Anteater Eater is back with a brand new sound
Anteater Eater has spent the majority of the past two years balancing sudden hiatuses and surprise returns.
But with a remarkable new album, If That’s Your Thing, released in August and talk of future tour dates, it would appear some big decisions lay ahead for the Victoria indie punk outfit.
“Technically disbanded,” was the status update from bassist Connor Tesluk, during a recent interview with the Martlet.
“We’re a band,” drummer Daniel Hubert countered. “And we’re sometimes not a band.”
However, Anteater Eater — likely named as such to avoid confusion with the Vancouver punk band AntEater — still has dreams for the future. When asked about long-term plans, the friends replied en masse: “Tour.”
Forward momentum has been fleeting for the group, despite a promising 2021 which saw the release of their two-song debut, The Abstinence Eaters Summer Booster Pack, and some well-received live performances. The members (which also include singer-guitarist Callum Rudyk and guitarist Gabe Boyarin) paused Anteater Eater in 2022. Among the reasons were new jobs and university studies with Rudyk in Vancouver at UBC and Boyarin in Boston at the Berklee College of Music.
But seemingly unbeknownst to their fans, Anteater Eater were woodshedding, prepping a new album and one final show for Victoria.
The all-ages August appearance at Little Fernwood was believed to be Anteater Eater’s official goodbye, and it would have been a triumphant one had the band stuck to its decision. Last month, the band posted cryptically on Instagram that it may return before the year is out. This Little Fernwood performance — dubbed the “We Need Money” show — was set to play with local band Sharon. Tickets sold out within two days, a surprise for a Victoria punk band that hadn’t been heard from for close to a year.
At the Little Fernwood performance they played fan favourites alongside tracks from their new release If That’s Your Thing. Touching on the new release was a wonderful way to return to harsh guitar leads counter-balancing nostalgic love ballads. With this release, they’ve redone older songs such as “Apples & Oranges” and “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,” to have much cleaner mixing and production. They’ve also explored new genres of indie, going in directions of punk on “Still Can’t Skate,” love balladry on “Darling,” and nostalgia on “Singing About the Summer.”
“If the typos in the names of the songs on Spotify don’t prove that we are prone to releasing it when we think it’s ready,” Hubert said.
“Fuck it if we think we’re going to shoot ourselves in the foot. You just gotta give the people what they want.”
Anteater Eater now has 1 400 monthly listeners on Spotify and nearly 6 000 streams for the song “PunK DreamZ” alone.
“We wanted to create something ear-catching, instantly recognizable, and danceable,” Rudyk said of the song, which nicks its “Hey! Ho! Let’s Go!” chorus from the Ramones.
Behind the music are four normal people gifted with masterful music-creating abilities: Rudyk, the David Byrne of the band, has an outgoing and infectious stage presence; Tesluk, as the bass player, stays in his own lane but shares an on-stage dynamic with Rudyk; Boyarin, though reserved off stage, remains an intriguing character; and Hubert likes to be loud, with both his drum playing and personality.
Tesluk said he met Rudyk at a youth activity night and Hubert while working on the set of a local production of Shrek: The Musical. Their friendship sparked in grade school, but it was years until their vision for their band came to fruition.
A New Year’s Eve party at Tesluk’s house in 2021 convinced the friends that they had the right members to form a band.
“I recall us, hungover, taking the bus back to Esquimalt the next morning, and saying to Daniel, ‘You actually wanna start a band?’” Rudyk said. ”And the rest is history.”
“I wanted to create a band that was about making it a fun night for the audience,” said Rudyk. “It’s supposed to be a party.”
With a new generation comes a new definition of punk. What Anteater Eater has achieved is simple: making an accessible form of punk with a dash of indie. It is something for people who want to feel the invigorating energy of a punk show, minus the uninviting venues and heavily inebriated lonely crowds.
“We’ve gone out of our way to make things accessible and inviting for people and the biggest wish I have is that somebody will see us play and want to start their own band.”
Fret not! Anteater Eater is coming back. With a Halloween show announced for October, the band is listening to what the people want — more!