The Los Angeles-based Alternative Rock band, ANSON is a 3-piece act set to bridge early 2000’s emo rock with today’s mainstream stratosphere. The group, consisting of Anson Li (Vocals), George Tello (Bassist), and Zack Mueller (Lead Guitarist) offer an array of introspective songs about life and discovering who you are as a person. Their debut EP entitled To Be or Nothing At All, produced by Andrew D’Angelo (Set It Off, Volumes, Cold Rain), mixed by Dan Korneff (Paramore, Pierce The Veil, Our Last Night, My Chemical Romance) and Nick Morzov (Ghost Town, Set It Off, Dan + Shay, and The Night Game), and mastered by Ted Jensen (Muse, Green Day, Billy Joel, The Police) was released on September 29th.
The EP offers a very personal and raw reflection of when vocalist, Anson Li, began the journey to self identity and speaks to the struggles of putting everything on the line to live for your art. In 2017, Li collaborated with George Tello and Zack Mueller to complete this newfound artistry when wanting to transition from being a solo act to a full band and re-titled the project to ANSON. The three found commonality in self discovery, strength, and empowerment to take a risk in life, and brought a unique synergy to the full band sound. Li continues,
“To Be or Nothing at All” is about living at the crossroads of my life and dealing with the daily struggles with self identity, self doubt, and depression that come with that. The EP tells a story of how I dealt with these issues and gained strength to choose a path and move forward in my life. This EP is a testament to the fact you can’t live your whole life stuck at the crossroads. You have to make a choice because not making a choice is just as bad as making the wrong one. In life you have to stand up for what you believe in, don’t be scared to fail and go for it. Follow your dreams. Taking leaps of faith is terrifying, but at the end of the day when you do it, everything in your life aligns together and it’s pure bliss. – Anson Li
To celebrate, ANSON unveiled their debut single and music video last month, directed by Ryan Sheehy, for “To Be or Nothing At All” with New Noise Magazine. They partnered with Idobi Radio to unleash the single, “Hailey,” a song about misguided love. Anson Li, the band’s lead vocalist elaborates, “The song’s about being completely and utterly in love with a girl and then messing it up. I wrote the track a couple years back about an unhealthy relationship I had in NYC. All I wanted was to have her back in my life, but she never treated me right and at the time I couldn’t see that. I was love drunk and all I wanted was for us to be together again. At the time I would’ve done anything to get her back.” Fans can check out the brand new single, HERE!
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Learn more about Anson in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! Where does this interview find the band today? Is there music playing in the background? What music do you all like to listen to when you are relaxing or answering interview questions?
Thanks for having us! This interview finds us currently in our “band office” which is my spare bedroom at my apartment in Los Angeles. We typically don’t have music playing in the background while answering interview questions because want to focus and make sure we answer questions properly. We all like to listen to City and Colour while relaxing though.
How does 2017 so far compare to last year? How differently did you all approach this year then you did 2016?
2017 is crazy so far, I never expected to make it to where i am today. I approached 2017 with a new mindset, the mindset of “ I’m going to make something of myself “ not just sit around and waste time. 2016 dragged the only thing I accomplished was passing EMT school, and this year i’ve spent the whole year working on music and working on an ambulance. So this year has been amazing! – George
Can you recall the moment you all realized that you could really make music together and be this band? Why do you think your name truly represents this group and the music that you create? Where did your name come from in the first place?
I think we as a group realized we could make music together and be a band during our first music video shoot together for “To Be or Nothing at All”. We weren’t really a band at the time because this was originally a solo project and I asked George and Zack to help me by being in it, but during that day jamming the song I think we all realized how fun it was to be around each other. We really hit it off that day and have been inseparable since. I think the name represents the music we create because I like to think the name “ANSON” is unique, just like our music. We are a different kind of beast in the ever growing and changing rock genre. Our music comes from the heart and we aren’t trying to sell you regurgitated fast-food pop music. The band name is my name just in capital letters. It’s capitalized to separate it from me as a person.
I always like to ask artists how their hometown has been an influence on the kind of music they make and really what kind of a band they are today. So how do you think LA has affected you all and the music that you create?
Dang okay making me think here. So L.A. is full of inspiration, i had a harder time growing up here in the city, i spent a lot of my free time in the streets, and going to shows. So i’ve taken that struggle of my past and the inspiration of the city to make music to this day.
Let’s talk about your debut EP, “To Be Or Nothing At All” that you will be releasing at the end of this month. What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you at all about the process?
