About a month ago I wrote out and sent an email interview with Grand Rapids’ emotive Punk band Abner. We meant for it to be used to promote the EP they were about to drop, but some unexpected circumstances came up and it wasn’t released on time. In turn, our interview lost priority and got lost in the shuffle. I even kind of forgot about it to be honest. But the EP is on its way and the band returned the interview to my email as a surprise! So please enjoy my chat with one of my favorite bands on the rise below and give them a listen on Bandcamp.
Hi there! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me. How are you doing? Please introduce yourself, your roles in the band, and what you sound like.
Blake Bouwman, 3/25/1994
I play bass guitar, and yell in Abner!
It sounds like 10 years of falling down the same set of stairs every morning.
Hey Tyler! Thank you so much for wanting to interview us! I’m Anthony Hansen. I play guitar and sing. It’s hard for me to describe our sound because we all put in vastly different influences. Maybe like Alkaline Trio got married with Against Me! and we’re the ugly stepchild nobody asked for.
Tyler! Thanks for also taking the time, doggy. Process of elimination says this must be Haleigh Potter. I drum in the band and I’m slowly gaining the confidence to do more singing on the new stuff. (Next-next album?) I feel like we sound like Alkaline Trio (honestly did not hear them until we did that cover set at 741) and I don’t know, Blake mf Bouwman. Always been a fan of his stuff.
So this is a relatively new band in the grand scheme of things. When, how, and why did Abner form? Take us through the whole story.
B: The story of Abner has a lot of different parts spanning over the last four years or so. Haleigh and I were in a band called Stubborn Strays, who frequently played shows with Anthony’s old band Shoebox (and we even put out a split EP). One night Anthony drunkenly swore that someday he and I would start a band together, we three did an Alkaline Trio cover set, and now here we are.
The first thing I noticed at your first show was your immediate chemistry. How does it feel to be so in sync while you’re on stage?
B: I have no idea. My thoughts and my body are set to hyper speed during a performance. All I know is when I see Haleigh and Anthony smiling, I can’t help but smile back at them.
A: It feels terrible. Kidding! Performing with Blake and Haleigh is so rewarding. I get to play music with two of my best friends, who happen to be extremely talented, and I just can’t stop looking at them and smiling whether we are playing a show or just at practice. I think we have this connection that just works. We fall right in with each other. Love these ding dongs.
H: If we were any more in sync we’d all need tampons. (Had to, sorry.) Being in a band, or any project for that matter, with someone that you may tolerate but not necessarily “gel” with has challenges. But I’ve lived with both of these guys and have formed meaningful relationships with both. All nighters with both, tears with both, fights with both, traveled with both. I’m happy it translates onstage.
Now, you’re all songwriters, is that correct? Is that ever challenging like there’s too much going on in the room or is it easier that way? What is the process like for you?
B:First off Haleigh’s songs are dope and I wish she would put something out. I really enjoy the dynamic; we all draw inspiration from very different spaces and try to have an open policy for new ideas. I think Anthony and I tend to have our minds made up on certain aspects, but Haleigh always has a great outside perspective that has made some things really come together musically.
So far we’ve done a lot of revamping of songs from the past (I think our oldest songs were written 6+ years ago) that never really had their day in the sun. We’re always working on new stuff to bring to the table. But it has been great for us to bring some pieces that mean a great deal, but never really made it into the world.
H: Blake… Thank you, buddy.
What do you hope people get out of listening to your recordings or experiencing your music in a live setting?
B: I hope for them the same things that I hope for myself while doing it – to release a great deal of unwanted feeling; to find a way to heal and grow; to (maybe) start a worker’s revolution; to have a really good time doing it, loving yourself, and loving your friends.
H: Along with Blake’s answer, I gotta add the cliche “I enjoy breaking the stereotypes.” I hope when people see me live and assume (usually subconsciously!) I won’t be as good as a male drummer. It causes them to not assume next time they see a female in a typical male role.
Tell me what you can about your upcoming EP. What is it like working with Don Carlisle at Knavish Audio? When do you expect it to come out and what formats are you doing?
B: It’s four songs. “Bong Song” isn’t on it. Don Carlisle is a saint. Adam Zonca (@living.void) did the artwork. I’m really proud of it. I have no idea when it’s coming out. I wanna do tapes really bad (please help).
