As Laura Hayden knows, getting recognised is one way to have your father take a flourishing music career seriously. “I took him to Hyde Park, and someone walked up to me and said: ‘You’re the girl from Anteros.’ My dad was like: ‘What the fuck is going on?’ I jokingly told him that I’d paid the guy £2… AND he didn’t believe me, which was nice!” By her own admission, it doesn’t happen often, but it is a sign all the hard work is starting to pay off for her band.
Anteros have had a relatively brief existence, forming only a couple of years ago. With scores of live shows and a plethora of spiky pop tunes they’re now forcing their way to the centre of the British alternative scene. Although the band are gaining momentum, it always feels slower when you’re in the middle of it all. Only she, bassist Josh Rumble, guitarist Jackson Couzens and drummer Harry Balazs know how much time and energy has been put into getting this far. “There’s certainly a nice vibe at gigs now. People showing up and singing your songs back to you – there’s something we hadn’t had until about two months ago.”
The popularity has come from grinding out tours, along with a few choice festival shows – like two years in a row at Brighton’s The Great Escape and opening the Other Stage at this year’s Glastonbury. In certain respects, they’ve been thrown in at the deep end, playing supports for wellestablished bands like Two Door Cinema Club and White Lies. But the four are fast learners, and still enamoured with the rigours of rattling across the country in a tiny van. “I think you’ve got to enjoy all aspects of it – from the writing and recording to promo and pretty much all of it. If you’re lucky to be able to do this for a living, then you’ve got to embrace all aspects of it – even sharing a room.” The touring has also enabled an on-the-job finessing of Anteros’ sound. Since the release of their sugar-sweet Breakfast EP, the songs have progressively grown more pointed and self-assured.
At home on the grimmest of sweat-stained indie disco dancefloors or the largest festival stages, this London quartet have a fresh and enduring take on upbeat guitarpop. “When we go in the studio, I want to make music that I can perform 15 years from now. I’ve waited a long time for this. We just want to make it fun.” April saw the release of a vibrant third EP, Drunk, which offered another selection of tunes to enjoy life to. There’s still plenty of room to experiment in their bouncing and bittersweet dream pop. The band are reluctant to settle into a pigeonhole. “People are usually in such a hurry to go: ‘What are you?’ People always want to put a finger on the music you’re making. You shouldn’t want it to be the same and fit in a box. I don’t want to fit in a box.”
Songs concern themselves with the everyday, like awkward relationships, elation, and angst – but it’s all open to interpretation. “Sometimes you can say things without saying them. I like to think that people can take it a song and make it about a girl, or make it about their parents or job. What we write about is being twenty and turning to find your place in life.” She knows her generation have had a very different upbringing to their parents, but everyone continues to learn about the world and themselves. “I just want people to find they can connect with our music and find a place for them.”
The future for Anteros holds an eventual release of a debut album, another EP in October and a headline tour zooming around the country – including a date at Brighton’s Komedia on Mon 25 Sept. The mission is to squeeze as much writing, performing, and recording into the approaching months as they can. “The good thing is to be busy, and know that you’re working towards something every day.” It’s already a long way from haphazardly cramming all their gear in a Fiat Panda and heading out to play, but those experiences have taught Hayden to appreciate the life she leads. There’s an admission that women in her industry are too often compared to each other – and therefore a constant pressure to compete. She’s quick to side-step these expectations and concentrate on trying to connect and remain true to herself.
The band are meeting a lot of their peers out on the road. This can be slightly odd or funny if everyone is putting up a pretence. An artist’s music can present a perception some feel the need to live up to. “You can’t be doing this to be cool,” she says, “You have to be doing it because you really, really want to. There’s no other way to it. The second that barrier comes down and everyone accepts how weird everyone is, it’s beautiful.”
ANTEROS by Stuart Rolt
Anteros play Brighton’s Komedia on Mon 25 Sept