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cris_anarbor By Cristina Carrazza—Regional Head, Midwest

If there’s any band in the industry that has my full respect it’s Anarbor. This quartet from Phoenix Arizona wants to make it clear that they’re not just any other band in the scene. With brutally honest lyrics, Anarbor praises the traditional message of “being yourself;” something that does not seem so clear in the music scene these days. The pop rockers just released their debut full length “The Words You Don’t Swallow.” At the Illinois stop of the ‘Bout Damn Time Tour, I caught up with guitarist Mike Kitlas to learn what exactly makes Anarbor tick.

Cristina: The last time I talked to you about a year ago, Anarbor was wrapping up the Take Action tour. And a ton of awesome stuff has been happening since then…

Mike: Yes it has!

CC: “Free Your Mind,” your first EP wasn’t released at the time. So how did that go?

MK: The release of “Free Your Mind” went great. We used it exactly for what we needed to. We wanted to build a fan base so we could release a record. We didn’t want to just put out a full-length record from the beginning. So, we think “Free Your Mind” accomplished that.

CC: “Free Your Mind” definitely got Anarbor in the radar. “Let The Games Begin” is played on ESPN pretty often and “You and I” was featured in the Scooby Doo movie.

MK: Totally, exactly! Everything has been going great. We kept “Let The Games Begin” because we want to use it for different licensing opportunities, so there’s some cool stuff with that.

CC: Last time I talked to you, you were starting to write for “The Words You Don’t Swallow” and you mentioned you wanted to make music that didn’t conform…

MK: And that’s exactly what we tried to do. We really wanted to do a diverse set of songs. We wanted to show our audience that we don’t have just one type of sound. And that’s what we were going for with the record. There’s the faster songs, the slower songs, the jam songs, the harder songs. That’s the thing about our band. The four of us all write. You don’t see a lot of that in music today. A lot of songs sound the same and what not. Usually, that is because there’s only one person writing them. It’s kind of cool, we get a lot of diversity.

CC: Now that you guys are better known, do you feel more pressure to conform to get to that next step or do people now know what you guys are about?

MK: Not at all. It’s just the type of thing where we feel like we don’t have any boundaries. And that’s the thing with our band; there are no boundaries for us. We could put any type of song and nothing like that is going to stop us. Besides like death metal or some reggae. But people get that about us.

CC: Do most people who are just getting to learn about Anarbor might still have the misconception that you guys are just another band?

MK: Yeah, that’s honestly what we’re going through right now. We’re at that point of breaking that barrier and showing kids what we have to offer. And now with the new album, they can see that. The title is called “The Words You Don’t Swallow” and we made that title because we aren’t going to hold anything back with this record. We are going to say what we have to say, whether that may be positive or negative, to some people.

CC: I know one of my personal favorite songs from “Free Your Mind” is “Always Dirty, Never Clean” which is a very honest critique of the music industry, one of the lyrics being “music is what you hear and not what you see.” Do you get any backlash from any bands or musicians who may think you are judging them or do you feel comfortable getting your message out?

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