How Anthony Green found hope through recovery and became the strongest version of himself on Boom. Done.
For over 20 years, Anthony Green has devoted his life to the pursuit of art, and music, while sharing his personal journey with anyone who’s willing to listen. Whether he was fronting the beloved post-hardcore titans Saosin or the transcendental rock group Circa Survive, Green has never left his die-hard fans without new music for long. His prolific artistic output is the result of not only his love for art but also a great deal of workaholism and the catharsis that songwriting brings. Whenever Green has downtime from his main projects, he always finds time to experiment with new sounds and textures — as shown with his projects the Sound Of Animals Fighting and Fuckin Whatever, both of which feature scene heavy weights — to releasing a steady discography of autobiographical and intimate solo records.
Regarding his solo material, Green has certainly created his best yet with his latest album Boom. Done., which details some of the artist’s most difficult times over the last few years with bravery, honesty and stunning maturity. Green, who has always been outspoken about his struggles with drug addiction and mental health, suffered both relapse and overdose, the latter of which caused the gifted songwriter and father of four to lose his life for nearly eight minutes before being revived. Afterward, Green was able to rebuild and find a positive way to channel his mind into art and be the strongest version of himself.
After a bipolar disorder diagnosis, one can only imagine that Green was in an introspective place as he was picking up the pieces. The artist dove deep into his songwriting as a means to cope and share his journey with no filter as a means to help others who may be suffering as well. The result is a record that’s both heartbreaking, painful and at times emotionally unsettling, but through the darkness, there’s also a great deal of hope, optimism and the feeling of overcoming life’s biggest challenges. It’s no wonder that Green calls Boom. Done. his favorite record that he’s ever made.
In creating Boom. Done., Green enlisted his longtime collaborators and closest friends Keith Goodwin and Tim Arnold, who both play in the exceptional indie group Good Old War, to make the record feel like a full band. With an array of unique instruments, dynamics and energy, each song has its own unique sound. Boom. Done. is Green at peak form and in perfect harmony with his collaborators, resulting in his most versatile and full-sounding solo record to date. It seems as if Green has reached a new stage of rejuvenation, gratitude and hope that was achieved through the labor of love that is Boom. Done.
Now on the eve of the record’s release, Green is already looking forward to sharing a vast collection of new material spanning multiple genres and projects. However, until Green unveils whatever ambitious new music he has in store, listeners are invited into the most personal and upfront glimpse into Green’s life with Boom. Done.
Upon first listening to the lead single “Don’t Dance,” it was such a pleasant surprise to hear how full the music sounded with the incorporation of synths, brass sections and loud guitars. This is a stark contrast to your more acoustic-driven material. What brought out this change sonically?
I knew I wanted to make a record that sounded like a big band. I didn’t want to make another solo record that was lonesome, acoustic centered and with just a couple of guitars and vocals. A few songs for this record started out as parts of different projects. When Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold and I started writing this record, I knew I wanted to create a brand-new band with the two of them. As we were going along, it became a question of whether we should just release this as a solo record and split everything up as a full band, so we just dug into it that way instead of starting from scratch. “Don’t Dance” was a song that I co-wrote with my buddy Adam [Dabs], who is in a group called SAWCE, who are a math-rock band from New Jersey. He and I were doing electronic and hyperpop music during the pandemic, and that melody actually came from this EDM song that he sent me to sing to. I eventually asked him if I could just make a rock ‘n’ roll version of the song, and he was like, “I kind of want people to hear the electronic version first,” but I convinced him. I can’t wait for people to hear the electronic version, though. It has a different structure, melody and variations to the lyrics.
Speaking of the melodies, Boom. Done. has some of the best vocal performances of your career.
It’s really weird because, in every record that I have ever done, I have that feeling where I know this is the best I can offer and squeezed every little bit of juice that I had. However, this record is different, and I wish could describe the abstracts of it to anyone, but it truly is my favorite thing I’ve ever done. To put out a record that I spent a lot of time on and have people say good things about it does make me feel good because I know it’s the coolest fucking shit I’ve ever done. It was a lot of work, but it was fun work. There were so many times when it felt like treasure hunting with time and emotion. Having my producer and best friend Keith Goodwin working with me helped make it an environment where you’re not afraid to take chances and try things. That’s where all the magical stuff happens.
