Anti-Flag's Chris#2 Reflects Upon the Art that They Create

Anti-Flag an act that has never stepped down from the political aspect of explaining things to the world in the form of their music. Having released countless material over the span of their musical careers, the band is taking approaches in new directions with acoustic releases, live material, with so much touring that they can't contain themselves. Bassist/vocalist Chris#2 discusses these matters and much more that they have in-store!

1. First off, who are you and what do you do in the band?

Chris: My name Chris#2 and I play bass/sing in the formation band Anti-Flag.

2. "The Terror State" Tour wrapped up recently, where you played that release in full swing, would you consider doing that again for any of your other releases?

Chris: Yeah that's a interesting question, for us it ended up being, really received than we anticipated and expected it to go, with the amount of people interested in seeing that show. Perhaps it's something we could do again, we don't really ever put book ends on anything we ever do as a band, we found that leads us to having some hypocrisy whenever we create definitions for ourselves so possibly. Maybe we will do it with another record, we do have a few records that people would like to see front to back like that, it could be a cool experiment. it's very difficult to learn those songs and play them in a live environment so I am not sure if we're up to the task or learning them all just to make a few people happy haha.

3. What about your ANTIFest that popped up in 2012/2013, will it be making a comeback or was it a onetime ordeal?

Chris: Yeah we took last year off, because we took the entire summer off for ourselves as a band. We are going to do it this year, probably in the fall but we do have plans to do it again. I think with these types of endeavors, it's important to not haphazardly do them, we felt as if, if we had done one last year, it would have been thrown together last minute, and that's not how we want this show to be represented. We'll be bringing it back full swing and have a bunch of bands lined-up for it so it will be a good time.

4. Your band has been known to stick to the political aspect of lyrical content and music in general, but why did you want to go in this direction in the first place?

Chris: Yeah well I think that, for a few reasons;

A. We're inducted with politics because of how we grew up and the things that are important to us. I think being from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, a town that suffered much at the hands of decisions of greed when the steel mills were shut down, shipped overseas in order to obtain cheaper labor. I think that really showed us at a young age, that caring more about just ourselves, is how we want to operate and we don't ever want to be in situations where we would benefit very few but maybe service the many. So I think the in documentation of politics is why we sound the way we sound and write the things that we write. Just like our favorite bands like The Clash, The Sex Pistols, The Dead Kenndeys, we grew up on political punk rock and that's the type of music we wanted to make, it moved us. I don't think it's necessarily important that all art or that all music have social commentary but I think that if you're going to consider yourself punk rock or a punk rocker, that means you're going to live a life with empathy and that you're going to care about more than just yourself because that will reflect more in the art that you create.

5. You have your first release under Spinefarm Records, are you happy with being a part of the label, who are some of your favorite label mates?

Chris: Yeah it's interesting Spinefarm Records, is a new relationship for us, it's one that we were not too familiar with until they came and wanted to release this record. "American Spring" was written, recorded, all on our own dimes and our own pockets. We did it with some friends in California and finished everything even before we were signed to a record label, that was kind of the plan for this album, really be invested in Anti-Flag and bet on ourselves. The end of result of that was we brought labels in to hear the record, based on their reactions to it, based on their plan for it, that's where and how we would decide who would release it. Spinefarm Records had a really great plan, they are a global label, having offices in Berlin, Pairs, London, Finland, these are all things that are important to Anti-Flag, to serve territories and represent there. As far as artists on the label, we're not very versed in the metal bands that are on it, but they put out a Dragonforce and 36 Crazyfists albums that are pretty cool. They have done some interesting things and been on the edge of genre, we're not a pop punk band or a pop band or a super heavy punk rock, we're in the middle of all those things, so having a label that knows how to handle bands and aren't genre specific was important to us.

6. You decided on going with the first and opener off "American Spring" called "Fabled World". Why was this song picked out and will it be used towards creating a video to go with it?

Chris: Well, we did a lyric video for it, that's really all, I think when you have a record that comes out and you know you have a release date, a few months ahead, we're really adamant about getting music out to people. It's not necessarily the single, on the record there's a song called "Brandenburg Gate", that's the one we made a full video for it and will be out soon. "Fabled World", was the introduction track and was the last song we wrote for the record, it ended up being the first track on the album, and it ends up covering a lot of the themes on the album, I think it was a good overview for the record and the first track to get a taste to the people to get an idea of what would be involved.

