Anthony Winkley of Defeat the Band
MY second interview of the day sees me chat with…
the lead of Arizona-based, Defeat the Band. Anthony Winkley established the band in 2014: since then, there have been line-up changes. Right now, the group is at their most solid and ambitious. It seems like the ranks are bonded and the trio is looking to the future. Their blend of Punk-cum-Pop has seen them seduce the local audiences. The video for Love and How It Got That Way has been unveiled: it seems like this year will be a big one for the Tuscon band. With their fan-base under-developed in the U.K.: I was eager to chat with Winkley and see if they (Defeat the Band) has plans to come our way.
Filled with bonhomie and determination- cigarettes and alcohol, perhaps? - the front-man chats about the music scene in Arizona; what inspires the creative process- the reaction to the rise-and-rise of the political tyrant, Donald Trump…
Hi, Anthony. I hope you are well. How has your week been?
I've been good! We are full steam ahead around here lately, so I have been going non-stop. We've had 5 shows this month!
You are the lead of Defeat the Band. How did you guys all get together?
Well, back in 2014, I started Defeat’ on a whim, sort of. I never really knew if I was gonna (sic.) to pursue it this far, haha. At first, it was just me on an acoustic guitar: the first addition was my friend Zack Riter. He was my first drummer and shortly after my other friend, Librado Valezuela, joined on bass. They were a solid team but after several shows (and some time) they both left- for different reasons mind you; but I was alone again. Then, just by chance, I met my current drummer James Ringstrom and he offered to just fill in for a while... well over a year later he’s still here and fully vested, haha!
Then we had Michael join. Michael Story is an amazing bassist and person. He had a short life in this band but we send love to him in whatever he has found his way into. Our good friend Luis Rodriguez is filling in for us right now. Most exciting! We have just added a lead guitar to our line-up and I won’t announce it just yet- but it sounds so amazing; look out world! Our next album is gonna blow your head off! Haha!
Defeat the Band play out of Arizona. What is the music scene like there? How does it compare to areas like L.A. and New York, for instance?
The scene here is interesting. There's a scene in Phoenix that reflects a micro-Denver or L.A. - with several large stadium-type venues and lots of smaller venues and bars and such. So, there's a diverse crowd of bands playing on any given night. Tucson is a little bit more interesting, L.O.L.
There’s a thriving Metal scene here: like, maybe 65% of live music here is Metal; not a bad thing if you like it, haha. Then there's a small- but solid- Hip-Hop scene here that tends to do underground shows and things like that. So then, the final large scene here is the ‘Indie-Hipster-Jam-Rock movement’. Hahaha. Here, in Tucson, there is a large number of bands that have a groove and coolness about their sound- that is hard to put into words. Basically... a lot of chill Rock music you can do drugs and f*** to, haha!
This year has been a busy one for you and the group. Which memories (from this year) have stood out particularly?
Well, we put out our first video this year for our song Love and How It Got That Way. We are already working on our second! It was a lot of fun and it was really cool to see the music take to another media. It’s up on YouTube (when it comes out). We also just this week opened up for The Bastard Suns: an amazing Reggae-Punk group that we really hope to do more with soon. This year has been fun so far, haha!
Can you tell us about the new video?
It was so fun. Our good buddy Taylor- from another local band called Thomas Rex- helped us film it. We spent the day basically getting super-high and driving around doing fun stuff, L.O.L. Again, everyone please like, share and subscribe (to that) video! We need it, haha!
As a musician, how important is social media to you?
Very! Ha, if you couldn’t tell already. I am the manager of the band basically; even though I would never call myself that, haha. But, I’m the one that usually plans out our P.R. campaigns and things like that. We try to maintain a presence on the major players but we also try to not force it on people. Just sort-a plant the seed and see what happens. I hope it’ll keep growing like it has been!
Given what’s happening in America- Donald Trump making his ‘mark’ on politics- how do you, as a musician, feel about it? Does it inspire your music at all?
Oh man. I am so conflicted as a human on this issue, ha! I feel like Bernie: although he has the best ideas and gets my vote he also has a lot of flaws with his plans (that he doesn't talk about). Trump? L.O.L. I honestly can’t believe it’s gotten this far. I mean, the guy was a reality T.V. star and now he’s a stone’s throw from The White House. It’s fu***** crazy. No other word for it. Then you have Hillary on the side- hiding emails and ignoring Benghazi and whatnot. Its insanity and I think America is in for one hell of a ride, no matter which direction it goes. It’s become clear that stupidity levels on both sides are pretty high- as more and more protesters assault one another and try to actively disrupt rallies It’s all madness!
Then you have Hillary on the side- hiding emails and ignoring Benghazi and whatnot. It's insanity and I think America is in for one hell of a ride- no matter which direction it goes. It’s become clear that stupidity levels on both sides are pretty high- as more and more protesters assault one another and try to actively disrupt rallies It’s all madness!
When it comes to writing a Defeat the Band song: what themes/subjects inspire you particularly?
Well... in short? Women. Haha. In depth: I’d say all aspects of life. Struggles with self-worth and image. The faceless demons that we all have- at least, I hope we all have them, haha! Honestly, just about living and the convictions you choose to keep.
Which bands and artists have been influential when it comes to moulding your sound?
HUGE Brand New fan. Deja Entendu has some very (very) intense memories (attached to it) for me. I was a big fan of Say Anything’s first and second albums when I was young- and Taking Back Sunday’s first and second. I feel like they touched on a style that they quickly migrated away from; to find something new for themselves and that is awesome. But I wanna migrate back there because I feel like that weird genre of music has more to say, haha. I know those songs changed me as a teenager and I feel like I am constantly trying to write songs for that kid. Boy… this is a weird level of exposition of myself, haha!
Say you were deserted on an island; you can take only one record with you: which one would it be?
If I’m there for less than one year: The Front Bottoms- Back on Top. If I’m there less than 5 years: Action Bronson-Blue Chips Mixtape. If I’m there for LIFE: Pink Floyd- Wish You Were Here
If you could turn back time and offer your younger self some advice, what would you say?
Lose weight. I’m trying to do it now and it’s (like) so much harder. Seriously, everyone should take care of themselves, haha! It’s not worth it otherwise!
Are there any up-and-coming acts- either locally or internationally- you would recommend to us?
Always my boys here in Tucson; Thomas Rex. Internationally, I’d have to say Pup (from Canada). I would love to tour with them!
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Does Defeat the Band have any plans to play the U.K. this year?
If we can get enough fans over there, sure! If any bands or promoters read this and are interested in putting something together; please contact us!
There will be some young artists inspired to follow in your footsteps. What advice would you give them?
Play more! Seriously: everyone needs to play more; they want to be famous (or think they're famous-less). I have always felt a need to connect with people through music so that's why I write so many songs. For every one good Defeat’ song I might write ten not-so-good ones. But the magic is in knowing what’s really good- and not being worried about throwing songs away; you can just make more! Literal magic
Looking ahead to the rest of the year: any plans for an album or E.P.?
Yes! Now that we have a full lineup we are excited to announce our first single off our upcoming album- It’s Only Permanent- will be out sometime in the next few months! We hope to have that single out in July (sometime) and then, if we can, put out a full-blown studio album this December.
Finally- and for being a good egg- you can name any song you like; I’ll play it here…
Well, if you're meaning one of my own? I guess Ghostheart off our album Something Unheard Of. If not one of my own: Action Bronson and Blue Chips.
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