FOCUS MAGAZINE

+ Interview w/ Brad Chancellor


FM: How did Anakin come about and what brought all of you together?
BC: I initially created Anakin to act as my own little experiment that would enable me to write and record music that I would personally love to listen to. For the most part I had always been the drummer in previous bands but I would always write and save it on the side in hopes that one day I would eventually produce it into the real deal. Over time, I recruited various acquaintances to help me develop an actual band that would record and play live.

It wasn’t until I met Jon that it seemed I had discovered the one person who I could partner up with and establish what I had always envisioned Anakin to be. We then added Landon and Beki into the mix. Both are very close buddies to me. I had played music with them in the past and it worked really well so it was a no brainer that they be included. The rest is history.


FM: Your sophomore album, Celestial Frequency Shifter, is coming out on February 3rd. Was it easy to pick “Satellite” as the single? Is there a music video in the works?
BC: Yeah we pretty much had it in our minds that “Satellite” would be what we chose to premiere but we seriously considered “Clairvoyance” as well. In the end we decided that “Satellite” would be the best option at the time to introduce Anakin to new listeners. It has a pretty mellow vibe and I think it sits well as a winter tune where as “Clairvoyance” is more upbeat and would probably be better received in the Summer time.

Indeed there will be a “Satellite” music video. It has already been created by Rusted Robot up in LA. I don’t have all the details yet but I can say it will be released soon.


FM: From the album artwork, to the lyrics, there is a space theme. How did that theme come about?
BC: I have been in love with space since I can remember. I think it probably all started when I was like 4 years old and my dad told me he had a UFO encounter. He swears to this day he was nearly abducted. Ever since then I have been obsessed with UFO conspiracy theories and ultimately the vast unknown that comes with outer space. When I met Jon and uncovered that he was as much a nerd about it as me, I realized we were a match made in Heaven.


FM: How do you feel you grew artistically throughout the recording process?
BC: I would say that our communication has improved as a band and that makes this all so much easier. I think we’ve developed a process or a recipe that really works and it’s not rocket science. I don’t want to downplay what we do, but honestly we simply write and record music that we love; Music that we would listen to ourselves. That’s really been the whole idea behind Anakin since day 1.


FM: Was there a track on the album that was the hardest to create?
BC: It took me a bit to come up with the lyrics and melody to “Artificial” but other than that I think the album as a whole came into existence pretty easily.


FM: Over on Facebook, you reply to a lot of comments from fans. How important is interacting with fans for you? Is it becoming easier or more challenging as time goes by?
BC: That is extremely important to us. Those people mean the world to this band and we try to let them know on a consistent basis. Anakin would not have made it to where we are now without all their love and support. It’s not hard at all to respond to someone who comments or writes in. I think it’s simple respect to do so. The “Fanakins” need to know they are as much a part in this as we are. We love them.


FM: In December, you announced your signing to No Sleep Records. What is it about No Sleep that you connected with?
BC: For me it was how down to Earth and honest they were. Not once did they ever make it seem like they were above us. They’re normal people who truly care about the music they release. Most importantly they allowed us a chance and not too many labels out there will do that with a band as unknown as Anakin.


FM: It’s listed that some of your inspirations are bands like Hum and Weezer. What are some of your current favorite artists? What other artists inspired Celestial Frequency Shifter?
BC: Artists that inspired us other than HUM and Weezer would be bands like Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, Helmet, Failure, Self, Fountains Of Wayne, the Rentals, etc. Jon is obsessed with the Beach Boys and I love that about him. I honestly don’t even listen to many current artists. I’m a 90’s kid at heart and that’s about all I listen to really. However, there are a couple newer-ish bands that I’m into at the moment which are The Lees Of Memory and Superheaven.


FM: Who was the last person who really inspired you? (Not musically) How so?
BC: I would have to say my buddy Luke Simmons. For 5 years he battled brain cancer and somehow kept positive down to his very last breath. He was only 27 years old when he died. I could have never dealt with that as well as he did. I continue to strive to live within a positive mindset and he’s the main reason behind that.


FM: Are you a full-time band or do you currently have outside jobs as well?
BC: I wish. We all have our own career lives.


FM: What are some of the biggest obstacles you've faced, personally and within the music industry, in your musical career?
BC: For me personally, I think the main obstacle early on was to be able to have a voice in whatever band I was in at the time. More likely than not, it’s abnormal when the drummer writes the music. It seemed like I always butted heads with musicians in other bands in the past due to that. Hence the reason I created Anakin.

Within the music industry, I think it was the idea that in order to advance your musical career you had to tour until you were broke. I made some terrible choices in that mindset.


FM: What do you want Anakin to be for the fans? What do you hope they get out of your music?
BC: I want Anakin to be as much theirs as it is ours. I believe they all take part in Anakin’s existence. We couldn’t do this without them and I wouldn’t want it any other way. From our music, I hope they take whatever it is they want. However it relates to them, I’d like to think it will translate to what they need it to.


FM: Can you tell us about any upcoming plans?
BC: We don’t currently have any set tour plans, but we’ve discussed it quite a bit. Families and careers can make that all pretty tricky. It’s still early 2015 so we shall see. We’d absolutely love to make it happen.


FM: What are some goals you want to accomplish this year?
BC: I’d love to hear Anakin on the radio. I’d love to make a couple tours happen. I’d love to have a new album written by 2016. Other than that, I hope that our music is able to reach as many new humans as possible.


New Fury Media

Interview w/ Brad Chancellor


We're only 6 weeks into 2015 and I've already found one of the year's best albums in recent No Sleep Records signees Anakin, and their release Celestial Frequency Shifter. Channeling synths into their Failure and HUM inspired alt-rock sound, the album is a seriously hooky and effective effort. Brad Chancellor of Anakin recently gave us some of his time to discuss 5 albums that have had a huge impact on his life.


1. Buddy Holly: “Everyday”
BC: My mom 1st played me the “Everyday” 7” when I was like 4 or 5 years old. I know it had to be around that time because my parents’ hadn’t divorced yet. From the moment I heard the “Everyday” intro celesta I was hooked. This experience is what started it all with me and music. From Buddy Holly came the Beatles and then the Beach Boys. All 3 have had a heavy impact on me musically but Buddy was the one that really did me in.


2. Nirvana: “Nevermind”
BC: I hadn’t really discovered my musical identity prior to Nirvana’s “Nevermind”. This album alone is probably the sole reason I became a musician. I remember back in 1991 I went to Wal-Mart initially to purchase Metallica’s “Black” album and ended up with Nirvana’s “Nevermind”. Both on cassette no less. The sound that Nirvana created, in my opinion, set up the best era in music. What can I say about this album that hasn’t already been said?! It’s so incredibly awesome that I don’t even have the words to describe it. Without it, I don’t know where I’d be. It was my true musical baptism.


3. Weezer: “Blue”
BC: Man, this album. This is why I became a writer. You know when you’re asked what album you’d pick to be stuck on a deserted island with?! For me, this is that album. Front to back, Weezer “Blue” is untouchable. Every track is a hit and the sound on this album is one that I’ve chased since I can remember. With “Blue”, Weezer created what I believe to be the best record ever made. I mean that. Ever.


4. The Rentals: “Return Of”
BC: Fuzz and keyboards. This album completely blew me away when I 1st heard it and it took me a while to truly understand why. I could not wrap my head around how simplistic, yet expansive it was. The structure is like no other. This is another album that has that certain blown out sound that I love so much. Actually, love is probably and understatement. Obsessed is more like it. To most people, what made this band and this album unique was the synthesizers but to me it was the simplicity that established its beauty and power.


