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Image And Identity – An Interview With Anavae

It’s a Saturday afternoon in South London, and Anavae have just finished their most recent UK tour. Formed primarily of vocalist, Rebecca Need-Menear, and guitarist, Jamie Finch, Anavae are explosive and energetic, and certainly demanding our attention. I was lucky enough to catch Becca this afternoon for a coffee and a brief interview. Having only heard great things about Anavae’s live shows, I was keen to hear how touring feels from the other side of the barrier.

“In comparison to other bands, we haven’t been touring that much. But when we do tour it’s fun. We just don’t get to do it that much. We’re very focused on writing and recording at the moment, and also making videos. So going on tour is a nice change.”

The band toured with the hardcore group POLAR, and have previously toured with the likes of Kids in Glass Houses. Having only formed in late 2011, Anavae have since managed to build a considerable name for themselves. They are signed to LAB Records, and just last year released ‘Dimensions’, which tore its way into the top ten of the iTunes rock album chart.

As well as their records, the band have formed part of their image around through music videos. Their videos are incredibly slick and executed with a very high level of professionalism. A lot of effort goes into them, and it would seem there’s a lot of fun involved too. “We co-direct all our videos and they’re all our own concepts. I guess not many English bands go down the Youtube route, so we thought that would be a kind of footing for us.”

In this current culture of social medias and networking, an online image is a powerful tool for emerging artists, and an extra footing is exactly what a new band needs. What does it take to get noticed? Putting yourself out there is pretty daunting, so what does a band need to do to get picked up? With Anavae, Becca tells me about how a band’s image can be the breaking point when it comes to getting signed. Gone are the days of the labels whipping you into shape. When it comes to the Indie labels at least, you have to be ready to go, confident in who you are and what you’re about. The label has to be able to hoist you out of the crowd and ship you straight off without any hassle.

“We found that especially Indie record labels are looking for bands that have the full package there already. So they’ve decided what their image is already and are presenting themselves in a professional way, and are already putting out their own stuff. You need to be the product.”

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Trying to slot into such a huge scene is a strenuous task. Everyone is bringing something different to the table, which makes the scene a very exciting one to be part of. But it goes without saying that differentiating yourself is an uphill struggle, and Anavae are often up against tedious comparisons to other bands with female vocalists. “When it comes to female fronted bands, they always like to compare you. I suppose because there aren’t that many of us. They want to say ‘Oh, they sound like so-and-so!’ Male fronted bands don’t really get that.”

These standards are totally backwards, I’m thinking, but breaking out of these standards is what pushes you to the next level of your career. Becca is clearly familiar with this, and continuing to push the band’s personality. “It’s part of our identity. I guess we’re trying to get to that point where people don’t feel like they have to compare us. But we’re getting there!”

‘Dimensions’ is out now on LAB Records.