Paledusk has kicked off 2021 with the release of two huge tracks, Wind Back and …
“I mean, shit, it wasn’t great was it?”
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Anty Horgan–also known by the exclamatory mononym of ANTY!–laughs incredulously as he lights a cigarette in his Melbourne home. He’s talking, of course, about the year that was–a year where his band, The Bennies, were set to play their final show on (when else) April 20 before he embarked on an intrepid adventure with his solo project. Of course, none of that got to happen–meaning The Bennies never got their proper send-off, and ANTY!’s album Rudeboy is only coming out now after multiple delays.
“I know I’m not alone in thinking it, but the whole thing was just shit,” he says. “Usually, I like to say that every year has its ups and downs–but this year felt like it was mostly down. My housemate, Brad, copped it especially bad this year. He was supposed to be away every weekend of the whole year as a guitar tech, and that all came crashing down. With the shutdown of live music, it’s been pretty different for crew. At least bands could make music at home, or make new shirts or whatever to keep it afloat. The road crew got lost in the conversation a lot of the time, which sucks.”
After a year where everyone’s plans went into disarray, Horgan hopes that the release of Rudeboy sends the year out with a bit of positivity. His debut solo record is one he’s been tweaking and toying with for quite some time–“I didn’t know if it was even gonna come out,” he reasons, “so there was a lot less pressure in making it.” The end result is a record that blends Horgan’s love of reggae and dancehall with boom-bap hip-hop and plunderphonics to create one of his most unique musical efforts to date.
“I remember sending the record over to Vinnie [Fiorello], who used to drum in Less Than Jake,” says Horgan. “I wasn’t sure about it, so I sent it to him for some advice and we had a chat about it. I asked, straight up, ‘is it any good’? He was like, ‘It doesn’t matter–it sounds like you. It’s got your passion, and it’s got your drive. That’s all that it needs.’ That was pretty cool, and I think I really needed to hear that.”
Ahead of the album’s release, here’s a guided tour of Rudeboy–care of the man himself.
That song was funny. I had a little spot where I was really into dancehall for a little bit. I was talking to Snes [Mega], who DJs in The Bennies, and I asked him to make me this dancehall beat. Dancehall rhythms are pretty weird–it’s more about the vocals that go on the top. When he sent it through, I thought it was perfectly weird and wacky. I love it as an intro to the album–it kind of reminds me of N*E*R*D, in a way.
The Anty Affliction
I was originally going to call this entire project The Anty Affliction. I thought it was really funny, but then I remembered making the same mistake with The Bennies. Before we were called The Bennies, we were called Madonna. Obviously, that didn’t end well. I still wanted to use that pun, though–and this track ended up being perfect for it. The whole song is just a reflection on this whole project’s creative outlook, so it was a pretty apt title.
One Step Beyond (Two Back)
When Melbourne had a little break between its two lockdowns, I had the chance to hit the studio and put that one together. It ended up being the last thing to be recorded for the entire album. I’ve always loved the original–Madness made One Step Beyond famous, but it was originally this old Prince Buster song. I got to do the beat with this guy from Japan, Sparka, who’s a legend. He’s a pretty wacky, talented dude. I just wanted the song to be both super high energy and also a reflection on not being in a great place. I think it was the best choice to lead the album with, it’s really reflective of what I was going for.
That was done with this dude Ethan [Del Carmen] from Tassie. He plays in Phat Meegz. I’ve always loved that dude–he’s got a lot of soul, and he’s really gritty with the way he goes about stuff. We did that song a while ago, and it’s got a good fucken vibe. It’s real fun. He wanted to write this song about being just destroyed on tour. He was coming from more of a music festival perspective, but I wanted to talk about my own experiences on tour. I snuck in a few Bennies references, so keep an ear out for that.
With the shutdown of live music, it’s been pretty different for crew. At least bands could make music at home, or make new shirts or whatever to keep it afloat. The road crew got lost in the conversation a lot of the time, which sucks.
[ ANTY! ]
That was written ages and ages ago. I love the idea of remixing these old reggae songs–the beats are already dancey anyway, y’know? I love how the old reggae guys would just toast over the top of these songs that already existed. It’s a ballsy move. I wanted to give that my own modern take, and just not really think about it too much. It’s just a super dancey party song!
… yeah, look, I just straight up wanted to just write a song about smoking choof. [laughs] It’s too easy, I know, but I really enjoy writing songs about smoking weed. It feels natural to me. The beat was made by this guy Francis, who did sound for The Bennies whenever we toured in the UK and Europe. Whenever we had some downtime the last time we were over there, we’d shoot the shit on ideas. He’s sent me a few songs, and I’m working on the others now, but I was really drawn to this one. I loved the idea of doing a song with no chorus, just flowing straight through. You know the song I Wanna Get High by Cypress Hill? I know it doesn’t sound the same, but I wanted to replicate that kind of vibe.
The Bennies had the song Corruption, which was very anti-authority and discussed how fucked the police force was. With Officer, I wanted to tap into the idea of anti-authoritarianism requires us to love one another. It’s one thing to say “fuck authority,” but it’s another to acknowledge there’s a degree of responsibility that comes with that attitude. I’d already put that song out a while ago, but when the Black Lives Matter movement kicked off again in the middle of the year it had a whole new framework. I’d touched on some pretty topical stuff without really trying. It felt cool.
