Peter Horvath, the chief instigator of The Anderson Council, is one of the really good guys in rock & roll; you hear it all the time, but I can tell you, he’s a dude supreme. Witty, thoughtful and patient, Mr. Horvath is one of the most dynamic songwriters I’ve come across in years and The Anderson Council is one of the most exciting bands to come along in a decade or two. I’ve been a fan since the first time I heard them on “Little Steven’s Underground Garage” (XM Radio channel) and with this newly-released album, Worlds Collide, The Anderson Council reach an apex I haven’t heard previously. It’s a wonderful collection of 16 brand-new, original songs and I had the chance to corral Mr. Horvath for a few minutes just to catch up and fill in the details…
So… it’s been a couple of years since we last chatted.
Has it really been that long? Man… Time flies when you’re… doing stuff.
How are things?
Well, I’ve been intermittent fasting, and my hair is falling out more rapidly, but I’m still playing guitar, so there’s that. I really have no current complaints, other than not being independently wealthy, but there’s still time, I suppose!
What have you been working on besides The Anderson Council?
There’s not a lot musically going on in my life outside of The Anderson Council (and THANK YOU for remembering the “The” – a lot of folks have stopped using it, for whatever reason). I have been slowly writing some new songs, which is great. There was a period of a year or so where I wasn’t even recording voice memos on my phone, which was a sad state of affairs! Now I have a bunch of half-finished voice memos that I need to finish up.
We have recorded a few songs for various tribute records; one Creedence song, one XTC song, one Kinks song, and most recently, a Pugwash song. I’m always on the lookout for tribute records for us to be on; we should probably compile all of those songs at some point… We’re (myself and our drummer Chris, that is) currently arguing over a Christmas song to do for a local comp. I’d be happy doing a note for note version of “The Christmas Waltz” by The Lettermen, but the other guys aren’t going to go for that, most likely…
I also do a monthly solo gig at my local pub called “40 Songs w/ Mr. Horvath”. That is great fun. I play a bunch of Council songs, a bunch of covers that I enjoy, and the rare audience request, depending on my mood, and my alcoholic intake. It’s a kind of Ramones style gig – I start playing at 7:30, and stop 3 hours later, usually without a break. 40 Songs is just a benchmark; my record is 70 something songs. I have the occasional audience member come up and sing with me. The audience is chock full of ringers!
You’ve just unleashed “Worlds Collide”, your first new album of all original material in a few years. How exhilarating is it?
I have been calling this record a “difficult birth”, mostly because in true Council fashion, we had to replace a member before the record came out. That, and it just takes us so damn long to finish recording!
Take us through the genesis of this record, for those who aren’t familiar with The Anderson Council.
We started recording the songs that would appear on Worlds Collide in 2015, before we were signed to JEM. We recorded 16 songs, and then 4 of them were used for Assorted Colours, since JEM wanted to do more of a compilation for our first release. Cool by me. In any case, we kept working on the record while we were promoting Assorted Colours, and in 2016, we recorded 4 MORE songs to replace the ones that we had used up. One of those songs was “Our Worlds Collide”, by the way (I guess it was worth the wait!)… In 2017, we continued working on the record, but our bass player left the band, so we were contending with finding someone new, and getting them up to speed(Hi Simon!). 2018 found us finally getting back to playing live, and 2019 brings us to the release. FINALLY.
There is a linking, thematic unity here – “collision” usually has negative connotations. However, here, I feel like there’s a subtext of positivity and hope with the notion of ideas colliding together, bringing people closer, etc. Would that be too much of a stretch?
“Our Worlds Collide” is a song about embarking on a new relationship with someone who is outside one’s circle, and the awesomeness thereof! I suppose that it could be made more generalized to your notion of ideas and that sort of thing, too. However, I still can pen a good girl/boy song now and again! It’s usually our guitar player, Dave, to tell me what my songs are about. He’s good at that sort of thing. I just usually go with whatever words come out, and don’t pay attention to the deeper “meaning behind the moaning”… Who said that originally? I don’t remember. Drummer Chris and I also co-wrote a bunch of lyrics together. Usually it was me saying, “give me 9 syllables ending in “ery””‘ or similar.
This album also goes in some harder directions, at moments – songs that I wouldn’t think fit the usual Anderson Council style – which I like. It good to scare or challenge one’s self. Was that a conscious thing? To “rock” more than “pop” and to have more or a ’70’s heaviness versus the ’60’s psychedelia? A desire to not be pigeonholed? Certainly, you also ventured in to ’80’s/late ’80’s “alternative” sounds (and forgive that phrase – I despise it); I felt the presence of Squeeze, R.E.M. and The Connells in the room… Were there any deliberate/new influences that you added to the recipe? And do you think fans will pick up on it.
Here’s the thing: every song I write is for The Anderson Council. They ALL sound like Council songs to me, whether it’s something that follows our usual path, like “Mrs. Kirkby’s Refrigerator” or something outside it, like “When I Fall”… Our records tend to be slightly lighter weight than our live show, but this time, the heavier sounds were recorded! Also, I think ANY time that I use octave apart vocals in a song, there’s going to be a Squeeze comparison! I love Squeeze. They are great at their art. So are the first 5 R.E.M. records. When I pick out single notes in a chord on a guitar, inevitably I do it like Peter Buck would do on Murmur or Reckoning. That stuff is as much a part of my musical DNA as The Jam/XTC/Move/Bee Gees/Beatles/Who/Fugazi/Swervedriver… it’s all in there, somewhere. I certainly hope that our fans won’t be so closeminded as to not like us because I don’t want to keep re-writing “Sitting On A Cloud”. I feel almost as at home playing with punk bands as I do playing with power pop bands.
Do you listen to the Anderson Council records and think “damn; we should have been part of the Paisley Underground”? Because those records fit alongside of The Rain Parade, The Three O’Clock, etc.
Honestly, I don’t listen to our records all that much, once they come out. I’m usually sick of them by that point! I can see the similarities with the bands you mentioned, though. Our problem is that we’re usually too psych to be garage, or too rock to be psych, or too pop to be punk. Or are we? Is it a “problem”? I don’t know. I just want to play shows!
What now? Any mini-tours or opening slots?
We’ve been playing a bunch of local gigs since the record came out. More shows are on the horizon, whatever they may be… http://www.theandersoncouncil.org/shows will keep you up to date with all of the latest happenings. We are both well suited to basements as we are theaters! Get in touch!
Worlds Collide is currently available on Jem Records