anarbor singer Slade Echeverria and guitarist Mike Kitlas met in kindergarten, long before they’d ever heard of things like Warped Tour and punk rock. “We were friends before anything,” says Echeverria. Along with their good friend Greg Garrity, they spent their childhoods in Phoenix, Arizona, hanging out and going to see pop-punk bands like The Starting Line and RX Bandits. One day in middle school, Slade, Mike and Greg had the sudden inspiration to start a band.
“Our passion and our friendship was [all about] going to shows and hanging out,” says Kitlas. “And we all loved music. We were sort of like, ‘Dude, let’s do it!’”
Each picked his instrument on the spot, and the trio started practicing at a breakneck pace. By the time they graduated high school, Anarbor had signed a deal with Hopeless Records and were touring all over the United States.
Since then, Anarbor’s music has popped up on the Billboard charts as well as in the background of TV shows like MTV’s The Hills and Jersey Shore, NBC football broadcasts and, famously, a Scooby-Doo television movie.
Fresh off recording their newest full-length album—which doesn’t yet have an official title or release date—in Nashville, Anarbor are eager to talk about it. An early version of the muscular party anthem “Whiskey in Hell,” slated to be included on the new LP, has already been gaining online buzz. RAGGED caught up with Echeverria, Kitlas, and new guitarist Dave Melillo at home in Phoenix to discuss getting out of their comfort zones, early influences and Scooby-Doo characters.
What did you guys listen to growing up?
Mike Kitlas: We were huge Drive-Thru [Records] band kids, man. That’s how I’d describe us. We loved that label when we were growing up, everyone on it: The Starting Line, New Found Glory, The Early November… RX Bandits are one of our favorite bands; we’ve seen them play a ton. Then, we also heard music from our parents, all those different musical backgrounds and styles—older music, classic rock and whatnot… We classify ourselves kind of just as rock and roll.
Did you guys try anything for this album that you’ve never done before?
Slade Echeverria: We did some co-writes on this record with people in LA and Nashville. It was a different experience for us. We were ready to take the next step as far as songwriting. We didn’t necessarily have to keep [the co-written songs] or anything like that, but two of the songs we ended up keeping. So that was cool.
Mike: It was a total learning experience for our band. Our label suggested, “Hey, why don’t you try it? Might as well give it a shot. If you don’t like anything you don’t have to keep anything.” We kinda liked that aspect of it, ’cause there was a lot we didn’t keep [laughs].
What’s something that people might be surprised to learn about the band?
Dave Melillo: Everyone’s really nice. Band dudes are usually notorious for being the biggest jerks in the world. But everyone in this band is actually really down-to-earth. We all help each other out, like picking up after each other. I feel good about it.
(Continued in the new issue of RAGGED…)
posted by Staff