The beat was made by this guy Deacon, who used to play drums in AJJ. I only met him the once at Poison City Weekender, and he was just the funniest dude. It was this brief interaction, but we kept in touch online and I later found out he makes beats. I wanted to do something a bit different and weird, so he sent me a bunch of stuff that he’d been working on. They were pretty all over the place, but I wanted to make them work so I gave them all a go. I landed on this one, which I thought was so cool, but I just couldn’t think of anything for ages. One night, in the middle of iso, I’d had too much to drink and had the house to myself. I had a crack at trying to say what was on my mind.
I’d been listening to a lot of Kae Tempest, who is this British poet that has these really cool spoken word songs. I really wanted to do something like that. I woke up in the morning the day after and listened back, and I honestly had no recollection of what I’d said or what I’d done the night before. Somehow, though, I’d managed to do it–I’d captured the vibe.
That’s a Toots song–he died this year, which was really upsetting for me. The thing with him was that he was such a vibe-lord. There was so much personality in his music. That one is probably the closest to the original out of all the samples on the record. I felt a bit weird about it at first, but it’s really good-time fun. That’s what I feel about Toots’ music, y’know? He was so influential, and such a character. There was so much soul to what he did. It felt real cool to pay tribute to that. It’s what he would have wanted. Fuck being down! Turn up the party!
Confession to Diary
That one was really easy. It felt really fun and really natural. Jay, who plays bass in the band Hightime, made the beat for that one. Initially he sent over this full song, and it was really fun to rap over and sing over. It went through a few different versions before it ended up as this short little banger that you hear on the record. Basically, the song is about how I woke up one morning and said to myself that there is stuff that I should change in my life. Y’know how people think you should write down your thoughts before you go to sleep or just after you wake up? That’s what I was trying to do with this.
I really love this song. It was recorded kinda weirdly, and there’s so many mistakes–at one point, you can even hear me counting myself in. I love it, though. It’s another track I did with Ethan. He was like, “We gotta do a trap reggae song together.” I was all for it–it sounded like a sick vibe. What we ended up with kind of sounded like Soundcloud rap or something, but I still really liked it. Once again, it’s a song about smoking weed. [laughs] It’s a bit silly and fun – I like it.
This is the song that I probably feel the most vulnerable about. It feels like a really different tone to the rest of the record. Obviously, the beat is a remix of the Stranger Themes opening theme. It’s kind of tough, almost like it’s gangsta rap or something–it’s pretty unrelenting, and there isn’t much melody to it. At the same time, though, I would say it’s the most positive song on the whole album. When I listen back to it, I feel a little bit uncomfortable when I hear some of the lyrics. I think that’s a good thing, though. I’m proud of myself for pushing through that and getting it on the album.
Keys to the City
I did this one with Paul The Kid, from New Zealand. He really loves dance music, but he also has a background in ska so we’ve been talking about this one for awhile now. I was a bit unsure about it at first, but once we added the horns in I feel like the song really stepped up. It’s a reflection on being in a band and getting to meet people from other places, from overseas. You get to talk shit and have fun. One of the best things about this album is that it features contributions from all over the world. I think that’s fucking cool. We all met through music, so why don’t we fucking make more of it together?
Uptown Top Ranting
So, there’s a band called 10 Foot Ganja Plant … first off, how good is that? [laughs] It’s the other band of the keyboard player of The Aggrolites. They’re all instrumental, and they’re this amazing band. Their rhythms are so fucking tough. I took one of their songs and got it remixed, and got some more keys added to the top. We turned into more of a straight hip-hop song, really. It’s a song about my desire to make music, and the challenges that come with it.
The song title is a play on Uptown Top Ranking, which is one of my favourite reggae songs by Althea & Donna. I took the hook from the song–“Give me little bass/Make me whine up me waist”–as a bit of a tribute.
The Disco in the Comedown
It’s exactly as it sounds. It’s detailing the darkness of coming down. I wanted it to be a bit janky; to have it kind of smack you around a bit. There’s not heaps to the song itself, but that was kind of the point. That song by The Streets, “Sharp Darts,” off the first record [Original Pirate Material]… it’s really repetitive, right, and it verges on annoyance. Basically, I wanted to do that. [laughs] I think it’s a nice contrast at the end of the record. I wanted to ease things off towards the end–you can pass out right about now, I reckon. [laughs]
I think this might be my favourite song. Whenever I play this song live, I introduce it as a song that I wrote for myself. I can feel down at times, but it’s worth remembering, in the grand scheme of things, life’s been good to me. You’ve gotta keep on. Things will change. Change is a constant. I wanted to reflect on that and talk on that. Normally, with The Bennies, there’s this pressure that the songs have to be super upbeat all the time. I’ve gotta get in everyone’s face and scream a lot, y’know? I feel like Keep On has confidence just in the space that it takes up–and that’s why it’s my favourite.
Rudeboy is out today via Disdain Records. Follow Anty on Instagram: @anty_420