Discover This: Anahata

Expect huge intensity with a fusion of melodic atmosphere and raw energy from exciting New York post-hardcore meets metalcore act Anahata.

The band was first started by frontman Chris Leyba, who took on lead vocals duty when the first lineup dissipated. He’s since been joined by Marvin Thompson (guitar), Brian Doran (bass) and Chris Caressimo (drums), with the new lineup releasing second EP Abhorrence last year.

They sent us Breathe/Bleed from that EP, which gives us a nice introduction to their intense sound. The track opens up with chugging guitars over big screamed vocals. That feeds into a more melodic chorus that dives straight into another intense verse then big booming smashes of guitar. Check it out in the video below:

And the savagely raw intensity of the band comes to the fore in the EP’s second track Beakmouth. It opens up with a cool little guitar riff then explodes into a huge mass of wild drums and chugging low-tuned guitars that continue under intense screams. The huge intensity continues throughout with savage drums and guitars, then eerie synth sounds creeping in.

But they save the heaviest of heaviness for the end, with the track concluding with a cry of “motherfucker” and savage screams giving way huge low-tuned guitars and relentless drums. It’s seriously heavy stuff, and you can give it a listen below:

We had a chat with the band to find out more, in what is one of the longer interviews we’ve ever done! Read on below…

GR: Who are Anahata? And where are you from? What’s the backstory, how did you get together? 

MT: “I was actually a pretty big fan of the band before I joined – since my first band actually. My band at the time ended up going on a hiatus and, after running into Leyba at some shows and after some really cool jams, he gave me a call to join when he needed a guitar player. I went to college with Brian and we’ve been friends for a while, and as soon as Chris C joined we were brothers.”

BD: “I went to college with Leyba and Marvin. Between seeing them there and being fans of their bands at the time (one of which was Anahata) we became buddies. When Anahata’s former bass player left, I jumped at the chance to play with them. I also had the privilege of dragging Caressimo into the band when he had one leg and a broken back. We met at a mutual friend’s birthday gathering and clicked together pretty quick.”

CC: “Slight backstory that keeps getting confused: I previously got injured at one of my previous jobs while unloading a delivery truck. I ended up falling in between the loading dock and the truck which caused me to tear my calf and injure my lower back. So while meeting Brian for the first time, I was pretty broken. Brian and I had a long talk about our music tastes and about our history of playing our instruments. He then told me about his band Anahata and how they are looking for a new drummer at the time, looked at my injured self and thought it would be a great idea to ask if I would be interested in trying out for the band. Without hesitation I said yes!

“The second I saw them, any of my fears and worries about this try out vanished, the moment we met up and started to introduce ourselves, things from that moment felt right, and that idea on grew stronger the moment we sat down and started to jam, not even attempting a song, just jammed off the top of our heads. It was like magic, a match made in heaven. Every aspect of our playing blended so well that I knew I wanted to dive head first into this project and put everything I had into this.”

GR: You just released Breathe/Bleed. What should people be expecting from the song? What inspired you to write it? 

CL: “In Breathe/Bleed there’s a lot of energy… angry, but positive, energy. Expect some rowdy people to go crazy to this, I would say. As for the inspiration, it was during a time where there was a lot of drama between friends, families, and relationship partners, and it seemed like there was nothing we were left with when things started to change and friends started showing their true selves. It seemed like there was no way to vent when the damage was done.”

“So I wrote the lyrics and after many revisions and changes, it turned out to be the song we needed at the time. In addition, I would like for people to take away this is told in the perspective of someone who is already cutting someone off. Where the damage is already done, and the reflection process begins. the truth is, not everyone is your friend, not everyone looks out for your best interest, but just because the odds seem stacked against you, doesn’t mean you can’t come out a better person.”

MT: “I think it’s one of our more in your face songs, lyrically especially. We do write from the heart, but “Breathe/Bleed” takes the cake for directness, so people should be expecting a very forward Anahata on this one. It went through a bunch of revisions, but this song is special for us because it also represents a changing point in our careers where we decided to take more definitive reigns and control over ourselves and our creative ability. Having faith is good, but having confidence is better, and it’s extremely important to be able to stand up for yourself in today’s world. We’ve had to grow that backbone, and we’ve become better people and a better band because of it.

CC: “Oh man, Breathe/Bleed is such a deep cut for the band. That song has gone through so many iterations, producer hands, and many overhauls. Once we finally released it, so much weight came off of our shoulders. Not only because we finished the song, but because we had something we were actually proud to drop after a few years of Balance being released. It was a great feeling to finally have something new out to get the ball rolling for new content to be pumped out. The only response I can give to the people about Breathe/Bleed is to be prepared for some dark emotional lyrics and that they will be able to feel the emotion that this song bares on us, especially if they were to see us performing this song live.”

GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?

MT: “We’re a special kind of intensity. There’s an emotional overlay and a melodic atmosphere to our music, but it’s supported with raw energy. We put a lot of ourselves into our sound, and I think people connect to it because it’s very human in a sense.

