The second album from up-and-coming band Anchor Lane, Call This A Reality, has been an immediate success with the album placing on the top 10 official UK rock and metal charts.
The Glasgow based three piece is made up of lead singer Conor Gaffney, guitarist Lawrence O’Brien and drummer Graeme Newbury.
I sat down with lead singer Conor Gaffney in The Mash House, one of Edinburgh’s most iconic venues, mere hours before their very last gig of their month-long UK tour off the back of their successful second album release.
After their debut album Casino was released the very start of the pandemic they were unable to fully celebrate their first release.
“We only got 10 gigs in and then that was it, with this album we were able to celebrate the release in our home city Glasgow the day after it was released.”
The band embarked on a month-long tour showcasing their brand-new album to excited fans all over the UK which has been met with a stellar reception.
I noticed it is rare for someone to sport a red Mohawk as well as Conor does.
He told me: “We went up and down the country and there’s been people wherever we’ve been singing our songs back to us, telling us how much they enjoy it, telling us they’ve not had the album off. That sort of validation for the work you’ve put in is really encouraging and also quite satisfying.
“As much as like, this is going to sound really big headed, we know the album is good, we worked really hard on it, we’re musicians, we know music, we know it’s good, but to have people coming back and saying that they connect with it and they get it, it really means something to us.”
“The identity of the band was no longer clouded, there was this synergy between the three of us and we knew this was how it should be.”
Call This A Reality? features classic rock and alternative elements such as intricate guitar riffs and vocals that can be compared to that of Billie Joe Armstrong mixed with Simon Neil creating a very unique sound that sounds strangely familiar. The lyrics sung about often feature political and social messages.
“We’re good mates so we’ll sit and talk about things that are frustrating us. Lawrence was acting as a sort of conjugate for all that and channelling it into writing songs. Like I kept bringing up the word sycophant and the next day he [Lawrence] comes in with a song called sycophant disorder.
“The thing we wanted to do is we wanted to move into a more alternative sound which we started to do with Casino but that was very much the culmination of everything the band had done up until that point, but with this album we found our identity.
“We worked with a few guys who had experience like Rick Warwick [Thin Lizzy] who we learned a lot from in terms of song writing and in terms of what the identity of the band was, and so we got down that path of; this is what we’re good at and so let’s keep going.
“We never force ourselves into the writing process, it just kind of happens naturally and we can all get excited about it. When we started the process of writing Call This A Reality? we were a four piece and then a month before recording we were a three piece, so a massive change.
“The three songs written in that period of time Soul to Pour, Bitter, and Stutter have ended up being some of the songs that people talk about most, and it kind of feels like the identity of the band is no longer clouded, there was this synergy between the three of us and we knew this was how it should be.”
All the best bands are made up of threes; Blink-182, Green Day, Nirvana. “Power of three works!” Conor replied.
“I can always keep touring, I just love playing live.”
I enquired into why they wanted to get the album out. “Authenticity” Conor replied.
“This is what we have to say, we’re a band, we write music, we just wanted to get it out.”
Conor tells me that the album was recorded in at 45 A-Side recordings in Glasgow with producer Bruce Rintoul who has also worked with the likes of Fatherson and Twin Atlantic.
“My favourite song off the album would be our most recent single Choke, which is also my favourite to perform, we’ve been getting a really good audience response from it.”
I presumed wrongly that the end of the tour would be bittersweet for the band, imagining they would be happy to get a break after a straight month of touring.
“Nah I can always keep touring, I just love playing live” Conor replied.
“It’s nice because we’ve never done a headline tour where we’re the draw and we’re the band that everyone is here to see, you don’t have to win the crowd over”.
One burning question I was itching to know is during all the band’s time travelling, what were they listening to on the road?
“We listen to a lot of different albums. Me and Graeme like a lot of pop stuff, whereas Lawrence likes a lot of noughties stuff like the Sugababes,” Conor laughs.
“We all really liked Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts. We tried listening to Sleep Tolken but didn’t really rate it. I put on a lot of Arctic Monkeys for me Alex Turner is a genius. We also had those Glasgow metal guys … auch I can’t remember what they’re called … their single is called I am damnation.”
After a quick Spotify search after the interview I concluded the band Conor couldn’t remember the name of was Bleed From Within.
“There’s something about us that people are drawn to, I don’t know what it is but its nice to have that.”
“The highlight of the tour has been seeing new faces and more people in the crowds everywhere we go, the energy is different, there’s an excitement around what we’re doing, there’s something about us that people are drawn to, I don’t know what it is but its nice to have that.”
To finish off the interview I asked Conor a few quick-fire questions, I told him not to think about the answers, just say the first thing that came to mind;
Greatest album of all time?
“American Idiot by Green Day,” an album which earlier Conor told me was the first record he ever bought.
One Artist you would like to collab with?
“Billie Joe Armstrong.” I started to see a theme here.
Best Gig you’ve ever been to?
“I feel like I can’t say Green Day again…”
Go to karaoke song?
“Somebody to love by Queen.” This took me by surprise, I was expecting yet another Green Day related answer.
One thing you want your fans to know about you?
“We’re actually really funny”.
The following live show was an atmosphere that I can only describe as electric. There was an excitement and that is hard to create as the power of the band took over the entire venue.
I would recommend seeing an Anchor Lane live show to anyone who likes rock and alternative music.
In the words of Conor: “Our live shows are intense and energetic. I’m gonna be sweating, you’re gonna be sweating, we’re all gonna have a good time together.”
Conor’s words rang true as you could feel the whole of the Mash House had a good time.
Anchor Lane website: Official Website (anchorlanemusic.com)
Featured image Credit: Hardbeat
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