It was exactly one year and one month ago that North Carolina's Annuals released their debut LP, Be He Me. By definition an annual is a plant that completes its life cycle in one years time, and the seeds must be replanted the following year. The life cycle of these Annuals is far from over, but that does not mean that new seeds will not be planted in 2008. With their current tour (co-headlining with Manchester Orchestra) ending in a few days, this group of friends is looking forward to returning home and beginning the creative process of writing and recording again. They recently marked the final stages of their current life cycle by releasing the B-sides of Be He Me, in the form the digital ep Frelen Mas. The next year looks promising, as they begin their new relationship with Sony/Columbia affiliate Canvasback Records, release an new ep in the Spring, and preparing their follow-up LP for the Summer. Unlike the plant, these Annuals will not die, but instead continue to grow and build upon the wonderful sounds and experience of this past year.
Over the summer, I was fortunate enough to watch this band perform at Lollapalooza, and was simply blown away by their energy and musical abilities. The stage was filled with instruments, two keyboard, two sets of drums, guitars, etc. The members of the band, Adam Baker (Singer/Songwriter), Kenny Florence (Guitar), Mike Robinson (Bass), Zack Oden (Drums/Guitar), Anna Spence (Piano/Synth), and Nick Radford (Drums) were consistently moving and switching instruments. As a collective they truly put on an impressive show, playing with passion and sincerity.
Recently, all the members of Annuals were kind enough to take a few minutes away from their to answer a few of my questions on Lollapalooza, the past year, and what the future holds for the Annuals.
Orange Alert (OA): Now that you are one year removed from the release of Be He Me, can you describe the emotion of the last year? Have you had time to stop and reflect?
Anna Spence (AS): Extremely stressful and exhilarating at the same time. While on the road its difficult to know what is going on with our band everywhere else. We are just focusing on getting to the next show.
Kenny Florence (KF): I just feel like this has come to be the norm for me. This is who we are, who we have become. We don’t think we are hotshots or anything, this is what we do.
Adam Baker (AB): I feel the exact same. No different emotion.
Nick Radford (NR): Touring is something I have been dreaming about doing this for a living. It’s great that this is happening.
Zack Oden (ZO): Relieved that things are going well. Ill reflect when I get home and have to bag groceries.
Mike Robinson (MR): I just feel like there is a lot more to be done.
OA: Has the overwhelming acceptance by countless blogs/website changed your opinions of the music industry and the role the internet can play? Do you think these site have had an impact on where you are today?
AS: Of course the websites have had an impact on us because a lot of people read them. Not all of them have been overwhelmingly accepting. People use them as a venue to mostly talk shit and be petty.
ZO: I'd rather read Jennifer Love Hewitt’s autobiography.
AB: I‘d rather read the Hardy Boys.
MR: Blogs giveth and then taketh away.
OA: The Mannual Mashup contest, currently running (ends Nov 26th!) over at Purevolume, is a great idea. Have you heard any of the entries yet? What is like touring with a band like Manchester Orchestra?
NR: I haven’t heard any of the mashups yet, but I kind of feel like Jay-Z and Lincoln Park……but we are Jay-Z.
KF: I’ve never really gotten along this well with the other bands that we are on tour with. I’m having a great time with these guys. I’m a big fan of their music and have become a bigger fan watching them every night and getting on stage and playing music with them.
ZO: They are wicked nice guys and are tight as woe on stage.
OA: In your interview with Daytrotter, it was mentioned that the technology utilized on Be He Me was not exactly what was needed to achieve the desired sound. Is Frelen Mas closer to the sound the band strives for? How has the recording process changed?
KF: Song for The Fralen Mass EP were recorded a little bit later than Be He Me, but are mostly b-sides for the album. The recording was done in the same studio using the same techniques but we had refined our skills a bit more.
ZO: Not as much hands touched the mix on this one.
AB: There is certainly a lot more time that we would like to spend with someone who has a lot more experienced ears on the next record. This was still recorded at home. We spent a lot of time making this EP in house.
OA: Why does the bio on your website seem to overly emphasize the ages of the band? I think the early twenties maybe some of the most creative and productive years of life, and in no way a negative.
AS: We didn’t write that. I think that people get excited and surprised when they see a young band because they think about how much growing and changing they have to do.
KF: I don’t think we should over emphasize our age because we are in the same age group that a lot of similar bands are in.
MR: I think that there is a really big difference between 18 and 20. All the over emphasis started 2 years ago. We aren’t the same age anymore….we’ve done a lot of growing up since then.
OA: What's Next for Annuals?
AS: Next record
KF: Annuals Sedona split EP which should be out in the spring.
MR: Sedona EP in the summer and Annuals LP in the fall.
OA: Have you found a new favorite restaurant or coffee shop while on the road?
ZO: Our awesome tour manger Jay introduced us to this amazing noodle shop in China Town while we were in Philly. I can’t remember the name of the joint but it had ducks hanging from the window and the noodle soup kills….really, I almost died. We also found this place called Subway. Don’t know if many people have heard of it, but they make great sandwiches.
OA: I really enjoyed your performance at Lollapalooza this year. What were your thoughts on the festival and what you saw of Chicago in general?
AS: Chicago pretty much rules every time I go. Lollapalooza was like Christmas, I got lots of goodies.
ZO: Bands were cool. Chicago is cool. Festival was also cool.
AB: Chicago is my favorite big city. Got a free skateboard at the festival.
KF: Chicago has never treated us bad. One of my favorite cities.
NR: Chicago is cool and Lollapalooza was really cool. I met Denis Rodman. The fans in Chicago have always been awesome.
Be He Me
Brother (mp3)/Dry Clothes (mp3)/Complete, or Completing/Carry Around/Chase You Off/Bleary Eyed(mp3)/Fair/Bull, and the Goat/Mama/Ida, My/Father/Sway
Also from Frelen Mas:
Nah Keseyi (mp3)
If you are fortunate enough to attend on of their remaining tour dates, picked their split tour ep.
Listen to: Where have you been (Manchester Orchestra Cover) (mp3)
For more information on Annuals please visit their website.