Absolutely Celebrates a Year in the Life of Being a Band
When bands hit the year mark, it’s a good time to step back and assess what the hell just happened. Is the music the same? The concept the same? Same members? Does everyone still like each other even? Milwaukee’s Absolutely, set to turn one year old, still have the same three members as when started: guitarist Andy McGuire, bassist George Ananchev and drummer Charlie Hosale, and they get along just fine. The three began with the desire to play music in a style they’d never played, but always loved — post-hardcore. This is obvious in regards to Hosale and McGuire’s previous collaborative effort, the pop/country Roses, a far cry from the hollow and heavy music of Absolutely, which recalls the stark and unforgiving elements of their core influences (Shellac and Fugazi).
Ananchev talks to Fan-belt before Absolutely’s one-year anniversary show at the Cactus Club this Saturday about local like-minded bands who inspire them and setting the bar high for next year.
When we started the band, I had only known Charlie and Andy for a couple months. We knew enough about each other’s taste in music to play together. As we became closer friends, that showed in the songwriting and band mentality. Now, our close friendship is integral to the band and how it works.
Initially, I don’t know if we really knew how people would react. We didn’t know what to expect as a band, so we just kept playing shows, writing more songs, and trying to record. Some people really dug it. I don’t think we expected to tour within a year’s time at all. Now, we have one mini tour (with Fight Suit) behind us and a second one (with White Problems) ahead of us. In Milwaukee, we’re still relatively unknown. So, we’re still sticking to the original plan: playing shows, writing more songs, trying to record.
Who have you played with so far and what have been some of your favorite show memories?
Every show is a little different, but the pattern seems to show that we play with like-minded bands, some of which we’ve played many shows with (White Problems, Fight Suit, Masonry, Cougar Den). We had the privilege of playing with Gauge at their reunion show. They were awesome. Last year, for Andy’s birthday, we played in our basement. Everyone squeezed us into a corner, caused some minor power outages, sang along to songs they didn’t know and took our shirts off. That was fun. On our tour with Fight Suit, we played in some kid’s party house in the boonies outside of Lawrence, Kansas. They forgot we were coming or something. The freestyle rapper in the Priest Holmes jersey was really not into us. He was pretty vocal about that. That was frightening and upsetting. We wanted to impress “Priest Holmes.” This year’s Valentine’s show at Lotus Land was fantastic. Usually, if people pat me on the back while we’re playing, the crowd is good. This crowd was great. I felt like I was doing a really great job.
Has your style changed at all since your beginnings?
When Absolutely was only in talks, I remember three bands we mentioned we wanted to sound like: Shellac, Fugazi, At the Drive-In. I guess the kind of stuff we never got a chance to play in previous bands. I can see that in the first couple songs we wrote, but we were mostly just playing with ideas, testing songs out. We stopped playing a lot of that stuff, but recently took to restructuring some of the songs. Now, we know what an Absolutely song can sound like. Stylistically, we’ve figured out a niche. For the most part, people say we sound like 90s post-hardcore bands. We acknowledge and appreciate that, but I’d like to think these songs don’t sound like they belong to or come from any particular era. Honestly, the songs probably sound different to me than they do to you.
I have an Absolutely cassette a friend passed along, but can’t play it because I don’t have a tape deck. Any chance you’re going to release some material on vinyl or CD?
That seems to be a common comment/question. Actually, the first “release” we ever had was a 4-song demo CD-R. You’ll never see those again because they are probably stuck to an old Jolly Rancher under each of our friends’ beds. We made twenty-five copies of the cassette so we could sell something on tour, but we wanted to have something a little more tangible than another CD-R. We don’t have any more tapes, so we know at least twenty-five people, including my mother, like us. But, in all seriousness, I don’t think my mom likes us at all. She just doesn’t get it, man.
We plan on recording our full-length sometime this summer, hoping to release it on vinyl. A 7” is also in the works.
What’s the plan for year two?
One simple goal. Play at Brett Favre’s Super Bowl / retirement party.
Absolutely plays this Saturday, May 1st at the Cactus Club (2496 S. Wentworth). Also playing: No Sleep for the Bear, Golden Coins and At-Latl. 21+
Until then, take a listen. Here’s Pinocchio Paradox