PlanetMosh had the honour of talking with Anti-Flag’s main man, Justin Sane about their new album, the state of the world and touring.
Below are some quotes from the interview by Darragh O’Connor. The entire video is at the end of the article.
What’s it like to have had such a big impact on people in both a musical and political way?
“I always find it really inspiring to hear that I’ve impacted people or expanded someone’s perception. And when I do hear that, it’s really special…I had the same experience with bands like The Clash and The Dead Kennedys… it’s an amazing thing that you can find this music and that’s something about that you can relate to and it has that changing effect on you. I knew that I wanted to have a band that I could allow someone else to have that experience.”
What was the reaction to the new album and what caused the new direction for the band?
“The response has been great for the new album and everything we’ve tried has been taken in a positive way. It’s probably been the best reaction to our work since “For Blood and Empire” [in 2003]. We had two records out since that as an in between; and you know, one thing that I learned is that you never know how people are going to react to a record. You hope for the best but you just don’t know. So when people react in a positive way that’s always good.”
What’s the band’s stance on the world now?
“Well, I think the world is pretty fucked up. I mean there’s historic wealth inequality now and that’s an issue that we need to deal with. Even more, it’s a question of looking at morality of being able to make bills of Dollars when there’s people that don’t have the basics to survive. And that’s a reality of the world we live in now and as a species that needs to stop. We’ve really lost our way.
I would include the destruction of our planet as a result of unbridled greed. We’re destroying it at such a huge rate. It’s a race to the bottom to gain as much wealth as you can while we destroy the planet. And that’s the effects of Global climate change, the destruction of the rainforest and our oceans. I think when we look at this period of human history, if the human race can survive, people are going to look back and ask “how did this happen?”
There’s a new movie out by the director of The Cove (Louie Psihoyos) called “Racing to Extinction” and it’s about everything that I’ve mentioned. There’s a quote in the movie that sums everything up: “World War 2 will seem like a footnote in history compared to what we’re doing to our planet now.”
Your stance on the media?
“A huge theme for us is how controlled the media is and that the media has lost touch. It’s still a huge problem; the Press doesn’t seem to want to do the kinda journalism that creates change and that’s really sad.
There are real journalists out there too but they don’t have the reach that huge outlets at there have. You know? Even if you don’t wanna buy that there is a conspiracy in the media to not talk about certain things, there’s definitely a motivation to talk about Big Brother, reality TV and they believe that’s where the money is.”
Why does Anti-Flag have so many citations and reading lists in their album artwork?
“So many artists have given up on making their releases something beyond music. We wanted to make this a full piece of art and really go the distance for the fans…Every song has an idea behind it; a research paper, a great thinker or something. We can’t fully express it in a song so we like to get it out that way. For example, the essay for “Fabled World” was written by Doctor Cornel West. He is a scholar that has influenced my thinking a lot over the last ten years or so. Putting stuff like that in the booklet allows me the chance to turn more people onto him.”
What has changed in the band over the years?
“It’s easier for us to write songs now; because we’re better as a band. We’ve been writing songs for years now and it’s like any other craft. We still have our edge; so in a way we’re the best band we’ve even been.”
Any plans to release a new album?
“I don’t know; we might but this last album is still so fresh that I am happy to gig this one for a while.”
How hard is it crafting a set after a new album?
“I’ve gone to see bands and all they do is play the new record; for me that’s disappointing so we don’t wanna fall into that trap. I understand the allure of doing that. But we’re aware that people want the older songs and that we enjoy playing.”
Listen to the entire interview here: