Anthony Green
by Interviews

Whether you’re familiar with Anthony Green from Circa Survive, Saosin, L.S. Dunes, The Sound of Animals Fighting, or his solo music there is no question that he pours his entire being into every single thing he creates and that is especially true on his upcoming solo record Doom. Spun. The 13 tracks find him at some of his most experimental as he dives into noise rock, brings intimacy to electronic music, delivers a poignant recitation of a poem by French Surrealist poet Robert Desnos, and reimagines three tracks from 2022’s Boom. Done. A sense of connection also permeates the album and serves to drive home the fact that it is impossible to create without it. Whether Anthony is working with collaborators, involving the audience, telling a story, or exploring how certain songs make him feel, you feel like you are along for the ride with him. Doom. Spun. will be out everywhere on June 26 via Born Losers Records. Anthony Green will be hosting two listening parties (one in-person and one virtual) next week and will be playing solo shows around the US starting in September.

Punknews editor Em Moore caught up with Anthony to talk about the new album, what goes into reimagining songs, his creative process, finding connection through music, frogs, and so much more. Read the interview below!

This interview between Em Moore and Anthony Green took place on June 12, 2024 over Zoom. This transcription documents their conversation and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

The cover for Doom. Spun. shows a frog with its arms crossed standing in front of a crescent moon. What’s the story behind the frog?

When I was 14 I found this frog that lived in my parents’ backyard and brought it inside my house as my pet. I had probably smoked a bunch of weed and I was like, “I’m gonna play this frog a bunch of music”. So I played the frog all of this music and thought that maybe through my connection with the frog or something it would suddenly adapt to this place but it ended up terrifying the thing and I put it back. I named him Dennis Hopper and I would see him all the time. Even when I would go back to my parents’ house I would see a frog back there and I’d think, “Is it possible that it’s Dennis??” I also think frogs are really cool animals. The feeling I think the frog is having on the cover is something I think everybody can relate to. Looking up at the moon thinking, “What the fuck is this world?”

It’s very existential but also really pretty.

It’s an interpretation, you don’t know whether that frog is relieved or upset. To me, when I see it, I think the frog is just taking a moment for himself. I think that Dennis is just taking a moment to have gratitude for all of the wonderful things that music has brought into his life.

Is the frog in the “Megadeath” video an homage to Dennis?

Yeah. He’s making an appearance in another video that we’re working on right now. I feel like Dennis is going to be a part of all of the visual expressions for Doom. Spun..

You’ve described Doom. Spun. as being a sister record to 2022’s Boom. Done. and you reworked three songs off that album on this one. You have a stringed version of “I Don’t Want to Die Tonight”, an electronic remix of “Fucks Me Up", and a live version of “Don’t Dance”. Why did you decide to rework these songs in particular?

The reason that “I Don’t Want to Die Tonight” was reworked was because the second I started working on that song, I thought it would be really cool to hear it represented with strings and have it with Summer Swee-Singh specifically. She also worked on a bunch of stuff for another record I did called Would You Still Be In Love and we play together live. Summer is a great composer and I felt like she would make the composition really her own thing. I always imagined having her re-record the music with strings and seeing how she would imagine the chords. When she sent it back to me, I re-recorded the vocals to get the feeling of the instrumentation that she provided. At first, I wasn’t planning on making this an album that had stuff on it from Boom. Done.. I wasn’t thinking about using that track as like, “I’m going to do a bunch of songs from Boom. Done. with strings on them”. But when I started putting this together, the feeling of the track she did and her composition felt like something that needed to be in this group of songs so it worked really well.

Taking “Don’t Dance” and doing the one acoustic, one vocal live version is like having a hot drink and a cold drink. If I have a song that is cluttered with instrumentation, I automatically wanna hear what it’s gonna sound like empty. When I have a song that’s pumping with adrenaline, I always wanna know what it feels like to play it at the other end of the spectrum where it’s slowed down and texturally different.

For “Fucks Me Up” Adam, who I work with a lot and who co-wrote a bunch of songs with me, took the stems from the album and did a remix or a recomposition of it. It gave me this feeling that I don’t feel like I’ve had in a lot of songs. It’s electronic but it’s also really textural and intimate which I don’t feel is very present in a lot of electronic songs. I saluted those three just because they felt so on the other end of the spectrum from the original versions and I like having that as an element.

It’s the same with how you reimagined “3AM” too.

Absolutely! Maybe it’s part of the way my brain works but I immediately think, “Oh this would be cool all slowed down and trippy!”

