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Anna’s Anchor (aka Marty Ryan) is an upcoming band from Ireland using their music to influence and educate people on the importance of taking care of our Earth.
Teen Sublime: What was the inspiration behind starting up Anna’s Anchor?
Marty Ryan: I started Anna’s Anchor as a solo project initially for a couple of reasons. My old band was beginning to slow down at the time when I really wanted to push things and start touring properly. I figured if I had a project that just involved myself, I could achieve that, as the only thing holding it back would be myself. I also had gone through some pretty tough times with my family in my early twenties and I needed some kind of an outlet to get all of the overwhelming emotions off my chest. It seemed the perfect way to work a lot of those things out.
TS: Where did you get the name Anna’s Anchor from?
MR: I put an awful lot of thought behind the name actually, there’s a number of different reasons as to where it came from. The initial batch of songs was a coping mechanism to come to terms with my mother’s alcohol abuse, so I wanted the name to allude to that in some kind of way, so I started off with the acronym “AA” and tried to figure out a name off of that. I’m from a little village called ANNAcotty and my favourite song is “Anchor” by a band called “Osker”. Combine the two and you’ve got Anna’s Anchor. It also helped in choosing that name as the domain name was still available!
TS: What did you do before you played music?
MR: That’s a funny one for me to answer as music has literally only just become a full-time endeavour for me. I’ve worked as an environmental consultant for the last 3 years in Ireland after finishing my degree in Environmental Science. The job involved a lot of environmental compliance work between various industries and Environmental Protection Agency. It’s been so tough because music has been a full-time endeavour, but so has my job that’s allowed me to exist as a functioning member of society. That’s meant I’ve had to put all my annual leave and weekends into touring which has made it super difficult for my loved ones, something I feel bad for but this is something I have to do. You do what you have to do to try and follow your dream even if that means working around the clock and not taking a proper holiday for years. That struggle aside, I’ve been very fortunate to work a job that is in an area that I’m very passionate about while making enough money to get Anna’s Anchor off the ground.
TS: What do you think is the power of the music which you create?
MR: I think the real power is behind the lyrical content. The songs are very autobiographical, dealing with a lot of the struggles I’ve had to cope with in my life. It’s scary putting your personal life out in the public domain in that regard but it’s a very necessary and cathartic process for me in which a lot of people can relate to. Whilst the topics can be somewhat difficult to talk about, so many people go through similar things and can find a common ground with the songs. For me, that’s one of the best parts of being in this position as a musician.
TS: What is the story behind ‘Everybody’s Welcome’ as an album?
MR: Everybody’s Welcome is very much a two-sided coin. The album as a whole is about the stray path we’re led down and that I built for myself, in that if you work hard in college, get a good degree, get a decent job then you’ll live a happy life. That false belief that I was kind of clutching onto led to the darkest part of my life really and the title “Everybody’s Welcome” is meant in a literal sense that I do treat everyone fairly and give anyone my time that wants it, and on the flip side, it represents the disillusionment I’ve come across from people that claim to be of that mantra and are only out for their own personal gain.
TS: What was the motivation behind the environmental message of the new single ‘Precautionary’?
MR: Having dedicated a large portion of my life to studying and practising environmental science, one thing that always comes up is the definition of sustainability, which is basically the idea that one generation passes the world onto to the next in better shape than when they got it. I personally feel from an environmental, economic and social perspective, that hasn’t necessarily happened with any generation, particularly at the moment. I’m the first person in my family to graduate from university, yet the reality is I’ll probably never own a house of my own; there are drastic changes in weather that are only becoming more frequent due to our overexploitation of the world’s resources; and to top it all off, hate and racial tension is more prevalent than ever. It’s difficult to be positive about all of that, but the reality is that keeping hope and positivity is the only thing you actually can do, and that’s what the song’s about. It’s a heavy lyrical concept but it’s married with the most upbeat music I’ve ever written. I love that conflicting message between the two moods of the song which is the overarching theme of the whole record, really.
TS: Would you call yourself punk rock because of the activist tone in your music?
MR: I don’t think I consider myself “punk rock” to be honest but I do really believe in treating others equally and as best as possible. I do really try my best to be as considerate and compassionate as I can. I still have a long way to go but it certainly is an ethic that I feel strongly about and how I treat the environment around me is an extension of this belief. It just so happens that this is pretty close to the “Punk Rock” ethic if there is such a thing. The social commentary is a new concept for me musically but the reality is I’m only really experiencing the result of government and industry decisions now, so it’s personal and that’s why I’m writing about it. The idea of what is and isn’t punk rock is an interesting debate because not everyone practices what they preach and that really is what the new album is really about. I’ve worked for middle-aged men and women with no piercings or hair dye that work at a desk and are bigger punks than some of the biggest protest song acts out there will ever be.
TS: Who were your influences growing up?
MR: When I was younger I was really into bands like The Cure, Interpol and Smashing Pumpkins. As I’ve grown a little older I’ve been a lot more influenced by local acts. There’s something special about seeing a band from your locality doing something special. It has given me the belief that I can do it myself. Windings have been the biggest band for me in that regard. I probably wouldn’t be pursuing music like this if it wasn’t for them, I owe them everything in truth. And So I Watch You From Afar are another Irish band that has left a huge impact on me. I’ve seen them twice in a 100 cap room in my hometown, Limerick, that has since closed, the bigger venue in the city a few times, all the way up to headlining the Olympia. In my mind, they’ve stayed true to the art that they’ve made, worked their asses off and been recognised for it. That means more to me than anything that a huge rockstar will ever do.
TS: What is your lyric writing process like?
MR: I usually keep a note in my phone of lyrical topics that I’d like to write a song about when I have the time. Separately I’ll have a bunch of different guitar parts floating around if I feel one suits the mood of a lyrical topic I have noted down, I’ll begin to flesh lyrics out to it. The main thing for me is to make sure that every word in there has meaning. I only have 3-4 minutes to pour out my heart so every word has to count.
TS: Is there anything else which you do in order to raise awareness about taking care of our Earth?
MR: On a personal level, I’ve volunteered with some local groups that have been involved in cleaning up our local river basin as well as some research projects that have been aimed towards reducing the environmental impact that agriculture has on our water courses, that’s been really fun. As a band we have had some of our CD releases printed on a recycled card instead of plastic, downsized our van to be more efficient and on our upcoming tour, we will be following suit from our friends in ASIWYFA with taking out canteens and removing bottled water from our rider. They’re small steps but we have been provided with a platform and we want to do as much good as we can with whatever privilege we’ve been provided with.
If you would like more information about Anna’s Anchor head to annasanchor.com