Anchors Up

If you’ve been paying attention, you’d know that Anchors Up, SA’s first and only Alt Country super group, recently dropped their debut album online. We caught up with Marc de la Querra and asked him about how a band of musicians that live all over the country came together, juggling between other bands and why they decided to make Country music.



DIY: For those who don’t know, who is involved in Anchors Up & who plays what?

Marc: Ruan Olivier – Vocals, Guitar /  Jacques du Plessis – Vocals, Keys / Keagan Van Rooyen – Bass / Gavin Flaks – Drums / Marc de la Querra – Vocals, Banjo, Guitar.

 Give it to them for nothing, and hopefully the return for us will be a true fan that will connect with the music

DIY: You guys almost seemed to pop up out of nowhere. Was Anchors Up something that had been in the works for a while or was it more impromptu/spur of the moment type idea? Why country folk? Do you think South African audiences are ready for it?

Marc: For us its been a long time coming. Ruan and I started working on tunes the beginning of last year already, just messing around at first but then taking it more seriously as time went on. I guess we first had to progress and immerse ourselves into the genre before we reached where we wanted to be as a band. We recorded in Dec 2011, and now that the album is finally out we are rehearsing for live shows.

I was first drawn to the country/folk genre just for it’s sheer honesty. Organic acoustic music just appeals to me now more than before. I’ve really fallen in love with it. You can’t beat the story telling of folk and the ‘feel good’ of country music.  I’m aware there is a pre-conceived notion that country is for hicks or Garth Brooks fans or whatever, and maybe that will deter some people at first, but country is as diverse a genre as rock. There are literally hundreds of sub genres so there’s loads of incredible and beautiful stuff out there, we just haven’t really been exposed to it here in SA. The general public is pretty isolated from anything happening outside of the Top 40 in this country. You really have to make an effort to find new music that isn’t spoon/force fed to you.



DIY: What was the inspiration behind the name? Do you think it reflects the style of music you play?

Marc: No, we were just looking for something catchy and simple enough to remember, I think Keags came up with it. I guess it represents moving on, or continuing with the journey. Read into it what you will.


DIY: Does having band members involved in more than one band at a time aid or hinder your progress as musicians? Are you ever worried about spreading yourselves too thin or other projects ‘sound’ creeping into Anchors Up?

Marc: I’m not too worried about other projects ‘sound’ creeping in, I think country/folk is actually very close to rock and pop in terms of structures and melody. But it can get tricky when you have to juggle established bands that have busy touring schedules as well. We were actually supposed to start playing in Oct but it looks like we’ll have to start pushing live shows early in the new year because we just couldn’t find the gaps. We’ll get our shit together next year, promise.



DIY: What is your creative process when coming up with new material? Who does what? How do you deal with members living on the other side of the country and getting their input?

Marc: For this record I would have an idea for a song and hash out the basic structure, then take it to the guys in Durban (Ruan and Keagan) and we’d flesh it out. We wrote about 30 songs for this album and ended up recording 10. We went up to record at The Audio Cabin in JHB and Gavin and Jacques wrote all their parts in studio as we went along. It was a very cool process actually, kinda spontaneous. The two of them joined the band after we were done.



DIY: How do you see your sound evolving or the band evolving? Are you just taking it as it comes for the moment or do you have specific plans for Anchors Up that you hope to roll out?

Marc: We don’t have a grand master plan or anything, but we’ll be releasing another 3 singles and videos from this album next year and get stuck into some live shows. Then the plan is to head into studio and have something new out around Sep/Oct 2013. If the world doesn’t end of course. But yeah, we’re happy just playing our music to as many people as possible and hopefully turn some of them on to something different that they can really latch on to and appreciate. Time will tell.



DIY: You recently launched your self titled debut album with High Sea Records available for free download with the option of a donation via bandcamp. It seems to be a strategy that has had success in international markets, but how have South African audiences taken to it? What made you shun the  more conventional and traditional label and CD sold for R120 at shows/Look n Listen?

Marc: So far we’ve had a great response and really positive feedback from the album. I think people are enjoying the ‘pay if you want’ option, and actually we’ve had a lot of sales which is great. We’re not doing this to make a bunch of cash though, we aren’t in it for that. If more people get to hear the music because they can get it for free then that’s the goal. Most of us are signed to other labels, and that’s cool, but for this project we wanted to have a more personal interaction with the listener, make something just for us and them you know? Give it to them for nothing, and hopefully the return for us will be a true fan that will connect with the music and want to share it with friends and family. That would make us happy.