You recorded the live version of “Don’t Dance” at Nomad Supply Co in Philly. What does this place mean to you?

Yes! Nomad Supply Co opened a few years ago. My friend Chris Blackway owns it and he has three little kids that are around the same age as some of my kids. We came up together as friends raising families in this little town. He worked for a corporate retail store and left his job and started this shop as sort of a dream - not just to have a different store but to be part of the community and do something cool for the community. They offer skating and surfing stuff to younger people.

Getting to be his friend and seeing him do that was inspiring to me. He was one of the first friends that I’ve had where we didn’t make music together. We didn’t make records together, we didn’t do any of that. All of the people in my life pretty much are people that I’m involved with in some way working with. I don’t really have that many or any friends outside of the people I’ve worked with. Chris is one of the first people that I’ve cultivated a relationship with where we’re both sort of inspired by each other. We do different things but help each other in different ways and lift each other up.

It’s cool to have a place in my town where I can call my buddy up and be like, “Hey, I want to have an art show! I want to come play acoustic!” We have Siren Records which has always been that for all young artists but this guy has brought skateboarding and surfing and DIY shows back to my town. I love supporting him. He’s a great human being.

At the end of that song, while you’re doing call and response vocals you say, “Ok, now just my mom and dad!” and they sing along. What did it mean to you to have your parents on the recording?

I thought that was a funny moment during the show. I didn’t plan to do that or anything. During that time I also didn’t think, “Oh, this is going to be used for a record”. Doom. Spun. wasn’t even an idea I had at that point. I think that having my mom and dad be involved in it in a way which is kinda funny gives the track character. I can remember listening to live recordings of songs where somebody in the band would do or say something about what was happening in the moment and it gave the recording so much life and so much colour. I had a weird, very difficult relationship with my parents growing up and so to be at a place in my life where I feel at peace with them or as close to being at peace with them as I can be, that’s a victory.

How would you describe your songwriting process?

That one’s difficult because I don’t necessarily have a singular process. I’m always writing and always listening for chords that I like. I’ll be in the middle of a conversation with somebody and they’ll say something and I’ll write down something they said. Then I’ll pick up a guitar and start strumming something and won’t go super far with it but I will record it and write it down as something that I think has potential. I do spend a regimented time writing music, listening to music, and working on music but it always looks different. Some days I’m sitting with a guitar and a pen and I’m writing and I’m making progress and I have something. Some days I’m just listening to iTunes charts of what’s new and what’s out, stuff I’ve never heard. Sometimes I’ll do that for two hours and I’ll consider it work but I’m just listening to new songs that I’ve never heard or new artists I’ve never heard. I think that’s all part of the process. There’s been weeks that have gone by where I haven’t picked up a guitar but I’ve been piecing things together in my mind so when I come home from tour and I do pick up the guitar I’m ready to go right there because I’ve been working on all these different things.

I have a list of things I wanna write about and I have a list of things I wanna write about that I also have a couple of poems for. I have some pictures and videos that I’ve taken for inspiration and movies that I’ve clipped for inspiration. This process started so long ago and has never stopped. It hasn’t stopped when an album cycle has stopped and it hasn’t stopped when a band has broken up. It started when I was a younger kid and it’s still happening, it’s still collecting. It’s like I’m a hobbyist or something, just working at my craft. I’m collecting songs. I’m finding little pieces that I can make into songs everywhere and whittling them up and sharing them.

It’s like a scrapbook or a quilt.

Yeah! It’s like I'm knitting and it’s not like I’m ever done. An album doesn’t mean that’s done. It’s all gonna work together in the end. When I’m dead there’s going to be this tapestry of collection and then it can be a thing but right now everything represents the present moment and when it’s gone, there’s more. It’s like whittling or making model airplanes. Maybe you have a dream of a special model airplane but you’re never finished, you’re always working and you’re always making new things.

I think music’s so special because you make it and then you can put it out there and people can get joy and pleasure from it for an endless amount of time. You’re putting this thing out there into the world that could bring joy and peace to people and could mean something to people and could help people through things. Being a part of that process, even if just being a whisper in that process, is so profound. I’m sorry, I know the question was about how I describe my songwriting process but it’s so hard because everything about my life and personality is wrapped up in songwriting. It’s all I can do. It’s all I’ve focused on and built up. It’s my life.

That’s the only way you can write, write what you know. You’re not going to sit down and be like, “I’m gonna describe the inside of a Victorian clock”.

