METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Harley. So glad to be catching up with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at Metal PulpAnd Paper. We appreciate it.
Before we go any further, let’s introduce you and your band to everyone out there reading this that might not be familiar with Anthems In Ashes. The group is made up of Micheil Gray on guitar, James Douglas on bass, Rob Barber on drums and you, Harley Olivia on vocals. Anthems In Ashes is a melodic hard rock band from Toronto, Canada. What year did the group form?
HARLEY OLIVIA: We’ve been together for about 3 years, so I think we formed in 2015. MPAP: What else do we need to know about Anthems InAshes?
HARLEY: We put on a wicked live show! If you like it loud and want to come party than you should come check us out and say hi! Also, I don’t wear pants on stage. MPAP: Your vocals are equal parts aggressive and melodic at the same time. Would you say that’s the best way to describe your singing? HARLEY: Yep, I’d say that’s accurate. I love to sing and enjoy belting out clean vocals, but I also love dirty, gutturals screams. I love that I don’t have to choose between the two and get to do both in this band. MPAP: What about the music? Tell us what we can expect to hear when listening to you for the very first time? HARLEY: I think the first song on the EP is "Her Fire" so it starts out soft and eerie and then you get hit with dirty screams and guitars. The music is very high energy and always has a catchy groove, but at the same time is crushing and intense. My vocals have soul but with growls and screams added. MPAP: You released your debut EP called Burn It Down in August of last year. Now that it’s been out for just over a year, and the dust has settled, how is it going?
HARLEY: It’s going well! We’ve played Indie Week, Canadian Music Week and various other shows. I’ve got to collaborate with other bands on songs that I’m really proud of. Next up will be a mini tour within Ontario and Quebec. MPAP: Are you happy with all the results, the outcome? HARLEY: Yes! Very happy! Siegfried Meier at Beach Road Studios is an amazing producer and so easy to work with. We were really impressed with the production of it. MPAP: Burn It Down was self-produced right? You don’t have a major label yet, do you? HARLEY: No, we don’t. We put our heart, soul and savings into the band! MPAP: What is one thing that you think makes it tough for new bands to get on the map with their music? HARLEY: It’s difficult because nowadays you have to be really good at social media and self-promotion, and if you’re not than you have to hire someone to run your social media. An online presence and number of followers can make or break a band, which is unfortunate because I’m sure there are amazing bands out there that are just really bad at social media, and they may never get the same opportunities as other bands that spend all day on Facebook. MPAP: What would you change in the music industry if you could to make it better, or even easier to get your foot into the music industry? HARLEY: Social media is a blessing and a curse. It gives bands a platform so that anyone can make a dent if they work hard enough and find a way to get people to connect with their music… however, it’s also frustrating because our passion is not understanding algorithms and getting followers. Internet self-promotion can be a full-time job which for someone like me can be soul destroying if I spend too much time online. I wish there were more opportunities to meet people in the industry in real-life social situations, not just online. I hate that you have to get followers in order for someone to take a look at your band. Unrelated, but also important is, I think Toronto needs more DIY venues where underage kids can be exposed to local bands and artists. Live shows seem to be linked to booze sale culture and that leaves out the kids that are at the perfect age to discover and get passionate about new music. It would be great if there were places that kids in the city could go to, to see good quality live shows. MPAP: So now, tell us about Burn It Down for those who haven’t heard it yet? HARLEY: It’s a five song EP that packs a punch. It's high energy and features catchy grooves and a mix of aggressive and clean vocals. The lyrics have a lot of dark imagery. MPAP: Is there a message behind it all you are trying to get out there to everyone? HARLEY: There’s not really a message that we’re trying to push. Whatever the music makes me feel; I write, whether that’s how I feel about a break up, a death or if it’s indulging in fantasies that can only live in my lyrics. MPAP: Tell us about some of the songs on it like, "Her Fire," and "Ghost I Know"? HARLEY: Those two songs are probably the heaviest from the EP. I got to have a lot of fun with the screams on those songs. "Her Fire" was inspired by religion and being put through the Catholic school system. I also came out as bisexual when I wrote that, so it touches on the rage I was feeling towards anti-LGBTQ movements at the time. "Ghost" I Know is about taking your power back after someone wrongs you. I often get stuck thinking about the past and let the ghost of past situations haunt me, so it was liberating to write a song where I get to literally scream, 'Do you want to see him bleed?', and kind of take my own power back over those anxieties. MPAP: What’s next for Anthems In Ashes? Any tours lined up we need to know about?
HARLEY: No official tour as of yet, but we’ve been talking to some bands and will be traveling around Ontario and Quebec in the next year. Fans can check out our website or Facebook for details when we have them! MPAP: On behalf of myself, and Metal Pulp And Paper, I’d like to thank you, Harley, for doing this interview. We look forward to what Anthems In Ashes does to finish out 2018 and beyond. Any last words for all your fans out there? HARLEY: Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to us and come to our shows. We appreciate your support as it can be hard to make a dent in this business! We love hearing from you! Please check us out online, we’re on Instagram and Twitter with the handle @:anthemsinashes. You can also find us on Spotify, google play, iTunes and on our website www.anthemsinashes.com.