The Hundredth Anniversary – Interview – 2017

The Hundredth Anniversary are another incredible band from Brighton, who have recently released an exceptional debut album that we have been obsessing over at, perfectly summed up by our writer Ben Walker as “musical euphoria”. Falling into no particular category, The Hundredth Anniversary drifts seamlessly across 90s indie, post punk and alternative rock in one smooth and glorious motion. On their debut, Sea State Pictures, they have put together a spectacular and intriguing 34 minutes full of exquisite vocals and striking instrumentation that is as compelling as it is pleasing. We had to find out more about the group so we met up with Eleanor Rudge (vocals, guitar), Chris Lowe (bass) and Dem Marther (drums) from the band.

Where did you grow up?
Chris: We are all originally from the West Country.

Eleanor: I am from the Bristol area.

Dem: I am from Cornwall via Lancashire.

Chris: I was Poole.

How did The Hundredth Anniversary form?
Eleanor: It was through Chris’ brother, Billy.

Chris: He was in a band called Tyrannosaurus Dead and Eleanor was also the singer in the band alongside him. Eleanor had a load of other songs, my brother said that she should definitely start her own band and do something with them. I was coming out of a band and was looking to do something more creative. So we got together to jam a play a couple of songs. Then, Bill was buying some shoes from Vans where Dem worked.

Dem: I was chatting away to him as he had a guitar with him. He said ‘my friends are looking to start a band’. Months later Eleanor got in contact with me.

Chris: At the time it was me, Eleanor and Andy, who used to be in the band. We used to rehearse at Brighton Electric working on structure and songs. When we had four or five ideas we got in touch with Dem.

Can you remember your first jam together?
Eleanor: I remember buying Dem a Fanta.

Chris: I remember it being fun – meeting Dem for the first time, who was this amazing drummer and thinking this is going to be great. We had the basis of songs but from then it just grew and grew and we found our sound.

Dem: I hadn’t played in a band before and was just a bedroom drummer, so to play with you guys was really fun.

What are your main influences?
Chris: We all listen to very different music.

Eleanor: We have moved more into similar music tastes. When we got together it was very different. I listen to a lot of the Lower Dens.

Dem: I was listening to stuff like Blink 182.

Chris: I was listening to sad singer-songwriter music. Andy was listening to black metal and doom. We all have our own genres of music we love and our own style of playing music.

Eleanor: That works really well for us. I think The National is a band we all share a love for.

Tell us a bit about the Sea State Pictures?
Eleanor: It was a really conscious decision. We all met in a café and it was, “right, we’re going to make an album”. We talked about our history as a band, our strengths and weaknesses, it was our first ever serious talk.

Dem: It became very serious. We needed to talk about it which we didn’t really realise.

Eleanor: We decided not to use old songs but to start from scratch.

Chris: We had a 7” album which had done really well and an EP that did really well, so there was a nice amount of press. It gave us the confidence to take that leap. We took our time as there was no label pressures. We wanted to make sure the album flowed and that it wasn’t a piece of work we rushed through.

Dem: Ben Hampson, our producer, gave a lot of input.

Chris: To an extent, he made the record sound how it does – using loads of noises and textures that we would have never dreamed or think about using.

Dem: He came up with the idea of moving a polo mint around a plate to make a sound. I also used some bins. It’s all bedded into the sound really nicely.

Eleanor: We wrote quite a lot more than we have used for the album, whittling it down to the ones that work collectively.

Who would be in your ultimate supergroup?
Dem: The drummer from The National, Bryan Devendorf.

Eleanor: The bassist from the Talking Heads, Tina Weymouth.

Chris: I really like the singer from The Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser, or Meatloaf.

Eleanor: I’m also going to say Angle Olson as backing vocalist, guitarist and added sass factor.

What would be your perfect lineup of any three acts, dead or alive, for a concert you are putting on and where would it be?
PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Nebraska-era Bruce Springsteen.

If you could work with any artist, who would it be and what would they bring to The Hundredth Anniversary?
Chris: I would love to work with Sigur Rós and go to their studio in Iceland, record in swimming pools and use their weird orchestrations.

Dem: It would be Wes Anderson for me. Could you imagine if he did a music video for us!

Eleanor: I love David Hockney – I could imagine a music video of just him sitting around smoking fags and looking cool as he is quite funny in himself. Maybe he could do a little animation for us too.

If you could give a musical award of the year, what would it be for and for whom?
Eleanor: PJ Harvey for consistancy and effort.

Dem: And just generally being amazing.

Chris: Leonard Cohen for most improved music.

What music are you listening to at the moment, any recommendations?
Chris: The new Leif Vollebekk album. The new Blank Mass record. I’m listening to a lot of the latest Wiley and Run The Jewels albums, they are incredible.

Dem: The New Candys – ‘Dry Air Everywhere’ is a great tune. Tigercub, as they are my boyfriend’s band. Vant’s debut album is pretty good.

Eleanor: We are all loving the new Julie Byrne record. I really like A Tribe Called Quest’s newest album.

Do you get to go to many gigs? Any that have stood out?
Eleanor: We are going on a band date to see Pinegrove in a couple of days. We supported Esben & The Witch last week and I was blown away by them, it felt like they were really on to something.

Dem: I saw Architects when they played their Concorde 2 gig, they were amazing!

Chris: I’m looking forward to seeing Leif Vollebekk at The Haunt in a couple of weeks.

What are your future plans?
Chris: We are really excited with Sea State Picture coming out. To be creative, write lots of new songs and maybe release a second album. Go on a little tour and play some cool support slots.

Eleanor: Write more, play more, hang out more. We are also about to release a video for ‘Knife’ that the amazing Eva Bowan has filmed.