What if that’s the coolest song?? I might do that now! I might try to write a song that describes the inside of a Victorian clock just because if somebody was like, “That’s a cool song!” I’d be like, “Check it out, I wrote that because of this conversation I had about songwriting with my friend”. My process is just constantly chasing any exciting, curious notion that’s gonna give me the thrill that I’m connected to everyone and not alone.

That’s the magic of it! It’s so important to have that connection through music.

Yeah! Imagine you’re sending a letter to all these random strangers being like, “Hey, same. And all good for you because I got through that and I know you can. I know you can and I believe in you”. There’s such a special power to that.

There really, really is. What can we do to make sure we’re showing up for each other and keeping that connection strong?

I’ve noticed that people give certain types of consideration to their favourite artist or people they don’t know and because they like someone’s music they’ll be like, “This person’s so great! This person is wonderful and they deserve joy!” I think if people were to try to challenge themselves to give everyone that consideration, that compassion, and that understanding that they would give their best friend or their favourite artist or musician, the world would be more patient and more understanding with each other. I think that everyone is very afraid and fear is a paralyzing thing. Any time that we can put our hands up and say, “You don’t have to be afraid, we can be together in this” we can help each other and we don’t have to judge one another. I think that we need to connect on the things that we are bound to like love, the need for support, the need to be heard, and the need to feel cared for. Those are the basic fundamentals of what everybody wants from each other. It’s a simple thing like I tell my kids, if you’re giving people the consideration that you desire then it’s gonna be ok. That doesn't mean people aren’t going to cut into you, be hurtful, and be shitty but understand that all of that comes from a place of lack of knowledge and lack of the tools to do anything better.

Trust me, it’s easy for me to say all this shit because of who I am and where I’ve come from. I have the luxury of being able to say all of this stuff. I have not been systematically oppressed or systematically ignored and gaslit my entire existence. I’ve been propped up and positioned my entire life for success and for opportunity. I’ve had every fucking resource at my fingertips when I needed it to get shit done. I think it’s going to take people realizing that it’s really not fair for everyone who doesn’t have that to make those types of fucking claims. I do believe that people need to have compassion and understanding and kindness for each other but I say that full well not having been put in positions that other people have been. I always feel like what my job to do in this situation is to just listen and try to create space for people who know more than me, have more experience than me, and have more to offer to try to help change the situation that people who look like me and come from the place that I come from have set up. I think that’s how we can show up for each other. We can really try to listen, know when it’s important to listen, and know when it’s important to let other people have a turn at organizing and running the show.

“Lude. Spun.” is one of the most visual songs on the album. How did that song come about?

That song is part of a collection of songs I have. [laughs] I just started playing with guitar pedals, I had all the pedals set up and I was making all these crazy noises. I’ve been writing these noise tracks that are just a collection of soundscapes and weirdness. I was like, “I want something that’s going to be just a little thing that happens in between songs” so I went and grabbed one of them to try to make an interlude for this album. I started putting pieces together and it just turned into “Lude. Spun”. It ended up being something that I thought was really, really pretty. I just love it so much. There’s a million different things happening. Keith Goodwin, who mixed it, really did a great job in balancing and putting everything where it needed to be. That was a challenge.

On track 10 you are reciting a poem by Robert Desnos. Why did you choose to read “I Have Dreamed Of You So Much” in particular?

So that poem came to me at a time in my life where its sentiment was like medicine to this isolation and distance I was feeling from somebody. I held onto it and would recite it and would remind myself of it because it was like a notation from the Universe reminding me that if what you’re going through is happening so that you produce something like that, then it’s not all for nothing. The longing and suffering can be bearable when it is put into something where you can express it and it can be shared. Even if you don’t get that love or you don’t have that feeling, you’re alchemizing your suffering into something that is medicine. That poem is like medicine for me and I love the idea of introducing it to people. I think more people need to get into French surrealist poetry. [laughs]

The whole idea of music and lyrics and poems and words having that medicinal quality needs to be talked about so much more. So many times I’ve been like, “Oh, I’m feeling kinda weird so I’m going to listen to this or read this” and then I feel so much better.

Right?? It happened yesterday while I was walking down the street. A car drove by me playing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” and I was like, “Oh yeah, everything’s ok. Everything’s ok because of that”.

That’s really funny that you mention that song because that happened to me yesterday too!

No way! With that song?

Yeah! It happened yesterday at the doctor’s office, “Time After Time” started playing and I had the exact same reaction.

