Here at Grumpy Sailor kitchen, whether at land or sea, the cooking is always done with a soundtrack. We’ve cooked along to anchor everywhere from Antarctica, West Africa and the South Pacific. We caught up with Claes from Anchor talking about the band and using punk and hardcore as driving tool for advocating veganism and change for animals.
Please Introduce yourself Claes and tell us a bit about Anchor?
Yo, so yes I´m Claes, living in Stockholm, Sweden with my little girl Ebba. I work as a Tour Manager for a couple of different artists and I’m also involved in a Tour vehicle company called New Direction Tour Services.
ANCHOR is a hardcore/punk band who started out in Gothenburg soon 8 Years ago.
We had been in other similar bands before but never felt that we had taken them as far as we wanted when it came to touring. We also wanted to make an impact on the hardcore scene. Or at least talk about stuff we felt was very relevant when we grow up as kids and still wanted to be an important part of the scene. Since then we’ve done about 500 shows in about 40 countries, 28 U.S States and 5 continents. Our third album is recorded and it will be out this winter. I´m very proud of what we have done with this band so far.
Anchor have always been a band that openly supports animal rights and veganism, is this an important part of the band for you?
Yes its super important for me. I feel that this band actually means something and that we are a positive force. It may be nothing compared to what other people do for the liberation of animals but I still feel that its so important that the hardcore scene can still be a place where kids finds out about veganism and gets involved. I mean thats how I got into animal rights and veganism now 18 years ago.
As the singer, how do the lyrics of your songs come about, and writing about issues such as veganism and animal rights?
We’ve been writing a lot about that, on the new record Distance & Devotion I really tried to but it was hard. I guess we felt we where re-inventing the wheel kinda. We have a song called “Hope Dies Last”, this one’s about the state of the world and about fighting for a more compassionate place for us all to live. I guess those first lines started out as a song about my little Ebba who was liberated from a abusive dog-breeder. (Oh well, aren’t they all?) But after a lot of re-writing it ended up a bit different.
I remember seeing you guys in Stockholm and you had teamed up with a local Animal rights organisation in Sweden, can you tell us about this?
We’ve done some stuff together with a couple of different organizations over the years. Local ones and also the biggest one here in Sweden called Förbundet Djurens Rätt (Federation Animal Rights). As well as Peta Europe, Sea Shepherd in Italy and so on. Everything from being poster boys to actively promote veganism at our shows. I´m happy that we are part of this movement. Every little thing we could do to raise awareness will mean something for someone in the long run.
There´s always new kids who haven’t been exposed to this issues as much as we may think. I guess its easy to think that everyone already is into animal rights but sadly it isn’t that way yet, even as a progressive forward thinking community like ours.
For me its always a novelty to see bands still bringing radical information and distro’s with them on tour, is this something you still like to do and see from other bands?
Yes of course. Its all about exposure, let people always be reminded of whats going in our world!
“If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”
Whats in store for Anchor in the next year?
Our new record Distance & Devotion will come out early next year so I guess we will be doing some touring here and there, festivals and the usual stuff! I´m really psyched to play new songs and get out there on the roads!
I know you just recently rescused a dog in Sweden, how has this journey been giving a new home to a beautiful girl?
A close friend mine Gustav Uppsäll (who been in the SSCS Crew) adopted a dog called Otto. I’ve always wanted to adopt one myself but I never felt it could fit into my life. However I started to take care of Otto from time to time. It was the highlights of my weeks when I was home with him. It came to the point when I asked him if he needed help with babysitting rather him asking me. It also came to the point when my ex-girlfriend told me that I was a nicer person to be around when I was around dogs. I guess that was when I realized what was going to happen sooner or later.
During the ANCHOR South American Tour I saw a lot of homeless dogs and I hanged out with some of them as well. One night in the south of Chile I was sitting on a high road with a homeless dog in my lap. She didn’t want me to leave. I cried my eyes out. Took some pictures to always remember her. I guess that was when I decided to change my life so it would fit taking care of a dog. Later that spring I adopted Ebba who come from Malaga, Spain through an organization called SOS Animals. They are usually just taking care of stray dogs. However Ebba was a different story. She came from a breeder who was abusing his dogs. Ebba was 3-4 months old and barely alive so one day the volunteers simply took here from him. Animal Liberation!
My life is so awesome now days. Have totally changed my routines and the way I think. Everyday is fun and the positivity she brings is just something that I couldn’t expect to have in my life. I don’t know what I did with my time before she was around. Mostly I´m really happy to be home. Working from the office and spending time with her by my side. Getting out in the nature as much as we can. I feel blessed (in non religious way) to have her in my life.