“It’s tough for me because I think our sound touches on a variety of different feelings, so dependent on the person the experience can be different. But I do think that it works still – if you’re looking for an intense heavy experience, we got you. If you’re looking for something to relate to you and be calmer, we also got you.”

CC: “Personally, I think it’s hard to describe our sound. If anything, Anahata is this mass of intense emotion and energy. The best way to understand this is to come to a live performance whether it be a small box of a venue or a festival, and experience our energy and emotion in person. The records capture both really well, but in my opinion, we thrive in our live performances the best.”

BD: “I would describe our sound as Metalcore with a variety of influences. There’s a lot of melodic content side by side with heavy riffs, and no two songs have the same vibe.”

CL: “That New Mall Metalcore. Lot’s of the things about metal and post-hardcore that people like, with our unique take on it. It’s anger, it’s sadness, it’s moving on. From the perspective of kids still trying to fit in, and thinking that they have to, but also realizing they have to stay true to themselves.”

GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about? 

CL: “Usually I can’t really write unless the moment comes, and in those moments, I have to write it until it’s done. Musically, it all comes from thoughts that sort themselves out in a strange way, as if the song is already written, I just haven’t recorded anything yet. It could be something that happens in happens in my life, like a breakup or a fight, or a depressive episode, or just the pure adrenaline of hearing something in my head and saying ‘I could write something like that’ it usually comes out. Fortunately, each thing that I write, whether it’s lyrically or musically, the people that know me can tell that I wrote it, and know the things that I do specifically, to make it my own.”

MT: “For me, I’m inspired by how I feel, mainly because I grew up not fully being able to understand the importance of understanding myself. As I’ve been growing up, I feel like I’ve been able to put more of a microscope on those emotions and in turn translate that musically into something relatable, or cool even. I’ve also come into contact with a bunch of sounds, and I gravitate a lot towards heavy and dark sounding music, so those sounds bleed out into my playing and gives it its own identity.”

GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?

MT: “My Chemical Romance is definitely mine. I can’t think of another band who’s influenced me more than them, and I look up to Frank Iero’s live intensity so much. I also listen to a ton of Japanese music, and I think that guided a large part of how I approach guitar. Ryo Kawakita of Maximum the Hormone is one of my favorite guitar players ever. There’s also the Gazette, Darkest Hour, Code Orange, X Japan, the Black Dahlia Murder.”

CC: “For me, this has been changing consistently while I discover different bands and drummers. At the moment, I’ve been hyper focused on bands like Gojira, Ne Obliviscaris, Veil of Maya, After the Burial, and Hail the Sun. Each band is different from each other, but I listen and learn from them all for the same reasons, and it has to do with their drummers. Mario Duplantier from Gojira has been my ideal since I was 13, within the last couple years of really studying his style I quickly started to understand why he’s my ideal.

“Donovan Melero from Hail the Sun basically inspires me the same way as Mario Duplantier, but in a more chaotic way. Watching Dan Presland from Ne Obliviscaris definitely pushes me to develop my stamina and precision behind the drum set and also adds to my creative style as well when it come epic length progressive music which has been my all time favorite style of music once I was first introduced to metal. Sam Applebaum from Veil of Maya and Dan Carle from After the Burial provide the same type of precision and extreme technicality that I have recently fell in love with only after joining Anahata.”

BD: “I grew up on thrash metal like Slayer and Metallica, but eventually that gave way to more modern progressive music like Veil of Maya and Periphery. I’d say the majority of my influence comes from either of those vibes, though lately I’ve been focusing in on taking influence from specific players instead of full band sounds. Nolly from Periphery, Jon Stockman from Karnivool and Skyler, Accord from Issues have really informed and changed the way my tone and my playing have evolved. But then I look at some of the local bands we play with and I’m constantly blown away by the amount of talent I’m surrounded by. Mei from Moonfall and August from Kaonashi absolutely blow my mind and I’ve been obsessed with dissecting the things they do.”

CL: “I would say creatively one of my favorite bands of all time is The Gazette. They have so much versatility and everything they’ve ever written was what I needed to hear and feel at the time.”

GR: What have you got coming up in 2020?

CL: “New music for sure. New music videos, new gigs, new challenges, our plan is to really grow and work on ourselves as a team and, for myself, to grow as a writer and an artist, in hopes that our music shakes the world hard enough for everyone to pay attention.”

BD: “We have our first tour coming up this year, too. I plan on making sure nobody can ignore us.”

GR: Anything else you’d like people to know about you/your music? 

MT: “I think there’s something in Anahata that is out there for everybody, and I think that regardless of what you’re looking for or regardless of what you like, you’re going to have a good time hanging out with us.”

CC: “One of our biggest goals is for people to feel accepted and to understand that whatever they are feeling, their feelings are valid. That you aren’t alone with whatever issues and struggles you face on a daily basis, and that you are accepted the way you are. Also, we plan on visiting many new places and meeting all these new wonderful and amazing people that listen and support us outside our home towns. Anahata is coming!”

You can follow Anahata on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and check out their music on Spotify, Bandcamp and YouTube.

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