Sanj Surati - Anonymous Tip - Interview Exclusive Print E-mail
Written by Gaz E   
Monday, 03 May 2010 05:30

tip3Remember George Bush, Florida and Fox News? Remember how a news channel won an election? Is it just me that, after the hum of a conveniently left-on Sky News microphone fades away, thinks that a certain rolling news debacle, with its Leaders Debates, is trying a little too hard to be more like its brash American cousin?

 

As we stumble into the week of the General Election I spoke with Sanj Surati, frontman with UK political punk rockers Anonymous Tip to get his thoughts on the state of the nation and how things can change for the better. Growing up in a BNP polluted area has given Sanj a keen sense of justice and I was more than happy to ask him several questions.........

 

 

 

 

 

You grew up in Feltham where there was a major BNP presence - how did this experience shape who you are today?


I grew up on the streets of Feltham back in the 80's and 90's where, at the time, the subculture there was obsessed with dance music. There was also a lot of thuggish gang culture there at the time which always meant you had to keep your guard up and keep your head up high. Listening to rock and forming a rock band was the only way my friends and me could express our frustrations and anxieties. I started forming bands with my friends when I was about 15, we used to meet up in various basements and jam out old Sepultura and Black Sabbath songs. We all used to save up our pocket money together and buy the most cheapest music instruments we could lay our hands on. I was always the singer as I had the loudest voice. I remember my music teacher Mr Wylde telling me I had a voice from Hell as it was too loud and would scare the other students. The BNP surroundings kind of made me feel proud of my colour and proud that I could still get on with my life in the face of such provocation. It also made me think about where I came from and pushed me to learn about human rights.


Was the music a natural reaction to your surroundings? A way to get some kind of release?


Music has always been a way for artists to express themselves in a spiritual and positive way all over the world. Politically charged music has always been relevant within the subversive UK music market and has helped to change British society dramatically for hundreds of years now. British bands like The Clash, Steel Pulse and Crass were pivotal in helping human rights laws to be changed. They challenged people's perspectives in ways that had never been challengedtip2 before. We've always strived to use what we create to instigate debate and challenge people's thoughts whether politically, emotionally or both.

 

Tell us how the band formed....


Anonymous Tip was a rollercoaster ride from the start. Formed in an attic back in November 2002, the band hadn't even met each other before we were invited to perform the first written song 'Slap Happy Bappy' on a university television show. Our performance on the show and a string of London dates kicked off a buzz loud enough for the band to get noticed by seminal punk legends Snuff. November 2003 saw Snuff release Anonymous Tip's self financed and self produced debut EP 'Greetings From Wasteland' through 10 Past 10 Records and took us on a unadulterated tour around the UK with Five Knuckle, Captain Everything and the mighty Snuff.


What were the major musical influences that the fledgling band used as the yardstick for future success?


All of us listen to a wide range of music from hip hop to black metal, however our main influences when we started were The Clash, Propagandhi and Strung Out.

 

How would you react if someone thought that the six string bass that your bassist uses is a little over-indulgent given the type of music you play?


I'd have to ask them to listen to our music. As to the type of music we play, I have no idea what having a six string bass has to do with being over indulgent given the type of music we play. The tip1age old cliché of punk not being musical is far from what we are about. Chris expresses himself like all of us through our music and him using a six string is integral in what we create. He can out bass anybody, we haven't seen anyone better. Except for Jaco Pastorius hahahahhaha.

 

How hard was it to get the music/politics balance right? Would you say that the music can be enjoyed by anyone but if someone walks away a little more educated on a certain subject than before that your job has been a success?


We've always been careful about our statements in our music. Not because we are afraid but because we have a duty to ensure that we do not burn the trust of our fans. The people that listen to our music and love it are all that we care about. From day one we have sought out to challenge people's perspectives with our music and the fans that have listened and stood by us have been the ones that have loved everything we have done from day one. 

 

In the 90's I was hugely influenced by US political act Consolidated, so much so that I live by the standards today that their music pointed me in the direction of almost two decades ago - would someone saying the same thing about Anonymous Tip in the future be the ultimate accolade for yourself and your bandmates?


That's a tough question. The last thing we want to do is sound like a bunch of preachers telling young people out there how to live their lives. We are just using our music to voice our frustrations and thoughts. We don't look at ourselves as Gods or want to leave that type of lasting impression. However, we respect those that like what we do and always ask them challenge what we believe so that their perspectives are more their own as opposed to what we force down their necks.


Has the fact that you are a non-white frontman posed any problems for the band? Any hassle? How did you react?


I almost got arrested in Rhyl by the Head of Police who claimed that I was drunk and was shouting abuse to the police onstage. However, I hadn't been drinking and could not see through the brick wall the policeman claimed I could see him through. I have never been abusive to the police in my entire life. I found out later from the locals that the police in Rhyl are racist, hate punk music and regularly attack anyone they can as long as they can get away with it.

 

With the General Election looming, what message would you have for young voters who may never have had the opportunity to cast their vote previously?


All we can say is that a lot of people died so that people like us could have the power to change the world and the freedom to express ourselves. It's up to all of us to ensure everybody in the world has a right to an education, healthcare and a roof over their heads. Before you vote think about what a party can do for you and think about the dangers of voting for the wrong party. Look at their manifestos and think about what they would represent as the party governing this country. There are people out there that don't feel that their vote will count butanonymous_tip_small you would be surprised. Almost 40% of the UK population does not vote, meaning that there is a majority of the country that could sway the outcome dramatically should they take the initiative.

 

Do you think that any party politics actually have young people at heart? I'm thinking of archaic bullshit like David Cameron's plans for the laws of abortion, for example. Would you say that the present offers the least party political interest in history for young people?

 

It does feel like the current candidates up to become prime minister are more out of touch with today's youth then ever before. I feel the best way for parties to get young support is to set up initiatives that integrate education with the political system. Someone studying science should be given tasks to help tackle climate control, music promoters at universities should set up band nights that have different bands supporting different parties performing so that they can instigate debate.

 

What is the ONE thing that is really pissing you off right now? Here is your chance to vent your fury!

 

The amount of tigers in India that are killed every year. There is only about one thousand and four hundred left in India and each year they are poached for their fur and organs to be sold on the black market. Action needs to be taken before these beautiful animals are wiped out.

 

What next for Anonymous Tip?

 

We had a great reception for our last single campaign so we are now booking a tour for Autumn in support for our next single.

 

Unlucky question number 13 - what are the next five songs on shuffle on your iPod/mp3 player - no cheating!!!!

 

1) Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun
2) Kosheen - Cover
3) Life of Agony - This Time
4) Abba - I do, I do, I do
5) Mos Def and Talib Kwali - Definition


Huge thanks to Sanj for taking the time to talk with Über Röck. Check out the band at

www.myspace.com/anonymoustip