A: It will be out soon! VERY SOON. We’ve had some setbacks with our work schedules but we recently got back the new mixes and I couldn’t be more proud of how it’s turning out.
Take a minute to plug your broken hearts show coming up. Who’s that with? What’s it like playing at The Pyramid Scheme? And how did y’all link up with Audiotree? (***THIS QUESTION WAS ASKED BEFORE THE SHOW WHICH IS NOW PASSED, SORRY***)
Secret Forte asked us to play the Broken Hearts’ show at The Pyramid Scheme which was an Audiotree Presents show. They are putting on a lot of really amazing shows this year, and we are lucky to have been apart of one!
What are your long term goals as a band? Are you planning to tour?
B: I’m in this for the long haul. We’re lucky to have done a lot in a short amount of time, and this is just the beginning. As artists and musicians, I think we all sacrifice a lot more than people know, and it shocks me what we will do to pursue what makes us happy (I’m hella sappy).
A: I’d really like to start recording a full length this summer. I’d also like to tour later in the year.
H: I want to write, record, and travel 5ever. I’m excited for this year, given all the material we collectively have to work with. Lots to look forward too!
This is the part where I ask the first thing that comes to my mind as I listen to each track of your demo and upcoming EP. The questions may or may not relate to the content of the song at all, but are merely my first thoughts. Please answer any/all you feel comfortable with in as much or little detail as you wish.
“Me To The Earth”: If you could visit any other planet which one would it be and why?
B: Namek, it’s beautiful, peaceful, and I’m trying to learn the Special Beam Cannon, and Instant Transmission.
A: Of course Blake said Namek. Saturn. It’s beautiful!
H: That alien planet.
“Day Two”: If you could say anything to the person you miss most right now, what would you say?
B: Get your fuzzy ass over here (Pspspspspsps ฅ^•ﻌ•^ฅ)
A: I’m not crying, you’re crying.
H: Proud of you.
“Big Spinning Rock”: Everyone’s situation is obviously very unique, but what do you think is something everyone could be working on to better themselves?
B: Drink water, learn to accept yourself, push yourself through the field of suckage to be the person YOU want to be. Also therapy can really help, and you can always talk to us.
A: Spend more time with loved ones. Take care of yourself. Do what you love.
H: Maintain good posture! Practice empathy and listening to understand rather than to respond.
“Last Image Left”: What is a record that helps you forget about the bullshit for a little while?
B: Enter The 36 Chambers – Wu Tang Clan
S/T – Magrudergrind
(there’s so many tbh, but these are go-to’s)
A: The Greatest Story Ever Told – The Lawrence Arms
London Calling – The Clash
H: You Are My Sunshine – Copeland
Shea Butter Baby – Ari Lennox
A to B Life – MewithoutYou
“Two Graves”: What is the thing you’re most proud of in your life in the past year?
B: We opened for Direct Hit! and I have my own apartment with my partner, two cats, and a bearded dragon.
A: Making more time for my friends and how much work we have put into these songs.
H: Making a very difficult decision to be happy, standing up for myself, and moving up in my job.
“50k Truck”: If you could quit your job in a funny or extravagant way and knew you’d remain stable in your life/finances afterward, how would you do it?
B: I’m not stable financially, or in life right now either way, so this is a real question. Probably steal the owner’s truck, joy ride it (undoubtedly drunk), and then drive it right through a bay door, and smoke a huge blunt while I urinate from the top of the wreckage. (xedgelordx alert)
A: I’d just walk the fuck out.
H: I would poop and not flush on my last day after putting my two weeks in because I’m only so bad to an extent.
B: I have issues, obviously.
Thank you for taking the time to do this with me. If there is anything else you want to plug or anyone you want to shout out before you’re famous, do so here. Take care.
B: Thx so much Ty, Skitchin 4 Ever! Go to Knavish Audio. Watch for the EP. Book us in your city.
Thx Kole, Taylor, Danny Breaks, Garrett, Thee Elder Gods, Ethan, Bong Mountain, James Hughes, Matt Snow, Jargo Benis, Beard, Ashton, Skotty, Nicole, BOOB SWEAT, The Pyramid Scheme, everyone at Vector Distribution, and especially Kaylin, Milo, Nola, Flora, Ant Chovie, and HP.
H: Dane Carver – I wouldn’t have this feeling of purpose without you. Rest in peace. -HP