It really does feel like you have such a close and harmonious relationship with Keith Goodwin and Tim Arnold, where you have always been so in sync with whatever project you collaborated on over the years. Why do you think this partnership works so well?
Ever since the moment that I met both of them, I admired them as musicians and as people. They both have this quality that I connect with, and we enjoy each other’s company. You know when you’re a kid in class and you can’t sit next to a certain kid because you keep laughing your ass off at the dumbest shit? That’s the feeling I have with both of those dudes. When we started making the record, their band Good Old War was taking a break, and so I saw the opportunity for us to do more stuff where they could be involved more in the sense of writing. For the song “Center Of It All,” Tim Arnold wrote all of the music for it with a synth, accordion and some drums that he just sent me to put a vocal over it. There’s also a song on the record called “Trading Doses” that just came out that I originally wrote the vocal over an instrumental that Sonny Moore sent me. I loved it so much and asked him if I could rescue the melody, and thankfully he didn’t mind. I wanted him to sing on it, but he’s a busy boy. [Laughs.]
Opening the record with “So It Goes” really sets the stage for the record and its overall emotional, raw and honest tone. Was that intentional with the sequencing to foreshadow what’s to come?
As the record was coming along throughout the last two years, it became apparent to me that it wasn’t just this autobiographical thing; it was sort of a suicide note for a minute that turned into this declaration of life. “So It Goes” was my way of trying to apologize and reaffirm my own personal mission. I think “Center Of It All” was going to be the start of the record for a minute. However, I sat down and wanted to write something where I quasi-explained what was happening with me. I was getting ready for bedtime with my kids and sat down at the piano in my house and started goofing around with it, and the lyrics just started coming out at once. The record was considered done and tracked when “So It Goes” got written, and I knew that this was definitely what the album is and really sets the pace for what the fuck I’m trying to do with my life now.
Was there ever a point during the writing process where you felt anxious or hesitant about opening up about the dark chapters in your life?
Being an addict or being somebody who is bipolar, it’s not who I am, but in a lot of ways, those are also incredible strengths for me. There’s a minute throughout the day, and especially after I relapsed, where I want to recoil and pull back. You can find every excuse you need to do that, and for some people, that’s their medicine and process. For me, it works out better if I own my situation. Being an addict in recovery is nothing to be ashamed of, and I think we need to be celebrating it a little more among people who are struggling. It’s the same thing with all areas of mental health. If I wasn’t bipolar I’m not sure if I’d have the aspects of whatever I do in my job that people enjoy and find their own peace within. I’m trying to look at this stuff in my life as a blessing and something that can help me while connecting with other people. What do I have to offer as a human being? There are a million people making great, deep and emotional music. When I think about what I have to offer, it’s just my own personal journey. These are experiences that can help others and gives the pain of a circumstance meaning.
I think that brings up a great point that the record isn’t just one tone throughout, even though there is dark subject matter. There is still a sense of something triumphant and hopeful at its core.
I wanted to make something that didn’t just feel depressed, lonely or sad. I was looking for help, and I didn’t know how to tell anyone what I was going through. I was wanting to kill myself every day and was finding little ways of saying it in the songs. In the process of doing that, I fucking broke down. After the breakdown and as I was building back up again, I found a really good regimen that’s working for me. It’s a mixture of medication, therapy and a really good support system of people that I trust in my life. Music also plays an incredible role in that, but it’s also dangerous, and workaholism is a real thing, so I have to find balance and make sure I’m not overdoing it too much.
Speaking of how busy your life is, you are a loving father to four children. How does fatherhood play a role in your artistry, and what do you want to give to them through your art?
Honestly, I think it’s immeasurable. My kids have made me a better musician and more conscious of time. When you’re living on your own and don’t have a child, time is not as finite. When you have kids, you want to spend so much time with them, and so you have to realize how to balance art and your job a bit more. Watching my kids create on an artistic scale but also watching them create themselves, try things out and see who they emulate is inspiring to me. I overdid it — I think four kids is a lot. [Laughs.] They have taught me everything about resilience and have shown me my own ability to look at myself as a good person.
What can we expect next beyond your solo music? New Saosin music? New Circa Survive?
There’s definitely new Saosin on the horizon. The shit that Saosin is writing right now is the heaviest fucking thing ever. There’s definitely new the Sound of Animals Fighting music coming at some point soon too. There’s a lot of stuff coming in the next year-and-a-half. A lot of new shit, some old shit, but a lot of stuff to be excited about.