Putting together the EP took a lot of trial and error. I think in total I recorded 11 songs and at first wanted to make an album, but listening to everything through I realized that not all of the songs represented the artist I was thinking we should be, so I cut it down to four strong songs that I think showcases the music best. The track order listing took a while to figure out and we as a band listened to the tracks in various orders to get the arrangement just right. It was frustrating at times, but I think we are all happy with it. I think we were all surprised by even though some tracks have slightly different sounds and cross into some genres, it still felt like a cohesive record. “To Be or Nothing at All” really touches on where we want our sound to go.
What was the inspiration behind the songs on “To Be Or Nothing At All”? How did you go about writing this music on the collection?
The inspiration behind the songs on this EP was the crazy adventure of finding who I was as a person for the last three years. It’s not a secret that for a while I’ve been struggling with depression and self identity. These songs showcase what I was going through, my hopes and dreams as well as my darkest most negative thoughts about who I thought I was. Writing these songs were like therapy to my soul and helped me find strength to be an artist again. The writing process for these songs spanned over a two year period and most of the time it would just be me sitting down with my acoustic guitar and my notepad. Songs usually come to me at random times in my day so I would have something shitty happen in my life and then an hour or two later I’d be pouring my heart onto a piece of paper.
How creatively involved were you all with the making of the video for “To Be Nothing At All”?
We were all super involved with the music video for “To Be”. Anson had the initial idea for it to be parallel stories about the man and woman and it grew from there. A lot of it was set design, like for example, the placement of the chair in the final scene and it actually ended up being the chair in the cover photo for the EP itself. – Z
Do you have any upcoming shows planned for the fall season? Where can people see you perform next?
We are currently working out the details of a fall tour, so hopefully we will be able to announce that soon and we are putting together a killer EP release show for october, so you will definitely be able to see us then!
Where do you think you are all happiest- on stage performing, in the studio recording new music or elsewhere?
On the stage hands down, final answer, real deal here. Okay so i’m more a performer than a writer. I love standing under the lights and going hard. I love putting on a great show. -George
With the summer over, what was your favorite part about it? What was something fun that this group did or tried?
This summer may have been one of the best i’ve ever had. Personally i spent it trying new things and spending it with an amazing group of people. From watching the sunset in Palos Verdes, to a escape room, from going as far as eating vegan food for the first time,or something small like taking a hike to the wisdom tree in Burbank, I made so many memories this summer and can’t wait to make more memories. If i had to name one with the boys it would have to of been 4th of July, we all sat on my roof after a little get together and watched the fireworks, it felt like we were all family.
We are living in a crazy and at times rough world right now so I am curious how you think being in this band gives you the most joy in life today? Do you think that new music being created today is going to reflect these hard times?
I genuinely hope that the music starts reflecting the times. I’ve had just about enough of being told to put my hands in the air, get drunk and wait for an EDM drop to “blow my mind”. I am curious to see who will rise to the occasion to be our generation’s Bob Dylan. There is an quote I heard from Tom Morello once and it was something along the lines of, “If someone puts a microphone in your hand, you better have something to say”. And I think now more than ever, people have to stand up and speak out.
Who are some of your favorite artists? Is there anyone that you would still love to work with in the future? What would be a dream collaboration for this band?
Some of my favorite artists are City and Colour, Bon Iver, Beck and Frank Turner. I think they are all incredible songwriters and have been writing substantial music that will last the test of time. I always see City and Colour when he comes to town and I grew up loving Dallas Green in Alexisonfire. I would love to work with Danger Mouse because his work with Portugal the Man and the Black Keys was amazing and I am curious to see what we would come up with together. Or I would love to work with Chris Walla, formerly of Death Cab for Cutie, he is a sonic mastermind and I would love to pick his brain for a couple days.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
Getting deep here i like it. I want people to take away that it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to have self doubt, it’s okay to let go of toxic relationships, there comes a point in your life when you just have to accept the fact that you’re not okay, and there is nothing wrong with that.
What advice would you give to a band just getting started? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
My advice would be make sure you are doing this for the right reasons. The music industry isn’t glitz and glam anymore. It’s a jungle of hard working people trying to survive off the music they love to make. If you are doing it because you love music and can’t live without it in your life, then you are on the right track. That and practice practice practice! – Anson
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about the band or your music?
I’m so happy to have all of you along for this ride, i love all of you who have supported this dream so THANK YOU!!!!!!!! Can’t wait to show you guys all the hard work we have put in this. -George