So that type of coincidence I believe means something. No way that you had that experience yesterday, I had that experience yesterday, we talked today about it and there’s not some message from the ethereal, mystery forces in the Universe telling us that we’re both on the right track in whatever we’re doing. I love that. I have chills right now.

You cover “Numb, But I Still Feel It” by Title Fight and “Funtimes In Babylon” by Father John Misty on this album. What do these songs mean to you?

They’re both songs that have resonated with me lyrically and melodically. The Father John Misty song I heard when I got out of rehab 8 or 9 years ago. It was the first Father John Misty song I’d ever heard and it just blew me away. When he says, “I would like to abuse my lungs” - holy shit!! It was one of those lyrics that I wish I’d written. And “Smoke everything in sight with everyone I’ve ever loved” too. When music gives me that feeling, a lot of times I’m trying to crawl inside of it so I’ll cover the song. I learned how to play that song just to get that feeling whenever I needed to.

Same thing with “Numb, But I Still Feel It”. When I first heard that song, I felt like it changed me and how I felt my relationship with music was. That band means so much to me. I pick songs to cover that have given me a feeling of relief and freedom to crawl inside and get to know in that intimate of a way. Those are both songs that when I play them, I feel like, “This is a sentiment that I can feel in my bones" as if it was something that came directly out of my soul. I think the thing is that music does that for everyone, indiscriminately. It’s not my music or anyone’s music, it’s just music that does that for us - as a gift to us indiscriminately. To become a part of it, to give back to it, and to pay homage to it is such an honour.

You recorded “Megadeath” before your show at World Cafe Live earlier this year and audience members sang gang vocals on it. What was that recording experience like?

We were so stressed about all this other shit that we had to do and the idea of making the video and making the track came up last minute. The original version of that song, “Megadub”, is on the record and it’s electronic. It was done by my friend Adam, who does Moshtradamus with me, and it’s very pop-electronic, kind of dubstep-y. I learned a way of playing it on an acoustic guitar to play it at the shows. My partner who puts out the records with me, Chris, was working at the shows at the time and selling merch. The idea got floated out in the van on the ride between shows like, “Would we have time to record a new version of this song that’s more like the version I’m playing live to put on the record? Because it feels really good to play it and sing it like this”. He was like, “We don’t have time to do it. Let’s do it!” Like, “No, this is crazy. Let’s get it done!” We put all the pieces together within a few hours and got our buddy Todd to meet me in Philly and I put the arrangement together.

It happened in such an inspired way and had such a momentum that created and contained this excitement. It wasn’t the biggest song in the world. It wasn’t some big, giant thing. It was just like, “Wow, we did it!” I made the arrangement, we decided to do it, and then we got it done. It was this little victory of, “Music can be representative of what’s happening in your life at that moment”. It doesn’t have to be something that needs six months to get on a playlist. It can happen however you dream it to happen and that was the sentiment of the song. Having all of the sentiments behind the video and the song match up in a way that is so harmonious is not always something that you can plan for. This just happened so organically. It was sick!

On “Megadub” you say “trust” and on “Megadeath” you sub out that word with “love”.

I don’t know if that was conscious but I do conflate both of those things together. I think love and trust kind of go hand in hand, they kinda come together. You can’t really have one without the other. I guess you can have trust without love but I think it’s almost impossible to have love without trust.

Even with trust you still have to have some sort of love.

Yeah, some sort of admiration or respect.

Both of the videos for “Megadeath” and “3AM” feature your kids. What does it mean to have them involved with your music?

A lot of these videos were made when I was in between touring. I think including them makes it easier for me to not have to carve the video out of time I’m not spending with them. In my mind I’m trying to make a video, I need to keep it cost-effective, and I need to keep it realistic but if I’m making all of these factors then why not factor in, “Maybe I’ll try to make it so I don’t have to have this be 4 or 5 hours that I have to not be with my kids”. Involving them means that I don’t have to ditch them to get this finished. I don’t know if I consciously do that.

With these songs, I was thinking about what would be interesting. I was playing basketball with my kids and I had this idea of how us in slow-motion shooting baskets could look really cool. The idea that it’s something I’m gonna think about when I’m away from them is an easy statement to make in a video. So it’s like, “Boom! There it is”. When I’m home they’re by my side always. Especially now because they’re going to be getting out of school soon. We do a lot of stuff together. They help me come up with ideas for things and they’re such a creative force in my life.

Do you bounce ideas off of them?

