Due to hit our shores real soon is Sweden's latest hardcore musical export, in that of ANCHOR who are continuing the tradition of flying the flag for the vegan / straight edge movement. Guitarist Ulf Hammarkarr took time out to chat about life in Sweden, touring with TRIAL and what they are looking forward to in Australia.

In your own words how would you describe the sound of ANCHOR?

I’d say that we’re a hardcore band, no more no less. Some say we play 90’s styled hardcore, which I guess is true to some extent, due to our love for bands like Strife, Quicksand and Outspoken. I guess that gives you a hint of the bands we like and are inspired by. I’d like to think that we move away from that sound in several ways though.

What sort of bands would you say have influenced the sound of ANCHOR?

Aside from the bands I already mentioned, we all draw influences from different parts of punk, hardcore, metal and elsewhere. We all add our own personal touch on the songs we write, though. We don’t really say, “hey, we should write a song that sounds like this or that band”, rather the opposite. I think that since Anchor has been a band now for five years we have a formula of what we want the band to sound like and where we’re heading music wise, so the way we’re writing songs for Anchor comes pretty natural.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but when ANCHOR first started out, your lineup was made up of ex members from the amazing DAMAGE CONTROL, easily my fave Euro Hardcore band ever? What happened with the lineup change?

Only Marcus used to play in Damage Control. Marcus left the band in 2009 and currently plays in Angers Curse. Mattias who played drums up until then replaced him on the guitar. Anchor got a new drummer for a while, but things didn’t really work out, and after a while Carl started drumming for us instead. Niklas left the band in 2010, and was replaced by me, Ulf. We’ve had this lineup now for a little more than a year and it feels really solid.


P: Bjorn Lexius

How much of an influence did they have on today’s bands from Norway and Sweden and how was a DAMAGE CONTROL live show? Were they largely responsible for keeping the Straight Edge flame alive up north?

I think they had a pretty big impact on the Norwegian scene, especially in Oslo, it’s easy to tell that they left a mark on kids who were around to see them, and the legacy of straight edge and youth crew influenced hardcore is still very strong there, and it’s pretty cool to see. Damage Control was an important band for me personally, but I don’t think they really made an impact in Sweden. That style of hardcore just isn’t as popular here.

When you travel to a different country how do you find adjusting to normal daylight hours given the short winter days and long summer days that are typical of Sweden?

I haven’t really noticed any difference, I must say. Except for southern Europe, I think the length of days/nights are roughly the same. It’s not a difference big enough to notice anyway. I’m sure it’ll be way different once we get to Australia and South East Asia though. I don’t think the daylight hours are what’s going to be hard to adjust to. The time zone though, that’s going to be interesting, ha-ha.

Your latest album ‘Recovery’ is available through PEE Records here in Australia, Let It Burn Records & Refuse Records in Europe, Vegan Records in Sth America, Learn To Trust Records in Malaysia and is due to have a US pressing courtesy of React Records. How does a band from Sweden have so many global contacts?

To keep it simple – touring. That’s really what it comes down to. Touring, and actively taking part in hardcore. We’ve been a band for long enough, and have played enough shows so that a lot of people know who we are, and what to expect from us. It’s all hard work, but we’re extremely appreciative of everyone who believes in us enough to invest time and money into our band.


P: Bjorn Lexius

You guys toured through Europe with the almighty TRIAL last year. How was getting to see 25 nights of TRIAL playing “Reflections” live in a row? Do you think its possible to ever get sick of that song?

The tour with TRIAL was a really fun experience. Seeing those guys open with Reflections every night was a special thing, for sure. I can’t say I got sick of that song, but I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t see it every night. It’s as good of a song when you hear it in a backstage shower too, though.

I heard you guys were involved in a car accident on the way to a show late last year? What happened there and was anyone injured?

We were on our way to play a show in Stockholm when we got stuck in traffic jam. The car coming up behind us didn’t pay enough attention and smashed into us from behind, and since we were standing still, the impact made us smash into the car in front of us as well. Me, Claes and Fredrik were taken to the emergency in ambulances, but we were all able to leave the hospital about an hour later, rent another car and go to play the show. We got some pulled muscles as well as neck and back pain. It’s gotten better, but I can still feel it every once in a while.

What separates an average ANCHOR show from an awesome one?

We try our best to make every Anchor show an awesome one, but what makes amazing shows is interaction with the crowd, for sure. There are nights were you just feel so at home with the crowd, and those are special nights that I’ll always remember. Even when there’s a tough crowd, we give it our all to make it a good show, but if the crowd is treating us well, we’ll of course that makes a better show.

Have you heard many Australian hardcore bands before or do you know much about the scene here? Usually American bands don’t know much beyond their own national scene, I’m just wondering if things are a little different in Europe perhaps?

We’ve played with, and heard of a bunch of Australian bands, like Hopeless, Warbrain, Miles Away, Promises who we’re going on tour with, and 50 Lions. I don’t know much about how the scene works in Australia, but I’m very curious to find out!

Anything on the touristy side of things you guys are looking forward to doing whilst here?

Cliché answer number one, but I want to see a kangaroo.

Why should people come check out ANCHOR on tour in Australia?

Hopefully because they like our music. That’s the one thing we have to offer. That said, we will wholeheartedly appreciate every single person showing up to see us so far from home. Come and say hi to us!



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