Interview with Saosin frontman Anthony Green | By Jameson Ketchum | Photo by Brandon Sloter
Anthony Green is one of the greatest and most prolific artists of the last decade. Standing by this statement means diving deep into what the 34-year-old has accomplished in his incredibly diverse career. Of all the odd reunions occurring lately, fans would have bet dollars to donuts that Saosin were not going to join this club. Green’s departure in 2004 was well-documented and, with the major success of his solo records and, of course, Circa Survive, the thought of Green rejoining Saosin never seemed plausible. With the release of Along the Shadow via Epitaph Records on May 20, Saosin are fully alive again, and their summer run on The Taste Of Chaos Tour might be fans’ chance to witness the full story that Saosin always intended to tell.
Obviously, there was a lot of controversy surrounding Saosin when you left the band. When you guys decided that you were going to make another record, did you sit down and have a “Let’s hash this old stuff out” kind of talk?
We never really sat down and had a conversation about it. I think by the time we were ready to get in the same room, we had worked out our initial shit with ourselves. We were just kids. You don’t really know what you’re doing or how to deal with relationships. We all came from the same spot, and it was good. I had nightmares about it in the past, but everyone was really cool. Everyone had changed leaps and bounds, myself included. That happens when you get older: you either turn into a bigger shitbag or you become determined to not be a shitbag.
What was your real driving force to do Saosin again?
I like making music and variety just keeps anything from getting too monotonous. I was kind of in the mood to make something heavier and more metal or whatever. It was just the right time.
How far along was the songwriting process when you stepped in?
They sent me a bunch of ideas they had written and not used for the last record. There was stuff that was really cool and some we had established bits and pieces of. [Bassist] Chris [Sorenson] and [guitarist] Beau [Burchell] are always writing. Beau wrote the major riffs to “Red Light” in a hotel room in Chicago when we played Riot Fest. He was so juiced up from that, he came home and recorded those riffs. We workshopped everything, and we all built the record together. There were ideas and riffs, but all the songs got restructured the more we all worked on them and shifted them around. Everyone had their hand in fine-tuning the songs. It was very much a collaboration. I think the best ideas on the record came after I was in the band and Beau was just riffing around all inspired.
What were some of the unforeseen challenges in the process?
I’ve been in Circa a long time, and everyone knows each other when it comes to writing and when it comes to communication. This was really the first time [Saosin] had all worked together on stuff, so communication was the biggest thing. Everyone had been in previous situations, but it was a challenge in the beginning. How do you work together on something when you’ve never done it before? A lot of it was just trial and error.
How do you feel the onstage dynamic with Saosin differs from, say, Circa Survive’s?
I feel like everybody’s just having fun right now. For a really long time, it was this heavy cloud of seriousness. I think we’ve been able to just have this fun exercise in endurance and surrender. Not to say that Circa isn’t like that, but I think it’s a different kind of energy sometimes and a different mood. It’s slightly more serious at times. Everybody that’s in Saosin has jobs, they have real things they’re doing, and this is just like a side project we all feel passionate about. It’s really cool to have that vibe onstage. No one is there making their ends meet, it’s just fun to meet.
You’re not worried about which labels might be watching you?
We’re not trying to make it [laughs], we’re just trying to have a great time.
What do you see as some of your weaknesses?
I think I’m definitely not very thick-skinned. I don’t take criticism well. I’m my own worst enemy and pretty insecure about things. I’m overly sensitive, and that can work against you as much as it can work for you. I’d like to be more patient as a person, but I’m not sure how that translates.
How have you grown as a musician since your original time in Saosin?
I feel like I get more out of the creative process than I did before. It was something that I would haphazardly jump into and struggle with constantly. Now, I’m exercised in it and I know what works for me. It’s never good for me to beat my head creatively, I just move onto something that speaks to me. I think I made it a lot more complicated than it needed to be.
…Sorry, there is UFO over my house. It flew away…
As a young musician, I made things more complicated than they needed to be. I wasn’t as open or intuitive to the nature of creativity. I feel like I had to live up to this idea that I was some genius or talent. As you get older, you realize it doesn’t matter. Being able to sing and perform a song you really love and believe in is the main goal. There is no right and wrong way to go about doing that.
Since Saosin is just fun and low pressure for you right now, do the critiques hit as hard?
I would be lying if I said I didn’t wanted everyone to like what I was doing all the time, no matter what it is [laughs]. I’m not paying attention to that stuff. People say that it sounds like Circa. I sing for Circa and I’m singing in this band and they’re both rock bands, so that’s an easy thing to say. I try not to focus on that, because I don’t like the part of myself that wants everybody to like it. I try to move on to the next thing and not worry what people are saying about it. if I work hard on something [and] walk away feeling really good about the way I feel about that record, then it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks.
Is there a future of you doing both Saosin and Circa Survive on a regular basis?
That’s what’s happening now. Tentatively, I plan to start working on a Circa record at the end of this year; they’ve already sent me a bunch of songs. I have a solo record that is going to come out, end of the summer maybe. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen when, but I’m not going to stop doing anything. I’m just going to manage my time wisely so I can do everything I want to do. I want to start a reggae band. There’s a lot I haven’t experienced yet. My hip hop record sounds awful, but it’s completely done [laughs].
You once said to me that you’re just a beatnik, a true rock ‘n’ roller…
I think a little bit of whiplash is good for you sometimes, it teaches you how to brace yourself. I love the spoils of life and part of that, for me, is celebrating with music and art. It’s just a part of my existence, and I’m so lucky and fortunate for that, because there are people in the world who don’t experience that and I wonder what it is that they get their kicks from.