A Guest Post courtesy of the virtual pen of Gav Squires – twitter.com/gavsquires
Anna Burch released her debut album Quit The Curse in February and her tour to promote it recently reached the UK and she brought two amazing things with her – a great sound that very much recalls The Breeders and, unusually for an American, the ability to actually pronounce the word “Leicester”. Playing at The Musician in the aforementioned town in the East Midlands city, Anna and her backing band (featuring two members of Girl Ray) are incredibly tight, amazing considering they were only picked up in London at the start of the tour. While the majority of the music does sound like the Deal twins, especially during their imperial Last Splash phase, there are also nods to newer acts – 2 Cool 2 Care sounding more like Courtney Barnett.
Anna is also incredibly comfortable on stage, happily chatting with the audience as if they were an old friend who had popped round for a cup of tea. She talks about Asking 4 A Friend being about dating your drug dealer (although she had to tell her mum that it isn’t autobiographical) and how What I Want is about bumping into your ex at a bar. The set closes with In Your Dreams before Anna comes out to perform a newer song solo as an encore. After she finished running her own merch-table, we sat down with her to talk about touring during a heatwave, Detroit’s musical legacy and having strange dreams.
Gav: How’s the tour been going?
It’s been going great, it’s just a short run of seven dates and I’ve borrowed a couple of members of the band Girl Ray and they’re playing with me and it’s been going so well. We’re having a blast.
Gav: You’ve only just picked up this backing band, how did you get so tight so quickly?
Anna: Just talented musicians. I think that we’re personally clicking too so I think that helps.
Gav: Did you ever imagine coming to England during the longest heatwave that we’ve ever had?
Anna: No, I was here in May and I couldn’t believe that the sun was out all the time then. It’s so nice and we’ve swam a couple of times.
Gav: You’re from Detroit, here in the UK, the only things we know about Detroit are cars and music. What’s it like coming from a place that’s so well-known for its music?
Anna: It’s interesting because it does have the sort of legacy and aura of music permeating and everyone really associates all of those great musicians with the city. But so much has happened in Detroit in recent years so in a way it’s such a different city to how it used to be. I think that there are a lot of talented musicians but the infrastructure isn’t really there anymore, it’s just like a totally different place but I enjoy it. Being a musician from Detroit you get a certain amount of visibility on an international scale just because Detroit does have that really rich history.
Gav: Who would you say your musical influences are?
Anna: Early influences like, well the first CD I ever bought was Alanis Morrissette, Jagged Little Pill – that was huge when I was nine years old. Elliott Smith, I loved Built To Spill in high school, Pixies, a lot of ’90s indie rock. I don’t know, Carol King and a lot of stuff I suppose.
Gav: I could really hear The Breeders
Anna: Yeah, The Breeders are great, they’re so good.
Gav: How autobiographical is the song Asking 4 A Friend?
Anna: Well, I started writing it in kind of distant way because I thought that everything I’d been writing was too close to the vest. I think I was inspired by The Lemonheads’ song My Drug Buddy, I was listening to it a lot at the time and just thinking the term, “asking for a friend”, when you’re really asking for yourself was kind of funny and interesting. It made it sort of figurative, like going back to a bad relationship and also asking for drugs in the same way, I guess I thought it was clever.
Gav: You ended your set with In Your Dreams, have you ever had any really odd dreams?
Anna: Yeah, I’ve been having really weird dreams since I’ve been in the UK, especially in Wales! They’ve just been so vivid and personal with people in my real life that I wake up feeling kind of like I’ve somehow unlocked a weird secret to a relationship I have. Or it’s maybe shed a new light on something. It’s a little intense.
Gav: Have they been positive?
Anna: No, they’re pretty negative actually. Maybe not all negative, just heavy. Sometimes cathartic and sometimes confusing.
Gav: Finally, how long did it take you to learn how to pronounce the word “Leicester” correctly?
Anna: It actually came up when we were playing in Chester. We played there two nights ago and someone was like “Chester and Leicester” and I was like “Leicester” and then I figured it out. Or I was told politely!
Gav: Were you pronouncing it “Lie-cest-er” before?
Anna: I was pronouncing it “Lie-kest-er”. Weird, I know.
Sadly, that was all the time that we had so we never got to challenge Anna with that other Leicestershire town that Americans often struggle with – Loughborough. However, from what we saw and heard, the pronunciation was perfect and the music was amazing.
Quit The Curse is out now via Heavenly Recordings. Click HERE for more information on Anna Burch.