DIY: Where do you hope to see yourselves in 2013?

Marc: If all goes well, still making and playing music that we love for people that love it. Yup, that’s about it.



You can give the album a listen below or go directly to their bandcamp and download it for however much you want.



All photos © Hanro Havenga 


19 Responses to “Anchors Up”
  1. Greg says:

    I love the album, can’t wait to see these guys live.

  2. trollbot500 says:

    I bet Grant Payne listens to country. Hipsters and their hipster friends all over this site.

  3. Nadia says:

    Love it 🙂

  4. Bored says:

    sounds like a weak ass version of Mumford and Son’s….. does this guy do anything original?? weak!!!!

  5. D says:

    @Bored…I agree!!!

  6. D says:

    At least the beardy hipsters will enjoy it…

  7. rob says:

    Have you heard anything else besides mumford and sons?or is that the peek of you musical vocabulary?
    they sound more like a mix between avett brothers,ben folds five,bright eyes ect.
    try listen to more music and you will probably find mumford and sons is a “week version” of the avett brothers.
    just because they made it popular doesn’t mean they invented the genre.

  8. Bored says:

    @rob….I never made any claim to Mumford & Sons ever being a genre defining band, i just made the obvious comparison between this band and a now (rightly or wrongly, i don’t care either way) popular band. And this lead singer’s lack of originality… he always seems to be just behind the latest ‘pop indie rock’ thing… its annoying, almost as annoying as that chic who sang with him in FTTW. Why is this band, of all the bands out there, worthy of your defense?? they are not amazing! they all might be really nice people who may also be very talented in there own right, but this is not amazing, not really, quite crap.

  9. Masterbaiter says:

    Mumpy and Sons. Yawn.

  10. Old Man says:

    Jeez, you people can complain…

    “It Don’t Matter” is a wonderful little pop gem! And Ruan is the sexiest man alive, by far! Have you heard him sing?!

  11. FUCK says:

    DISAPPOINTED. They can play their instruments but seriously singing in american accents??????? You from Durban not fucking South Carolina. Do you really think people are gonna take you seriously and get the respect you deserve sounding like a zillion other bands who do it a zillion times better than you? Does anyone remember the band New World Inside? Fokofpolisiekar? New World Inside was a band with members of Fokoff who sang in american accents….no one remember them besides a few aging punkers.

    This just reminds me of What Now who sang like Blink 182 back in 2001.

    Maybe you can make some money with some TV Ads like FTTW.

    Sorry guys

  12. dan says:

    have to agree with old man. that is a nuggety little piece of pop goodness.

    also the mumford and sons references. really? did you actually listen to the song before you got all hatey? hate is perfectly fine when justified but stop being retarded.

  13. FUCK says:

    hey dan. you are obviously a durban chop. did you not read what old man siad in his later comments? pop goodness? Its easy to right a pop song and its easy to sing in an american accent. dan your retarded comment is like buying a bunny chow in grey street only to find the bread is stale with broad beans been replaced with cockroaches. Just like this “music”.

    If you want to make pop songs move to a superficial city like cape town or L.A. This is Durban. The school of hard knocks, where we have car guards, crime and bullshit. This music should be the sound track for fucking 90210 or some chick flick….how the fuck does anyone in Durban relate to this music????

  14. Ha. says:

    LOL at FUCK. He thinks he’s hardcore.

  15. FUCK says:

    ha is obviously one of the band members of Anchors UP. what is hardcore anyway? not bring me the horizon thats for sure….LOL

  16. Benjamin says:

    For what it’s worth, amongst this forum of angst and pessimism, I found this album to be a genuine attempt at creating something worth listening to. Perhaps a little folk cliche, it’s every bit as listenable as they (the Band) claimed it to be. Nice one. I”ll download/buy it and even though I may not recall it whilst driving out of work on Friday arvo, it’ll find it’s place in between the mid week quart and the late Sunday shorebreak.

  17. Michelle says:

    Anchors up move to texas…

  18. Larvae says:

    I can’t believe all the negative comments here. When I see a band doing well after doing all the hard work I can’t help but find something worthy in the music. I agree to an extent that the American accent detracts a bit from the honesty of the music, but fuck it, it’s still a bloody decent album with some rather stunning little gems like Headlights. Easy listening and feel good music, nothing wrong with that.
    Well done AU, hope to see big things from you boys in the future.

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