5. HUM: “You’d Prefer An Astronaut”
BC: This band and this album are so incredibly underrated. They’ve inspired more musicians than I think most people realize. The sound HUM established cannot be re-created. It can’t. I’ve tried numerous times. You can come close, but there is no comparison to how they were able to do it. I remember, in detail, the 1st time I heard “Stars” on the radio. I was 15 and lived in Kansas. My buddy and I were in his car headed to a party out in the country. It must have been around 10pm and the sky was about as clear as I had ever witnessed yet it was lit up with what seemed like every star in existence. I made my buddy pull the car over so I could soak it all in. When those drums hit and the intro blew open, I completely lost my mind. I haven’t been the same since.


ROCK YOUR LYRICS

+ Interview w/ Brad Chancellor


RYL: Your new album “Celestial Frequency Shifter” will be released soon. What does its release mean for you? Which song was its main achievement in terms of lyrics?
BC: I think this album's release means more to us than anyone could ever truly understand. We never really knew whether or not we'd have a chance to have our music released on a label like No Sleep Records. It's an incredible opportunity to have Anakin showcased to such a wide audience that we may not have been able to reach otherwise. For us, Celestial Frequency Shifter is somewhat personal therapy in that it's been written in such a positive mindset layered with hope and I think that's important.

For me personally, I'd say either "Astro[not]" or "Lucidity" would be the main achievement lyrically. My Father-In-Law passed away prior to this album and that really had an impact on those lyrics. From that comes the question as to what our purpose is and the unknown. Where do we all wind up in the end? Will we be okay? What exactly happens when we take our last breath? That's when our minds really start to wander. Dreams mixed with reality.


RYL: Is there a common 'theme' among the lyrics of your songs?
BC: You could probably say that hope or renewal is a common theme in the lyrics. However I'm pretty obsessed with outer space so almost all the lyrics are drenched in that.


RYL: What inspired “Satellite”, the first single?
BC: "Satellite" was inspired by the idea that sometimes we need to reassess ourselves and who/what we are surrounded by. We do this not only to continue our hopes and dreams, but to simply be happy with who we are and where we're at. I believe it's important to stay true to ourselves at all costs. Every now and then we may need to tweak our path because the end result is never set in stone.


RYL: How do you, usually, write the lyrics of your songs?
BC: I normally enter the lyric phase with a pretty open mind. There have been times that I've tried to start out with a certain idea but it almost always becomes its own entity by the time I'm done. I'm pretty sure nearly every word I write is subconscious. I write lyrics last so I think what eventually comes out has a lot to do with the overall music vibe.


RYL: Which is your favorite verse of the album?
BC: I'd probably have to say it's the 2nd verse in the album opener "Astro[not]" which is 'We've been kept alive inside, as thoughts of you have multiplied. Keep them close to let you fade away.'


RYL: What is the meaning behind the lyrics of “Protostar”?
BC: Well, in some ways, it's about this band and in particular about this album as a whole. I've always had a problem with personal doubt. When it comes to music creation, that anxiety can become a monster. With "Protostar", my worried mindset started with 'will people even care about this?' to 'never mind, I don't care about what anyone thinks.' It was the up and down mood I happened to be in at the time.


RYL: If we give you one dollar to spend in purchasing a song, what would you buy?
BC: Wow this is a hard one. What I'd pick this very moment would probably be "Today" by the Smashing Pumpkins.


RYL: Do you remember the day you wrote “Lucidity”?
BC: I don't remember the actual day I wrote "Lucidity" but I do know that it came very quickly because it's probably the most personal track on the album to me. I mentioned it earlier but it relates directly to my Father-In-Law "Skip" who passed away back in 2012 due to cancer and the dreams/visions about him that came and went since then. I had the same lucid type dreams when my buddy Luke passed away, also due to cancer, back in 2006. My hope is that even when certain lyrics may be an emotional release to me personally, that I've written them in a manner which anyone could relate to.