Oh yeah! And not just for this stuff either. I’ll be like, “Yo, I’m having trouble with this thing that’s happening”. I’ll explain to them the situation I’m in or a relationship problem I’m having and they’ll be like, “You should definitely call that person and tell that to them”. They always offer me some insight that is more profound than what you would normally give a kid credit for. They’re my greatest teachers. Stylistically, they’re always coming up with cool ideas for videos, cool ideas for songs, and cool ideas on how to incorporate people who support the band into more stuff that we’re doing. They’re amazing.

You’ll be holding a Doom. Spun. listening party at Heart of Gold Tattoo Club on the 23rd of June and tattoo artist Cullen Quinn designed a flash sheet inspired by the album. How did the idea to make the listening party tattoo-themed come about?

Heart of Gold is a place that I’ve been wanting to do stuff with for a while. All the people that work there are such great artists and Cullen is so cool. I feel like they reached out and were like, “Hey, if you ever want to do anything or play a special thing, let us know” a long time ago so when we were looking for spots and coming up with ideas, they came to mind. I remember Nothing doing a really cool flash sheet of tattoos for one of their records once and I was like, “What if we did a thing where people could get tattoos and listen to the record and have it be art-centered?” Tattooing is such a cool art form and a lot of times people will be like, “I got this lyric tattooed!” or they’ll have an image of a Circa Survive album cover or something. It always blows my mind.

I love getting tattooed! I love getting a new tattoo or when my friend gets something cool. It’s just a cool event and I thought it'd be really neat to do. Hopefully, it goes well and I’d love to do more of them. I think that if this one goes well, it would be cool to go to more spots and maybe play a couple songs, hang out, and have a fun day to get tattooed. I’m lucky that Heart of Gold was down to do this. It was really them coming to Born Losers and them who had the inspiration for the idea. I’m lucky that they’re so supportive and down for the cause. The flash sheet is so cool! I wanna get the clock, I think. There’s a tornado, there’s a bunch of cool ones. I would literally get every tattoo on that sheet.

Are you going to get one?

Hopefully there’ll be time. I know those guys are gonna be working a lot during the day but if there’s time I’m gonna try to get one.

I like the one with the snake that has the How 2 Molt book.

I didn’t know this but that one’s a play off of some old Sailor Jerry design. I had no idea!

You also have some shows coming up across the US in September. What are you looking forward to the most about those?

Being in the Pacific Northwest in September is a very special time. Especially the way that the smells of Portland and Seattle are around those times, right before the summer dies and the fall starts to kick in. I’m really excited to do some outdoorsy shit and maybe go for some hikes in between the shows. I’ve also been working on this new setlist over the last couple years where I’ve been playing a lot more Circa songs and Saosin songs. I never played “Seven Years” as part of my solo set, I always kept that as something that was just for Saosin. I’ve recently started playing it and I never really played a lot of Circa songs solo before. There’s a lot of new songs to my setlist that I’ve never played before that I’ve really been enjoying playing.

The set is really fun. I had a really good experience playing the shows that I did earlier this year and each time I would learn a little bit more about how the show could go smoother and how I could play this song as opposed to that song to make the whole night feel better. I think I have a good idea how to make these upcoming shows a very fulfilling experience for anybody that’s been along for the ride with me for the last fucking hundred years. [laughs]

Do you have a song you’re most excited to play on this tour?

I really like playing “Numb, But I Still Feel It”. I also really like playing “Frozen Creek” and “Get Out”. All the Circa songs are really fun to play. I really love playing “Megadeath”. The song “All Hours” that’s gonna come out soon is really fun to play. “Seven Years” is fun to play. I can’t pick one. Oh! You know what, I will pick one! I’ve been covering this Liz Phair song called “Dogs of L.A.” It’s one of my favourite Liz Phair songs. I’ve been playing it out of a song I have called “Trading Doses” or out of another song and kind of butchering the arrangement of the song and changing the chords but keeping the lyrics and melodies in it. I almost tear up singing it every time I play it. I have an experience every time I try to play it. I’ve only done it a handful of times and I love doing it. That’s what I’m excited about!

Jun 23Heart of Gold Tattoo Club - Doom. Spun. listening partyPhiladelphia, PA
Jun 24Anthony Green's Bandcamp - virtual Doom. Spun. listening partyWorld Wide Web
Sep 06Star TheaterPortland, OR
Sep 07Fun HouseSeattle, WA
Sep 08The Big DipperSpokane, WA
Sep 10Urbane LoungeSalt Lake City, UT
Sep 12MarquisDenver, CO