7. How does the single song picking process go, between the band members, have you ever gotten into an argument about which song to pick out?

Chris: Always, an argument, there's no decision on the perks of being in a band. But yeah it is a very difficult process, especially when you work really hard on a record with 14 songs, and people's perspective could be decided in just 1 minute of music. It's very tiring and an arduous process but I think we have been together long enough to trust in one another's decisions, and that's what being a part of a new label is all about, you have new conversations with new people, you get new perspectives of what the songs are and what really moves  people and doesn't move people. Thankfully with the songs we're releasing first, we have come to some agreements on decisions with very little arguing but there is some.

8. Whose idea was it to want to use "pink" in the album's artwork?

Chris: It was the artist's idea, a friend of ours from Pittsburg named Doug, had done the artwork for the album and when we came up with the title "American Spring" he immediately went to this renewal in spring time, where it was filled with art and colors that were very energetic so I think pink was the first go too color for him. We really latched onto it, I think it's really striking for our band, we actually are having more people comment on it than any other artwork for any of our other releases we have released. So I think it's done its job of being a talking point.

9. Since pink is being used here, will you be taking that color using it towards other mediums like merchandise?

Chris: So far yeah, I have pink guitar picks. So we're on it.

10. Can you describe that artwork and explain how the music relates to it?

Chris: Well the album's front cover is an Islamic women with a hyper realistic version of a flower exploding over her face and the back cover is of a male solider with the same flower exploding over his face. We wanted people to feel one way or another way about these people, if you watch Fox News all day, you only believe what we see on television to be truth, then you may see a Muslim women and think this or that or you go to a punk rock show you may get information that is left leading or you may think this or that and we wanted to challenge people's thoughts. How it relates to the music is that it's an idea of rebirth and renewal, challenging us as people to live better lives and live above it all. The ways you do this is by confronting it, that's what these songs on the record are all about.

11. What about the title "American Spring" does that actually refer to "Spring time" in America or does it refer to something else altogether?

Chris: Well it's a reference to a political movement that happened in the Middle East called the Air of Spring. That was a revolution brought about by people using technology to organizing rally's and other events, so we thought that was an inspiring time for us as  band and others. What would this look like and be like, young people want everything to be universal. There are a few simple tasks into a new direction and way and how the record is found.

12. Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs?

Chris: I think so, I think it's more important to get people excited and interested in caring more about just themselves. I think that there are a lot of things, whether it's television or dinner at a dinner table, there's a lot of things telling you you're not good enough, that you need to work harder, the decisions you're making are poor. I think we need to tell people to just be themselves, it's what the songs are about a time of celebration. It's as a band and we have empathy towards these situations happening around the world.

13. What would be the cinematic equivalent of "American Spring"?

Chris: I don't know, I think I would hope it would be something better than a Pixar movie. I don't know, maybe that movie hasn't been made yet. I think if you look at a documentary like Black Fish or a documentary like Bowling for Colombian, these were moments in history where things had happened because a movie was so powerful. I would hope that our record would have a similar influence that those movies did.

14. What are your expectations for the CD?

Chris: Really we have none. We set bars very low and we know how hard we will work and the passion will be there and people will connect and support it. We have a year and a half of touring planned. If there are people there to listen we will play the songs for them.

15. When can we expect to see a live CD or DVD from you guys?

Chris: I don't know maybe. That's a interesting question, we have never questioned what we have released I have no idea. If we do release a live CD or DVD you will get no credit because it was probably your idea haha.

16. How about your music in general, will we ever see it take the acoustic approach?

Chris:  Actually yeah, Justin and I did an acoustic set the other day and that went really well. We did a 7 inch where we re-recorded old songs so maybe the songs translate acoustic more well than we thought they would so maybe a live DVD of acoustic performances will be made? Who knows!

17. What else can we expect to see from you guys for the rest of this year?

Chris: We are going to be touring a lot. Touring across the U.S. then Europe, then the U.S. again and Europe and more touring until this year's end.

18. Do you have anything else you would like to say or want to add?

Chris: No, for more about the band go to our website and more about the world go to and thank you very much!

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