Activists and rockers Anti-Flag have made their Rock Band Network debut with “We Are The One” a single off their latest album, The People or the Gun. HMXThrasher was able to catch up with bass player and vocalist Chris #2 via email just before the track came out to chat about the album, the band’s activism, and potential future RBN tracks.
HMXThrasher: How did you get involved with Rock Band Network (RBN)?
Chris #2: This is our first involvement with RBN. We have a cool team at SideOneDummy Records who helped us put this all together.
HMXThrasher: “We Are The One” is currently in the RBN pipeline – how or why did you choose this particular song for your Rock Band début?
Chris #2: It is a song off of our newest record that keeps getting positive reactions whereever it is played. We figured we would give this forum a try as well. Not to mention that the political agenda of the track is something we feel everyone can get behind.
HMXThrasher: Do any of you play Rock Band? Have you had a chance to try out your own song yet?
Chris #2: We haven't tried our song out yet. But we have played the game before. I’m looking forward to hearing it in this new context.
HMXThrasher: What are your thoughts on videogames as a medium for discovering new music?
Chris #2: Any chance there is for someone to find out about Anti-Flag is an opportunity that we will take. I do believe that there are certain video games we would have nothing to do with. But I also believe that there are others that we honestly want to be a part of. It’s about finding the proper outlets for us to be a part of.
HMXThrasher: The People or the Gun was your first album released via Side One Dummy – can you talk about the transition from RCA to Side One Dummy?
Chris #2: It was a tremendously easy transition. We have known the folks at SideOne for years. It was just a simple phone call, and here we are.
HMXThrasher: What was your writing process like for The People or the Gun? Did the writing or recording process differ in any way from previous Anti-Flag albums?
Chris #2: It actually did differ. We built our own studio so we were actually writing and recording at the same time. Our other albums were less spontaneous than The People or The Gun, and I think that spontaneity does come through in the songs, in their music and politics.
HMXThrasher: What do you want people to take away from this album? For fans discovering you via Rock Band Network, what do you hope they take away from “We Are the One?”
Chris #2: The same thing we hope for every song, every show, every record. That people find a band and community to take solace in. We are working toward creating unity, regardless of sex, race, religion, economic status. Breaking down invisible barriers is what Anti-Flag means.
HMXThrasher: You’ve released quite a few albums on vinyl – are any of you collectors yourselves? What lead to your decision to offer albums on vinyl as well?
Chris #2: Yeah, I enjoy collecting records. It’s definitely a cool way to distribute your music. When it comes to releasing on vinyl the idea is to try and create something special, for the people that surround our band and really care about it. So it’s often very limited colors, or pressings.
HMXThrasher: “Turncoat” is a personal favorite – is there any chance that we might see it or other older material released through RBN?
Chris #2: That would be great. Say the word and we'll make it so.*
HMXThrasher: Can you tell us a bit about “being useless” and your involvement in the Useless campaign?
Chris #2: www.Useless.org is a local Pittsburgh organization that we have been working with on various occasions to try to get people involved in their "use - less" campaign. We recently released a "reused" t-shirt design that benefits clean water initiatives in Sierra Leone.
HMXThrasher: Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans?
Check out the video below for "When All the Lights Go Out" from Anti-Flag's new album The People or The Gun.
*Whatever the word is, I’m saying it. I’m yelling it. Would love to have this song! - Thrasher