WORDS: GEORGIA RAWSON
Canary yellow, a fiery red, pastel green, and a flamboyant orange tone all meet in the centre of the record sleeve. From the shelves of any record store, In The Spirit World Now, could easily be misplaced under a variety of genre’s racks. Upon further listening inspection, a mixture of new wave vocals, groove ridden bass lines, and punk paced beats all melt together. But regardless of its genre fluid sound, its still punk, and Ceremony guitarist Anthony Anzaldo is quick to agree that punk was never a genre. It is an ethos and a creative approach, and this has enabled Ceremony to polarise their flexibility when reinventing themselves time and time again.
“Art is only fulfilling if it comes from an honest place.”
“Art is only fulfilling if it comes from an honest place.” Reflects Anzaldo. The honest approach to creativity of this record is more fluorescent than the colourful palette that makes up the artwork itself. There are undeniable influences from Prince, and a mildly ironic sound similar to New Order, with opening track, Take Away The Bad Thing bursting with a nostalgic tinge and soundscape that seems to belong to the 80s new wave. However, Anzaldo is also clear that there’s been no need to time travel and reflect on both the past of Ceremony, and the culture in which they belong to. “We don’t have it in us to do the same thing twice. It’s not who we are. The future is endless, the past is a bore.” Muses Anzaldo.
The stylistic shift in the new era of Ceremony may be influenced by the sounds of the past, but their approach is a progressive step forward, not just for the punk community, but society itself. “Punk exists so people can express who they truly are.”Anzaldo commentates as we discuss the all-inclusive crowd drawn to the band’s headline set during the DIY Czech Festival, Fluff Fest. A crowd that was the very essence of Anzaldo’s statement, a collective of individuals that alongside Ceremony strive for solidarity regardless of gender, sexuality, age, race, political backgrounds, beliefs, and abilities. “I don’t feel I see the world differently just because I make music. It may be the other way around, I’m not entirely sure.” Continues Anzaldo as we shift the conversation towards the band’s outlook on the greater world. “But I do know that I didn’t have a choice in regards to taking this path. It’s been in me my whole life. For me, creating music is like sexuality.”
“I do know that I didn’t have a choice in regards to taking this path…”
Ceremony’s longevity can be put down to a lot of things, but most of all it’s their consistent variations of inspirations, exploring all formats of the art world. So where does the band think they stand in terms of the current art punk movement? “We’re not lucky enough to be alive for arts’ most important moment.” Sighs Anzaldo. “Sometimes we have to take a step back to take two steps forward.”
Whilst Anthony is humbled by the various hands that grasp so tightly to Ceremony as an influence for their own artistic outlets, Anthony is firm in asserting that their influences simply aren’t just sourced when looking at another painting, or when hearing another record, but rather from those around them. “Don’t trust that any one person is going to teach you a life worth living.” He concludes. “Find your community. Find your people.”
In The Spirit World Now is out now via Relapse Records. Ceremony also hit the UK for a headline tour later this year. Check out the dates below.
24th Nov – Exchange, Bristol
26th Nov – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
29th Nov – New Cross Inn – London