By Elspeth Pierce, Presenter, radio DJ and music writer. Follow me @elspethpierce
Sunday 21 Jan 2018 3:00 pm
There are two battles being tackled in the music biz right now – the fight for live rock and roll music, and the other to witness female-led bands paving the way for equality.
In an industry that traditionally puts men with guitars on the stage and women on the sidelines (ninety percent of the headline acts at Reading and Leeds to date has been male), this is a huge fight to be had.
And looking at a fresh new band like Anteros – fronted by half English-half-Spanish Laura Hayden – along with the influx of female-led bands ripping up the rule book, others include Wolf Alice, Yonaka, Black Honey, Hey Charlie, Lucie Barat, Calva Louise, Bang Bang Romeo, Pale Waves to name a few – it looks like both of these battles are being triumphed as we speak. But the fight isn’t over. Lead singer of Anteros Laura Hayden describes the industry as ‘changing slowly, and in light of current events, it’s safe to say it won’t always be this way.’
Campaigns like #rebalance, fronted by Festival Republic – the organisers of Reading and Leeds are looking to turn talk into action – bring more female rock and rollers onto the main stage and top Indie club night This Feeling is a champion, not only for rock and roll music but an even spread of genders. Anteros are leading the This Feeling campaign #bigin2018, and are being tipped as the ones to watch. ‘This feeling are so supportive to us,’ they said.
But maybe there is too much focus on gender in this altogether? Maybe we should simply be focussing on the thrilling music that is being produced across the board right now. And if that is the case, Anteros are also winning.
A London indie pop four piece, they specifically describe their sound as ‘bitter dream pop, dream pop with a punch’. And a punch they certainly do pack. Their live show is energetic, exhilarating, gritty and you leave wishing that glitter laden Laura was your partner in crime as she connects with the audience and exudes self confidence, and a certain vulnerability in equal measures.
When asked what their plans are for this year – aside from world domination – they told us: ‘Our main focus is to enjoy the process, and make an album that we are proud of’ (they are heading into the studio this month). So far we have been teased with EP’s since the start of their journey in 2016 so a full album will be a welcome sonic offering.
But its on the stage and making that connection with the audience that really gets Laura, Josh, Harry and Jackson going, and the response of the revellers is intrinsic to the ethos of how they shape their music.
‘The way an audience responds is in control of the artist on the stage: people pay for a ticket, and they expect a show,’ the said. ‘If the performance is high energy, that energy catches onto the audience, they feel it. We take that into consideration when it comes to putting together our set lists, and as a result we’re enjoying playing our sets- and crowds- more and more.
‘It’s a great feeling to see people dancing and singing your songs. In a world where everyone’s heads are buried in phones and social media, its a tangible moment that you can’t replicate.’
It’s not only the connection to the audience that is central to the group, there is emphasis on the bond between the members of quartet, from the sound that takes varied influence from each member, to the name Anteros, inspired by the ‘landmark in London that united the scattered members in one place’.
Laura Hayden originally hails from Barcelona and, previously of MTV Spain fame, is trilingual. It is clear from her input into the sound that she was fed a nutritious diet of Blondie and The Pretenders, and she also cites No Doubt and the Cure on her list of stimuli. The other band members bring Blur, the Killers and Arcade Fire to the party, bringing together a heady concoction of New Wave, Brit Pop and good old rock and roll.
Put all of this together: the speckled musical input, the desire to have a good time and ‘enjoy the ride’ and the powerful female at the forefront it is a recipe for success.
And on the subject of working with the opposite sex ‘I feel lucky to be working with men who respect and treat women as equal, as well as having a team around us with the same male to female ratio – something which was always important to us.’
Laura professed: ‘our main focus is to enjoy the process, and make an album that we are proud of.’
This group aren’t trying to break the boundaries of genre or create something we have never heard, they are out to have a damn good time, and we’re on board for the ride.